25th – 28th July 2016
When Brett and I returned to Salt Spring Island from our trip to Princess Louisa Inlet, we decided to work on bringing Theros up to scratch for off shore sailing next year. One of the big jobs that we had to do was create handrails and a frame for a canopy over the cockpit from stainless steel pipe. These replaced the old stanchions and lifelines, some of which had perished. Stainless steel handrails are a good investment, in order to make the deck safer and the canopy, when made, will provide shade from the sun and some shelter from stormier elements. Brett’s the skilled one at this sort of thing and I help out when I’m needed!
Escaping the gong show
It was hot work down at the dock and Kanaka wharf was getting busier and busier, a real gong show as the locals would say…So after a couple of days of metal work we escaped the melee and sailed off one afternoon towards Winter Cove on Saturna Island. It was a straightforward sail, with sunshine and fair winds for a few short hours. We dropped the hook in a prime spot.
Straight away we felt right at home here. Saturna Island has a different energy to it and I think I like it more than Jedediah, perhaps there are less ghosts…
Taking the plunge!
My husband decided to go for a swim. “The water isn’t that cold. It’s swimming pool temperature, come on in, I’ll come with you”, I plunged into the water and gasped with shock, I thought my heart was going to shut down. “Swimming pool temperature eh?, perhaps in the Arctic but not where I’m from!” I retorted. I do admire those crazy people, who love to swim in open water in any weather. I think I’m a warm water, fair weather swimmer at heart. I suggested to my husband that perhaps we could have honeymooned in the Caribbean instead and Brett replied “But we’re on honeymoon for the rest of our lives!”
Yep, that’s true I suppose, life is what you make it after all and next year we aim to set sail across the Atlantic and spend some time in the Caribbean before we cross over. For now I am content with the beautiful views across the cove, as we watched the sun go down from the bow accompanied with a lovely glass of smooth, red wine.
The kindness of strangers
We love exploring on foot as well as on water, so the next morning we dinghied to shore and began a hike around the island. First, we followed a trail to the point at the far end of Winter Cove, called boat pass and back again with only a solitary heron for company.
Retracing our steps, we headed inland a tad to pick up the asphalt to follow the sign to East Point. It was only supposed to be 10.5 km, easy peasy, or so we thought. That’s kind of the distance I covered between first and second breakfasts on the Camino de Santiago! However, I think the signage was a stretch of the imagination, a bit like the distances mentioned in the Camino guide books, that were somewhat ‘elastic’.
Anyhow, Brett and I enjoyed a leisurely trundle along avenues lined with towering fir trees and every now and then the road passed close enough to the shoreline, where we enjoyed observing the Canada geese. It must have taken us 3 to 4 hours to reach East Point, with Unfortunately, we were not that well prepared really. Running low on water and minus lunch or snacks, energy levels soon dropped. Eventually, the headland came into view in the scorching heat of the day, shimmering like a mirage. Gratefully, we slumped onto some wooden chairs in the shade and looked out over East Point across the ocean. The area is known for whale watching, but sadly, we didn’t spot any orcas today. Nevertheless, the views were spectacular, especially of the natural stone sculptures co-created by wind and waves over eons of time.
Our return walk itself was pleasant enough, mostly under the dappled shade of the trees. We were flagging on the way though, the pounding of our feet on hot asphalt, took its toll. As if by magic, we saw the bright, daisy-covered house plaque ‘Daisy’s , adjacent to which, stood a smaller, nondescript sign beckoning us away from the road to “Park and rest a while”. There in the shade, sat a forlorn wooden bench and next to it a water cooler and two glasses with a label saying “delicious water from our well, please drink”. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland, when she discovered the bottle with the label ‘drink me’ and wondered, for a fleeting moment, whether I was dreaming and Brett and I would shrink to 10 inches high if we followed the instruction. Even more so like Wonderland, when I noticed a modest, battered tin next to the water cooler with the words “please open me” and inside was a hardback journal inviting travellers to share their adventures and some sweets. How thoughtful and kind of the homeowner, who I assumed must be called Daisy! I wrote a few lines in the travel journal about our stay on Saturna. We filled our small, bottle back up with well water and delighted in its refreshment (…no change in our size occurred) and downed couple of sweets each. Ahh the world was a nice place again.
Back on the road we attempted to hitchhike. Four or five cars zoomed by, all full and then a pick up truck stopped. The guy inside asked “Do you like dogs? If you do you can jump in.” Brett sat in the back with the sleepy, German shepherd and I leapt into the passenger seat. I explained we were on our honeymoon. The guy asked when we got married and it turns out he got hitched the week before. His name was Peter and he and his wife love to trek too. What coincidences! We told him about our respective experiences of walking the Camino de Santiago and our forthcoming trip to walk the Camino Portugues this autumn and he shared their plans to walk a section of the Pacific Crest Trail next September.
I have always been humbled by the kindness of strangers (seen and unseen) wherever I have travelled. These two stories served to remind me of that simple truth and that it is always possible to find common ground among hosts and fellow travellers alike. Peter dropped us back at the turning for Winter Cove and went on his merry way. Brett and I hopped into our dinghy and sped across the bay to Lyell Harbour to have a quick look round and grab an ice cream. We ambled for a few paces up the hill behind the harbour and for a second I thought I was dreaming again, when I glimpsed an old double decker bus, parked up in a copse by the side of the road. It was a cafe. Not quite the number 87 bus to Battersea, where Brett and I first met, but it was enough to send us down memory lane, while munching on our ice-creams! On the way back to Theros, we paused by the reef outside the entrance to Winter Cove to look at the seals lazing about on the rocks.
Our final day on Saturna, was a more laid back kind of affair. We went out for a shorter walk to check out a lot for sale on a hillside. We are keeping our eyes open as we travel around in case we happen upon the ideal plot of land for us realise another one of our dreams – to build our own eco-house and co-creative projects (more on that sometime later…) The lot was way to steep and rocky for us and dark because of the dense forest. Never mind. We are in no hurry. The right place will reveal itself at the right time. We pottered back to Winter Cove and ambled out to the point at boat pass, lounged on the rocks in the sunshine (like the harbour seals) and watched the current ebb and flow.
All too soon our Saturna sojourn was over, we hauled anchor and sailed away to Salt Spring Island…but I had a feeling we would return one day.
Peace, love and light,
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