Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Fill a Day

This is a rather longer post - a reflection on a day spent away from normal life.

We awake to the sound of water gently slapping the hull. Another boater is passing by, up earlier than we are. Sunlight glares from the window above us since we left the curtain partially open to watch the night stars as we fell asleep.

morning in Annette Inlet

 In the morning the day stretches ahead of us, long, lovely hours. How we will fill them? There's no list of things to do, no errands to run, no schedule to keep. Will we be bored by day's end?

I stretch, dress, and make my way to the cockpit where open sides let me lean over the boat edge. I stare into the water below. It's a moving highway of life. As the tide ebbs, bits and pieces from our snug inlet anchorage drift out into the channel. Tiny translucent moon jellyfish, scarcely an inch in diameter, contract and push to get wherever they need to go. Suspended filaments twist gracefully in the current. What are they? I toy with taking a course or two in marine biology.

Shadows in the water - see how the dead head and its shadow form an arrow? Perhaps it points to secret treasure.
In the compact galley I prepare breakfast - bacon, pancakes, and fresh pineapple. A pot of tea. Maple syrup and butter. We eat in the cockpit with the fresh air blowing across our small table. We talk of this and that and nothing much, the desultory talk of two people long accustomed to breakfasting together. 

I heat water to wash dishes. He dries. "What shall we do?" one or the other says. I decide to go out in the dinghy, exploring. He chooses to stay on the boat and putter. Man plus boat equals intense puttering.

Life above and below the water

Life vest on, I clamber into the dinghy and begin to row away from the boat. He waves. 

Last night when we arrived, the tide was very low, exposing large rocks. The tide is high now, barely ebbing and the rocks are mostly covered. I row over to check them out. Balancing the oars on the dinghy sides, I drift along the barnacled and shell-encrusted rocks. Crabs scurry to safety when my shadow covers them. Schools of tiny fish dart in unison. Long ribbons of kelp and sea lettuce wave gracefully. 

Continuing along the shoreline I startle half a dozen robins from their low hanging branch. They fly off in a hurry and alight not too far away. Deadfalls lean into the water, creating shadows where larger fish hide. If I am still I see them there, waiting. 

After an hour of paddling and watching, I return to the boat. I see that Tim has hung the Canadian flag and it flaps brightly in the wind.

Solitude anchored in James Bay off Prevost Island

We decide to weigh anchor and find a hiking trail. On the same island is a small park. We anchor the boat again, take the dinghy ashore and begin hiking to Peile Point. Our guidebook warns that this is a sheep trail and so we find it. Sheep appear to be more agile than we are, clambering up and down steep rocky inclines. We know that it's a sheep trail for they've left clumps of creamy, soft wool behind. Trail markers, perhaps?

Tim sitting on the rocks below the lighthouse at Peile Point

Hot and sweaty we arrive at the lighthouse point. We sit on the rocks eating apples, nuts and dried fruit and wishing we'd brought our lunch. A seal swims by just to take a look. Reassured, he soon returns to his rocky sunbathing some distance off. A bald eagle soars overhead and alights in a tall tree. White sails dot the ocean. A tidal pool holds a small reddish purple crab, several tiny fish, barnacles and pebbles. On the water-covered rocks below we see starfish, purple and orange, and rows of purple mussels.

Peile Point lighthouse from the water
We return to the boat. Three hours have passed. We're hungry and break out the salami, cheese, bread and crudit├ęs. We decide to go to Montague Harbour for the night. Half an hour to cross Trincomali Channel, another half hour to decide where to anchor. I read a book. He reads a magazine. Often the reading material falls to our laps as we gaze out at the world around us. He takes a nap, then decides to go exploring in the dinghy. I stay aboard to finish my book.

Light filtering through spring green maple leaves

We cook dinner late. He grills a marinated pork tenderloin on the barbecue mounted on the back rail of the boat. I cook asparagus and re-heat some vegetables I'd roasted at home. Coleslaw with a peanut dressing. Red wine. Before the sun sinks away we take the dinghy ashore and walk up the road for 20 minutes or so. Once aboard again I make two mugs of hot chocolate. He eats a couple of cookies and I have a square (or two) of dark chocolate. We talk and watch the light fade. We see the glow from other anchored boats - a neighbourly sight although we know no one. 

Just after 10 pm we crawl into bed. The waves have died down and the boat is still, barely turning on her anchor as we fall asleep. Just one day left.

As the light fades - Annette Inlet
 How will we fill the hours that stretch ahead?


  1. It all sounds so idyllic...

  2. A different life indeed when you journey out in a boat!

  3. I love this post! So makes me wish for our long days on Salt Spring Island. You filled your days well with tiny moments and lingering time. Enjoy your last day!!

  4. Sounds dreamy and restful . . . even the climb on the sheep trail. As you said no to-do lists, no errands, no schedule takes all the pressure off. I feel refreshed just reading your post.

  5. That sounds idyllic. It's hard to explain how it feels to get out in nature and just soak it up...take it all in. That's what our hikes do for us. I've never been on a boat like yours but it must be amazing. Dreamy and restful...I see that in the comment above! ENJOY!

  6. I am relaxed, just reading about your long, lovely day.

  7. A lovely story of your day. Thanks for taking us along. You must have come home refreshed.

  8. Those images make my heart both sing, and break at the same familiar the water, the rugged cliffs, the sky. But this is my life up here, and it's beloved, no matter how much of my heart that the ocean has.

    Thank you so much for the kind thoughts.


  9. Simply amazing! The trees, the water, everything---perfection!
    Blessings, Aimee

  10. Anonymous9:03 PM

    After your previous post mentioning that you'd been sailing around for days, I did wonder in just what fashion you had spent your restful but interesting hours -- so I really enjoyed this report!

  11. Absolutely stunning photos - and what an adventure - when I finished reading I looked up and was surprised that I was not on a boat at anchor. What a fabulous, relaxing way to spend a day. Thank you.

  12. Simply so beautiful xx

  13. Such calm, such peace. Continue to bask.

  14. What a relaxing day with so much beauty about you. I love that first photo.

  15. I always love going along with you on trips Lorrie - you certainly know where the secret places are enabling you and Tim to truly get back to nature when you take a hike. I take it those were mountain sheep leaving their wool on the trail. Are there bears in that area?

    Now you have the boat and that is fabulous. It will allow you to visit more places - you sound very self-assured taking out the tender alone and rowing, brave you! Daily life on a small boat is definitely relaxing by sound of it - and the silence and beauty around you as you explored the coastline must have
    been exciting and rewarding in many ways. You wrote a beautiful post with lovely pics which made me feel that I was there!! Thanks for sharing - will look forward to more trips such as this - I'm certain with summer imminent you guys will be 'at sea' so to speak quite often!

    Hugs - Mary

  16. That is truly the way to get relaxed. Away from it all….


  17. Ah...this is such a relaxing post.
    The highlights of your boating weekend are exactly why we could not give it up.
    Your photos are exceptionally beautiful Lorrie....I will look forward to more during your summer cruising season.

  18. Honestly, this is just amazing to see. I love the way you described everything in your writing Lorrie. I hope you get out more often this summer and enjoy the beautiful coastline. Thanks for sharing your weekend adventures.

  19. Ooooooooo...we are sighing at the delight of these photos. You are in heaven, m'dear!
    So very glad you shared. My hubby was looking over my shoulder at these wonderful pics.

  20. I read through this and thought how lovely that would be. It all sounded so peaceful and relaxing. No worries, no cares & the beauty of nature all around you. Perfection.

  21. Sounds divine...

  22. My heart yearns for such a day. How utterly delightful. Yes, perfection.

  23. The day is so beautifully described. I wished to gaze into the deep water, row out a little, or fall asleep with a book in my lap - exquisite! I wish you many, many summer days just like this one.

  24. How beautiful that all sounds. You would never get me out on a boat like that.... much less the dinghy!!! I am jealous of your bravery and your skill! It must've been pure joy for you both!

  25. Just lovely! Thanks for taking the time to write so evocatively about your marine retreat...

  26. Now THAT sounds like a fantastic day! Thank you for the wonderful descriptions. It was like I was there!


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