The early days on Quadra Island. Me with my one and only dog, Ali.
I was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia and my fondness for this area increases each day.
As a child, my parents took me to see the destruction in Clayoquot Sound as the logging companies destroyed the old growth forest. Later on I saw the same elimination of the beautiful first growth trees on the islands in Gowlland Harbour where I lived.It didn’t really register with me at that age but now, I look back in shame. In many ways I took our beautiful British Columbia (as we so proudly announce on our license plates) for granted. As a kid we think less about the preciousness of nature and more about what’s for lunch. I still think about lunch a lot but I appreciate the wonders of our landscape more and more.
I’ve been extremely lucky as I grew up on a small fishing resort on Quadra Island, ironically called Quadra Resort. My front yard was the Georgia Straight and the backyard was miles and miles of forest.
My best friends consisted of cougars, raccoons, deer, mink, seals, otters, herons and bald eagles. An average day had me fishing for cod or salmon, digging clams, picking up oysters or catching prawns or crabs. Before I was old enough to drive a car I had a small fibreglass boat with an outboard motor that would get up on plane and send me ripping through the islands. I remember more than once hitting a submerged log and launching up into the air before crashing down again on to the water. Those were the days…
Sometimes I think back on a moment, it was a hot summer day at the end of August and I’m paddling in a canoe between a series of small islands. I can smell the pine needles and seaweed in the air. The tide is coming in as as I guide the canoe through the channel. The tide pushes it, reducing the need to paddle. I look down through the crystal clear water and see bullheads dashing out of the way. I see oysters the size of my fist opening up to filter. A red rock crab glides sideways to hid in a mound of green seaweed. In the reflection of the water I see a bald eagle fly over head.
After a long day on the ocean or in the woods, I would stink like low tide and would have cuts and scrapes that told my stories of adventure. I was never upset by this but instead always wanted to see more. The west coast is indeed a magical place full of diversity and beauty.
Today I work in Vancouver as an IT Manager. I volunteer for Coquitlam Search and Rescue and enjoy living in the Tri-Cities area. While it isn’t quite the same as my childhood on Quadra Island, it is the adult version that I get to share with a team of amazing individuals. I get to go out into the woods with like minded members to help people on what could be, the worst day of their lives. The group I volunteer with is full of people with high values and strong morals. We joke around like everyone else but once that pager goes off we are all using our diverse history and experience in the back country of British Columbia to locate and rescue the subject as quickly as possible and to reunify that person with their family.
This blog contains my rants and raves which will likely be focussed on West Coast life, Search & Rescue, Business Continuity, Technology (as applied to SAR) and Emergency Management. I take less for granted now and decided to create this blog so that I can share these experiences and opinions and if I am lucky it will inspire you to collaborate with me on these subjects. Enjoy.
You can reach me at robertesell (at) gmail (dot) com