August 1, Ocean Falls, BC: It began to rain three days ago, when we were in Pruth Bay, only a mile or so from the open Pacific. Now we have sailed about forty miles inland, the entire journey in the rain, to Ocean Falls, which turns out to be the wettest place in Canada. It is also a ghost town, still the site of a dam and a hydroelectric plant, but once also of a pulp and paper mill. The population of 5000 has diminished to fewer than 100. Almost all of the buildings on shore are abandoned, including a 400 room hotel, disintegrating in this wet climate.
On this third day of rain, we are experiencing what the locals here call “hardy” rain. It varies from steady to downpour. I walk the mile along a shoreline road to the store, which is in a nearby valley. The road seems incredibly fragile, running along a ledge with cliffs above it, and steep rocks down to the inlet below. Water gushes down the cliffs in temporary falls, making clouds of spray that engulf me. I can see how often the road has been shored up and patched. I am in boots and rain gear, but wet through to the skin, and quite alone in my wet world. And in this world, everything is temporary and fluid and unimportant, disintegrating and dissolving slowly back into the ocean.