Describing the indescribable

G'day all!

I was told that I would not have words to describe this last week, and well, whoever told me that, they were right!

I arrived in the evening at Lakedale Resort, along with three other later arrivals, after catching the 4:30 ferry and having dinner.  All bar one of the other attendees were sitting around chatting in the gathering space.  Cat (Bordhi, the organiser and leader and teacher of the retreat) asked each of us to introduce ourselves and relate how we learned to knit, and the stories began to unfold.

Hmm, hope this size doesn't overrun the edge of the blog.  Lakedale Lodge.

And over the next four days something magical happened.  We became a group.  We chatted, we laughed, we ate together, we learned about each other to a greater or lesser extent, we learned... some of us didn't get enough sleep for either staying up and knitting and chatting or reading uninterrupted by family or other pressures.  We ate magnificently, thanks to our caterer, Deb Nolan, who cooked us wonderful lunches and dinners.

We heard stories that inspired us, saw the knitters around us growing and developing skills they never thought they could.

We introduced a couple, Mags and Jim, to the wonders of knitting.  They run a non-profit yarn company (Frog Tree), amongst other things, and clearly had decided it was time to learn more about their yarn.  They told their story, and enriched the group immensely.  And after some tutoring could cast on and knit.

It is much easier to describe the afternoons.  These were free - we could do whatever we liked, whether it was sitting in a paddle boat and making our way around the lake, wandering in the forest with its early spring leaves sprouting, contemplating the lake, napping, or getting away from the resort and exploring the island.

I am sure you can guess what I did.  I left the paddle boat this time around, though it was very tempting.

San Juan Island is the most westerly of the San Juan islands.   If you stand on the west coast, you can wave to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada just across the strait.  I have a cousin who lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island, though I don't think she saw me waving ;-)

Also, if you are on the west coast, your phone thinks you are in Canada and wakes itself up (out of flight mode!) and gives you a cheery welcome to Canada, please pay through the nose for all data communications.

The weather was lovely in the afternoon on the first day, so I decided to drive around the island and stop at anything that looked picture-skew.  (Other people might say picturesque.)  All these pics, as is mostly the case on the blog, are from the phone and not retouched.  I'll get an album of the big camera pics up on Flickr soon.

Lime Kiln lighthouse was probably the highlight of that trip,

More picture-skewness.

Lime Kiln lighthouse. 
Vancouver Island is in the background.

though I did rather like this pretty little lake

I may like panoramas too much.

and Roche Harbor was very picture-skew and I suspect quite pricey as well.

Think I like flowers too?

There is no escape from flower pics on this blog.

Then next day it rained a bit and was not a great day for sight seeing.  That was ok, cos I wanted a comfy pillow (my version of comfy) and after only finding a twin pack of pillows in Friday Harbor, went to the craft shop and bought the makings of a small pillow - flannelette (flannel), which I washed and dried, needles, thread and stuffing.  And gosh it is a nice little pillow.

Me and my pillow.
That fabric had been waiting for me.

Wednesday afternoon was glorious, so I went to the south west corner of the island to take pics of Cattle Point lighthouse.  After all, I had taken pics of it from the whale watching boat last August.  Halfway down the coast I realised it was very very very windy.  I got out of the car at a lookout and nearly got blown away.  Despite how people apparently see me, I am not a featherweight and when the wind gusted, it was all I could do to stay on my feet.

And it was worse at Cattle Point, a mile down the road.

The grass is being blown flat, making a hoopy blurry effect in the pic

It wasn't so windy here.

Yes, yes, I know, not a panorama....

This isn't open water, it's a strait.

It was so much fun - exhilarating to be honest.  When the wind is so strong that you can barely hold on to the camera, barely stay on your feet let alone walk into it - I felt like I was running as fast as I could but I was really just trudging into the wind... I was laughing like a child.

The seas were tremendously rough and you would've had to be a very brave, more likely foolhardy, person to take on the waters between Cattle Point and ?Goat? Island.

Ok, that isn't between Cattle Point and Goat
Island but you get the idea.

Thursday afternoon, a group of us got on the interisland ferry and tootled around on that.  Pity that my big camera's battery had pretty much given up the ghost and the battery I had borrowed was soon on its last legs - it wasn't charged fully when I got it.  I had to resurrect the old point and shoot by giving it fresh batteries but better some pics than none.  And the phone was doing its best too.  We saw dolphins and a couple of seals on that trip, but the dolphins were the best.  No pics of the small pod of dolphins - the big camera was on its battery's last legs and the other cameras were too slow.

Pulling out of Shaw Island.

A cute little island

Pulling out of Orcas Island.
Note the concentration on that knitter's face.

The marina at Friday Harbor

By Thursday, I was rather dreading the next day, all of us breaking up and going our separate ways.  For days, I had had nothing better to do than sit around and knit and yack, or go sightseeing.  My food was prepared for me, the dishes done, the cleaning done for me... Lovely!

So Friday morning came, as is inevitable, and we started saying goodbyes, and it was all rather traumatic.  The weather agreed that things were very sad - it started raining and did not stop all day.  Even more traumatic was not having my passport with me and being on the international ferry (there's a ferry each day that goes from Anacortes, USA, to Sidney, Canada, via Friday Harbor, my embarkation point).  I should carry it all the time but well I wasn't because it is an important document and I'm afraid of having it stolen and I'd forgotten it is a legal requirement and I can be chucked out of the States if I don't have it with me.  And I thought the border control agent wouldn't let me back in.  I'd been told all I needed was picture ID.  I carry my driver's licence 99% of the time (not to the gym or the market) and for Americans, that is enough.  But I am not American and have to show that I am legally here.  It was one helluva kick in the teeth after the warm fuzzies of the week, a reminder that this is not my home and that I do not always understand how things work.  Admittedly at home I am a citizen, but unlike many countries, I don't need to carry around papers saying that.  I just carry my driver's licence if I'm going to be driving, or some cash/card if I'm just popping out to the shops on foot.  And I open my mouth and my accent says a lot.

DH survived by going out for dinner every night and leaving the washing up he promised to do.  He managed to get as far as opening the dishwasher door and leaving it open.

And now things are back to normal, and those nearly five days are just memories.  Amazing memories.

I signed up for the second Spring retreat next year :-)  I hope to see some of my new knitting buddies again.  And as one of them said, it's only eleven and three quarter months away!



  1. Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time.

  2. It all sounds amazing, the friendships , knitting, walks, . As always your photos are brilliant and take me to places far away.

  3. What a great retreat. I didn't even realise you were going to a knitting thing!! How exciting and what a beautiful place.
    I count myself lucky to live in a place where you don't need to remember your Medicare number, though we do have to carry our Licences when driving- new rule.

  4. Wonderful photos!! I have my retreat soon,the June long weekend!!


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