Georgian Bay, ON - Ray Davis
Interviewer: Can you tell me your name?
Ray: My name is Ray Davis.
Interviewer: And where are you from?
Ray: I’m from London Ontario.
Interviewer: And can you tell me what your position is with McKeil?
Ray: I’m a captain.
Interviewer: And how many years have you been working with McKeil?
Ray: This will be my 4th year now.
Interviewer: Where do you work mostly?
Ray: Ive been primarily on the Great Lakes and also on the east coats. I’ve been to the Arctic with McKeil’s. Lot of water.
Interviewer: Can you tell me what your most powerful memory of water is?
Ray: My most powerful memory of water would be when I was a child my father always had a boat so when I was quite young perhaps as young as 6 years old I was able to take the boat out by myself and my father let me go and go around the lake. And when I came back everything went well and he said “Well son, you can go fishing now by yourself but…” and he laid the ground rules out with respect to life jackets and such. But yes the fact that I could take a boat out by myself at 6 years old was pretty powerful to me. So that was it, id say.
Interviewer: And what lake was that on?
Ray: That was on Georgian Bay. I grew up in Tobermory, Ontario. Right on the water so its always been a part of my life. My father was a sailer, his father was a sailor, his father was a sailor, a fisherman. I was 6 generations in Tobermory before moving to London recently.
Interviewer: Can you tell me why water has been important in your life?
Ray: Its been a part of my life I just feel odd if I’m not on the water, in the water, around the water. Its just always been in my life. I can’t nail down any one instance or why its so important it just is.
Interviewer: Can you tell me where your favourite place to go fishing is?
Ray: My favourite place? I can’t give away any real secrets… I can be general. Northern Georgian Bay.
I grew up on the Bruce Peninsula near the water in a small little community. Back then there was no problem with children running around the community. And so in the morning we would all take off and be running around the town and we’d out till dinner time or whatever. The only place I wasn’t allowed to go was to the beach or near the docks or anything until I had taken swimming lessons. After that I was good to go. So we had the whole run of the place so I was always swimming, boating, everything on water.
Interviewer: Can you tell me when you learned how to swim?
Ray: I learned to swim when I was 4. We learned at Lion’s Head. Initially my father tied a line around me and threw me in the water. But then I took swimming lessons. And we were around the harbour all the time swimming and sometimes even we would drive the bicycles in the harbour off the dock unbeknownst to my parents.
Interviewer: so you learned to swim in fresh water.
Ray: Oh yea definitely, I swim better in salt water, its a little more buoyant.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you want to tell us about your connection to water?
Ray: Again its just part of my life. It has been from - well I would say from birth. Its always been a major part of my life. I can’t say one instance or why its just is.
Interviewer: Can you tell me why you think its important to protect?
Ray: Oh definitely, our natural resources are the most valuable thing that we have on the planet and water itself aside from being a means of enabling companies like McKeil to run their boats we have many marine mammals and fish and the water being clean is nice. I can remember actually drinking water out of Georgian Bay, straight from the bay. The cleanest nicest water I’ve ever seen is where I grew up.