Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Fancylady and I had a belting time at the island last weekend. It took us a while to get moving after we got off the ferry though. My late Grandad’s Volare, our means of transport from the ferry to our place at Bennett Bay, gave us some grief. It usually starts after a couple tries, but the battery had gone seriously flaccid. With darkness closing in, the brave belter snagged the last-remaining ferry terminal employee, who kindly drove her pickup over and tried to give us a jump start. That didn’t work, so we called the island cab. We only got their answering machine. After leaving a couple messages with them, I tried the car one last time. I guess a charge had settled into the battery or the engine unflooded itself, because it finally started up (and ran fine for the rest of the weekend).

Good old Volare. It may be the sketchiest roadworthy car on the island, and looks especially rad parked by the minivans, Mercedes SUVs and F150s at the Miner’s Bay Saturday market. I’ll miss it when it finally gives up. When that day comes, instead of having it towed off the island, we should do something useful with it. Maybe we could seal up the interior, cut a pipe hole in the side, and bury it in the backyard as a spare septic tank. I think Grandad would approve of that kind of thrift.

So, the first night was pretty action packed. After we dumped our stuff at the house we went down to the water. The stars were out. We watched a meteor shower for a while until some kind of weird hellcat creature ran out and spooked us. (Probably a river otter, my dad says.)

I had the first encounter with a huge black spider. There’s always one when you first arrive, usually in the sink or some other source of dripping water. This time he was hiding under the rim of the bog, so once I’d got over the initial shock (he’d been that close to the old fella), it was a simple matter to flush the bastard.

We took the canoe out on Saturday. Bennett Bay is quite lake-like, so it’s good for a non-boater like me. As long as you stay away from the tidal currents that run between the main shore and the small islands at each end of the bay, it’s fine. The big challenge with the canoe is getting it down to and back up from the water. It’s damn heavy, and the handholds fore and aft threaten to slice your fingers off. It’s a two-person canoe in the water, and a six-person canoe when you gotta get it up the hill.

We hiked up Mt. Parke on Sunday. The weather was pretty blustery, and at the ridge on the top, the hawks and eagles were swooping above and below us. Looked like fun. There’s a nice view of Saturna, Pender, and points beyond. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail up the hill, which was good. I hate having to say “hi” to strangers going the other way. I guess it’s the hiker’s code, but you know…I don’t like strangers. On the way back we played tourist info service for a large group who were wondering whether they should keep going to the top. We promised they’d see some birds of prey and left them to it.

Monday was cleanup day, but we also made time for a walk out to the point and a quick trip into Miner’s Bay for gas at the station that may or may not be self-serve. We packed up and drove to Village Bay, where we bumped into the lady who gave us the eventual jump start on Friday night. “All through with your car adventures?” she asked as the belter bought our tickets home. Yeah, we were. Wouldn’t mind staying for a few more, though.

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