It’s our last morning on The Island. I’m enjoying a relaxing breakfast when I’m interrupted by a noise like a swarm of bees that has just found an open can of sports drink. Nanette and Kirsty have commenced the mystic ritual called “Klee Ning”. Dusters are flying, dishes are diving (into the sink) and anything that’s not nailed down is leaping into order. “What on earth are you two up to?” “We’re cleaning the house before we leave.” “But, isn’t there a lady who does that after each family leaves?” “Of course! We don’t want the place to be untidy when she comes.” Ok, let’s just add that to the long list of feminine mysteries I will never quite understand.
In no time, the place is sparkling and our assorted cases and bags are stacked in every available space in the Dodge. We’ve still got some time to kill so we decide to hit the road back to Nanaimo and maybe check out the local shopping mall. Oh shucks, it’s Sunday morning and the mall doesn’t open until 11:00am. David and I feign disappointment, and suggest we just go to the nearby ferry terminal. Bad move. We forgot there’s a market at the terminal – and it’s open.
An eternity later, we’re on the boat watching the Nanaimo docks slide away astern. The nautical equivalent of the airline safety routine comes garbled from the speakers. I note that most of the passengers are too focussed on getting to the front of the food line at the cafeteria to listen to the announcement that this ferry carries three lifeboats and twelve lifejackets for the eight hundred passengers. The crew don’t seem worried by this, but then of course, they just happen to be the only ones who know where those lifejackets are stored! Thoughts of icebergs, tsunamis and that big line of heavily laden semi-trailer petrol tankers on deck two start to surface unbidden. OK, find a distraction. Let’s go to see if we can spot some orcas.
Against all odds, the trip is uneventful – no icebergs, no tsunamis, and no frenzied attacks by pods of starving killer whales. The cafeteria was well stocked with coffee and snack food, so our fellow passengers are all feeling good when the ferry opens its mouth and spews a stream of vehicles onto the road at the Horseshoe Bay terminal. There’s a sort of organised chaos as cars, trucks and buses all negotiate the maze of ramps and lanes back to the highway, and then it’s just open road in front of us. The afternoon is still young. I ask innocently “do we have any plans for the rest of the day?” “Of course. It’s work tomorrow, so we have to do the washing and clean the house.”