Right way, wrong way… part 1

Hi there folks!

How are you doing today?

I am going to do a series here; all based on true events when I either missed visual or auditory information and ended up taking a trip that I didn’t intend.

Snug Cove, Bowen Island, ferry terminal

The first incident happened in the early 1990s. I was going to visit a friend at a Camp for the Blind, which was located on beautiful Bowen Island. Yes, you are right, this story is about ferry travel!

I had stayed at this camp as a teenager and as a visitor many times. I had strolled this scenic, tree-lined route many times. Yet my penultimate visit, I actually didn’t get there!

On a sunny Sunday in July, I purchased my ticket to Bowen leaving from Horseshoe Bay; I found the dock that I knew was the right one, having done this only the year before, and waited. This was all pre-social media, pre serious vision loss, I probably had a real regular size book — ooo, I could read small print back then! While I was undoubtedly reading.

When the ferry arrived at last, and the ramp lowered to the dock, a large parade of people got off first, as it was a small ferry. Then vehicles followed. After that exodus, foot passengers were allowed to board, and were directed to the “poop deck” above the vehicle area. This I knew from experience. I also knew was expected to show my ticket to a crew member.

I did that, rather quickly, then proceeded to alight the stairs. The guy, yes it was a guy, turned and said something to me, yet I didn’t hear him, my hearing was getting worse, I think I looked back, but… I was already half way up the stairs.

I’m pretty sure that I found a seat, and read, relaxing. Exciting anticipation, yeah that.

When the ferry was slowing down, I packed my book, and descended the stairs to the main deck, joining the rest of the foot passengers at the front of the ferry.

I was in the middle of the large parade of foot passengers setting foot on land. I walked quickly, one hundred feet inland, two hundred feet, I slowed, took a gander, looked around, trying to find the landmark that would take me to the Blind camp, that right-hand turn into a canopy of trees… wait… where are the trees?

There were no trees at all, not a cedar or pine or blade of grass in sight.

Then it hit me like an orca fin across the face: I was not on Bowen Island, this wasn’t Snug Cove!

I had, I surmised, hitched a ride on the ferry that went to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast! A place I had not gone to before, and had no knowledge of, no desire to be there.

I can tell you I was plenty annoyed! I sulked like an overworked & underpaid longshoreman. Plus, I was going to miss my friend!

While I waited for the next ferry back to the mainland, I grumbled as I stalked the dock; I should have talked to the ticket checker instead of avoiding him! And, I noticed the destination announcement board by the foot passenger wait area back in Horseshoe Bay.

When I did return to Bowen Island Camp for the Blind in late 1990s, I made sure that I read the destination announcement before I got on the ferry to visit my Deaf-Blind friends!

Since then, I haven’t set foot on the island! But, I intend to, soon!

Next episode: Right train, not stopping…

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