Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thetis Island, British Columbia


Yesterday we made another lengthy (!) crossing to a new location: 20 miles from Montague Harbor to Telegraph Harbor on Thetis Island. One thing we’ve learned in recent days is that Canada has very different practices from the U.S. in terms of handling boat waste.  In the U.S. almost every place you go has a pump-out station for emptying boats’ holding tanks. Not so here. In all of the Gulf Islands, there are only 3 pump out stations we’ve been able to identify.  As our holding tank is small, we need a pump-out every 2-3 days. Apparently boaters in Canada dump their waste tank at sea, employing a macerator and sea cock, two items we don’t have on our boat (Do you see a retrofit coming? We do!)  The upshot of this is that we’re limiting the amount of time we spend on buoys in more remote locations, and alternating stays in marinas where bathroom facilities are available.  Sheesh – we go round and round about bathrooms, don’t we?


Anyway, we settled in at the Thetis Island Marina, and after ascertaining the laundry facilities were out of commission, headed out on a walk. Thetis is a small, rural island with 350 residents, most of whom are retired folks.


They have a very unique post office consisting of  perhaps 75 locking mail boxes beneath a corrugated tin roof and posts with no walls. There is a plain wood box with hinged lid in which residents drop envelopes which appear to constitute mail from one resident to another. A resident comes along periodically and distributes said mail to the appropriate residents’ box, and a Canadian postal worker comes over on the ferry each day to pick up and deliver mail from off island!  We walked the road to the Telegraph Harbor Marina at the far end of the bay to have a look and returned to Thetis Island Marina for a beer and calamari on the deck. Bob continues to search the world over for the best ever calamari – so far “The Monsoon” on Zanzibar still holds first place honors.) 


Last night we exchanged text messages with friends Jim and Phebe Richards who  boarded “Gold Rush”, (a 60-f00t trawler owned by friends Greg and Terry with whom we all did an Inside Passage trip to Ketchikan last summer) on Monday to do a trip in the vicinity of Vancouver Island and Desolation Sound for 2-3 weeks.  Turns out they were spending last night at Ganges on Saltspring Island, so this morning they came to Thetis Island to dock near us for a visit. We gave them a tour of our new boat (takes about 60 seconds) and then settled on Gold Rush to see what work Greg his done since last summer and catch up on news. What a treat to see them all here in Canadian waters!


After Greg, Terry, Jim and Phebe departed for more northerly waters, we walked the road to a B.C. Ferry dock nearby and walked on the ferry to Chemainis on Vancouver Island. The ferry arrived at Thetis 90 minutes late, having been diverted by the Coast Guard this morning for some unstated reason. Chemainis is an artsy and very touristy town, complete with 40-foot busloads of tourists, we learned on arrival. It is famous for its some 40 large murals painted on the walls of buildings around town depicting its history over the last 200 years or so, with lots of emphasis on First Nations people, logging and fishing.  The murals really are spectacular, and we wonder what inspired the town to undertake such a project.  It appears to have paid off in terms of attracting lots of folks who walk the town and take photos, no doubt spending money at the restaurants and shops that line the streets as well.


Late afternoon found us on the deck back at the marina, eating calamari and drinking a beer again. Aren’t we easy to please?

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