Author Archives: Karin Cope

About Karin Cope

Karin Cope lives on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. She is a poet, sailor, photographer, scholar, rural activist, blogger and an Associate Professor at NSCAD University. Her publications include Passionate Collaborations: Learning to Live with Gertrude Stein, a poetry collection entitled What we're doing to stay afloat, and, since 2009, a photo/poetry blog entitled Visible Poetry: Aesthetic Acts in Progress. Over the course of the last decade, with her partner and collaborator Marike Finlay, Cope has sailed to and conducted fieldwork in a number of remote or marginal coastal communities in British Columbia and Mexico. Their joint writings range from activist journalism and travel and policy documents, to an illustrated popular material history of the Lunenburg Foundry entitled Casting a Legend, as well as their ongoing west coast travel blog, West By East.

Sailing into Vancouver

Sailing into a large contemporary city is a wonderful and rather anachronistic thrill. It can also feel a bit daunting, for contemporary urban ports like Vancouver contain all sorts of obstacles, challenges and marine traffic, from kayaks to tankers to float planes, all moving at different speeds and in different directions. Continue reading

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To Alaska and Back I: Getting underway

It was wonderful to be back in the “land of the big trees;” each evening, after our chores, we walked around the docks or wandered the neighbourhood. One night we watched a family of river otters bed down in a pile of dead leaves; another evening we tracked damp racoon prints across sweet smelling cedar boards. The boat houses of Canoe Cove fascinated us–such fancy “boat garages” would be impossible to maintain in Nova Scotia, where each winter, snow and ice would wreak havoc on them. We also liked to peer at the starfish, fans and sea anemones that attached themselves to the pilings; we lived by and on the Atlantic, but everything here was different, brighter, bigger, multiplied. Continue reading

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Back in the shadow of land life

We return to Nanaimo and every other return from every other summer washes over us. The headlong rush from watery wilderness, wind, a certain coolness, the sound of birds crying or calling dumps us into heat, diesel fumes, voices chattering and laughing, sirens, flashing lights, clearly demarcated borders and limits, bridges arches ferries dock, ribbons of highways, the stench of tar, screeching tires, beeping demanding telephones and messages. It’s like crossing a border from a world in which your thoughts and actions count, into one in which you are pure reactiveness. The shift is both painful and exciting. Continue reading

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Thinking about Rural Coastal Communities with the Hakai Beach Institute

2-3 August 2012 Pruth Bay, Fitz Hugh Sound We met our friends, the young kayakers from Juneau again, on a rainy day in the laundromat in Shearwater. They too had stopped here to clean up and reprovision.  Finally, clean sheets, … Continue reading

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Don’t anchor near the outlet of a lagoon and other lessons from Kynoch Inlet

29-31 July, Kynoch Inlet, Fiordland Conservation Area We weighed anchor in Bolin Bay on an ebbing tide and sailed up Sheep Passage, doglegged into Mathieson Narrows, and then into Kynoch Inlet, a true deepwater fjord, where the fog laced steep … Continue reading

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Halibut fishing and whales singing in Bolin Bay

28 July 2012 Where Sheep Passage bends north between Pooley Island and the mainland, steep mountains run down to the sea.  We were aiming for Bolin Bay for the night, a narrow slit between mainland peaks, named, like many of … Continue reading

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Fast Track Back–Fishery Politics in Northern BC

27 July 2012 Klewnuggit Inlet; Butedale Homeward bound.  The low clouds suited our grey mood: we didn’t want to turn back just yet, but the concerns of our land life were calling; we’d been conquered by the calendar.  At least … Continue reading

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In Grenville Channel—and the salmon forest

24-25 July 2012 Grenville Channel: Lowe Inlet Marine Provincial Park and Klewnuggit Inlet Marine Provincial Park Grenville Channel is a straight narrow deep chasm that runs some 45 miles northwest from Wright Sound almost all the way to Prince Rupert, … Continue reading

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Looking for Signs of Kermode Bears—and a Ferry Wreck

24 July 2012 Coughlan Anchorage, near Hartley Bay We bid the Juneau kayakers farewell and left the hot springs of Bishop Bay. We headed north into Ursula Channel, which leads into Devastation Channel—one of two possible routes to Kitimat.  But … Continue reading

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Sharing the Waters in Bishop Bay Hot Springs

23 July 2012 Since we began dreaming about sailing in British Columbia nearly two decades ago, among the most seductive lures were the images you find in cruising guides of sailors basking in hot springs surrounded by primeval cedar forests, … Continue reading

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