Suddenly, we are experiencing summer, hot and idyllic, in all its glory. Its been barely over a month since the ice melted on the lake, and here we are contemplating swimming soon. At times it feels like we are in a completely new place, without the ice. There is greenery in every nook and cranny of rock, and wildflowers bloom vigorously. Right now the wild roses are in full splendor. There are birds everywhere, and constant birdsong fills the sky. We’ve several different duck couples as neighbours. The sailboats are all back in the water, and people too, in all matter of watercraft. Most vehicles in town have sprouted canoes and kayaks on their roof racks. The float planes are back too – thundering right past the house on takeoff and landing. I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing them. Its rather preposterous, and wonderful, to look out the kitchen window and see a plane barreling by.
Along with this time of year comes the most beautiful light, especially the late night and early morning light, which is nearly horizontal. I think 20 hours of daylight is more spectacular than 24, because the twilight is bewitching. The most beautiful times of my day lately have been the early morning or late night kayaks commutes to and from work. Usually the lake is very still at these times and its a marvelous place to be.
Yellowknifers are not folks to miss an opportunity to have fun, and the summer solstice is, of course, the best night to stay up late and celebrate the light. So its the perfect time of year for the Annual Houseboat Crawl. The idea is that we all gather together at someone’s place, and then move from houseboat to houseboat, spending 30 minutes at each place. The host provides a beverage and an appetizer. I think this year there were about 8 different houseboats to visit. I’ve been hearing about this since we moved here, so it was exciting to finally take part in it. Also, it was pretty cool to see the inside of some of the places. Many are tiny cabins, but there are a fair number of larger homes as well, and they are all pretty interesting inside.
I worked late and so arrived to a party in full swing. The gathering had just left our place and was at our nearest neighbour’s when I paddled up. It was quite something to see the boat filled to bursting with people, and all the canoes tied up alongside.
Aside from the canoes, there were two wharves also ferrying people around. My favorite was Tony’s. Its a huge structure with a major lean, propelled by his canoe with a small engine mounted on the back. So it moves as fast as a snail, but boy, did those guys have fun! It came complete with its own traveling road show, in the form of a banjo and guitar playing suitable snappy tones, numerous dogs, and a full complement of various locals. Its also handy to have when visiting a small houseboat, as you can just pull up outside, and presto, instant deck space!
Kuzman was there too with his new traveling wharf, and in typical Kuzman fashion, parking is always interesting. He has this fantastic way of docking his powerboat, which involves traveling straight towards his houseboat at high speed. At the last second he cuts the motor and turns the boat. Somehow the wake of the boat stops it in its tracks, and he winds up right beside his houseboat in perfect position. Its really something to see – I’ll try to post a video of it sometime. In any case, he was trying to drive his wharf the same way, and it wasn’t quite as effective. I thought he was going to crash into the side of the neighbour’s houseboat, but he managed to reverse and slow it down at the last second.
While all the paddling, music, visiting, sangria tasting, laughing and house snooping was going on, the day was winding down, the sun was setting (at 1230 am), and the full moon was rising.
This is as dark as it gets on the solstice. 230 AM, half way between sunset at 1230 AM and sunrise at 430 AM. The birds had already started singing in anticipation! But me, I was off to bed.