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Connecting The Forest To The Sea: How Dead Trees Become Driftwood And Embark On A Journey

Source: Hakai Magazine/Brian Payton - February 12, 2018 in Adventure

Connecting The Forest To The Sea: How Dead Trees Become Driftwood And Embark On A Journey
Photo: Alex Guillaume/Unsplash

Logs the size of telephone poles drift along the shore of the Salish Sea. Erik Hammond turns the wheel of his aluminum skiff and closes in. He grabs his ax and towlines, then leaps atop the floating wood, much as his father did, and his father did before him. With the butt of his ax he drives anchor pegs into the choicest three and ties them to the stern. When he turns his boat, the lines go taut—the logs startle, then come to heel. Satisfied, he unties the lines and tosses them over before circling back to the beach. But the logs sail on, toward his partner, George Moore, who adds them to the growing haul already tied behind his skiff.

Hammond and Moore are beachcombers, or log salvors, based in Gibsons, British Columbia, a small coastal community less than 50 kilometers north of Vancouver. They are practitioners of an occupation once common on the Pacific Northwest coast. Moore, 72, has been chasing logs since he was a kid. Hammond, 41, was still in diapers when he started tagging along with his father.

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