Qualicum Beach, Canada
We are off to Vancouver Island, or just “the island” in local-speak, today. The plan is simple. We just have to grab a few groceries and then be at the ferry in time for an easy 12:50pm departure. So, why am I up and dressed at 5:00am?
Well, I offered to drive Murray and Jenny to the skytrain didn’t I? They have to be at the Rocky Mountaineer station downtown by 7:00, and we’re a little unsure how long it will take them to get there from the local station in Surrey (hmmm – I seem to remember the maroon team recommending a dry run yesterday, but …) There were lots of good intentions last night regarding saying early morning goodbyes to our companions but, well, you know, it is 5:00am after all. David and I therefore represent our respective families and not only go to the station, but stand on the platform waving our hankies as Murray and Jenny are whisked off down the line with their accumulation of baggage and a load of bemused early morning commuters.
OK, so far so good. When our radiant wives arise we’ll get those last couple of household chores done, grab those groceries, and it’s off to the boat. ….We now fast forward a couple of hours. Wives have risen, jobs are done, groceries are bought and the car is loaded with four big people, one little person, and innumerable bags. We’re off! As we drive out of the garage, I just happen to ask the fatal question. “Which terminal does this ferry leave from?” What do you mean – Horseshoe Bay? That’s the one that’s located far, far away isn’t it? Oops! We realise that we just may not have left quite enough time. David and I tactfully refrain from making statements like “you do realise of course that we were both up at 5:00am?”
We manage to set a new record for the Surrey to Horseshoe Bay endurance race and come to a screeching halt at the ticket booth – five minutes after boarding closes. Oh well, it looks like we have time for a relaxing lunch, and, we will be the very first car on the 2:30pm ferry!
The ferry ride is really pleasant. The water is like a millpond and the ferry isn’t very full. We kick back and amuse ourselves trying to spot wildlife. “There’s a seal!” No, it’s a log. “Is that an orca?” No, just another log. At last we dock and it’s time for the short drive from Nanaimo to our holiday house at Qualicum Beach. Nanette and Kirsty selected the place from an internet site some months ago, and neither of them is really sure what it looks like. “I’m pretty sure it’s the one that looks out over the water.” Pretty sure? We only have an address to go by, and some brief instructions on how to find the door key when we arrive.
Kirsty programs the trusty GPS and we head up the highway with fingers and toes crossed. We reach the right street. So far, so good. That must be the house. It doesn’t look much so far, but we’ll reserve judgement. Then, one by one we step through the door. And, one by one we all stop in our tracks. The entry leads straight into an open plan area with one of the most spectacular water views we have every seen. The 5:00am start is forgotten. The missed ferry is forgotten. This is going to be a good week.