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Kayaking; Outboard Blues; Empty Cups; Making the Connection

Have you ever backpacked with babies? Then you will understand our taking our Dachshunds Rudy and Gretchen on a hike the other day. Suzanne said, here’s a beautiful hike to a mountain top. You’ll like it. (Wait, wait, wait! Didn’t we go through this the other day?) Yes, it was an almost vertical climb, 3,200 feet in three miles, rated Very Difficult… So the puppies go into packs that we carry in front, sort of like belly packs. They seemed to enjoy the hike, but it about killed me…

On Tuesday morning, while Suzanne gave two readings in The Coach, I got to spend a couple of hours alone kayaking on a local lake near Nanaimo. I was the only boat on the lake, enjoying a few geese and lots of solitude, when one other boat launched from the dock. This one had a large crew aboard, 20 kids and 2 camp counselors/instructors. It was like watching what we called in the Navy “a Chinese fire drill”, but the kids were having fun learning how to paddle, so it was all good. 

Tuesday afternoon found us heading down to a marina in Nanaimo, where we were to be guests aboard a sailboat owned by a Unity member, Cathy Holmes. Cathy greeted us at the marina gate with a sad look on her face, and explained that her outboard engine was being recalcitrant, and would not start. Because the marina is tightly packed and tides here can run 6-7 knots, a reliable engine is needed to get safely in and out of the marina. We worked on the 4-stroke outboard for a half hour, but alas, more expert technical support was needed. We know exactly how Cathy felt; engine problems will probably stop every boater, sail or power, at some point in her/his lifetime. (One funny moment came that day when I asked, “Cathy, where is the oil dipstick on this engine?” She replied, somewhat sheepishly, “Oil?” (Every day on a boat is a learning experience…)  

When our sailing was scrubbed, Suzanne asked if I’d like to go kayaking again (this after a long morning on the water…) I of course agreed, and we launched at a dock on the shore and started to circumnavigate Newcastle Island. We got about a third around, and realized that I had only put 2 hours worth of parking money in the meter… sad to say, we had to retrace our steps (er, paddle strokes) and call it an early day. (Just as well, I had been paddling for about three hours and was a bit bushed.) It was a beautiful paddle, however, with unusual tide-sculpted rocks behind My Lovely Bride that made for a nice photo op. 

Suzanne also got this unusual photo of a piling with donations of clothing from a local women’s dragon boat team. (What made her know that I would want this shot for the blog?) 

On Wednesday, Suzanne gave her Making the Connection presentation to another full house at Unity of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It was very well received, and the community was so enthusiastic that we are planning to return to Nanaimo next summer, probably during the month of August, for at least two weeks and maybe longer. Thanks again to Reverend Polly and her assistant Cyndi who helped make our stay so enjoyable. 

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