I love the idea of serendipity, the concept of “happy accidents”, those good things that, when we’re open to them, arrive in our lives when we’re not looking for them.
When Dan asked me if I wanted to get away for a July sailing weekend to Saltspring Island, I immediately said yes. My boys were away with their dad, the sun was shining, and Dan was offering to take me to one of my favourite summer destinations.
We headed out on a Friday, and motored over to Saltspring in the late afternoon sunshine. It’s a couple of hours journey by sailboat, but we arrived, as planned, in time to have dinner in Ganges. We had to line up to get into the Treehouse Cafe, a unique little place,
mostly open to the elements, and with a huge plum tree growing in the middle of it. It really does look like a little tree house! But it was worth the wait to enjoy dinner and the live music that evening. By the end of the evening the little restaurant was packed with people dancing to Billie Woods’ Latin-inspired music.
The energy in the restaurant was infectious. In fact, people walking past the restaurant were stopping to dance outside to the lively tunes. I don’t have a Latin bone in my body, and am incapable of dancing Salsa, so I watched entranced as one woman outside the restaurant danced, eyes closed, swept away by the music.
In the morning, we stopped by the Saltspring market, which is unique in that everything sold there must be produced on the island. There are many artisans on the island, and so it’s always fun to explore the many stalls, selling everything from clothing to pottery to jewelry.
And the fresh produce and baking are both mouth watering and inspiring. We wandered the market collecting the makings of a delicious picnic lunch: fresh bread, David Woods’ Saltspring Island goat cheese, tiny, sweet cherry tomatoes, and a tangy lemon tart from the French pastry chef.
We spent Saturday afternoon motor-sailing to Todd Inlet, so that we could watch the Saturday night fireworks display at Butchart Gardens from the water. All I can say is that it’s a beautiful thing to be floating peacefully in a calm, deep-green inlet, sipping a glass of wine, and watching the spectacular Butchart’s fireworks display.
On Sunday, the wind came up, and we sailed all day, always just ahead, it seemed, of the grey clouds threatening rain. But with main sail and genoa up, we caught lots of wind, and heeled over, we flew along towards home.
As I hauled on ropes (and occasionally steered the boat in perfect circles), I was reminded, once more, of how much I love actually sailing. There’s no question that I’m a happy girl just sitting on deck, drinking gin and tonic, but I also love the wind in my hair, and the salt spray on my face, and that exhilarating feeling you get under full sail.
When people asked me in June what I had planned for the summer, my response was, “not much at this point.” It’s turning out, though, in that serendipitous way that life sometimes works, to be a summer rich in happy accidents, in new experience and lovely little weekend adventures.