I have an unreasonable fear of missing ferries. Now for those of you landlocked people, you won’t understand what I mean – but I hate being left on the dock being inconvenienced by having to wait for the next sailing. I imagine all that I am missing out on at my destination while watching the ferry pull away.
On the BC coast, the islands and shore are well serviced with comfortable, timely and attractive ferries. You can drive or walk-on and you can even make a reservation if you must make a sailing. However, there is a charge for this. So, if you happen to be a cheap. . . ahem value-conscious, fastidious planner like my husband.. . . oh, I mean like me . . .making a reservation hurts a little. And somehow having a summer sojourn all planned up, takes all the romance out of it. It’s supposed to be spontaneous! And in the old days you just waited on the dock for hours until you could be squeezed on – it was how it was done.
So when I used to have to catch a ferry from Vancouver, I found my speed slowly edging up on the long straight stretch to the ferry terminal. Nobody wants to finish fourth and I feel like every car I pass means my chances for getting on the next sailing increases. It’s a dangerous combination – panicking me coupled with high speeds.
There is something about riding a ferry through the Juan de Fuca Straight that makes you feel like you are really going somewhere. Nevermind that you could easily drive the distance between Tsawwassen and Schwartz Bay in about 20 minutes and the ferry crossing takes almost 2 hours. Taking the Ferry means you are escaping, getting away from it all, and have a forced 2 hours that you must take some time for yourself. You can find a comfortable seat inside, sprawl out on the sundeck, or do as many tourists started doing 20 years ago – standing at the front of the boat shouting “I’m the king of the world”. Watch the gulf island go by and envy those who live on those islands and taken a different path.
Before Mentos found their internet fame partnered with Diet Coke, they toiled in obscurity. But for whatever reason, BC Ferries always carried the fruit ones in their gift shop. It became a tradition for me to purchase – or beg a relative to purchase for me (more often the latter).
As we ate marshmallows and wieners at Mariella’s birthday party, I kept glancing at my watch, willing it to tick off the seconds a little slower. Although I’m more mellow in my aged state, I still hate missing ferries, we HAD to make the 2:40 pm ferry. When we finally pulled ourselves away at 2:00 pm with a ½ hour drive in front of us, my anxiety strangled my ability to make conversation. I tried to be cool, casual, but my husband knew better than to engage me at all. After me screaming in my head at stupid, slow Alberta drivers ahead of us, we pulled into the ferry dock at 2:31 pm and were directed onto the ship 30 seconds later.
I need to lay down.
As I enjoyed my Mentos – well, actually my Starbucks tea, traditions change sometimes – I felt the salt air tossing around my beach hairdo. We’ve been somewhere, people. And it was good.
August 1st, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: A caught ferry, the whole birthday party, and a fitting end to our road trip stop in Vancouver.