A summer’s day in early July finds my son, newly graduated from high school, awaiting word of acceptance to the University of Alberta and the possessor of a day off from his job cooking in a local restaurant. My son and I travel north from High Level to Hay River, Northwest Territories and the Great Slave Lake. My son needs the practice of driving for his driver’s test. He’s at the wheel. For my son, the challenge is not only the technical aspects of driving; for him, the challenge is also that of overcoming learned travelling behaviour – on long drives sleep has become a means to shorten travel’s distance. The float and glide of our 2000 GMC half ton cushions driving’s dips and rises comfortably along our three-hundred kilometre route northward. My son nearly falls asleep at the wheel and I prompt him to direct his attention to his driving.
The journey takes us to Alexandra falls and onward into Hay River’s Great Slave Lake – both become excellent photo-taking opportunities; my son is quite daring in the photography he attempts looking out from 100 foot cliffs. In Hay River, we encounter the boat within this image dragged more than a kilometre from the Great Slave Lake; its location is at that point in Hay River’s municipal jurisdiction where the industrial area ends and its housing development begins – a somewhat quirky location at first glance. This boat is no more than 500 feet from the nearest Hay River home.
Thinking this image through I’m left with several questions.
Ocean-going vessels that become marine salvage are vessels that are taken to locations in the world where they can be retired, places where the vessel can be scuttled while leaving them accessible to teams of people who are able to dismantle the vessel – cutting it apart and finding new uses for each part that had been component of the formerly floating structure that had been moving through water.
Here, in Hay River, on the world’s largest lake what happens? This boat has been pulled from the water and seemingly kept, but for what reason. Does the former sea-worthy vessel have use for parts or perhaps for training? Or is it, that the ‘what-next’ for the vessel needs a good, reasonable next step or perhaps a next step that generates revenue? And, is the vessel towed so far so that it simply resides on company-owned real estate? Questions …. Nonetheless, a full ocean-going, lake-bound vessel among trees does become an interesting image.
Listening to – Peter Gabriel’s ‘Come Talk to Me,’ ‘Steam,’ ‘Across the River,’ ‘Shaking the Tree’ and ‘Blood of Eden.’
Quote to Inspire – “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey
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