We paddled over to Burgoyne Bay yesterday, in light rainfall and amidst the March, west coast, "shades of grey" - for a little "celebration". Some background information will help explain.
I will admit that I’m not the most attentive spouse when it comes to “special” days. Valentine’s Day comes and goes each year (it's in February, isn't it?) and there's rarely a card, or flowers, or chocolates. Having said that, I’ve never missed a birthday, but sometimes end up creating a last minute card - which, by the way, seems far more “creative” than an expensive store-bought one anyway! Joan never seems to mind that I often fail to think of these things. Of course after forty years, her expectations may, understandably, be minimal. I can honestly say that she maintains an excellent sense of humour regardless of whether or not these days are marked by special festivities.
|"Paddy's Milestone" - high and dry.|
This year, however, I decided it was time to exceed the usual expectations. With Joan's birthday coming up shortly, it seemed like a rather brilliant idea to design an “early” surprise - at a time when she’d least expect it. This would, I surmised, enhance my "attentiveness rating" substantially, perhaps even exponentially.
|The skies were grey but the life on the sea floor was full of colour.|
|Local eagle performing "vertical lift" manoeuvre from a dock.|
Now, what to wear? Well, there was no doubt in my mind. This was going to be a special day so I was going to wear my very best suit.
Actually, it’s the only suit I have but it’s very practical and very comfortable. (I do have a nice navy blue blazer but it would feel rather formal in the kayak and could also be ruined in the event of a capsize.)
|Choosing "wardrobe" for the occasion.|
Now, what to have on the menu? Well, it would need to be very special, indeed. This would be, after all, a celebration that I hoped would be more than memorable. The meal, however, would have to be within my limited abilities. Maybe, I can get Joan to assist without her actually knowing? Yes, that should be possible as she is a very agreeable person. No, I'll do it myself. We'll give it a European theme: French bread from a local bakery, spread with roasted beurre d'amandes naturel, and sweet confiture de framboises. Mmmm.
|Earlier that day...a gourmet lunch being prepared.|
Oh sure, some folks will say that lunch amounted pretty much to a peanut butter and jam sandwich, well it wasn't. It was almond butter. Rather classy, I thought.
|Strangely appropriate flotsam - with the correct month and year.|
|A cloud "snuggles" into a little bay on Saltspring.|
We loaded the kayaks on the racks and headed down to the launch spot, just five minutes from home. Wanting to keep our planned destination a surprise, I suggested we paddle over to Saltspring Island, make a “left” and just do the 2-3 hour loop. After crossing the Narrows, however, I made a casual “right” turn - towards Burgoyne Bay. We landed on the beach about an hour later and my surprise began to unfold - just as planned.
|On the beach (and in the mud) at Burgoyne Bay.|
As an appetizer, we enjoyed some veggies and homemade hummus (that I had casually asked Joan to prepare the day before). Soon, the time came to bring out the gourmet sandwiches. The paddle, the fresh cool ocean air, and the pure exhilaration of being outside had given us both an appetite. They were simply delicious. I had, of course, not forgotten a beverage and, much to Joan’s delight poured two steaming cups of Ovaltine from the thermos tucked away in the dry bag. Of course, a glass of red wine would have been much nicer, but we still had to paddle home.
|Back at Maple Bay, attentive spouse or what?|
This one could be very difficult to top!