Carol ships criss-cross in Salish Sea

The traditional Christmas carol I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In was playing in my mind’s jukebox.

To the Editor,

The traditional Christmas carol I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In was playing in my mind’s jukebox, as I lifted weather-worn binoculars to my jaundiced eyes to scan the Salish Sea off Vancouver Island.

Heading out from the Kinder Morgan terminal in Vancouver Harbour was a Liberal-red double-hulled tanker with three tethered tugs, and with two pilots on board. Everything seemed shipshape and Bristol fashion for the young guy with the flowing mane on the bridge, but there had been more swash than buckle during his first year in command.

A large Tory-blue container ship was also outward-bound; this time there was a ruby-lipped relief captain at the helm. She appears pretty competent and confident, but at least 14 of her motley crew are vying to take over command. Most of them appear to be all at sea, up the proverbial creek without a paddle, if truth be told.

Coming out of the mist was an NDP-orange bulk carrier inbound. The bearded captain had been highly regarded until recently, but following some dubious course changes in 2015 his popularity waned, and his scurvy crew mutinied. Now he’s simply counting the days until somebody else takes over; nobody seems eager to take up the mantle – all keen to talk the talk, but not so keen to walk the walk.

Suddenly there’s a persistent noise coming from a small green sailboat going around and around in circles in the shipping lanes, and creating a hazard to navigation. I mistook the noise for a ship’s parrot squawking so loudly, but instead it was the single-handed sailor aboard filling her tattered sails with hot air. She knows so little about safe shipping practices, that it would be a relief for all concerned if she were to simply relinquish command.

Just about to put away my binoculars, when a huge grey battleship loomed menacingly across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was the USS Celebrity Apprentice with its admiral sending out tweets while seated on his bathroom throne. That may seem quite ridiculous now, but possibly less amusing after inauguration day in January.

Feliz Navidad to all in your newsroom, and to all your readers.

Bernie SmithParksville