Let’s Practice Humanism Over Skin-Colour Based Nationalism or Supremacy

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By: Gurdeep Pandher

In recent times, there has been lots of news on social media platforms, such as Facebook, regarding banning certain groups of people who practice a form of nationalism, supremacy, or because of their skin colours or backgrounds. Without disclosing the name of any specific group, I will keep my focus on the roots of this type of discrimination, and the other side of the coin.

First, let’s bring this topic into perspective. One’s skin colour is a mere reflection of how far from the Sun and equator you or your elders originated from. It can also be an optical illusion, and genes may have played a role, too. But, by and large, one’s skin colour is simply an individual colour in a big flower pot which is the world. And, in this flow pot, all these individual colours come together to make the world look beautiful.

So why should one colour be more important than the another? Are we not blinded by the so-called religious or any kind of nationalists? Why are we keeping our hearts and minds so narrow? These are the types of questions we need to ask ourselves.

Alongside questioning our beliefs and behaviours, we also have a better option – let’s practice humanism. If we can love all kinds of dogs or pets, regardless of whether they are black, white, brown or multi-coloured, then why can we not adopt the same mindset towards other human beings? We could alternatively easily follow a human-nationalism approach if we only started to make more room for love in our hearts.

Why do we, somewhere deep in our hearts, have the seeds capable of prospering hate? Why do we think that one type of skin colour is better than others? People who live their lives under these kinds of believes need to grow up. The core of all religions preach that everyone should love one another. So why then do their subsequent followers start to divert from the original message of their religion? Has the founder of any religion ever told to hate others? I would say, “no”. But then who started this trend of teaching people to hate one another? Some religions believe that loving your fellow human beings is just like loving your god; So why would you stop loving your god (if you believe in one)?

Negativity can be the source of hate towards humanity. As such, let’s start doing things that bring more positivity to our world and minds instead. Why should we hate? Why do we feel the need to hate? Why do we create enemies? We are all just people on our unique journey on this Earth. Why can we not enjoy our journeys together, and all have a happy ending?

Another source of hate can be the “fear of the unknown”. If you possess the belief that people from a specific group are dangerous, then the first thing you need to do is start talking to those very people. Step outside of your comfort zone and start to make some friendships. The more you learn about those people, the more you will come to realize that they not dangerous. In fact, you may even reach a point in which you fall in love with them. Therefore, let’s make an effort to create smiles. Maybe you need a hug, or perhaps you had your feeling hurt. The first step is; we need to trace back to the source of our hurt. The more you open your world, the more you will start to realize that there is actually a lot of love available for you in the world.

If you believe in any kind of nationalism, then sit back and think twice. If you yourself are being a source of hate in this world, then you yourself may one day become the victim of someone else’s hate. Alternatively, releasing love into this world will bring more love to you. Love and hate both have huge ripple-effects, so why not chose the former?

Happiness at the Workplace and Life

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We all want to be happy! But when we see our lives, we feel that happiness is missing. We work, make money, collect materials, make careers, and still we find that happiness is missing. Happiness is a very important factor to gauge our well being and mental health. There may be millions in your account, but if you are not happy, you are poor.

What are the factors which prevent us from being happy? We really need to know what they are:-

  1. Stay close to facts:- The main cause of your unhappiness is not the situation, but the way you think about it! If there are just $50 in left your bank account, you start to feel that you have become miserable. You start to feel pity of yourself. That feeling is wrong. Stay close to facts! It is true that you own less money, but you are not miserable. Stay close to the fact. If you imagine that this end of your world or life. Then you are just indulging in imaginations. These self-indulgences can create a hell of sadness. Staying close to facts is empowerment, which creates happiness. So in this case the fact is “only $50 left in your account”. Do not build stories around it other than being factual! The state of feeling miserable leads to sadness. Then you feel that your powers are gone. Then the emptiness can start engulf. Learn to analyze the situation with a critical and reasonable mind. Yes you are not in a very good financial situation, but are also not miserable. What factors led that now you have only $50 left in your account? What efforts you need to make to earn a good living. Maybe you need to find a better work. Maybe you need to cut your spending. Maybe you can just laugh at the situation. If you think positively, this moment can become an inspiring factor too. Look at the people who do not even have $50 in their account. There are hundreds and thousands of people in the world you are in real poverty and no means to feed themselves and their families. There are so many people in the world who sleep hungry at night and do not have any means of income. You are in much better situation. If you look at the history, so many people lost everything in wars. So many people lost all of their family members and had to flee their country empty-handed. But they still had to live. They still had to find happiness. So do not feel miserable so quickly unless there is a real reason behind to feel like this.
  2. Stop emotional reactions:- You will stay sad if you often create emotional reactions to what is said to you. It happens many times at workplaces when a boss or coworker has said something which may sound unfavorable to you. You instantly start to feel heart-broken! You feel that you just want hide your face and cry. You are feeling super emotional. Maybe their intentions were not as bad as you thought, you just felt like that. Stop expecting high-standards all the times! Stay close to reality! If some words can ruin your whole day, you yourself are responsible for your suffering. Someone’s a few words are not going to lower what you are. If you are a great person, you will stay a great person despite what was said to you. But if you react emotionally, your state of happiness is certainly going to go down. Even if someone had has said bad to you intentionally, do not react emotionally to it! Do not let their words take down your happiness. You should be guardian of your happiness. Happiness comes from inside! You cannot depend on external factors all the times for your happiness. Your happiness is precious! Learn to preserve it! The whole world can turn bad for you, but if you choose to be happy, you can be happy.
  3. You are not always a victim:- You maybe sometimes, but you are not “always” a victim. When wrong things happen in day-to-day life, you tend to feel that everyone is just taking advantage of you. Maybe, sometimes, it is true. But this is not always true. Stop portraying yourself a victim in every situation. Projecting yourself a victim means that you are accepting that you are not empowered. If you are feeling yourself not empowered, you yourself are pushing the happiness away from your life. Empowerment is source of happiness. Feeling of being victim is source of sadness. Then you will blame everyone. Even if you are really a victim, find ways to empower yourself.
  4. Learn to analyze reasonably:- For example, at a workplace, if you feel that you are being burdened with lots work, yes the situation requires proper organizing or communication with  your manager or co-workers, but you can still stay very happy. Just do what you can do, if you cannot compete every single task by end of the day, that is OK. Leave the workplace smiling and meet your family smiling at home.
  5. Do Random act of kindness:- Being kind towards others is a direct invitation to happiness. Kindness has positive Ripple effects. Kindness will not only make your heart happy, but also make a big difference in the world of others. Kind hearts are always happy hearts. Stop for people who needs help. Spend your time creating a better situation for them!
  6. Accumulating, not giving away:- We live under the wrong impression that collecting or accumulation money or materials will contribute to our well-being. Sometimes we fight or struggle for it. However, we do not realize that the real happiness lives in giving away, not collecting. Studies have shown that when we give something away (in the form of a donation or small gift), it makes our inside happy. It also shows we care for others too. Give to your community! Give to a charity! Give if your good friend needs help! Share if you cooked a delicious food! Giving is so wonderful! Practice it! It will put a smile on your face.
  7. You do not need to smart all the times:- Human brain is trained to find faults. We believe if we point out a mistake or error, we will be considered genius. Sometimes we do this because we are crazy to get appreciation all the times. Sometimes we do not shy to hurt others just to prove how smart we are. Learn to avoid it if this is not required. If someone is making an honest mistake, it is Ok. We all make mistakes and learn from it. Do not try to become a judge all the times. Let things settle themselves.
  8. Ego:- Ego is number one enemy of happiness. Ego and happiness just cannot stay together. It is OK to feel proud of your careers, accomplishments, education, wealth, or beauty in a good way, however if this is leading to ego, then you are just killing your happiness. Ego won’t let you live a fulfilled life. You true accomplishment is being humble and happy. Simple and ago-less living is just like a the best flowerpot for your beautiful plant of the heart.
  9. Adopt a minimalist living:- Turn a TV on or check something on internet, flip a page in a magazine or start reading a newspaper, we all are constantly shown hundreds of advertisements to allure us to buy those things. And we do end up buying some of them. Stop that impulse! Minimalist living is the best living. Not only too much buying makes our home congested with unused things, but also becomes the biggest enemy of our wallet. Stop this impulse for your long-term happiness! It will also create more savings, which means that there will be more than $50 in your account. Same applies to your bank account, save so that you can use it in emergencies, but do not waste your lifetime just accumulating too much wealth, as we all know that money does not mean anything more than paying the bills.
  10. Move on:- We all face difficult people from time to time. Sometimes at home or work, things get a bit nasty and then we end up breaking up precious connections. Human brain is trained to pick up negativity as quickly as possible. We often forget the good time and tend to focus on all the bad things first. In this situation, we think that criticizing those people over and over will damage them, but actually we damage ourselves. It comes at the cost of our own peace of mind. Anger harms more who is angry. Real happiness comes from moving on, and slowing converting your angry feelings into happy ones. If you are happy in a bad situation, actually you are the winner.
  11. Loving people, plants and animals:- Like anger, racism harms the racist more. Bad feelings create a bad mood, which result into bad mental-health, which result into gloominess. This kind of gloominess effects everyone. Stop making generalizations! There are are good or bad people in all communities, faiths, and everywhere in the world. Humanity is surviving because there are lots of good people everywhere in the world. Practice equality! When you will think that we are all the same people, came from the same source, and now are in the same boat, it will make you happy.
  12. Enjoy others’ achievements:- When your family member, or friend or a colleague achieves something big, enjoy their achievements! Jealously and happiness also cannot stay together. Let others grow! Keep your heart big and vast like an ocean. If you are happy over the milestones and achievements of others, you will be happy all the times. Congratulations them, not just as a formality, like a real deal!
  13. Accept your bodies:- This is another biggest enemy of happiness. In the media age, we check mirror not to dress up or correct the collars of our shirt, we use it more to analyze what is missing in our bodies. Accept yourself the way you are! You are beautiful! Your skin colour is great. Your body weight is great. That mole on your face looks so good. Do not compare yourself to what you just have seen on the Instagram! Instagram people look good too and you look good too! Learn to separate virtual and real world!
  14. Form real friendships:- Although temporary isolation is not bad, but for longer happy and healthy living, meet people and form beautiful friendships. Be happy with them! Dance with them! Social media is good as long as you do not overuse, but meet real people too. Your social media followers are not coming to help you if you are sick in the hospital, only your real friend from real life will show up. Appreciate your friends! Plan weekends together and go out for fun!
  15. Then what? You do not have right to be sad? – Sadness is not dangerous if this is a good sadness. Yes we need to be sad sometimes. I consider myself a happy person, but sometimes I get sad too. However, we should become enough intelligent to learn the facts behind the sadness. Yes, there may be a death of loved one, you lost something real, you or your loved one is sick- yes we all become sad. But if the sadness is temporary, then it is all good. If the sadness is prolonged, then either you should find out the reasons behind your sadness or make efforts to come out of it as soon as possible because prolonged sadness can cause a big depressions.
  16. Dance to be happy ———

 

The Story of Bhangra Dance

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History of Bhangra

Bhangra – The Dance of Punjab

Thank you very much everyone for joining us! We feel honoured and blessed with your presence here! We will dance Bhangra to 10 songs. There will be a one or two minute gap between the songs. During that time, you will hear the audio which will bring the great history, background, world, and charm of bhangra dancing!

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The Dance of Punjab

Dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since the dawn of the earliest human civilizations. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to traditional, ceremonial, and ethnic dances of the ancient period.

Dance was a tool of social interaction that promoted cooperation essential for survival in ancient times. They were performed to celebrate festivals, on important or seasonal occasions such as the harvest, or births and weddings. Such dances are found all over the world.

Dances may be part of religious rituals, for example the rain dance performed in times of drought. Shamans dancing for rain is mentioned in ancient Chinese texts. Dance is an important aspect of some religious rites in ancient Egypt. Similarly, dance is integral to many ceremonies and rites among African peoples. Ritual dances are also performed in temples and during religious festivals.

The 20th century was a period of separation from the traditional symbolic meaning of dance. It was a time of enormous creative growth, for dancers and choreographers. It was also a time of shock, surprise and broadening of minds for the public, in terms of their definitions of what dance was, indeed a radical revolution.

Bhangra

May people have jokingly referred to the hand motions in Bhangra as turning light bulbs. It is much, much more than that.

Bhangra was originated in Punjab and is called the folk-dance of Punjab. Before the British colonized India, Punjab was an independent Sikh country with its capital in Lahore under the king Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In 1849, Punjab became a part of India and it was the last territory to fall under British rule. The dance is a reflection of centuries of Sikh and Punjabi culture. Due to this culture’s strong connections with agricultural life, so this dance has roots in farms and villages.

Bhangra was originally the dance of Punjabi farmers. After harvesting their wheat crop during the Vaisakhi season, or the Khalsa day, people used to attend cultural festivals while dancing bhangra. Vaisakhi festivals were the main occasions to dance bhangra. But bhangra was also performed by farmers while they were doing agricultural chores. Many bhangra moves actually have their origin in certain farming activities. For example, when they needed to pick something from one spot and place it on another place, they developed a bhangra move to do it in a fun way. That bhangra move is known as pick and place or pick and let it go. This used to make a tough job tolerable and even fun.

After harvesting their crops, after all their hard work, after they were done with everything, farmers in Punjab used to dance to show their sense of accomplishment. So for hundreds of years, due to the laborious farming life, this dance developed to showcase strength and joy. Nowadays many people dance bhangra for high-energy workouts and rigorous physical exercise.

Originally it was exclusively a men’s dance, however over time women also started embracing it and nowadays both men and women dance it. It is heavily present in the Sikh and Punjabi culture, weddings, parties, and all kinds of celebrations. Bhangra has evolved from farming life and villages and has reached big cities and modern metropolitan life. Today bhangra music and dance is also seen in Bollywood movies and other kinds of big musical fusions. Many people go to bhangra sessions just to stay healthy, fit and as the best alternative to gym. Despite its evolution, bhangra has succeeded in maintaining its core elements. It remains the dance of joy, the dance of happiness, the dance of good health, and the dance of productivity.

Following the partition of India, different regions of the country began to interact, sharing their different forms of Bhangra. The end result was a hybrid which incorporated many different styles. Bhangra became popularized chiefly due to the Sikh community which helped to integrate the music and dance into the Bollywood film industry.

In its purest form Bhangra is a mix of a singing accompanied by music and the beat of a single drum known as a dhol. The lyrics are always sung in the Punjabi language and usually relate to social or cultural issues. These can be anything from marriage and love to money and dancing, or even getting drunk. Current Bhangra artists take their inspiration from all kinds of sources, often dealing with hot topics of the day. Bhangra seeks to offer a message along with its music.

Bhangra dances differ from region to region and still retain their own unique identities. The term Bhangra has come to incorporate a host of these dance forms including Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka. The dancers sing the chorus of the song while dancing around the drum, or dhol, which sets the unique beat of the dance.

Different regions of Punjab have their own influence on bhangra. For example, Sialkoti style of bhangra developed in the region of Sialkot and is performed with one leg in the air. Jhummar, from Jhang-Sial region of Punjab, can arguably be traced back to the Aryan period and consists of a 16-beat dhol cycle. Sammi is a dance specifically dedicated to singing about a fabled girl. In the 1940s, communication between villages and regions in Punjab sharply increased due to independence movements across the region. Thanks to several celebrated dance pioneers, these dances were shared, both in times of celebration and in times of hardship. Each region quickly adapted the shared dance forms into their own folk traditions. Eventually, a standard Bhangra routine across Punjab came to consist of certain components, such as a Jhummar segment, or a Dhamaal segment. Due to the exponential rise in communication in Punjab and across India, Bhangra spread throughout the country.

Dhol:-
The Dhol is the king of bhangra instruments. Although there are many other musical instruments involved, the dhol drum has been master percussion behind bhangra dance. It’s virtually impossible to separate the dhol from bhangra. The dhol is an oval shaped drum played with bamboo sticks from both sides. Dhol beats are so compelling that one’s feet can hardly resist jumping to dance bhangra. Although in modern times, people also dance bhangra to a mix of Punjabi-western musical numbers the purest form of bhangra is dancing to Dhol beats.

Modern bhangra:-

Today, Bhangra music exists in different forms and styles all over the globe. Punjabi immigrants (usually Sikhs) have encouraged the growth of Punjabi folk music in the western hemisphere. Birmingham, England is considered to be the hub of modern Bhangra music. Its roots date back to the late 1970s, when several Punjabi bands started experimenting with Western styles in addition to the traditional sounds from their homeland. In the west, notable Bhangra bands/groups of the 1970’s were ‘The Black Mist’, ‘The Shots’, ‘The Jambo Boys’, and ‘The Saathies’. However, the first recording group in the UK was Bhujhangy Group, founded by brothers Balbir Singh Khanpur and Dalbir Singh Khanpur in Birmingham in 1967.

Bhujhangy Group is the world’s longest-running bhangra band. The group was founded in Smethwick, near Birmingham, England in 1967 by brothers Dalbir Singh Khanpur and Balbir Singh Khanpur, who had come to the United Kingdom to in the mid 1950s and were joined by their families in 1964, initially working as ordinary workers in the West Midlands’ factories. They were named Bhujhangy – meaning “kids” – as they were still teenagers, and their first recording was “Teri Chithi Noon Parthan”, recorded in 1967 that sold 100 copies.

Bhujhangy appeared on television in 1969 as part of the celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 500th birthday – and the same year approached Oriental Star Agencies with a view to making further recordings. The group had always been interested in western music as well as traditional Punjabi music, learning to play the guitar, banjo and accordion as well as the dhol, tumbi and dholak. Their music gradually incorporated wider influences including modern western rhythms and sounds from Bollywood culture. Their early 1970 single “Bhabiye Akh Larr Gayee” was the first recording to combine traditional Asian sounds with modern western musical instruments and influences, a momentous step in the development of bhangra.

Bhujhangy band also received an award from the House of Commons of the United Kingdom for Punjabi cultural and Bhangra music in 2009 and a Life Time Achievement award from Britasia TV in London 2011. Balbir Bhujhangy Appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the pioneer of Bhangra music in the UK They  continue to perform in 2014 and have released over 50 albums to date.

There are around 300 types of bhangra moves. Some are especially for men; others for women. In this age of improving gender-equality, this distinction has blurred significantly and now both men and women can be seen doing all the moves. Bhangra is often danced in circles and uses a lot of arm and shoulder movement. Some dances use sticks and swords. Other dances use stunts such as a dancer sitting on someone’s shoulders, while another person hangs from his torso by his legs.

Bhangra has been also helpful in promoting intercultural harmony and friendship and it inspired many to celebrate their cultures together. Cultures are our roots and friendships are our branches. That’s how we all co-exist.

A Bhangra workout burns approximately 500 calories during each session. The hour goes by surprisingly fast. The monotony of indoor cardio exercising in gym disappears, and participants are surprised at how enjoyable it is. Bhangra sessions are not only fun, they keep you healthy and fit.

Perhaps the best thing about bhangra is that it has built a bridge between Sikh and other communities outside of Punjab. Bhangra has drawn many people from all backgrounds together. They dance it together. They watch performances together. A connection evolves. People learn about Punjabi-Sikh diaspora and Sikhs learn about western culture, all through bhangra. Nowadays when many forces are dividing us, bhangra unites. It just helps you to be what you are and how to respect others. Bhangra is not just dance, it’s fun, it’s workout, it’s entertainment, it’s sport, it is something which can lift your heart and soul, it is pure joy. And it is a community builder.

Bhangra is not all about turning light bulbs.

 

Sources/bibliography:-

  1. Bhangra History
  2. History of Punjabi Bhangra Music & Dance.
  3. Bhujhangy Group
  4. Bhangra | BBC
  5. YouTube: Bhangra.me: Vancouver’s Unique Bhangra History
  6. Kohinoor Folk Arts Club website
  7. History of dance | Wikipedia 

Economics of Happiness

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Happiness is an important, but often overlooked item when someone is discussing how successful and well developed a country is.

Countries are often pitted head to head against each other, vying for the top spots on charts measuring average incomes of households, net profit earned, GDP, per capita income, unemployment rates, crude-oil prices, and how much their stocks are worth. We are now judging a nation’s development through these old-fashioned statistics or numbers. These statistics are brought together with some standard mathematical formulas, however it’s a good question if these numbers can also measure smile or sadness on your face? However, as society evolves, many other types of measurements come to light, from the serious, like the pay gap between men and women, to the silly, like how many public washrooms there are per square kilometer. Despite all of these measurements, though, the happiness of citizens is rarely talked about. Measuring levels of positivity, though seemingly insignificant, can determine the number of people immigrating to the country, help depressed people get the support they need, and even strengthen economy.

The lack of good feeling can also be the product of other more malignant factors, such as lack of employment, or an abundance of stress in general. Naturally, people will gravitate towards countries that may be less developed, but are in a more optimistic state of mind. It is surprising that stress levels, anxiety, or depression rates are higher in the developed countries than their less developed fellows.

Depression and other mental illnesses are life threatening. It is imperative people suffering from internal diseases get the help and support they need, which is why the happiness quotient matters so much. People are often more likely to seek help when they are confronted with the cold hard truth. Filling out the questionnaire that determines their positivity towards life, they can easily see if they are crossing over into dangerous, depressive territories. Even better, workplaces can retrieve the results, and then discreetly monitor employees who may be at risk.

Happier workers make for more productive workers, and a boost in productivity will naturally lead to more profit and a stronger economy. Plus, with less negativity, there will be less tension and stress in the workplace, leading to a happier environment. Also, as mental illness causes many health problems, a higher degree of contentment will put less strain on healthcare systems, and save the money that is usually put towards antidepressants and similar medications.

Obviously, happiness is an important, but often overlooked item when someone is discussing how successful and well developed a country is. What people often forget is that the men and women working within society are the ones that truly matter, not profit. After all, money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, nor does it buy you true friends and loyal family members to look out for you. Our society needs to change from the money, money, money mindset to a more beneficial, healthier train of thought that focuses on inner peace and the enjoyment of life.

At last, if people of the country are not happy, then we cannot call the country developed, doesn’t matter what numbers are saying and what policies their government is adopting. A smile on a face is important!

Viral Video with Whitehorse Mayor – The World Comes Together When Love Goes Viral

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I do not believe my faith is better than yours and vice-versa.
~ Gurdeep Pandher

For me, a turban is a symbol of change. Let me make one point clear – I am not trying to make the whole world wear turbans or asking the entire world to embrace the Sikh faith. I do not believe my faith is better than yours and vice-versa. All faiths are great, equal and this means that yours is great and beautiful, too!

What I am doing is working towards acceptance and inclusiveness. I am working towards creating love and harmony within our communities. I am working towards tolerance. For example, when you see another person who has a different sense of style than you do, I believe that you should accept that person with an open heart and mind.

The turban is a medium with which I can share my belief in equality with the world.

If someone looks different than you do, please let your heart smile with the beautiful thought, “How cool and lovely is it that this person is different from me! We are all on our own path and everyone should be able to express self and beliefs through clothing and accessories, whether they have religious significance or not.”

This is the type of attitude which will lead to a healthier, safer and more wonderful world, for each one of us.

I have personally been penalized for choosing to wear the Turban as a symbol of my commitment to my faith. I’m well-educated and I have a range of skills to share with employers and co-workers.

Despite this, I’ve lost a lot of great opportunities because of my choice to wear the Turban. For example, one day in Whistler, my supervisor asked me to shave off my beard, even though wearing a beard had no impact on my ability to do my job effectively.

I refused, simply because I’m comfortable with how I look. I like myself! After I refused, he offered me alternatives to working at his company. He pushed me to quit. I didn’t, but work life became harder. More and more rules were imposed on me for no good reason. In time, I did have to leave. This is one example of several.

If you like the way that you present yourself to the world, why not accept and appreciate other people’s choices?

Skin colours, races, regions, religions, genders, age, disability, economic statuses, type of bodies, style of clothing, sexual orientations, borders, marital statuses, quantity of possession of materials, etc. – it is meaningless to separate people based on any, a few or all of these criteria.

I do believe that we may show pride and love for our respective cultures while crossing the walls and learning about each other’s cultures. While our cultures give us roots, other cultures keep us connected. We are all citizens of the universe.

Nothing should separate us as people. We are all human beings with equal value. Despite being different, we are all the product of one source. The different looks and styles just make the world more colourful and more beautiful, just like several colours of flowers look beautiful in one pot. The earth is our pot and we are flowers in different colors and shapes.

Imagine how boring the world would be without all these assorted hues and forms!

We are ONE human race. Period.

As fear is the primary root cause of hate in the world, and most fear is founded in lack of knowledge and understanding, learning about different cultures is the secret of becoming familiar. It’s the key to becoming more comfortable with other ways of life. This familiarity reduces fears and allows us get closer to other people. By learning constantly, with positive attitudes, and opening our minds and hearts, we may connect with others in a deep and meaningful way.

It is beneficial to learn things about the unknown and then remove any fears via   heightened understanding. I am sure that once you are familiar with another person who practices customs which are unknown to you, you will gain the capacity to walk forward together, holding hands.

After 9/11, Sikhs across the world, especially in the US, were subjected to racism due to their turbans. Many were killed too. Just because they were wearing turbans which had some resemblance to the headdresses worn by Bin Laden, these innocent and peaceful Sikhs became targets.

It makes me sad that people assumed the worst and never tried to learn about Sikhs. Sikhism is a different faith, from a different country, with totally a different history. Clearly, unfamiliarity and/or lack of education bred hate! Otherwise, so many precious lives would have been spared. Education was all that was needed.

The aftermath of 9/11 gave me even more reason to embrace the Turban as a powerful symbol of peace. It’s about using the Turban to spark more awareness and education.

I had the same experience in Whitehorse, Yukon, when someone called me Saddam Hussein. This bizarre encounter was hurtful to say the least and it inspired me to wear my turban even more often, with a mind to spreading awareness. Those people didn’t try to learn that Saddam Hussein was from Iraq, rather than my home country, India.

Saddam Hussein was Muslim and I’m a Sikh. We came from different continents -Saddam Hussein represented the Arabic world and I represent Asia. However, the mere presence of a turban on my head made it seem to the person who insulted me that I was representing Saddam and Osama. I would also like to make clear that, for me, Arabic or Muslim world is equally adorable, in the same way the other world is, and my point is not to create an animus towards Arabic or Muslim world. My main point is just to let people know that there is a huge difference between Arabic/Muslim world and my Sikh/Punjabi world from Punjab, India.

If this person had more familiarity with my culture and my faith, this offensive and misguided incident could have been avoided. The person who made the comment did not know that Sikhism was started about 600 years ago, in Punjab, India, by Guru Nanak and that equality, kindness and humanism are core elements of this faith.

Being compared to Saddam Hussein confirmed my opinion that more work needs to be done to make the world aware of my minority faith, which has so often been a subject of misidentification. This, and some other incidents, motivated me to spread awareness about my turban and I am glad that the turban has become a great symbol not only of awareness about the peaceful Sikh faith, but also about so many other things, such as love, harmony and equality.

Despite our different backgrounds and different looks, we can do things together, we can work together, we can play music together, we can dance together and we can form relationships together. All religions were created as guides to better and higher paths, so that we may become good people. However, all people from all religions sometimes forgot the purest essences of our chosen faiths. They were created in the spirit of love and peace and our personal interpretations may occasionally interfere with our interpretations of our faiths.

The sun gives the same light to everyone. Does it discriminate on basis of anything? Sunlight doesn’t need a visa to cross borders. The same applies to moonlight, water, air, and earth.

We can learn so much from nature. I must say that nature should be our supreme guiding god. The sun gives us all the same light with the same purpose. It is we as people who receive it differently. We cannot blame the sun if we do not want to choose the path of universal family.

At the end of the day, doesn’t matter, what the style of clothing is, everybody is just a fellow human being with the same feeling inside the heart.
~ Gurdeep Pandher

We need more love in the world to counteract hate. I do not think there is another tool which can defeat hate but love itself.

Just accept people the way that you accept yourself!

Life is a journey. Let’s understand the purpose of it all, which is universality and love, and then enjoy the experience of our great journey within the world, before we all depart for the spiritual realm.

This experience of love through learning is why we are here…we are not here to hate!

A smile is the best gift that you may offer to the world around you! So, why not open up your world by learning different cultures and embracing different things? Share your culture and faith to create understanding and to breed joy. However, avoid forcing it on other people. Love your culture and faith without forgetting love for other cultures and faiths! Also, be open to learning and receiving via other cultures and faiths! Let all the colours around you make the world look like a priceless masterpiece by a legendary artist. It’s all about your attitude.

At the end of the day, doesn’t matter, what the style of clothing is, everybody is just a fellow human being with the same feeling inside the heart.

I am happy that with my video, which features Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis learning the art of wearing the turban and trying some bhangra dance steps, has gone viral. Thanks to this video, I reached 20 million people (12 million on BBC News, 1.2 million from my Facebook page Facebook/GurdeepPandher and the rest from other networks across the world)!

It has been fulfilling to spread this message of love and acceptance. I am thankful to the world media, including BBC News, BBC World Service, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Service), The Globe and Mail, Global News, The Huffington Post (Canada), CTV News, USA Today, SBS Australia, Mic, Toronto Star, Canadian Press, RT (formerly Russia Today), Quartz Media, Religion News Service, Reuters News Agency and many other publishing/broadcasting services.

These media sources have my gratitude, for publishing my work, supporting and spreading my message and giving me a voice which assists me in sharing my vision for humanity with the world.

World media organizations…I am truly thankful to you for reaching out to me! I am also truly thankful to many other organizations, such as Canadian embassies and human-rights organizations, for helping me to spread this valuable message of diversity.

I am ending my article with my poem:

Let me preserve all my sanity
Let my race be humanity

Millions of stars, but one universe
I’m a your part, still being diverse

Not body or dress, look into my eyes
In tiny mirrors, same laughs same cries

Hug me and let me hug you back
The source of fears, we can trace

One source, one journey, and one end
Flowers in a pot, let them blend

Sincerely,

Gurdeep Pandher
http://www.Gurdeep.ca

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 19

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A basket Starfish

THE ADVENTURES OF THE AUDREY ELEANOR
MAGIC 2 UNDER THE SEA

In the previous storey we left you while we were floating under the stars in the hot tub.

There is a small community in Squirrel Cove. The general store is well stocked and has a decent marine hardware section. This is our introduction to “the oyster man”; he is located on Cortes Island and supplies a few of the local stores with his product. Locally grown and smoked oysters, amazing. The cans of oysters are way too small no matter size they are.

We decide that we need to stretch our sea legs and walk north along the paved road that leaves the General Store for other points on Cortes Island. In the ditches we discover the end of the summer’s crop of blackberries or brambles. I have picked these berries before. I refuse to climb down into the ditches telling the Captain that I preferred to stay as far out the brush as I could. The things are infested with snakes…he laughs at me.

I can see this funny look come over his face as he steps further into the brambles, the thorny brush rips your skin, but that look on his face tells me that he isn’t parting with his skin, I bet he has discovered the “snakes!” Sure enough, he says hmm…there are snakes aren’t there. I take a stick and pull the thorny branches back; the earth is writhing with garter snakes slithering just out of the reach of my stick.

Between us we pick lots of berries for jam and a few extra pints get dedicated to a beautiful blackberry tincture. (Ask me about this stuff)

There is a trail that connects Squirrel Cove to Von Don Up Inlet on the opposite side of the Island. We plan to anchor in Von Don Up so passed on walking the trail. We roared back to Audrey in the zodiac, pulled anchor and left to seek out another adventure. The water in this area has been reported to get as warm as Mexican waters; the oysters grow huge here because of it. This time of the year I preferred to laze in the hot tub.

Von Don Up is a long narrow inlet that allows you deep access into the mid section of Cortes Island. Again, we are not alone in what is considered a late time for travel for this area. There is an eye-catching yacht, custom built in Holland that is anchored in the centre of the bay. The lady from aboard this vessel is a larger sized woman. The custom-rowing skiff has obviously been built for her. She skims across the water with total ease and grace, it’s wonderful to watch. She looks free and light, as she appears to escape the weight of the world.

Whale town is our next stop. The ferry connects Cortes Island to Quadra Island at this point and from Quadra Island the ferry connects to Vancouver Island and Campbell River.

We have difficulty setting the anchor; the bottom of this bay is all sand. The anchor sets us within talking distance of a 65’ sailboat. Two teen-age boys are swabbing the decks. They come with additional family members that total twelve. They have been living on the sailboat for two years, wintering on Vancouver Island. It is an amazing feat; they are all home schooled by their parents. There would be no escape space anywhere onboard this sailboat with twelve people, you would be praying for good weather.

The set of the anchor concerns us so our trip ashore is short. We are on to the next stop, Gorge Harbour. The entrance to this harbour is impressive. Narrow natural rock face cliffs complete with ancient rock drawings guard the passageway. The channel opens into a large bay the centre of which is a large shell fish farm. The sky is streaked with pinks and purples; it’s time to settle in for the night.

We decide to splurge and go ashore for dinner. There is a commercial dock to portside and with a little house beside it has been converted into a restaurant, it looks magical. The anchor is dropped and we roar ashore for dinner. The water that drips off of the oars is glowing with phosphorous, we are leaving a trail of twinkling lights in the black water behind us, Fairy lights in the Ocean are unbelievable.

Dinner is wonderful, sitting on the little deck with lights twinkling on the shore and reflecting off of the still water. The smoked black cod was the best that I’ve had and that means beating out the Empress Hotel in Victoria for first place. The night is so calm that the candle on our table barely flickers as it casts shadows on the wine glasses.

The next morning we reluctantly haul anchor to cruise to Read Island, we are going fishing after all. Evans Bay by Read Island is a new anchorage for us. There is a house for sale at the head of the bay; this is a sparsely inhabited area. Once the anchor is set however, a small boat heads our way. They are an older couple and they own the house at the head of the bay, their house is for sale. The Captain asks about crabbing in the area, the response is that they have been here for twenty-five years and there are no crabs. Damn is there nothing left anywhere in this south country!

The couple is heading to their winter home in Campbell River, health has dictated that they spend time closer to health facilities; this is why their island home is for sale.
The fishing gear needs to be sorted and with our heads down we don’t see the tidy little Grand Banks named “HERS” approaching. There is a persistent knocking on the hull, up come our heads as the visiting Captain hands over a large slab of cod…”hope you like fish he says, just caught it this morning.” He also is heading for Campbell River to pick up his wife, after all the boat is “HERS”. They live in Los Angles, but keep their boat moored in Seattle. Business brings them to Seattle often so they keep moorage and use HERS as their floating apartment while they are there. Holidays simply mean cruising away from the dock. I’d never thought of AUDREY as waterfront property on the Sunshine coast, it was a different perspective.

Following his directions we set out to become the fish slayers. On the first cast the Captain lands a two-pound sea perch, good that’s supper, but not so. He says its bait for the “big” one, yeah right; it would have to be a giant to chase that bait. It is a giant; the cod that almost immediately swallows this perch looks too big to pull into the zodiac.

Have you seen the size of the heads on those things! He’s going to eat us. The cod is four feet long with an overgrown head; the cod head will be crab bait, what the heck you never know till you try right. That is, if we can fit the head into the crab trap minus his cheeks. As the giant cod is gaffed and held to the side of the boat he lets go of the perch. The perch executes a mighty twist, wrenches the hook from his mouth and swims away, perfect!

The sky is red this evening and a strange light is reflecting up from the depths of the ocean. We decide that we will watch for the evening star from the front deck. The dimming switch on the stars is being turned up brighter and brighter. Thick billowing rain clouds are building and rolling towards us. As the evening skies darken eerie lights start to appear in the black water. My favourite, there is phosphorous here.

Jellyfish show up first, outlined in electric blue and pulsating. Now we see tiny flickers of darting light as tiny and usually translucent bugs begin to appear. There are out lines of fish darting after the bugs. They show up as submersed comets in the water. The ocean is pulsating with millions of flickers and streaks of light lined creatures. The sensation that the ocean is breathing intimidates me; the whole sea is boiling with life, it is a living entity. Millions of creatures are now visible to the naked eye; the thought of swimming in this soup of life makes even the well-seasoned diving Captain think twice.

The rain hits in huge drops.

Now we are Disneyland. The giant raindrops hit the water and explode in a million reverberating droplets that burst into showers of light. The hills and bay are glowing in green light. Creatures below the surface appear to be swimming in thickening lime Jell-O. Torrents of rain bounce against the surface of the ocean and we are driven inside. The pounding raindrops flash back green light and illuminate the saloon …this really is magic!

P.S. We did catch three edible sized crabs in our trap; they had a tight squeeze getting in beside that cod head. Attached to the bottom of the trap was a basket starfish; we had come across these outside of Haines. I am glad that we had seen this before after last night we might have thought that we’d captured a sea going alien.

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 19

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A basket Starfish

THE ADVENTURES OF THE AUDREY ELEANOR
MAGIC 2 UNDER THE SEA

In the previous storey we left you while we were floating under the stars in the hot tub.

There is a small community in Squirrel Cove. The general store is well stocked and has a decent marine hardware section. This is our introduction to “the oyster man”; he is located on Cortes Island and supplies a few of the local stores with his product. Locally grown and smoked oysters, amazing. The cans of oysters are way too small no matter size they are.

We decide that we need to stretch our sea legs and walk north along the paved road that leaves the General Store for other points on Cortes Island. In the ditches we discover the end of the summer’s crop of blackberries or brambles. I have picked these berries before. I refuse to climb down into the ditches telling the Captain that I preferred to stay as far out the brush as I could. The things are infested with snakes…he laughs at me.

I can see this funny look come over his face as he steps further into the brambles, the thorny brush rips your skin, but that look on his face tells me that he isn’t parting with his skin, I bet he has discovered the “snakes!” Sure enough, he says hmm…there are snakes aren’t there. I take a stick and pull the thorny branches back; the earth is writhing with garter snakes slithering just out of the reach of my stick.

Between us we pick lots of berries for jam and a few extra pints get dedicated to a beautiful blackberry tincture. (Ask me about this stuff)

There is a trail that connects Squirrel Cove to Von Don Up Inlet on the opposite side of the Island. We plan to anchor in Von Don Up so passed on walking the trail. We roared back to Audrey in the zodiac, pulled anchor and left to seek out another adventure. The water in this area has been reported to get as warm as Mexican waters; the oysters grow huge here because of it. This time of the year I preferred to laze in the hot tub.

Von Don Up is a long narrow inlet that allows you deep access into the mid section of Cortes Island. Again, we are not alone in what is considered a late time for travel for this area. There is an eye-catching yacht, custom built in Holland that is anchored in the centre of the bay. The lady from aboard this vessel is a larger sized woman. The custom-rowing skiff has obviously been built for her. She skims across the water with total ease and grace, it’s wonderful to watch. She looks free and light, as she appears to escape the weight of the world.

Whale town is our next stop. The ferry connects Cortes Island to Quadra Island at this point and from Quadra Island the ferry connects to Vancouver Island and Campbell River.

We have difficulty setting the anchor; the bottom of this bay is all sand. The anchor sets us within talking distance of a 65’ sailboat. Two teen-age boys are swabbing the decks. They come with additional family members that total twelve. They have been living on the sailboat for two years, wintering on Vancouver Island. It is an amazing feat; they are all home schooled by their parents. There would be no escape space anywhere onboard this sailboat with twelve people, you would be praying for good weather.

The set of the anchor concerns us so our trip ashore is short. We are on to the next stop, Gorge Harbour. The entrance to this harbour is impressive. Narrow natural rock face cliffs complete with ancient rock drawings guard the passageway. The channel opens into a large bay the centre of which is a large shell fish farm. The sky is streaked with pinks and purples; it’s time to settle in for the night.

We decide to splurge and go ashore for dinner. There is a commercial dock to portside and with a little house beside it has been converted into a restaurant, it looks magical. The anchor is dropped and we roar ashore for dinner. The water that drips off of the oars is glowing with phosphorous, we are leaving a trail of twinkling lights in the black water behind us, Fairy lights in the Ocean are unbelievable.

Dinner is wonderful, sitting on the little deck with lights twinkling on the shore and reflecting off of the still water. The smoked black cod was the best that I’ve had and that means beating out the Empress Hotel in Victoria for first place. The night is so calm that the candle on our table barely flickers as it casts shadows on the wine glasses.

The next morning we reluctantly haul anchor to cruise to Read Island, we are going fishing after all. Evans Bay by Read Island is a new anchorage for us. There is a house for sale at the head of the bay; this is a sparsely inhabited area. Once the anchor is set however, a small boat heads our way. They are an older couple and they own the house at the head of the bay, their house is for sale. The Captain asks about crabbing in the area, the response is that they have been here for twenty-five years and there are no crabs. Damn is there nothing left anywhere in this south country!

The couple is heading to their winter home in Campbell River, health has dictated that they spend time closer to health facilities; this is why their island home is for sale.
The fishing gear needs to be sorted and with our heads down we don’t see the tidy little Grand Banks named “HERS” approaching. There is a persistent knocking on the hull, up come our heads as the visiting Captain hands over a large slab of cod…”hope you like fish he says, just caught it this morning.” He also is heading for Campbell River to pick up his wife, after all the boat is “HERS”. They live in Los Angles, but keep their boat moored in Seattle. Business brings them to Seattle often so they keep moorage and use HERS as their floating apartment while they are there. Holidays simply mean cruising away from the dock. I’d never thought of AUDREY as waterfront property on the Sunshine coast, it was a different perspective.

Following his directions we set out to become the fish slayers. On the first cast the Captain lands a two-pound sea perch, good that’s supper, but not so. He says its bait for the “big” one, yeah right; it would have to be a giant to chase that bait. It is a giant; the cod that almost immediately swallows this perch looks too big to pull into the zodiac.

Have you seen the size of the heads on those things! He’s going to eat us. The cod is four feet long with an overgrown head; the cod head will be crab bait, what the heck you never know till you try right. That is, if we can fit the head into the crab trap minus his cheeks. As the giant cod is gaffed and held to the side of the boat he lets go of the perch. The perch executes a mighty twist, wrenches the hook from his mouth and swims away, perfect!

The sky is red this evening and a strange light is reflecting up from the depths of the ocean. We decide that we will watch for the evening star from the front deck. The dimming switch on the stars is being turned up brighter and brighter. Thick billowing rain clouds are building and rolling towards us. As the evening skies darken eerie lights start to appear in the black water. My favourite, there is phosphorous here.

Jellyfish show up first, outlined in electric blue and pulsating. Now we see tiny flickers of darting light as tiny and usually translucent bugs begin to appear. There are out lines of fish darting after the bugs. They show up as submersed comets in the water. The ocean is pulsating with millions of flickers and streaks of light lined creatures. The sensation that the ocean is breathing intimidates me; the whole sea is boiling with life, it is a living entity. Millions of creatures are now visible to the naked eye; the thought of swimming in this soup of life makes even the well-seasoned diving Captain think twice.

The rain hits in huge drops.

Now we are Disneyland. The giant raindrops hit the water and explode in a million reverberating droplets that burst into showers of light. The hills and bay are glowing in green light. Creatures below the surface appear to be swimming in thickening lime Jell-O. Torrents of rain bounce against the surface of the ocean and we are driven inside. The pounding raindrops flash back green light and illuminate the saloon …this really is magic!

P.S. We did catch three edible sized crabs in our trap; they had a tight squeeze getting in beside that cod head. Attached to the bottom of the trap was a basket starfish; we had come across these outside of Haines. I am glad that we had seen this before after last night we might have thought that we’d captured a sea going alien.

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 18

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MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

It’s time for a little magic. The end of what we thought wasn’t a bad summer is drawing to a close. The locals in Pender Harbour and Madeira Park complain about climate change and in their minds, lack of a summer at all. I admit that it wasn’t as hot as I would have liked it, but the days were mostly clear and sunny. Diving directly off of the dock into the ocean had happened once or twice. To the Captains delight, some of the bar maids came down at night to skinny dip.

I finally got a chance to experiment with my new dry suit. It is a strange sight to see, trying to keep upright and walk half sub-merged around the docks causes people to do a double take when you walk/ flop past their boat way out past the shore line. We have a floating hot tub that we keep tied dockside so if the water feels too cool for a dip we just heat her up a little. I have to say that there is nothing that compares to hot salt water for relaxing or making your skin feel like velvet. After sanding the gunnels on the boat all day it feels wonderful.

Labour day weekend has come and gone and so have the crowds. After the solitude of living and travelling in the north, the crowds are really unsettling. Desolation Sound is well known and well travelled with southern boaters. It’s a skip and a jump for boaters travelling from Vancouver. Depending on the speed of their boats they can get to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island in a day. Pender Harbour is a natural stop over; known as the Venice of the North, it has beautiful, secure little coves, several waterfront restaurants and bars and the “Royal” Yacht clubs for both Vancouver and Seattle. While the club members hadn’t been the most friendly of folks, over the summer they provided all of us summer locals with great entertainment.

The Royal Yacht Club ships are magnificent to watch coming into harbour, you can almost walk across this bay on anchored yachts. Dodging them with the zodiac to get to the Garden Bay Pub takes skill. We have airplane wheels on our zodiac, this makes us run a little lower in the water and we create a bigger wake then we’d like. It’s slow going but allows for a bit of conversation with the little guys. The Yacht clubs are a “member’s only” situation for moorage or participation. Well when the big boys with the big flags arrive, it’s like watching elephants trying to step through a field of mice and not squash them or worse get their feet dirty.

Consideration for fellow boaters seems to depend on size and anything below the extensive gunnels of the ‘ Royal’ yachters is almost none existent as they motor toward the Seattle yacht club. In their wake the little sailboats truly look like pendulums in clocks as their owners attempt to maintain themselves topside with their barking miniature dogs and sloshing martinis.

Sound carries very well on water, verbal challenges charge across the harbour flying back and forth accompanied by the scrapping sound of metal on fibreglass. With the distraction by these colourful words one Skipper has forgotten that there were only two feet separating him from the boat on his portside, he now has managed to secure that neighbours anchor line as well. The angry voices now arrive in stereo. Ah-h-h life in the densely populated south!

The Captain is not a sports fisherman, he subsistence fishes. Isn’t it amazing how really basic forms of words have changed as the lack of understanding them grows? He fishes to feed us. The price of a small Dungeness crab at Madeira Park is $25. The price per pound for fish of any type is out of this world; this is all incentive to go fishing. I love rockfish and have even before they became a trendy type of food. Rockfish has become trendy because of the lack of salmon, cod or halibut. I once had to process 60 lbs of Hake fillets that I was lucky enough to come across; it’s a beautiful delicate fish.

We spend a lovely day drifting around the small islets in the mouth of Pender Harbour looking for rockfish. A time warp happens, six hours of floating on the ocean drifted by and we have nothing but a suntan to show for our time, it is perfect. But we really did want to catch some fish. We would obviously have to get out of town if we wanted to catch anything of a size for eating.

The timing is right, most people should be gone, we could head for Cortes Island, circumnavigate it and do some exploring in our old haunts around Read Island…it is time to go fishing. In peak summer months your anchorage has to be established by noon in order to find the room to set your hook. Shore tying then becomes necessary so that you do not to swing into your neighbour. It is very crowded, for the free spirit, the guidebooks have listed numerous small-protected coves as anchorages. They state that these beautiful little coves will provide privacy. This is so that you need not listen to your neighbours music or dog barking at EVERY seagull. (No, this is not so cute)

The guide books must have been published prior to fish and shellfish farming, just about ever bay listed has now been partitioned off with nets, floats, logs and very strong “don’t even think about getting close to us “ signs…all fish farms. It’s a segregated area, yachties to their space and the working fishers to theirs. Boat wakes wreck havoc on shellfish farms where mussels and oysters dangle in the salt brine on tenuous lines.

Stories of sport fishers spending a week to get a single salmon are pretty common. They have way more patience then we do. Why oh why do we allow commercial fishing in the mouths of spawning creeks and rivers people? If they can’t go home to make babies there will be NO fish. And where is the crab? The Captain truly is the crab slayer and all summer had only produced a few small rock crabs that still needed to grow up. They were sent home to the deep to develop some bulk. We want to head into less populated areas where there still might be some fish and crab left.

Audrey leaves the dock at Pender Harbour and we head up Malaspina Straight towards Powell River, Texada Island is on our Portside. It’s slightly breezy, but still hot enough to get sunburnt on the flying bridge. Just past Powell River and before Savoury Island I notice something strange in the water. The Captain slows us down for a better look.

Curioser and curioser, there is a seal in the water with a 15 lb salmon in it’s mouth. On each side of him are two seagulls both determined to steal his dinner. This seal is not concerned in the least; he is more interested in watching us motor past. The gulls are playing tug of war with the salmon and he just keeps on watching us. Slowly, and seemingly without breaking the water he sinks out of sight, with his fish. It’s a sign. We continue up past Lund and drop anchor in the Copeland Islands. Tomorrow we head for Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.

The distances here are deceptive; everything is way closer than in the north. The next morning it only takes us an hour to arrive at Squirrel Cove. The floating bakery is closed for the season and there are two other boats already anchored here. With most anchorages in the south you need to have holding tanks for sewage, a very good idea as I can only imagine what kind of sludge there would be in these low flushing inlets with the populations that visit here.

There is an oyster farm in here as well, regardless of the holding tank rule we decide not to buy their oysters. The two little sailboats don’t look big enough to hold their crew, never mind a holding tank. Regardless, the water is crystal clear with starfish waving their arms at the oysters.

The moon is full and the stars are low enough to touch. Small lights twinkle off in the distance onboard the sailboats. We slip into our floating hot tub. The hot salt water closes over the aches of the day. A long line gets attached to the tub and we shove off into the soft darkness. Laying back watching the satellites and falling stars in the quiet black night drifting softly with the tide, if you reach up with your hand I’m sure you can tip the big dipper and get a drink, wouldn’t it be nice if it was tequila…. we are afloat under the stars. (The water in the tub is really, really warm!)

This is magic 1; the next storey is magic 2.

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 18

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MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

It’s time for a little magic. The end of what we thought wasn’t a bad summer is drawing to a close. The locals in Pender Harbour and Madeira Park complain about climate change and in their minds, lack of a summer at all. I admit that it wasn’t as hot as I would have liked it, but the days were mostly clear and sunny. Diving directly off of the dock into the ocean had happened once or twice. To the Captains delight, some of the bar maids came down at night to skinny dip.

I finally got a chance to experiment with my new dry suit. It is a strange sight to see, trying to keep upright and walk half sub-merged around the docks causes people to do a double take when you walk/ flop past their boat way out past the shore line. We have a floating hot tub that we keep tied dockside so if the water feels too cool for a dip we just heat her up a little. I have to say that there is nothing that compares to hot salt water for relaxing or making your skin feel like velvet. After sanding the gunnels on the boat all day it feels wonderful.

Labour day weekend has come and gone and so have the crowds. After the solitude of living and travelling in the north, the crowds are really unsettling. Desolation Sound is well known and well travelled with southern boaters. It’s a skip and a jump for boaters travelling from Vancouver. Depending on the speed of their boats they can get to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island in a day. Pender Harbour is a natural stop over; known as the Venice of the North, it has beautiful, secure little coves, several waterfront restaurants and bars and the “Royal” Yacht clubs for both Vancouver and Seattle. While the club members hadn’t been the most friendly of folks, over the summer they provided all of us summer locals with great entertainment.

The Royal Yacht Club ships are magnificent to watch coming into harbour, you can almost walk across this bay on anchored yachts. Dodging them with the zodiac to get to the Garden Bay Pub takes skill. We have airplane wheels on our zodiac, this makes us run a little lower in the water and we create a bigger wake then we’d like. It’s slow going but allows for a bit of conversation with the little guys. The Yacht clubs are a “member’s only” situation for moorage or participation. Well when the big boys with the big flags arrive, it’s like watching elephants trying to step through a field of mice and not squash them or worse get their feet dirty.

Consideration for fellow boaters seems to depend on size and anything below the extensive gunnels of the ‘ Royal’ yachters is almost none existent as they motor toward the Seattle yacht club. In their wake the little sailboats truly look like pendulums in clocks as their owners attempt to maintain themselves topside with their barking miniature dogs and sloshing martinis.

Sound carries very well on water, verbal challenges charge across the harbour flying back and forth accompanied by the scrapping sound of metal on fibreglass. With the distraction by these colourful words one Skipper has forgotten that there were only two feet separating him from the boat on his portside, he now has managed to secure that neighbours anchor line as well. The angry voices now arrive in stereo. Ah-h-h life in the densely populated south!

The Captain is not a sports fisherman, he subsistence fishes. Isn’t it amazing how really basic forms of words have changed as the lack of understanding them grows? He fishes to feed us. The price of a small Dungeness crab at Madeira Park is $25. The price per pound for fish of any type is out of this world; this is all incentive to go fishing. I love rockfish and have even before they became a trendy type of food. Rockfish has become trendy because of the lack of salmon, cod or halibut. I once had to process 60 lbs of Hake fillets that I was lucky enough to come across; it’s a beautiful delicate fish.

We spend a lovely day drifting around the small islets in the mouth of Pender Harbour looking for rockfish. A time warp happens, six hours of floating on the ocean drifted by and we have nothing but a suntan to show for our time, it is perfect. But we really did want to catch some fish. We would obviously have to get out of town if we wanted to catch anything of a size for eating.

The timing is right, most people should be gone, we could head for Cortes Island, circumnavigate it and do some exploring in our old haunts around Read Island…it is time to go fishing. In peak summer months your anchorage has to be established by noon in order to find the room to set your hook. Shore tying then becomes necessary so that you do not to swing into your neighbour. It is very crowded, for the free spirit, the guidebooks have listed numerous small-protected coves as anchorages. They state that these beautiful little coves will provide privacy. This is so that you need not listen to your neighbours music or dog barking at EVERY seagull. (No, this is not so cute)

The guide books must have been published prior to fish and shellfish farming, just about ever bay listed has now been partitioned off with nets, floats, logs and very strong “don’t even think about getting close to us “ signs…all fish farms. It’s a segregated area, yachties to their space and the working fishers to theirs. Boat wakes wreck havoc on shellfish farms where mussels and oysters dangle in the salt brine on tenuous lines.

Stories of sport fishers spending a week to get a single salmon are pretty common. They have way more patience then we do. Why oh why do we allow commercial fishing in the mouths of spawning creeks and rivers people? If they can’t go home to make babies there will be NO fish. And where is the crab? The Captain truly is the crab slayer and all summer had only produced a few small rock crabs that still needed to grow up. They were sent home to the deep to develop some bulk. We want to head into less populated areas where there still might be some fish and crab left.

Audrey leaves the dock at Pender Harbour and we head up Malaspina Straight towards Powell River, Texada Island is on our Portside. It’s slightly breezy, but still hot enough to get sunburnt on the flying bridge. Just past Powell River and before Savoury Island I notice something strange in the water. The Captain slows us down for a better look.

Curioser and curioser, there is a seal in the water with a 15 lb salmon in it’s mouth. On each side of him are two seagulls both determined to steal his dinner. This seal is not concerned in the least; he is more interested in watching us motor past. The gulls are playing tug of war with the salmon and he just keeps on watching us. Slowly, and seemingly without breaking the water he sinks out of sight, with his fish. It’s a sign. We continue up past Lund and drop anchor in the Copeland Islands. Tomorrow we head for Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.

The distances here are deceptive; everything is way closer than in the north. The next morning it only takes us an hour to arrive at Squirrel Cove. The floating bakery is closed for the season and there are two other boats already anchored here. With most anchorages in the south you need to have holding tanks for sewage, a very good idea as I can only imagine what kind of sludge there would be in these low flushing inlets with the populations that visit here.

There is an oyster farm in here as well, regardless of the holding tank rule we decide not to buy their oysters. The two little sailboats don’t look big enough to hold their crew, never mind a holding tank. Regardless, the water is crystal clear with starfish waving their arms at the oysters.

The moon is full and the stars are low enough to touch. Small lights twinkle off in the distance onboard the sailboats. We slip into our floating hot tub. The hot salt water closes over the aches of the day. A long line gets attached to the tub and we shove off into the soft darkness. Laying back watching the satellites and falling stars in the quiet black night drifting softly with the tide, if you reach up with your hand I’m sure you can tip the big dipper and get a drink, wouldn’t it be nice if it was tequila…. we are afloat under the stars. (The water in the tub is really, really warm!)

This is magic 1; the next storey is magic 2.

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 18

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MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

MAGIC 1 FLOATING UNDER THE STARS

It’s time for a little magic. The end of what we thought wasn’t a bad summer is drawing to a close. The locals in Pender Harbour and Madeira Park complain about climate change and in their minds, lack of a summer at all. I admit that it wasn’t as hot as I would have liked it, but the days were mostly clear and sunny. Diving directly off of the dock into the ocean had happened once or twice. To the Captains delight, some of the bar maids came down at night to skinny dip.

I finally got a chance to experiment with my new dry suit. It is a strange sight to see, trying to keep upright and walk half sub-merged around the docks causes people to do a double take when you walk/ flop past their boat way out past the shore line. We have a floating hot tub that we keep tied dockside so if the water feels too cool for a dip we just heat her up a little. I have to say that there is nothing that compares to hot salt water for relaxing or making your skin feel like velvet. After sanding the gunnels on the boat all day it feels wonderful.

Labour day weekend has come and gone and so have the crowds. After the solitude of living and travelling in the north, the crowds are really unsettling. Desolation Sound is well known and well travelled with southern boaters. It’s a skip and a jump for boaters travelling from Vancouver. Depending on the speed of their boats they can get to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island in a day. Pender Harbour is a natural stop over; known as the Venice of the North, it has beautiful, secure little coves, several waterfront restaurants and bars and the “Royal” Yacht clubs for both Vancouver and Seattle. While the club members hadn’t been the most friendly of folks, over the summer they provided all of us summer locals with great entertainment.

The Royal Yacht Club ships are magnificent to watch coming into harbour, you can almost walk across this bay on anchored yachts. Dodging them with the zodiac to get to the Garden Bay Pub takes skill. We have airplane wheels on our zodiac, this makes us run a little lower in the water and we create a bigger wake then we’d like. It’s slow going but allows for a bit of conversation with the little guys. The Yacht clubs are a “member’s only” situation for moorage or participation. Well when the big boys with the big flags arrive, it’s like watching elephants trying to step through a field of mice and not squash them or worse get their feet dirty.

Consideration for fellow boaters seems to depend on size and anything below the extensive gunnels of the ‘ Royal’ yachters is almost none existent as they motor toward the Seattle yacht club. In their wake the little sailboats truly look like pendulums in clocks as their owners attempt to maintain themselves topside with their barking miniature dogs and sloshing martinis.

Sound carries very well on water, verbal challenges charge across the harbour flying back and forth accompanied by the scrapping sound of metal on fibreglass. With the distraction by these colourful words one Skipper has forgotten that there were only two feet separating him from the boat on his portside, he now has managed to secure that neighbours anchor line as well. The angry voices now arrive in stereo. Ah-h-h life in the densely populated south!

The Captain is not a sports fisherman, he subsistence fishes. Isn’t it amazing how really basic forms of words have changed as the lack of understanding them grows? He fishes to feed us. The price of a small Dungeness crab at Madeira Park is $25. The price per pound for fish of any type is out of this world; this is all incentive to go fishing. I love rockfish and have even before they became a trendy type of food. Rockfish has become trendy because of the lack of salmon, cod or halibut. I once had to process 60 lbs of Hake fillets that I was lucky enough to come across; it’s a beautiful delicate fish.

We spend a lovely day drifting around the small islets in the mouth of Pender Harbour looking for rockfish. A time warp happens, six hours of floating on the ocean drifted by and we have nothing but a suntan to show for our time, it is perfect. But we really did want to catch some fish. We would obviously have to get out of town if we wanted to catch anything of a size for eating.

The timing is right, most people should be gone, we could head for Cortes Island, circumnavigate it and do some exploring in our old haunts around Read Island…it is time to go fishing. In peak summer months your anchorage has to be established by noon in order to find the room to set your hook. Shore tying then becomes necessary so that you do not to swing into your neighbour. It is very crowded, for the free spirit, the guidebooks have listed numerous small-protected coves as anchorages. They state that these beautiful little coves will provide privacy. This is so that you need not listen to your neighbours music or dog barking at EVERY seagull. (No, this is not so cute)

The guide books must have been published prior to fish and shellfish farming, just about ever bay listed has now been partitioned off with nets, floats, logs and very strong “don’t even think about getting close to us “ signs…all fish farms. It’s a segregated area, yachties to their space and the working fishers to theirs. Boat wakes wreck havoc on shellfish farms where mussels and oysters dangle in the salt brine on tenuous lines.

Stories of sport fishers spending a week to get a single salmon are pretty common. They have way more patience then we do. Why oh why do we allow commercial fishing in the mouths of spawning creeks and rivers people? If they can’t go home to make babies there will be NO fish. And where is the crab? The Captain truly is the crab slayer and all summer had only produced a few small rock crabs that still needed to grow up. They were sent home to the deep to develop some bulk. We want to head into less populated areas where there still might be some fish and crab left.

Audrey leaves the dock at Pender Harbour and we head up Malaspina Straight towards Powell River, Texada Island is on our Portside. It’s slightly breezy, but still hot enough to get sunburnt on the flying bridge. Just past Powell River and before Savoury Island I notice something strange in the water. The Captain slows us down for a better look.

Curioser and curioser, there is a seal in the water with a 15 lb salmon in it’s mouth. On each side of him are two seagulls both determined to steal his dinner. This seal is not concerned in the least; he is more interested in watching us motor past. The gulls are playing tug of war with the salmon and he just keeps on watching us. Slowly, and seemingly without breaking the water he sinks out of sight, with his fish. It’s a sign. We continue up past Lund and drop anchor in the Copeland Islands. Tomorrow we head for Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.

The distances here are deceptive; everything is way closer than in the north. The next morning it only takes us an hour to arrive at Squirrel Cove. The floating bakery is closed for the season and there are two other boats already anchored here. With most anchorages in the south you need to have holding tanks for sewage, a very good idea as I can only imagine what kind of sludge there would be in these low flushing inlets with the populations that visit here.

There is an oyster farm in here as well, regardless of the holding tank rule we decide not to buy their oysters. The two little sailboats don’t look big enough to hold their crew, never mind a holding tank. Regardless, the water is crystal clear with starfish waving their arms at the oysters.

The moon is full and the stars are low enough to touch. Small lights twinkle off in the distance onboard the sailboats. We slip into our floating hot tub. The hot salt water closes over the aches of the day. A long line gets attached to the tub and we shove off into the soft darkness. Laying back watching the satellites and falling stars in the quiet black night drifting softly with the tide, if you reach up with your hand I’m sure you can tip the big dipper and get a drink, wouldn’t it be nice if it was tequila…. we are afloat under the stars. (The water in the tub is really, really warm!)

This is magic 1; the next storey is magic 2.