Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Horizon Unbound Sailing Ship and Dr. Phillip Ney

Dr. Phillip Ney is a Canadian Christian Psychiatrist. He taught psychiatry at University of British Columbia and in Hong Kong. Having been in the Navy in his youth,  he fell in love with sailing.  A father, and husband, he loves children and young people.  With the patience of a saint, he loves to teach them sailing and introduce them to the elements, the merits of a boat, and navigation by land and sea.  As a Christian, he follows in the steps of St. Peter and the first disciples of Jesus.  There are so many metaphors and so much to learn of the Holy Bible that is best learned at sea.  No surprise, mariners commonly say, “if you haven’t got religion, then you haven’t been to sea."
Horizon Unbound is Dr. Ney’s second ’teaching tool’.  Mount Joy College is his mountaintop retreat where he conducts courses in Hope Alive.  Dr. Ney believes fervently that the message of the Holy Bible is life.  Its a story of creation.  As a scientific researcher he has been a prophet in  the wilderness showing in study after study that abortion not only kills a child but it destroys the spirit, causing psychiatric and physical illness in the mother.  He teaches groups to help abortion survivals.    Having children is healthy and saves mothers the risks of cancers and early death.  Wheras Hope Alive focuses on therapy to prevent abortion and heal from abortion for all involved, Horizon Unbound has been principally a tool to help families.  The Bible is also a celebration of family.
On Horizon Unbound, Dr. Ney has domes cruises with parents and their teens with addiction problems, young people wanting to train as missionaries, families wanting to grow closer in their relationships with each other and with God.  This trip which I was blessed to participate in was a mixture of all of the above but mostly a training sail and a search for the best anchorages where children could play ashore safely.  Horizon Unbound has circumnavigated Vancouver Island with its Christian crew but this trip was an exploration of the Strait of Georgia with excursion up to the reaches of Desolation Sound.
Having sailed from Vancouver in my 40 foot sailboat, SV GIRI, I joined up with them in Genoa Bay, Cowichan.  Dr. Ney’s wife, Anna Marie had provisioned his boat.  I was certainly glad to be invited aboard for dinner and fellowship.   Ken, the resident psychologist was a masterful cook serving up New York chicken for a most appreciative crew.  The conversations that night were inspiring.
The next day we motored up to Nanaimo passing through the exciting race at Dodd’s Narrows.  That morning was glorious.  Departing at dawn we watched the sun rise and golden light spill across the placid seas.  In the channel porpoises played as the Horison Unbound passed through lifting fog.  I loved taking pictures  of this beautiful ship following in the wake of Salish canoes and the wooden sailing ships of English, Russian and Americans yore.
By the time we passed the Crofton Mills the sun was high up in the sky. A truly beautiful day so typical of all of July and August in the Strait of Georgia.
At Nanaimo Dr. Ney had to release his galley slave cook ,stopping at the wharf for him to jump off to return to the land lubber duties of an esteemed psychologist. I anchored while this was transpiring catching up later when the Horizon Unbound passed heading up the Newcastle Channel.
Leaving Vancouver Island we passed the five finger islands where Dr. Ney fished as a boy.  Facing into the wind, 20 knots with white caps spraying off the tops of waves , we each raised our sails in our perspective ships.  The Horizon Unbound is truly beautiful ship reminiscent of the famous Maritime clipper ships with all her glorious sails up. She has three masts and four sails.  I said to Dr. Ney she was definitely a ‘trinitarian’.  My cutter rigged sloop by contrast has a single mast.
It was a grand sail, close hauled, a perfect wind, all the way across the Strait of Georgia to the Merry Island Lighthouse.  Dr. Ney’s boat, some 60 tons compared to my 13.5 ton boat, sleeps 23 compared to my boat which sleeps only 6.  The waterline on his boat is that much longer and that is what defines the maximum speed of a sailboat.  So naturally despite my best efforts they pulled way ahead of me and were already anchored when I arrived at Thormanby Island.
In the bay we rafted boats and then took the dogs in their colourful life jackets ashore.  Not only the dogs but some of his crewleaped into the warm surf.  This is a terrific beach and we had it all to ourselves.  The dogs loved that.  Gilbert thinks the world of Star and Bosun, the big friends he’s visited at Mount Joy and was so glad to have as companions here.  Watching Bosun and Gilbert chasing sticks was an exercise in itself.
While the young frolicked, Dr. Ney spoke with us less frolicsome souls about the message of the Bible for difficult times.  The night before on the deck of the Horizon Bound a half dozen of us, carpenters, accountants, doctors and students had talked about God’s word for the world.  I often think listening to Dr. Ney is a bit like it must have been listening to Paul or perhaps Isaiah.
Of course the story of Jonah, the whale and Ninevah is not only a missionary evangelical story but it is a story of the sea like so many Biblical Stories. Where better to hear these stories than on board a ship or sitting on a log on the beach watching young people and dogs play as the sun sets in the west.
Whereas I just lift Gilbert into the boat, all 17 pounds of him, getting Star and Bosun into the dinghy is a matter of winches and harnesses.  The dogs knowing they’re going ashore tolerate this impunity.
More meals and prayer.  Then a night on deck looking into the skies at the stars.  Each of us tried to remember constellations and pointed them out.  Dr. Ney knew the names of individual stars and pointed out their relevance to navigation. Despite studying celestial navigation years ago I found I had forgotten so much being here with the master.  As he taught it, discussing angles and geometry, I understood how the ancients followed latitudes.  The Big Dipper and Polarus are such important stars to navigation.  Navigating life depends so much on the stars we choose. We talked of "true north" that night, how to find it, and how Polarus,the north star,  so bright in the night, was still off that  one degree from "true north".  That error could mean a 60 mile error in navigation.  The Bible is all about truth.
The next day we were up again at dawn.  Dr. Ney towed me along to the opening of the channel, just for the fun of it.  He’d told me that fishing boats sometimes rafted three abreast in these waters and let one captain drive them all while the other two captains slept as they journeyed to the fishing waters of the Charlottes and Alaska.  Here I was now, being towed in such a way.  Seeing is believing.
With that we departed. The Horizon Unbound was going north onto its next anchorage where a short hike leads to a lake where everyone could swim in fresh water.
I headed south to Vancouver back to work in the city.
Dr. Ney hopes to have another Horizon Unbound trip in the fall depending on interest.   I hope to join them again next summer again.  I joke, saying he’s only a Captain with one ship, but when I bring my sailboat along he  now has a 'fleet'. With that he can be an Admiral.
I think he's just happy when he can be in God's service.  Horizon Unbound, Hope Alive and Mount Joy College are all for God's service.
Thank you Jesus.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good friend, colleague, brother in Christ, Bill is almost as good a photographer as he is writer, sailor and psychiatrist. He is wise as well as well informed scientifically. Moreover he is not ashamed to be different and to scold his colleagues for their bias and self- perpetuating ignorance regarding the damaging effects of abortion on the health of mother, father and surviving children. May God continue to make you courageous and bold in defense of the most defenseless, the preborn child.