Monday, August 15, 2011
Two months ago this morning we untied the lines on the Wind Walker and, after seven years, cruised out of the Victoria Harbour to come to a new opportunity here on Salt Spring Island. The job, in many ways, is similar to what we were doing in Victoria .... taking care of a small marina and the adjacent property. In other ways, it couldn't be more different.
First of all, the marina is a bit smaller -- there is only room for about a dozen boats here. In Victoria, almost every boat had 'un-official' liveaboards on it, but here, we are the only ones. I really like that right now ... but I might feel differently about it in the dead of winter when it's a bit more isolated.
There is a lot more 'transient' traffic here -- we have an 80' dock that sits empty other than for visiting/cruising boaters. Boats stop here on their cruises for a variety of reasons: it's a mile walk to two vineyards that have wine-tastings and tours almost every weekend, and on that same route is the 150-year-old stone church that people like to see close-up, as well as a 'cold beer and wine store' (not on the same property as the church). :-) Or they come in just to wander around Fulford 'Village' -- a funky little community with a few shops and a great restaurant and organic bakery -- or to meet someone coming in on the ferry.
Whatever their reason for cruising in to Fulford, it's our job to see that they are tied up safely, and know how to find whatever they've come for. Some folks love the quiet of this harbour (as opposed to Ganges, the other main community on Salt Spring, which is a hectic and noisy little port) so they decide to spend the night -- in which case, it's our job to get them hooked up to dockside power and water, and make sure they have a key to the bathroom building.
All of this is revenue in our pockets -- we have a 'day rate' and an overnight rate, and Michael and I get 50% of whatever we bring in. The other 50% is ours to account for and administer -- for dock repairs, washroom supplies, etc.
The property is 2.5 acres, and over half of it is in LAWN, which needs to be mowed pretty much weekly. The house is actually two (upper and lower) 3-bedroom executive suites, and the family lives in the bottom suite when they're here. They live on Vancouver Island but come here for most of the summer, the odd long weekend, etc. In addition, he works overseas in the oil industry, and is gone for long periods of time .... so we are here because he doesn't want his wife to have to worry about or deal with property issues in his absence. The upper suite is currently empty and being advertised (got $1800 a month you don't know what to do with? It's stunning!) and once there are renters, we'll take care of minor maintenance stuff, as well.
So that's 'the facts' about our new life. Basically, it's a pretty easy and fun job that's not very time-consuming! In exchange, we get to live our live-aboard lifestyle, with new scenery! And lovely scenery it is, too .... for boaters, it doesn't get much better than being in the heart of the Gulf Islands, and not having to deal with the Juan de Fuca Strait (which blows 300+ days of the year) in order to get anywhere. This is considered 'inside' waters, and during the summer months, it's pretty calm most of the time.
We'll earn our keep in the winter, though - destructive southeasters can roar in here, and one of them took out the Fulford Marina, next door, last year. It wasn't the first time their docks were destroyed, either, but it may be the last -- the couple that owns it is retired now, and they'd have to construct a huge breakwater if they want to re-build. So it sits empty. This place is a bit more 'tucked in' but those storms could still bring down power lines and trees, etc. -- so I'm sure it'll be harder work, then.
WE LOVE IT HERE! Yes, we miss the kids and grandkids, and we miss some of the events that happen in Victoria (this past weekend was the Dragon Boat races, for example, and for the first time since the event began about 13 years ago, I wasn't in a front-row seat for the Breast Cancer Challenge race)... but we don't miss 'city life' AT ALL. It's so quiet here, and there are TREES in our 'back yard,' and wildlife ... I think we've heard a siren maybe twice in two months, as opposed to several times a day! Yes, the ferry comes and goes every two hours .... but I've already assimilated the sounds as part of the 'rhythm' of island life, and we've learned not to try to go to the store when it's loading and unloading.
Today we will take another local family out for a bit of a cruise, so I'm looking forward to that.
I've been knitting, honest, I have! Finished another pair of socks ....
... and what a pain they were! I used up 4 or 5 little leftover balls of yarn from other pairs, and attempted to do the 'Fibonacci' stripe sequence .... but it's not fun getting all those little balls tangled up with each other, and I can't ever seem to get the tension right when switching from one color to the other. Oh, well, I can keep these for myself... what a shame.
I finished my second 'Twilight Garden' shawl a few weeks ago...
Here's a close-up of the little beaded 'flowers':
This one is now in one of those little funky Fulford shops, for sale! Now I just have to write out the pattern....
And I've started work on a wrap for my sister, whose daughter is getting married in October, in Alberta. This one is also my own design, but it's a much easier process when it's just a rectangle! The yarn is pure silk and here's my swatch, for a 'teaser' ...
Life is good! :-)