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Okay, I wasn't totally alone. There are 30 residents that live on this tiny island, which requires some undertaking to get there. First I have to drive to the ferry terminal and take a 2 hr. ferry to an island, then drive across the city to yet another ferry, which will take me to a smaller island. Once I get there I drive across that island completely to the other side where my friend picks me up in her boat and takes me to the island she lives on. Whew, long winded story I know and a lot of trouble to get there but well worth it.

I love visiting my friend on this tiny island of only 30 residents and all the quirky residents. Like the chrono scientist that is frequently on talk shows convincing the masses that aliens do live amongst us. Or BJ the former hippie who lives alone on a house on a cliff who created her own business taking tourist's up and down the coast in her boat. She built her house piece by piece, as there are no roads, cars or utilities on the island. Everything has to be hand carried from the dock. I am amazed when I look at the stoves or fridges, knowing how difficult it was to lug up the heavy terrain. There's also FreeWheeling Willy who invited everyone to his 10th annual 40th birthday party. Ha ha! Yup, all the residents are quirky including my girlfriend whom has lived there with her partner and young son for 8 years. She used to row her son to school every morning to the other island for a couple years until she bought a motor last year.

I visit her at least once a year, sometimes two and stay in one of the cabins high above a cliff overlooking the ocean. I now realize how difficult it can be living on a remote island. All the other times she's been there to invite me over for hot meals and her kitchen is always warm and inviting. This time she had to leave out of town once I arrived, confident I could handle it on my own. The island has hundreds of deer roaming freely and are used to the residents. There are a host of other wildlife like eagles, otters and sea lions.

Day one- I'm so happy to be here and bring my dog along, anxious to have him off leash and explore the island. The place I'm staying at has a beautiful view of the ocean. I unpack my groceries and go for a walk. Five hours later I return. The cabin is freezing and I haven't chopped kindling or wood for the fire. I can't make coffee, as there is no fire. Not like home where I can plug it in or turn up the heat.

Day 2- I spend most of the morning chopping wood and kindling and drawing water from the well, lugging it back and forth from the communal well. Egads she's lived here 8 years!!! Okay so her boyfriend has rigged up water to her house so that she has a washer/dryer and hot shower. I have nothing of the sort in my cabin. I miss her already and she's only been gone one day. I eat crackers and cheese for dinner. I go to her house and take a shower but she's not there so no heat.

Day 3- I again spend the morning chopping wood but this time figure I will do enough for a few days so not to be caught unexpectedly. I've also learned not to let the fire go out or the cabin is freezing. I need to return every two hours to put more wood on. I only go for a short walk. I again eat crackers and cheese and curse that I bought potato chips and snacks instead of real food. I really miss her.

Day 4 - I go to her house, she has a stove!!! I make myself oatmeal and it's the best tasting stuff I've had in ages. A hot meal!! I search for things to do, I’ve already read 3 books since arriving. There is no phone, no TV, and no computer in my cabin. She has a phone. I get the bright idea that I'm going to make something "Craftsy" and pick up a piece of driftwood to carve. I slice my finger instead, owwww!! I would probably drive myself to the clinic for a few stitches but hence I'm stuck on this forsaken island and no boat with her not returning for another 3-4 days. Instead I make a makeshift band-aid with tissue and masking tape. I curse I forgot the first aid kit.

Day 5 - I can explore the island some more as I've sort of got the knack of building a large fire, which will last for a few hours. I search for the yet other island that has no residents living on it and can be accessible in low tide by walking across some rocks. I walk for 3 hours and find it! I spend the morning watching the deer and happy my dog doesn't chase them. Returning there is a large windstorm and rain, soaking us both. I pray the fire is still on in my cabin. I run into the first person I've seen in five days and ask for directions back. He says you're a long ways away at least an hours walk. I trudge home in the rain; even my dog walks slowly instead of bounding in front of me. I return back to find the heavy wood lawn furniture is completely blown away to the other side of the cabin. It's too heavy for me to move, that's how strong the wind is.

Day 6- I can't wait until she returns, no more leisurely walks as my muscles ache from chopping wood and lugging water. I don't even care anymore that I take a shower in cold water and no longer worry about having fashionable clothes. I wear two sweaters and rubber boots and a funny looking hat. BJ invites me to her home for soup, again it taste so wonderful that even the thought of walking home through dirt paths 1/2 mile back to my cabin in the dark doesn't daunt me. The island has no streetlights; residents often walk through dirt trails through the woods at all hours armed with only a flashlight. It is midnight when I walk through the woods to get back home.

Day 7 - She returns!!! Her boyfriend immediately comments I look like a true islander having long discarded my nifty knapsack purse I purchased in Paris or my boots I bought in NY. Instead I'm wearing her rubber boots and wearing layers of mismatched clothing and a hat. I boast I've walked around the island several times, can chop wood like an expert and can walk the trails at midnight armed only with a flashlight, although I'm not that great with wood carving. I can make a roaring fire in no time flat not using paper only small pieces of kindling.

Day 8- I return to civilization!!! Fast food, cars, streetlights, TV, computers, heat at the click of my fingers. Part of me misses the quiet island life, yet I think the people whom live there don't have as much time to take leisurely walks as it's a tough existence. However, they think that about us city folks too.
Reg Rozee
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Hi Chrystal, welcome back. That was a great read! I can really picture that place in my mind, knowing the country around here. I love places like that, since I grew up in one a lot like it, only on another coast thousands of kms to the east.

You reminded me of a short wonderful book by Annie Dillard called The Writing Life. When she goes to live in a small cabin with a wood stove on an island to work on her book, she discovers chopping wood for the fire kept her warmer before she learned to do it well because of all the extra exercise from too much chopping! Smile

-Reg {*}
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
Harry Murphy
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Crystal, Thanks for the journal! What a nice way to start the day (I’m an early riser, have been for my morning jog, fed the birds and deer, and am now on my first cup of coffee and hitting the computer before the day starts for real).

I had a good chuckle at your week in the wilderness. Honestly, the folks living there sound like my kind of people. I love eccentrics! I live on a mountaintop in Western Maryland. Beautiful view, small and dying town, but nothing like the remoteness of the island you visited. Heck, two and a half hours I am in Washington or Baltimore or Annapolis or Pittsburgh! So I have access to plenty of fast food.

I hope that your finger has healed and that your dog has gotten its spirits back! I think that I will return to your post from time to time to have a good smile (OK, I laughed out loud a couple of places) and to reflect on how good and easy I have it!

Thanks for sharing your adventure!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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where do I sign up?
Crystal, That was a great post, I really enjoyed reading it as well as the posts that followed.
People who know me would go there looking for me, should I ever not be here anymore.
For years I have said some day I will find a cave or an island by the ocean and with that and a couple dogs I could be quite happy.
I would take physical stress any day over mental anguish.

but then again I might require electricity for my guitars, amps, keyboards, and computers. Nahhh! I'll still go to the island. Let me know when we are all leaving.

Reg, Harry and Crystal you are all welcome to come stay with me anytime you get near Akron, Ohio!

Crystal, thanks for sharing the story, I hope some day I have the stones to do something like that. Maybe when the kids are a little older.
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Profile of zenmistress
What a wonderful experience Chrystal, thanks for posting that.

You've inspired me to get out into the middle of nowhere and get some country air! Here in England we have gale force winds and rain at the moment, so jumpers on, wellies ready, and off we go for an adventure!
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Great story Chrystal, makes you long for the good old days Smile doesn't it? Smile

But really, your friends island sounds like a beautiful place. Sorry your time there was so ...(can't think of a good word) trying, frustrating (?), but you must have enjoyed it, because you stuck it out and didn't go home. I bet you'll be better prepared next time, and even the same conditions will be enjoyable. You are becoming a true seasoned veteran of the island.

I am envious, I now know I must find my island.
Again, Good story
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Profile of Chrystal
Thanks everyone for your input. I admit it's a beautiful place and I really do enjoy the time I spent there.

BJ, whom has a house (with electricity even!) is looking for someone to live there in the summer rent-free while she is building a house on the coast. She's looking for either a writer or someone working on their thesis if anyone out there was remotely interested. They only have to feed her two cats, Rhett and Melanie.

Got to love the islanders, as I've mentioned, all very quirky people. But then again, wonder what they think of me? Ha! Food for thought isn't it?
Mya Angel
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Good story Chrystal. Smile
There is nothing that remains so constant as change. Don't end up like concrete, all mixed up and permanently set. Smile

He who slings mud will surely lose ground.
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Great post Chrystal, reminds me of some of my childhood. I spent some time in a remote Buddhist community in the middle of an Australian nature reserve. But at least we had gas, so no wood chopping. But the toilets were well away from the houses as they were just a wooden shack with a hole and a bucket of sawdust, after you did you stuff you had to cover it with sawdust! Despite having no TV, radio, computers etc. I can never remember being bored.

Look behind you...on your left...thats the real world.
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Profile of Chrystal
That sounds like it would make quite a story Hackmonkey, you should write more about your experience. I for one would love to hear more about it, as I'm sure others would.

Bob Sanders
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Great story! When you get ready to rough it, come visit us in Alabama. You can ride a horse? You don't have to worry about the cold, but snakes never seem to go out of season. Once you learn to shoot them with just one hand, it's not such an interruption to your work. Keeping the fire going is important to keep the grease hot. Everything is fried. Bathing in the creek is warm but don't bother the gators or the snakes. They might get your dog.

Actually, it sounds like you have been well trained. Bring Band-Aids and bug spray.

We'll look for you.

Bob and Lucy
Bob Sanders

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