Easing My Unease


Was it anticipation about setting out on a new and quite possibly dangerous adventure? Was it that I’m starting to feel more my age and maybe not being up to the task? Was it fear of this trip not living up to my expectations? Was it being away from home, partly in Canada, for at least a month?

To have some doubts about or prior to many of my adventures has not been uncommon, but this trip was especially unnerving. 

In a way I felt like biblical Job being swallowed by a whale. This “thing” was about to eat me alive.

Whatever kept nagging me into self doubt was weighing heavy upon my emotional well being. This trip, did, afterall, present an activity that I knew was going to be a challenge, but one for which (I told myself) I felt ready to dive into. 

As Mark and I were having a very early breakfast on Sunday, August 11, my anxiety had peaked. Still not able to specifically specify why or how I was feeling nervous, I could identify one concern and that was about missing my 2 hour ferry ride across from Vancouver City to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, followed by a then 3-4 hour drive north to Port McNeil, where I was staying and meeting the group going out for this new adventure. It was required to be at the vehicle loading docks 1 hour prior to sailing at 11 a.m. Having anticipated a much longer and slower drive to the Horseshoe Bay ferry docks, I left very early to allow ample time and possibly catch an earlier ferry. Surprisingly it took only a half hour to reach the ferry terminal.

So, there at 9 a.m. I asked, since I was well ahead of schedule, if I might catch the 10 a.m. crossing. That is when I learned they have only one crossing on Sunday mornings at 11 o’clock.

So much for all of that part of my worrying. I started to relax more.

Now being two hours early, it worked to my advantage. Cars line up in numbered lanes until time to load the cars and passengers. I was in lane 3 (of about 7 lanes) and the 4th car in line. A little rain kept me confined inside my 4Runner for a little while, which got me realizing, I would be in the first group to board and the first to disembark in Nanaimo. That, in itself, quieted my nerves substantially, so I just relaxed and waited. During that two-hour wait, the line up of vehicles increased enormously.

I would still need to waste no time once on Vancouver Island to arrive in Port McNeil ahead of the planned 7 p.m. group meeting. 

As to the ferry, the loading went quickly with about 6 rows across inside, me in the center aisle and fourth back. Yea, I’m gonna be off and on my way in a few hours. All drivers and passengers are required to leave their cars and go to the upper decks during the crossing. To my surprise, there were large, comfortable waiting areas fore and aft, where passengers could look out large windows or go outside on open decks to watch if they preferred. Additionally they had cafeterias and vending machines, all which made for a nice, comfortable trip. It was still drizzly and cold outside, although I did circle that deck outside, I returned quickly to my seat in the front of the large seating area. Being of the earliest onboard I had quickly nabbed a front row seat. It was rainy and foggy for about half the crossing to Vancouver Island, then it brightened up as the sun chased away the fog and rain. Upon landing, the sun was coming out and skies were clearing – a good sign for a nice long drive to Port McNeil. Vancouver Island is a BIG island!


Then another pleasant surprise, the crossing only took an hour and a half. That time savings for the long drive north was also to my advantage. 


Along the way North, I stopped for gasoline as I had no idea when I would find another station along the drive. And then it was still a long drive. Initially, when I saw distance signs and saw 286 I was thinking miles. Canada, after all, uses the metric system, and I quickly recalculated that I actually had about 178 miles ahead of me.

With little traffic, but a slow, winding road, I made it to Port McNeil and the Haida Way Inn with time to spare, where most of the adventure group, whom I had never met, and I were staying.

At about 7 p.m. everyone met in the lobby and after some introductions we gathered to get our orientation and some equipment for the adventure that lie ahead of us for the next 6 days.

By now nearly all that doubt and worry that had tried to sabotage my vacation was quickly vanishing. Like a heavy fog that is blown away by the wind, my mind was clearing, and ready to test the waters of this new undertaking beginning the next day, Monday, August 12.

u   kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012