Every summer, in longstanding tradition, my father takes me and a friend out sailing for one of the long weekends. Our old sailboat is shared between three families to make mooring and upkeep affordable, and not worth much money anymore, but the trip means the world to me.
Being out on the water in close quarters is different altogether from your day-to-day, and a hundred times more special. In the Strait of Georgia, eating bagels with cucumbers and cream cheese, we always catch sight of seals, and dolphin fins dance in the distance. Sometimes we are graced with sights of orcas.
But nothing compares to standing on the edge of our boat at midnight shivering, compelling myself to dive into the water, but resisting because I know how cold it will be.
If I chose a brave friend for the trip that year she'll be right next to me, and we'll jump in on the count of three. We'll come to the surface screaming with the cold and rush quickly up the ladder, only to jump in a minute later and find ourselves better accustomed to the chilly waters.
Why late at night? The Pacific Ocean's late summer secret is that a million bioluminescent micro-organisms light up wherever the water is disturbed. There you are splashing around in the darkness, and every time your hand moves through the water, the ocean all around it lights up like pixie-dust.
You call people to come look at what seems almost fantastic, and they look around you with awe. You are so glad you braved the icy waters, which do not seem so icy after all. You lie back and look at the stars above, so bright, only to be swimming in the stars yourself. Are you dreaming? No. Even when you decide it is time for hot chocolate, you sparkle when you climb up the ladder. These are moments one never forgets.
Message to Canadians: Disney does not hold a candle to our amazing Pacific Ocean... let's keep it that way for our children to discover.