Escaping the Pocket

It took me over a month to get out of the God’s Pocket.

The resort is a small cluster of colourful buildings nestled in a narrow bay on Hurst Island, about a half hour boat ride out of Port Hardy BC. The owners, Bill and Annie, have spent the last two decades running dive trips here in one of the harshest environments in the industry. The long summer days of blue sky and warm gentle breezes don’t last long before being exceeded by the tempestuous dark days of autumn. And yet, the Pocket always feels like paradise.

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They keep a small crew who shares the responsibilities of running the self sufficient remote resort. I joined the team at the beginning of September for a month of work when they were left a person short. Maybe it was the muppety puppy dog that was bouncing around the deck at my arrival, maybe it was the perfectly cooked steak we had for dinner, or maybe it was just the experience of being welcomed aboard by two of the most genuinely kind and embracive people I’ve ever met that made arriving at God’s Pocket feel absolutely right. It was exactly where I needed and wanted to be.

Over the next month we had glorious summer weather. Between cleaning guest rooms and doing dishes we had plenty of time to explore the thickly forested island and dive the peerless nearby reefs. When I say peerless I mean it, there is no where in the world that I have been that even comes close to the experience of diving around Browning Pass. The bio-density, the colour and the marine life is unmatchable. Okay I know I’m gushing. I’m not usually the mushy type but really, this place is amazing. So amazing in fact, that I couldn’t leave when my month was up!

 

Being a typical millennial with no idea what to do with my life-or rather, lots of ideas and no idea how to start- I had no where to go at the end of the month. They let me stay and hang out for a bit longer until a bit longer turned into the whole month of October. Russel and Sheryl, the resident crow parents, were doing a really good job raising their three babies and I thought if I hung out long enough they might adopt me too or at least give me some wise parental advice. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just loafing about taking advantage of 3 square meals and a cozy bed, I was still cleaning guest rooms and doing dishes while trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life. Throughout October the weather became continuously worse and and the days continuously shorter.

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Annie is a mother and has mastered the art of the Inspirational Mom Lecture. Occasionally she would treat me and the other wayward crew to one of those speeches that would always culminate with a “Just fucking do it!” kind of message. She’s not one of those people that is full of enthusiastic advice without the action to back it up though, she’s super badass.

On a stormy day near the end of the season one of the kayaks blew off the dock and was drifting out into the channel. I donned my rain jacket and some plastic pants and went down to the skiff intending to go rescue the escaped kayak. As I stood there in the little tin boat still tied to the dock, staring out at the violent waves crashing across the channel, a gust of wind thrashed the little boat against the dock almost knocking me off my feet. “Nope.” was my thought on the idea of going out there alone. A moment later Annie appeared on the dock in her rain gear and said, “Do you want me to drive?”

The wave of relief that washed over me in that moment was soon overtaken by a flood of exhilaration as we untied and steamed out of the bay into the channel. Getting to the kayak was easy enough as we were traveling with the wind. Wrestling the flooded boat into the skiff while both vessels were being tossed around like toys was more of a challenge but getting back to the bay was the real adventure. The frigid rain pelted our faces with a torrent of stinging needles. The 57 knot gusts picked us up by the bow and threw us sideways. I turned around to look at Annie gripping the outboard tiller and fiercely steering us into the wind and she asked, “are you okay?” I must have nodded or replied, I don’t remember, I just remember us looking at each other and laughing.

Some people might think that was really stupid of us going out there in the storm to fetch a kayak but I didn’t feel stupid at all. I knew when I was standing in the skiff at the dock that there was no way I could manage that boat through that storm myself and it would have been idiotic to even attempt it. Annie on the other hand has nearly 20 years of experience on these waters and the confidence to just fucking do it, so she did! For me it was a lesson in how important it is to know you’re own potential and actually use it. Sure there’s lots of things I could do, but how many of things do I actually go an do? Instead of overthinking it–just do it! No matter how many mom lectures you get there’s nothing like a real life adventure to teach you a lesson.

A couple days later it was finally time to leave. At the end of September I wasn’t ready to go, 3 weeks later when I thought I should move on I wasn’t really ready either. I’ve never before had the experience where I was forced to leave a job. I don’t mean getting fired and escorted off the premises, I mean it was just done. As sad as it was to leave I finally felt prepared for it. Ready to rejoin civilization on the big island. I hate traffic, local radio, shopping, fluorescent lights, news, concrete, plastic and the mundanities of every day life. But I guess I just have to deal with it, just gotta fucking do it.

It took me over a month to leave the pocket but I consider myself lucky to have even been there at all and can only hope that one day I’ll be lucky enough to go back.

 

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