Coast Mountain (Finally) Names the New Boat!

Our very first boat was wood. She was small, with a sturdy lap-strake hull, a tiny cabin and a 10 hp Briggs and Stratton inboard motor. I’m not sure why we named her “Puffer” – maybe because the engine sent up little billows of white? She was an experienced sailor, a perfect little vessel for our first ocean adventures, with stability and very (very!) slow speed that made most of our mistakes less dangerous. She also taught us patience and a whole lot about “island time”.

We’ve had other boats since – there was the “red boat”, and a “herring skiff”, and an aluminum “tinny”; for some reason they never got more name than that. And the kayaks are generally just called by make and model or colour (although there are few favourites with silly nicknames). But when we got our welded aluminum cabin boat, we had to find a name. It was not long after the local logger had got a brand new boat, and while ours was smaller and only new to us, the shape was similar. This was earlier in BC’s unrelenting “war on the woods” and he named his boat the Clearcutter. Our response was easy: Vive Silva – that’s Latin, meaning “Life to the trees!”

In the early ’90 we got our first big boat. Albert already wrote about that steel vessel in a blog post – it is a strong-sensible-dependable (and hear-me-loud) kind of boat. Also steady and powerful. Naming this forceful presence Chico Mendes was tribute to our hero, the Brazilian rubber tapper and community organizer who was murdered in 1988 for defending forests where he lived. For many years, it’s been an honour to share Chico Mendes’ story and his memory with our Coast Mountain guests.

We got a new boat in 2017. Brand new, made just for us, and it is shiny and lovely. And fast. But what name could be as special as Chico Mendes? Those are big boots to fill. We thought about Chico Grande, but that was just silly and we wanted something that shared a real message. It got stressful when we just couldn’t come up with a name we all liked. We tried and tried, and we quit trying. Then one day it came, by good chance as sometimes happens, and we love this name: Soliphilia.

Soliphilia is a new word, part of a language for “home” that is emerging in the 21st century. It describes the “political affiliation or solidarity needed between us all to be responsible for a place, a bioregion, the planet – and the unity of interrelated interests within.”
Soliphilia has its origins in the French solidaire (interdependent) and the Latin solidus (solid or whole) and the love of one’s fellow citizens and neighbours implied by the Greek (philia). A sustainability professor named Glenn Albrecht, coined the word in 2003 to describe a psychological interconnection with a place or bio-region that ignites feelings of love and a personal responsibility to care for it. (Soliphilia was created as an antidote to Solastalgia, which is Albrecht’s word for the distress felt when the environment you call home changes unrecognizably for reasons beyond your immediate control.)

Soliphilia introduces the notion of political commitment to the saving of loved home environments at all scales, from the local to the global. Soliphilia goes beyond left-right politics and provides a universal motivation to achieve sustainability.
We’re on board with that. Here’s to Soliphilia!

Written by: Lannie Keller