Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The city gets itself a pulp mill site, recognition for success on the open seas, fighting to reverse a government decision and opening day gets closer for the City's Green gym, some of the items of the Tuesday news cycle...

LOCAL TEACHER AND SAILOR HONOURED IN SAILING MAGAZINE-- A local teacher and sailing enthusiast is among twelve nominees for the Seafaring Person of the year, moving from the land locked life of the Okanagan to wide open seas of the North coast (Daily News Archive story)

The North Coast Transition House will host a rally on Sunday to increase awareness in the staggering number of Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing. The Sunday rally gets underway at 1 pm at the Museum of Northern BC (Daily News Archive story )

The North Coast's MLA has continued his quest to reverse plans of the Federal government to de-staff the lighthouses of the North Coast. The latest steps towards that goal were outlined in the Tuesday edition (Daily News Archive story here when posted)

The Sports section features a review of the recent trip to Prince George by the Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby club.

Northern View, web extra
City of Prince Rupert now owns a pulp mill-- Once again the weekly paper is the first of the main regional media operations to report the details on the handing over of the pulp mill to the City of Prince Rupert. Their Tuesday afternoon article includes the surprising revelation that Sun Wave will continue to own some aspects of the Watson Island property, leaving the City to take care of those areas it no longer wishes to be involved with (see article here)

CFTK Television News
Time to get active-- CFTK provides an update on the status of the City of Prince Rupert's outdoor gym project, which is still on track for opening in the second week of October (see article here)

CBC Radio North, Daybreak North
Under the Gun-- The weekend police involved shooting of Rodney Shane Jackson near Hazelton is examined in a radio report (listen to the report here)

Front page, headline story
Local teacher and sailor honoured in sailing magazine
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Elementary school teacher Mae Jong-Bowles is a force to be reckoned with.

While she's probably less than five feet tall, she looms large in her endeavours, the most recent being learning to sail.

In this month's cruising magazine, Latitudes and Attitudes Seafaring, Jong-Bowles is featured as Seafaring Person of the Year. Twelve nominees were sought and Jong-Bowles's husband Marty nominated her.

Last week in the legislature MLA Gary Coons shared her story. "Today I would like to share a motivational story about a constituent of mine from Prince Rupert, a teacher, a good friend and a magnificent sailor," Coons said.

Jong-Bowles grew up in the Okanagan valley near the West Bank area. Her dad drove a tractor and seldom drove the family car into town.

"I remember getting saved from drowning a few times. Once my sister pulled me out of a swimming pool and another time a friend pulled me out of a lake," Jong-Bowles recalled.

So, when her husband decided they should buy a sailboat so they could sail the world, Jong-Bowles said she reacted hesitatingly.

"I said "uh… yah" because it wasn't in my comfort zone."

She began taking adult swimming lessons, but said it took a long time to learn how to swim. In the last few years, she has been swimming about four times a week.

In December 2007 the couple bought Wild Abandon and sailed her home the following summer from Victoria to Prince Rupert.

"We were 28 days at sea and spent much of the time on the southern part of the coast because we knew we wouldn't be back again for a long time."

On that trip, Jong-Bowles learned how to navigate and use a GPS to plot the boat's position on the chart.

"I had to calculate the deviation from magnetic north, based on the charts to give us our course to avoid natural hazards and to find a safe route," Jong-Bowles said.

Chuckling she related one time when she gave Marty a position and he said, "Do you want us to go back the way we came?"

It turned out Jong-Bowles had the chart facing the wrong way.

Another time, because their boat's navigational table faces backwards, when she calculated the deviation, she added rather than subtracting and that would have taken them too close to the islands ahead.

Her husband would have the deviations, but realized that Jong-Bowles needed to tackle them because she needed to be able to see and know where they were going for her to stay in her comfort zone.

Part of that comfort level has also been the challenge to get over seasickness.

"You stand on the deck and you feel seasick or you stand below and you feel seasick. The Pacific swells can be great. Jennifer, our daughter, were doing charting below and while we're feeling seasick, Marty's up above thinking it's a great day because he's been out in big seas."

In June 2008, Jong-Bowles took a week long Herizen Sailing For Women course out of Ladysmith aboard the 44 ft. sailing vessel, Voyageur, sailing around the Gulf Islands.

It was a practical way of obtaining her boat operator's card and her Canadian Yachting Association Basic Sailing Certificate.

"Everything I learned I'd already learned from Marty, but the course added confidence and cemented my knowledge," Jong-Bowles explained.

Praising her husband's patience and willingness to teach her the complexities of sailing, Jong-Bowles said she's learned the importance of listening for directions.

"For anybody who is at the helm it's important to be alert, especially in and outside the Prince Rupert Harbour, because the wind can change," Jong-Bowles said, adding, "You can't change the wind."

A sunny day in Venn Passage near Metlakatla demonstrated that fact fiercely to Jong-Bowles and her daughter. The wind was good and everything was steady and the next thing they knew, something happened that knocked the boat flat.

"The wind had hit us. Later we learned that a wind tunnel or sheet had shot down at us and there was water bubbling all around us. Jennifer did the right thing and turned the wheel hard. Marty gave instructions and we had to move fast to release certain sheets and to get ourselves steady."

Jong-Bowles said she and her husband often submit photographs to magazines and mysteriously they'll show up in others, but when their copy of Latitudes and Attitudes Seafaring arrived last week and she saw she was picked as a nominee she jumped for joy - literally.

"I had tears in my eyes. It was very exciting."

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