During dry dock on Lummi Island we get our annual chance to experience life on an island with limited access. Some love it; others hate it. Everyone, however, does some planning for the event, even if it is to leave. Leaving is an important “tell.” It probably means you really don’t like living on an island and the inconvenience that island living entails. Leaving is a valid strategy.
If one is staying, there’s a big shopping run and gas cans are filled. Decisions have to be made about transportation. Park a car on the other side? Share a car on the mainland? Put a car at the marina in Bellingham or Blaine? Take the bus? Or, perhaps plan to hunker down for the three weeks that the car ferry is getting her annual once over and paint job.
Utility companies station a rig on this side: a PSE truck in case of power outages, Century Link for the phones, the cable company to keep TV and internet going, a garbage truck and a sheriff’s car. The county makes plans for a passenger ferry and passenger docks on both sides. During the three weeks of dry dock we prove every year that it is possible to live with limited access. There’s a shuttle bus, there’s ride sharing. There’s car sharing on the other side. There are more people taking the bus.
We always stay here for the three weeks. It is pleasant bordering on idyllic. The weather is good, the traffic is light, there’s lots of biking and walking. This year we tried a run in the boat to Fairhaven to drop a couple people off. I was thankful that it was a beautiful day with calm water because certain people have made me extremely fearful of that stretch between Portage Island and Eliza Island at the entrance to Bellingham Bay. I have yet to see it at it’s worst but am convinced that it can resemble the Bermuda Triangle where boats of all size disappear never to be seen again. We were lucky and survived our passage. Made it from Isle Aire Beach to the visitor dock in Fairhaven in slightly under 40 minutes, dropped our passengers and their stuff and returned in the same amount of time.
This was my first trip by water from Bellingham to the Island. I was struck by the beauty of the route with the mountain dead ahead and wild Portage Island on the right (or starboard, if you will).
Lummi is quite the impressive island when you approach along the length of it with a notable wilderness on the south end, the jarring gash in the landscape that is the quarry, then interesting homes along the water as the island levels out and seems to become civilized.
Feng shui, according to Wikipedia translates as “wind-water” and is a short hand translation of this longer quote: “Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”
I’m not sure that feng shui can be applied to approaching a location like an island but I think I will try to do it anyway by suggesting that the feng shui of the approach via the Rez and Gooseberry Pt. is not as satisfying as the approach from Bellingham via water.
It is entirely possible that at some point in the future we may not be able to enjoy the virtual bridge to the mainland that we do now with car ferry service every thirty minutes all day long. There are many things that could impact ferry service, the economy, County finances, more difficulties with the Lummis, and gasoline prices to name but a few. It is conceivable to me that we could end up in a permanent condition resembling dry dock with passenger ferry service and limited car ferry service. Very few people want to concede that this could happen. Yet it could. Without regular car ferry service we could face a life without petroleum fueled automobiles or, more likely, limited use of petro-fueled equipment.
Interesting that many communities have decided to go without cars now even though fuel is still readily available. In the next couple of blog posts I will try to imagine what a gasoline fueled car free island might look like, what the pluses and minuses might be and how we could manage the change.