July 8, 2008
Lots of water crossings.
We’re off tomorrow on an adventure in the northern part of the Salish Sea, to another collection of floating rocks known as British Columbia’s Discovery Islands. Quadra Island, specifically, is our destination, where we’ll meet up with three other couples who live part- or full time in Los Angeles, two of whom also have homes in these northern island latitudes. In the spirit of an ad hoc summer camp for music geeks and the laudable spouses who put up with us, kayaking, canoeing, lounging around, conversations both pithy and considerably less so, good food and an abundance (uh, probably an over-abundance) of decent red wine will fill the next few days. This is the first mini-vacation I’ve taken in quite a long time.
Now, git yer score cards out: from San Juan Island, we’ll need to take a ferry jaunt at dawn in the wrong direction, to the east– to Fidalago Island– to catch a ferry going in the right direction– west, to Vancouver Island– in order to hop on yet a third ferry to Quadra, to the north, after driving up the eastern coast of Vancouver Island for about four hours, the first half hour of which requires driving… south, in order to go… north. On our return in a few days, I’ll stop off at Saltspring Island (south of Quadra and north of San Juan) to see more music geek pals– yet another ferry, east and then west again!– while Charles drives and ferries south to Island Home Base. From Saltspring I can make it by foot, bus and ferry back home on Sunday. Catch all that? Good, because I barely can. I’m dizzy just typing it.
Above is an example of the kind of rhythm that separates those of us who are quite happy living on a remote, bridge-less island, from those who would prefer instantaneous proximity to all that mankind has to offer. Ferry and plane schedules are limited and weather-dependent, requiring a good dose of back-timing and a larger one of patience. There are relatively few flights and boats per day. There’s often a day or two in winter when one simply can’t get off the island due to inclement conditions (unless you are voted off, in which case, into the drink ya go, deservedly). And conversely, there are days in the summer when it seems as though everyone is either getting off of, or getting on to these islands, and the wait time in the ferry line is several intrepid hours. Most of all, the concept of having to use highly circuitous routes that take the better part of an entire day, in order to traverse distances one might span in a car on the mainland in an hour or two, is a tad absurd at first. But it quickly becomes second nature, and only when I describe to visiting friends how to get here, am I reminded just how tricky getting here sometimes is.
I’m guessing that the powers that be are laughing, since they clearly planned it this way to keep out the riff raff. Well, despite their best efforts, I snuck through anyway, and I’m just so glad that I did. And, I am very thankful that there is no bridge, and with luck, never will be. Sometimes extraordinary beauty and peace should be earned. Besides, it’s hard to think of any of this as being inconvenient when the view from the ferries are the images you see here!