And the sky around it is BLUE!! We had the pleasure of walking around Alert Bay today with at least SOME sunshine to keep us company, though some fluffy clouds and occasional rain droplets came too. It was still very chilly, but it was a treat to have a relatively dry day!
Our first stop was the post office. Walt needed to return the defective Iridium GO (Iridiumn STOP?) satellite phone unit; now we wait for a replacement that we hope will arrive next Wednesday in Port McNeill. Meanwhile, we will stay here in Alert Bay–we both have plenty of reading to do and the weather remains cold and wet.
We walked on toward the far end of town to see the ‘Namgis First Nation’s burial grounds and its many totem poles that commemorate and share the stories of individual persons and their families, histories, and achievements (taking photos felt disrespectful to me, so you’ll have to search for “Alert Bay totem poles” on the Web if you’d like to see pictures and explanations). On our way, we encountered a friendly elderly gentleman who was happy to tell us about Alert Bay, its history and commerce, the totem poles, the weather patterns, the town’s uncertain future, etc. Very informative and enjoyable!
We soon had to turn around and walk back past the Boat Harbor to Christ Church, the town’s 1879 Anglican Church, to accept the Vicar’s invitation to join him for lunch and a tour of the church that came about in this way: When I was walking back to the boat alone on Wednesday afternoon after a successful umbrella retrieval mission, I noticed that the attractive white church building was open and people were entering (Walt and I had tried the door earlier on our way to the U’mista Cultural Center, but had found the door locked), so I decided to follow them in. I’m SO glad I did! I met William, the Vicar, who was preparing for an important meeting, and we had a good conversation, finding that he and Walt and I have a lot in common. I invited him to visit us on Braesail, and he was most interested. Later, he and Walt conversed by phone, and Will invited us to visit him on Thursday. Thus, today (Thursday, May 12) we were on our way to the Vicarage when another gracious elderly gentleman greeted us and told us about the history and significance of some of the waterfront buildings in the area–another wonderful conversation!
At the Vicarage, we enjoyed chili and sandwiches and a terrific visit with Will and his friend Phil, one of his predecessors at Christ Church Anglican who’d become a good friend. We had a great deal to talk about, including the church, our new friends’ pastoral and other life experiences, life in Alert Bay and relationships with the First Nations, our own experiences, and the very sad (for Will and his congregation) outcome of Wednesday’s meeting with the diocesan Bishop. Will described his situation and that of the congregation, and then guided us around the lovely interior of the church, with its beautiful stained glass windows depicting the four Archangels surrounding Christ, Christ as ship’s pilot and fisher of people, and some scenes from the church’s history. Walt and I had a marvelous time and were glad to be with Will on a very painful day for him, and I am still fighting back tears when I think about the church’s situation–more prayers!!
After stopping by the local General Store for some groceries, we returned to Braesail as the sky’s rain faucets, shut off for awhile but now turned toward COLD, began to open again.