Unloading Cargo

A house along the coastline has a unique quality. It is only there that the neighbourhood changes on an ongoing basis. Any other view stays constant, but on the coast, the sight transforms with new neighbours coming and going all the time. If you are fortunate enough to live near a port, a small one, not a huge, stinking, blackened destination, you can enjoy the visual entertainment of visitors from around the world.

I thought about this when transiting the Panama Canal. We counted all the ships at anchor from around the world. That view contained a geography lesson. There was also a chance to understand global commerce as ships with cargos of all sorts, some identified, others without content markings, queued to pass through. The people who lived along that shore had a new parade every day.

From St. John’s Harbour to Buenos Aires, I have enjoyed the many colours and shapes of crafts, their hulls carrying names in many languages or flags in the most unusual colours. I think about those coastal people looking out their living room windows, binoculars in hand, identifying old favourites or puzzling over new arrivals in their ports. With access to the web, these coastal inhabitants could discover so much about those visitors from afar. The fun would be unending.

I have been fortunate enough to live on the north Cornish coast at Padstow for a week. Our flat, above a shop, was only fifteen feet from the harbour, and through French doors, we could watch the ever changing scenery of mostly small pleasure crafts exchanging moorings like square dancers trading positions. I like my neighbourhood at home. I really do, but wouldn’t it be fun if #71 could change places with #73 or #75?