Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hitchhiking 101

Isaac read through the sailing guide for Desolation Sound and decided that he really wanted to go to Manson's Landing because it had an organic food co-op and a bookstore, so after Jason snorkeled in the freezing cold water (with much gasping from him and giggles from us) to check the hull for log damage, we headed out. Once there, we got our first set of lessons in deep water anchoring. Lesson  number one: it is harder to anchor in deep water. Lesson number two: you need a lot of chain to get the anchor to catch. Lesson number three: the chain is really heavy when hanging straight down. Lesson number four: I get really tired when I have to raise 200 feet of chain four times. After an hour of anchoring and re-anchoring, we finally met with success and  headed into shore to look for the bookstore, passing signs for a local Harvestfest along the way, only to find the store closed on account of Harvestfest. Luckily, the food co-op was still open so we went in and bought treats to help us make it back to the boat since it was already past dinner time. As we we paid, the cashier asked if we were going to Harvestfest. We weren't sure,  so she tried to convince us that we could just hitchhike to get there. Apparently, like in some horror movies, this is the preferred means of transportation for many people in Cortes Island, population 1,000. As we walked back to the boat, we were all thinking that an old fashioned country gathering with food harvested from a local, cooperative organic farm complete with live music sounded just too good to pass up. Too bad it was too far to walk. Just then, someone stopped and asked if we needed a ride. We asked if he was going to Harvestfest. Funny thing, he lives right next door to the farm, hop on in. Cue creepy music? We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and hopped in (don't do this in the U.S. boys). This was our very first time hitchhiking. Our driver's name was Danny. He was incredibly nice as he answered our questions with his cool BC accent (accents this far north sound a wee bit Scottish). When we asked if we should worry about finding a ride back, he said that we wouldn't have a problem at all and if we did, we should just knock on his door and he would drive us back. Wow. At Harvestfest we settled down to a big picnic table with plates of warm piroghies and veggie chili surrounded by locals curious about the strangers who had just showed up. Everyone was very nice and we ended up making friends with a woman named Melanie who is an artist and a sailor from Barbados. After we had our fill of apple pie and pumpkin tarts we headed down the road in the dusk hoping we would find a ride. It didn't take long for a truck to stop. We piled in the truck bed and he dumped us a mile or so down the road. Our next ride was the captain of the ferry who insisted on bringing us down to our harbor even though it was out of his way. Along the way he chuckled about his day at work, his first mate, the party they were going to and how he had the best job in the world. He was a very jovial fellow. The community here was so warm and welcoming, it was fun and extremely interesting to get a view into it.

The following day we kayaked into shore and found the lagoon at the bay empty at low tide. I have never seen so many oysters or sand dollars in my life. Huge pools of water were black from layers of sand dollars inhabiting them. The boys spent hours exploring the tidal area, Aaron on foot and Isaac using a combination of foot and kayak, where he got to run the tidal rapids with Jason. We spent the afternoon moving the boat through a narrow channel with petroglyphs on the cliff walls, to Gorge Harbor where we passed through huge clouds of moon jellies. Coincidentally, we bumped into Melanie on the docks since she keeps her boat in Gorge Harbor. We made plans for her bring her family over to meet us later that evening. When they arrived the boys taught their daughter Amber how to play Hearts and she taught them how to play Spoons while we sat and talked with Melanie and Adam. They have had such amazing experiences. It was really fun to hear about them and get to know them better. Some of Adam's stories were terrifying sea adventures that made everything we've done sound tame in comparison. True adventurers those two are. As they departed, they invited us over to coffee at their partly finished houseboat, partly finished second houseboat, and sailboat that are all rafted together in the harbor. The following morning they showed us around their amazing project while the kids built origami boats in preparation for a boat race. Thank you for such wonderful hospitality and memorable experiences. We look forward to seeing you again next year.

Click here for photos.


  1. How nice to meet cool people. For them and for you.


  2. what great pictures. I feel like I am there ... well a little bit there.