A Ferry Tale

Last week we had a big adventure: We took the ferry over to Denman Island!

Why are you laughing?

Okay, fine; you’re right. Before COVID, a ten-minute ferry ride would have been a mere footnote in our lives. But we’ve been cooped up for so long that it felt like an exotic vacation. It was a glorious sunny day with a fresh breeze, and it was a joy to be out on the water. Heart-palpitating excitement, I tell you!

I admit, though, some of the heart palpitations were due to unresolved trauma left over from my last trip to Denman Island. That was the time Hubby marooned me, sailing off into the sunset (or at least to the opposite shore) without me.

I’ve never let him forget it; but to be fair, it wasn’t really his fault. We were new to ferry travel then. We didn’t realize that when the operators load cars onto a small ferry, it means they’re going to depart within minutes. We also didn’t realize that schedules for the smaller ferries change without notice if there’s a mechanical problem or any other hiccup.

So we went over to Denman and spent a few hours roaming around, taking in some spectacular views and some ever-so-tasty food. After a lovely day, we took our place in the ferry lineup with forty-five minutes to spare.

That meant there was enough time for me to hike over and check out a nearby artisan’s studio, so Hubby waited with the car while I headed out. I kept an eye on my wristwatch, planning to be back at the car fifteen minutes before the ferry was due to sail. I was right on time.

But our car was gone.

In fact, all the cars were gone. I was nonplussed, but not overly concerned. I hiked down the hill to the ferry terminal, expecting Hubby to be waiting for me there. He wasn’t.

He didn’t have his cell phone, but I had mine with me. Against logic, I checked to see if I’d missed any calls. Nope.

“Okay…” I thought. “Maybe he’s driving around looking for me.”

He wasn’t. I retraced my steps, but there was no sign of our car.

I knew that if he’d been on the ferry he would have reached the other shore by then. There was a ferry terminal, gas station, and restaurant there; and they all had phones.

But he didn’t call me. I began to wonder if he was not-so-subtly trying to tell me something.

With no other choices available, I waited an hour until the next ferry came. When I disembarked on the opposite shore, Hubby was waiting for me. “I didn’t realize they were going leave right after we loaded,” he explained. “I thought it was like air travel, where you just sit there until your flight is scheduled to leave.”

“Why didn’t you phone me?” I demanded.

He rolled out some Husband Logic: “I knew you’d be on the next ferry. Where else would you go?”

I didn’t kill him.

But this trip, I stayed in the driver’s seat. Just in case.

Please tell me I’m not the only one whose spouse has marooned them on an island…

Book 17 update: I’m on Chapter 33, and a man wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys and a blanket has just given Aydan some vital information. Will Captain Underpants save the day?

Denman Island shoreline

35 thoughts on “A Ferry Tale

  1. I have to say, that’s quite funny. Especially the husband logic – dry humor! 🙂 And, I have to admit, even though I tried hard to remember, I don’t think this has ever happened to me, being left stranded by a loved one. I have a feeling it will happen at some point, though. And I don’t own a cell phone…


    • With all the travelling you do, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened to you at least once! Weirdness seems to seek me out, though, so maybe you just live a more “normal” life. At least your lack of a cell phone probably isn’t an issue — I had one, and it didn’t help at all. 😉


  2. We have friends who had a family of six children. To ease travel problems they often drove at night with the kids sleeping… especially when the kids were young. On a trip across rural Saskatchewan they stopped for gas and snacks at an all-night highway-side service station. One of the kids woke up and took himself off to pee… without telling mom or dad. Mom & Dad got back in the car and drove for two hours before the other kids woke and asked where their brother was.
    You can imagine the panic that ensued… this was before the advent of cell phones. They weren’t even sure outside which town they had stopped. Dad made a frantic call to the RCMP. The gas station staff, faced with a freaked-out 7 year old, had called their local RCMP and the family were re-united after a two hour trip back to pick junior up. (The officer they dealt with assured the parents it wasn’t even close to the first time this had happened.)
    That was three decades ago – but I assure you that junior still hasn’t entirely forgiven the family for deserting him. He probably doesn’t trust his spouse not to strand him on an island either!

    Of course, headcounts became a critical habit on even short trips across town.


    • OMG!!! I can only imagine the trauma on both sides. The poor kid. And the poor parents! Thank goodness the RCMP officer had a sense of humour.

      Actually, your story reminded me of one from my childhood — I’d completely forgotten about it until now. Our family took an overnight train trip when I was about nine. I’ll never forget waking up in the middle of the night, looking out the window, and seeing my dad standing on the platform waving goodbye as the train pulled away.

      I freaked out, woke my mom, and panic and chaos ensued. As it turned out, Dad had been awake when the train made a routine stop. The conductor had let him know that he could get off and stretch his legs for a bit if he wanted — the train would pull forward to take on water and supplies, and then back up to the platform again. We didn’t know any of this; we only knew that the train was leaving and Dad was waving goodbye with a smile!

      Hmmm… that might explain some of my abandonment issues… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re too kind….if that had happened to my wife and I, she would not have been so generous…I would have had to make up for it for a few years:) Having said that, it would have made for a great “poor me” story to tell, so maybe she would have milked it that way for all it’s worth! Fortunately I’ve never had anything like that happen!! Great post!!!


    • Thanks, Kirt! I did consider milking it, but since Hubby knows it wasn’t his fault (except for neglecting to phone me), I probably wouldn’t have gotten much mileage out of it. Besides, this way I can tell the funny story without him interrupting, “That’s not the way it happened!” or “It wasn’t my fault!” Stories go so much more smoothly without hecklers. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Despite having a few ferries around our area, I can honestly say that I’ve never abandoned anyone on the other side, nor have I ever been abandoned. But then again, I probably haven’t been on a ferry since I was a kid. Around my area, we have Harsen’s Island, which is a residential community. And there are also ferry crossings to Russell Island, but that is only a passenger ferry, as the only motorized vehicles allowed on the island are golf carts. There are also a few ferries that cross the Great Lakes, and I know that Canada also has a few ferries that cross the water, including one to Bois Blanc Island, better known as Bob-Lo Island, now a residential community but formerly an amusement park that was in operation from 1898 to 1993.

    As a kid, we had gone over to Bob-Lo a few times. At the time, they operated two steam-driven passenger ferries that departed from Detroit to make the 18 mile trip south along the Detroit River, and smaller ferries ran to Bob-Lo from Gibraltar (Michigan) and Amherstberg, Ontario, the latter being only a five minute ferry ride. The Bob-Lo steamers (the SS Ste. Claire and the SS Columbia) are the oldest remaining steamers on the Great Lakes; both sat in ruins until they were purchased for restoration. The SS Columbia is currently being restored in Buffalo, New York. The SS Ste. Claire was undergoing restoration when a fire destroyed the top wooden decks, but the remaining steel structure was strong enough to encourage future restoration.

    As I’m likely heading on a road rally next week, solo, I won’t be able to leave anyone behind. All mountains and valleys. No water…or ferries.


    • Those steamers sound so cool! I’m sure they’ll garner lots of interest once they’re restored. I grew up in landlocked Manitoba, so ferries are still a delightful novelty for me. After talking to some of the long-term residents around here, though, I hear that the ‘delightful’ wears off pretty quickly when you have to depend on a ferry to get to and from work. I’m pretty sure that’s why we have ‘Island Time’ out here: Appointment times and other timeframes are more of a suggestion than a rule. After living here for five years, I’m finally getting used to it. After another five years, I won’t be able to live anywhere else because I’ll completely lose respect for deadlines. 🙂

      You’re doing a road rally alone? That’ll make it tricky to navigate, won’t it? Or is it a familiar route?


      • The rally is a Lemons Rally, and it’s the 2022 Rocky Mountain Breakdown. (I’d link here but it would be flagged.) I’ve done a similar circuit on the Interstate highways but there are many checkpoints along the way that we have to stop at and photograph (with our car in front of it) and post it to Instagram to prove we were there. (I’ll be at @thehooptiegarage .) So we’ll be off the beaten path. Not a big deal though–the daily stops average about 300 miles apart (that’s ~500km Canadian), and many end up having to do it alone since they cannot find others to join their teams. The stops are often automotive-related. This year’s launch will be at the Rambler Ranch, east of Castle Rock, CO–a ranch?? I found out it’s a small museum named after the Nash Rambler, so they have Nash and AMC automobiles on display there. We will not know our other stops until just shortly before it starts on the morning of the 21st.

        I can’t really describe a Lemons Rally (it’s my first), other than to have you take a look at any photos on the site. It’s part of the 24 Hours of Lemons organization (which started as a race of $500 cars against each other). There is also the Concours d’Lemons, and they ran an event concurrently with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance just a month or so ago, and there’s a few YouTube videos from their event. So…you can only imagine what a road rally full of hoopties might be like. 😁

        A couple of our local ferries do go to residential islands, and given how the St. Clair River freezes over in places, I would guess they need an ice cutter running all winter so everyone can get to and from Harsen’s Island. And that ferry is nothing special–it’s nothing more than a small, flat, floating parking lot with railings. The Bob-Lo boats were an adventure though–it was a 45 minute trip, and they also had evening excursions that were more like a floating party, complete with a live band playing on the deck. Those were the days!


        • The Lemons Rally sounds like it’ll be a blast — enjoy! (And here’s hoping your hooptie holds up.) 🙂

          The Bob-Lo excursions sound wonderful, too. Our ferries could use a few live bands — have to suggest that to BC Ferries… 😉


  5. I have the opposite issue here – my wife often doesn’t bring her phone saying, “You have yours.” I gave up years ago saying, “But we each need one in case we get separated.”

    Now this did start with wallets and my wife saying, “Do you have your wallet? Good, then I don’t need mine.” I am both driver and credit card carrier.


    • I’m glad we’re not the only couple who ‘lose’ each other regularly. And the ferry mix-up really was unforeseeable and nobody’s fault. The absence of a phone call? Well… let’s just say that Hubby has built up enough brownie points over the years that an occasional ‘oops’ still leaves him well on the plus side of the equation. 😉


  6. Wonderful post! While I have never been marooned on an island by my husband, he has lost me on occasion. Now days, with cell phones, it isn’t that big of a deal, except he often forgets to bring his phone!


    • I think that must be a ‘husband’ thing – Hubby tends to wander off and vanish in stores, too. He used to “forget” (whether accidentally or on purpose) his phone at home, too; until I began reminding him each time before we left the house: “Do you have your phone?”
      After a couple of times where he had his phone but the battery was dead, I started reminding him, “Do you have your phone? Is it charged?”
      Now, he usually remembers his phone and it’s usually charged, but it frequently turns its ringtone off without warning so he can’t hear me calling anyway. At least, he says the phone is the culprit. Maybe he’s still trying to tell me something…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. At least Hubby realised he’d gone without you, Diane. I visited London once with extended family’s relatives, one of whom used a wheelchair. I offered to push the chair around for a while, but after pushing for so long, I realised the ‘user’ wasn’t in it! Luckily, she could walk a little, but I hastily dashed back to rescue her (something you can’t easily do on a ferry!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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