Since we will be laying over here at Thetis Island Marina, we were in no hurry to rise this morning. Last night’s threat of a thundershower passed unfulfilled, so installation of the cockpit surround yesterday evening proved unnecessary, and the bright sun beaming onto the boat this morning quickly heated the enclosed space. I had to unzip several panels in order to enjoy my morning’s coffee without being uncomfortably warm.
After breakfast I walked down the dock for a closer look at Dave’s boat. (Dave was the fellow who gave me the oysters last evening). I had enjoyed chatting with him yesterday, and I was curious to know if he had caught any fish last evening. I was concerned to note that his dinghy was not tied up next to his boat. Since we had been up rather late last evening and hadn’t heard him come in, I worried that something had happened to him. I asked Bob, the dockmaster, if this was unusual. Bob also expressed concern, and rounded up someone to make a run out to another boat where Dave may have stayed the night, and to also check out some of the places where Dave usually fishes. Bob said if that effort came up empty, he would contact the Canadian Coast Guard and request a search. We would be leaving for Chemainus without knowing the resolution to this apparent mystery.
We were too slow in getting organized for the 9:05 am ferry, and so embarked on the short 10 minute walk to the ferry landing with ample time to catch the 10:30 am ferry to Chemainus. This ferry is quite open, with a single level car deck, and an enclosed passenger space along one side of the boat. A long stream of cars completely filled the car deck, and a large gang of little kids coming home from a week of summer camp made for a lot of passengers, but all were adequately accomodated.
It took about 15 minutes to cross over to Chemainus. We walked up the steeply sloping street into town, enjoying the first of many murals on the sides of buildings for which this tourist oriented town is renowned. We were in “old town”, and had to ask for directions with a local to the main business district. We were told that Chemainus was holding its annual Bluegrass Festival this weekend, and we just happened to be here on the right day. We walked up a narrow street, toward Water Wheel Park. Along the way we encountered a couple of local kids who had set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk. They were too cute to pass up, and besides, Cameron was getting thirsty. Soon the twangy tones of bluegrass music greeted our ears. A talented quartet was performing on the bandshell stage, and we sat down for a listen. We stayed through the end of their set, and part way through the next group’s performance. By then we felt ready for lunch, so we walked over to the Visitor Center, where a very helpful young lady loaded us up with brochures and recommendations. We lunched at the Willow Street Cafe, an excellent establishment offering a fine assortment of sandwiches, wraps, and soups, with a strong emphasis on homemade and fine presentation. The staff there were very friendly, and we totally enjoyed our lunch.
After lunch we wandered the main street, and took in the local museum. This led us back to the Bluegrass Festival, where we heard two more groups play. By this time Cameron seemed to be maxing out on the ballads and instrumentals of bluegrass, so we snuck out and went over to the grocery store, to stock up on fresh produce, juice, and a few other items we were running short on. With backpacks loaded down, we trudged back past the bandshell and down to the ferry dock to wait for the 5pm return boat to Thetis Island.
As we walked down the ramp at the marina, I was pleased to see Dave moving about on his boat. I dropped my pack at our boat and walked over to hear the story. His explanation was simple. He had stayed out late, fishing, and then had gone back out fishing at 5:30am this morning. I apologized for any embarassment I may have caused him, but he quickly set me at ease by thanking me for having been concerned over his well being. It turns out that fishing for him had been slow, but he had caught a nice ling cod. His enthusiasm for fishing inspired me, and I made plans for going out with Cameron right after dinner. I fired up the barbque to grill our hamburgers, while Sandy boiled water for the corn on the cob we had brought back from Chemainus. Dinner was great, but Cameron and I were eager to go out fishing. Before leaving, we had to add some air to the dinghy, which had gradually become a bit underinflated. Cameron was a great help manning the foot pump. We headed out in the dinghy around 7:30pm, and Cameron was soon over a likely spot, jigging a lure which Dave had given us. He fished steadily for 2 hours, but without success. As the sun was setting, we motored back to the marina. As we neared the dock I spotted Dave, leaning over on the dock in the unmistakable pose of a successful fisherman, busy filleting out his catch. He and Peter, from the boat right across from us, had gone out and nailed a ling cod which easily weighed 8 or 9 pounds. It was an impressive fish, and he later gave us a large bag of fillets from this fish. In addition, Dave invited Cameron and I to go out fishing with him tomorrow morning. We were eager to go out with such an expert fisherman, and so we enthusiastically accepted his offer. We agreed to meet at his dinghy tomorrow morning at 6am.