Prince Rupert & Leonard C. West

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 7 May 2015 19:02
Position: 54 19.55 N 130 18.34 W
Alongside Rushbrook Public Floats, Prince Rupert
Wind: Calm
Weather: thin cloud, mild

The breeze remained light but steady for the remainder of yesterday afternoon, and mostly from the west, so we were running before it to get to Prince Rupert. We were abeam Petrel Rock Buoy marking its entrance at 15.20. The tide was still flooding and there was plenty of daylight left so I decided to press on and try to find a berth for the night. We continued sailing while the breeze held but by 16.00 we were in the lee of Digby Island which forms the western side of the harbour, where the wind died and we had to resort to the BRM.

There were three places we could potentially tie up. The first and nearest was Fairview Boat Harbor, but upon investigation it was full of commercial craft and looked highly unsuitable for the likes of Sylph. We pressed on. The next possible spot was Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club. This sounded more encouraging, but when we got there it was also full, and not of sailing yachts but of mostly flash looking power boats. Once again I thought this is the wrong part of town for the likes of us. The last spot further to the north was the Rushbrook Public Boat Harbor. As we approached numerous yacht masts pointing to the skies came into view, like open arms welcoming distant kin. Unfortunately as we entered the small harbour it became clear that is also was completely full. Nonetheless, feeling like this was the place for us, I found a yacht that had fenders secured on its outboard side and which looked relatively easy to come alongside, and tied up to it.

Once secure I went for a walk along the docks to see if the Harbor Master was about, but it was clearly past office hours by this time, especially as I discovered that I had forgotten to advance our clocks to Canada Pacific time, which made it an hour later (this is getting to be a habit). I also found out that of the fingers we could have tied up to the one I had chosen belonged to a private yacht club and transients such as ourselves were not allowed. I searched around for a more suitable berth, but with the tide now starting to ebb, and as the Harbor Master was not about, I decided to stay where we were until the morning when I could consult with the Harbor Master in case she (as it turns out) had a preferred location for us, and also to await slack water.

As I wandered the docks yesterday evening, an elderly gentleman, short of stature, with a short neatly trimmed grey moustache, said hello and invited me on board his house boat for a cup of tea. Thus I met Leonard C. West, businessman and author. Over our cup of tea, Leo (as he likes to be called) told me a bit about himself.

Originally English, a young boy during WW2, he never met his father who was in a sanatorium while he was growing up, so he was brought up by his mother. During the war he met many US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand servicemen, and as a consequence he says that he loves all people. In due course he married and his wife wanted to move to South Africa, but Leo was in the heating business. Clearly South Africa was not a good market for his line of work so they moved to Canada instead. Then his wife died of cancer. He remarried a Canadian lady, who fourteen years ago was in a motor vehicle accident from which she suffered some brain damage and other injuries and he has been caring for her since.

Leo has done reasonably well in property investments, and in selling one five acre lot he accepted a boat as down payment. When he saw the boat it was in a shocking condition, so he tried to back out of the deal, however the woman insisted on him honouring the contract and Leo relinquished. Thus he ended up with the boat, which he spent many years refitting, and now he and his wife, Donna, live aboard. He finds the boat very conducive to writing.

His first published book is called “Big Foot” and is about his encounter with a Sasquatch family on one of his properties. With a wry smile he said that he does not define his works as fact or fiction, his reader can decide. His current work is about him rescuing a sick alien from the US Rockwell secret base and smuggling him in his boat to an island in this part of Canada. (Spoiler alert for what follows, though I suspect my readership is unlikely to be coincident with that of Leo's, but who knows?) Apparently, the alien then goes into space, is made well and returns for Leo. Leo is taken into space where he is removed from his body as it is worn out and would not survive space travel. Meanwhile, it seems the aliens have passed judgement on the human race, we are found wanting, and they are going to eliminate us all. I asked Leo, “And what about all the animals?” This brought a moment's pause to Leo's narration, “I hadn't thought of that,” he admitted. “Are you and animal lover?” and before I could reply, “So am I.” It would seem I have caused some minor problem with Leo's plot but my impression was that by the end of our conversation Leo had decided that as the book was almost finished he would leave others to judge the book's resolution. I am relieved that I have not caused Leo any serious anxieties about his work.

Despite Leo's apparent willingness to consign the human race to oblivion, I found him a genuinely sociable and pleasant man. I enjoyed our conversation and the cup of tea. (While I am sympathetic to the alien's perspective, I think Abraham's question of Yahweh in His contemplation of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah might be relevant. However, I did not raise the matter with Leo as the animals appear to have caused enough of a problem.)

Now it is approaching slack water (you can blame the slack time I had to fill in this morning while waiting for it for much of the above) and I must think about moving Sylph.

All is well.