Riding the passenger ferry

Jerry and I had dentist appointments on Thursday.  We took the foot ferry to town early so we could get some errands done before the dentist.  After the dentist we like to go to Barns and Noble for a treat.

Passenger ferry

Passenger ferry


First errand was to Lynden to pick up a faucet for the new bathroom tub.  We passed through fertile farmland stretching out to the mountains of the Cascade range 50 miles away.  This fine land was settled 100 years ago by farmers from Holland, rib-rock conservative, narrow minded, hard working, prosperous people.  Their cows stood placidly in the morning sun.  Their corn fields and rows of berries and grapes looked green and fruitful. 

On the other side of the fast food and RV sales district of Lynden we obtained our faucet, then drove back to Bellingham and more errands: those accomplished we had our teeth cleaned.  At Barnes and Noble besides coffee and goodies and the New York Times I bought The Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand.  I have already bought our tickets.  We go in November.

We were too late for the 1:10 ferry: just missed it.  We couldn’t walk onto the pier because they are doing some construction on the dock.  There were a lot of construction vehicles, cranes, workers in hard hats and a worker whose only job was to keep ferry passengers off the pier.  We had an hour to wait so I wandered around taking pictures of the dock and fishing boats and stacked crab pots. 

I asked the pier guard what they were doing to the dock.  He told me they were replacing the pulley ropes that raise the ramp.  There are 4 of them on each side and they cost $100,000 each.  Wow! 

I chatted with another waiting passenger, a tall blond lady who used to manage a lot of vacation rentals on the island, but who got into some trouble with her clients and also the tax people over money.  She seems to be back in business, and she looked great.

Then Felix, a retired physics teacher and dog enthusiast, came.  He had taken his dog, Bailey, to the vet.  I remembered that we intended to give him our old Science magazines (I hate to throw them away).  He said he would like them.  Felix has a million projects going, so he had been to a junk yard for parts.  I asked what kind of junk he was interested in at the moment, and when he replied (I can’t remember what — some kind of cables) Jerry said, “Oh, I have lots of those.”  So we can unload some more junk.  Yay!

Next Beverly came.  She is an island lady, around 10 years younger than me, who is active in the community and knows all the interesting news.  Here’s my chance, I thought, to find out all about the jumper. 

For this story I have to go back to Tuesday when my daughter, Clare, took the ferry.  She and her husband caught the ferry back to the island and they wondered why, though loaded, it was waiting at the dock.  Then they heard the sound of a police siren.  Next, a young man jumped from the upper deck into the water and began swimming across Hale’s Passage toward the island. 

This was a poor plan to evade the police.  Felix, as an athletic feat, had swum it a few years ago.  He said it took him about an hour, and he had started from the post office to gain the advantage of the current direction.  He had done it in August, but even so had worn a wet suit top, for warmth. 

The young man was clearly a strong swimmer.  He was alternating strokes, freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke, but still, he began to flounder.  The police were calling to him to come out, and a life preserver was thrown to him.  He grabbed it, but when he realized that it had a rope attached and he was being pulled in he let go and began swimming away.  A coast guard boat arrived and cruised along with him.  He remained in the water.  An orange Homeland  Security boat had recently passed by and it was called back.  Then another coast guard boat arrived on the scene; now he was surrounded by 3 boats.  He was cold and out of steam.  They pulled him from the water and took him away.

I asked Beverly who the jumper was.  She said it was Mike’s son.  That according to the news report he had had an altercation with his father and the police had been called.  Mike is a good man.  He is a retired teacher, a biologist and I like him.  He lives alone, except for his dog.  I feel sorry that he has a child who is a problem.

The hour of waiting was up for us and the ferry came.   Our neighbor, Duncan, helped us carry all our stuff.  Duncan is the fire chief, and he is on our water association board.  I asked him when we would be charged for water according to our newly installed water meters, rather than our present flat hook-up fee.  I am eager for that to happen, since the association manager says that Jerry and I are among the lowest water users on the system.  Duncan said soon, when they figure out an average usage in order to get a median price range. 

As we disembarked we saw the truck of the septic tank inspectors.  The county has decreed that every household on the island has to have its septic tank inspected for leaks.  I have been meaning to set it up.  I asked Duncan who was going to inspect his system.  “That one,” he said, pointing to the truck.  So I arranged with the driver to have ours inspected on the same day as Duncan. 

I always say that you get a lot accomplished riding the foot ferry.

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15 Responses to Riding the passenger ferry

  1. Dick says:

    What a vivid sense of place and activity there is in this account, Anne. I’m glad of your delay!

  2. Alan G says:

    It’s so nice in my opinion to have such a community connection and one could not deny the passenger ferry is certainly a conduit for creating such a closeness. 🙂

  3. Annie says:

    I love this story! You create art in pictures and words, I am so glad I discovered your blog.

  4. I enjoyed reading this. There is something special about ferries and the people you meet at a slower pace.

  5. dale says:

    This is what convenient on-demand transportation saves us from… I wonder why we all wanted so much to be saved?

  6. Mage B says:

    You leave me filled with admiration for all you accomplished on the foot ferry. Wonderful stuff….and got rid of things too.

  7. Darlene says:

    This is a great human interest story of community. It must be nice to have so much cooperation from fellow residents.

  8. wisewebwoman says:

    Oh isn’t it great Anne, the slowness of pace, the connection with neighbours, the catching up on goings on? I got invited to a farm tonight at cards to give me some tips on why my carrots failed this year. Herring is the secret, in case you’re wondering. Marvellous stuff. I love how you had us take the ferry with you!

  9. Small is wonderful…what I’ve been discovering in Portland. New Yorkers we left behind simply could not fathom our move west but it is so very satisfying to feel the scale of a place to be in sync with one’s self. Rather than being overwhelmed by largeness.

    Also like your accidental typo: Barns & Noble. Sounds much more friendly.

  10. Wow – what a busy day. I’m hoping to go on a trip to New Zealand in a few years. Saving my pennies even now! : )

  11. Jan says:

    Oh, I wish I was going to New Zealand with you! Have some room for a stowaway in your luggage?

    As usual, Anne, you do a marvelous job of giving us a vivid glimpse into your life. Thank you.

  12. annie says:

    The ferry dock seems like a hub of information from others. I love small towns. When I lived on the north shore of Lake Tahoe I loved the off seasons when there were no tourists and the locals could get comfortable in the lull of life.

  13. Wow! You surely made the most of that trip!

  14. Wanda says:

    There you go again, So hard working conservatives are narrow minded. You show your true character every time you strike a key. Now, don’t publish this. You wouldn’t want anyone out there to disagree with you.

  15. Old Woman says:

    Wanda (or is it Douglas?), if I gave the impression that I think all hardworking conservatives are narrow minded, that was a mistake. This particular group of people are opposed to the teaching of evolution in schools, abortion rights, equal rights for gay people, and other so-called social issues. This post was not about them, and so I didn’t go into the details. But, to clarify, I think this group of people is narrow minded. It is also a group of hardworking conservatives.

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