Dave Loeppky, the president of the company that I work for, invited a bunch of people to his and his wife Sharon’s beach house for a barbeque on Saturday. The house is on beautiful Lummi Island, just off Bellingham, WA.
It was just an absolutely amazing day – here’s Gabrielle and Ethan on the ferry ride out to the island:
The Loeppky’s house sits below the road, right on the beach, and no other house is visible for hundreds of metres. They have 3-4 kayaks, and I jumped in one and took this shot of the house from the water:
Gabrielle, Ethan, and Aidan all wanted to ride in the kayak too, so they took turns coming out. Here’s Ethan with me … we went out and found some kelp bladders, floating to the suface.
When I took Gabrielle and Aidan out, we paddled to a little island – a rock in the sea – that Gabrielle prompted christened ‘Barnacle Island,’ for fairly obvious reasons.
Then she went out with another girl who was visiting at the beach, and they promptly attemped to run me down:
When out in the kayak by myself, I took my life in my hands and took the digital camera with me. My rear end got soaked – the kayak had rubber plugs or sea cocks that were leaking – but fortunately the camera didn’t get wet at all. I took this shot of a rocky point near the Loeppky’s:
And of the shore just down the beach that had an interesting geological pattern.
Here’s the kayak, Pacific ocean, and a stunning view of the tips of my toes:
Aidan really took to the whole kayaking thing … it was all we could do to prevent him from setting out to sea all by himself:
Meanwhile, the older kids were having the time of their lives in the motorboat …
… or tubing. I hadn’t ever seen anyone go tubing in the ocean before, but that didn’t stop any of the kids, even though it was later in the day, and the water was seriously cold.
While the kids were having fun (Dave and Sharon’s son Steven was absolutely great, taking various lots of kids on rides for well over 90 minutes), some of the older kids played some impromptu netless volleyball on the beach. (That’s me in the white shirt and hat.)
Aidan didn’t spend a ton of time in the boat – he was far more interested in chowing down. Fortunately there was a chair just his size …
Aidan also specializes in giving his mother heart attacks ….
Then it was time to eat, and we all participated in the ritualistic massacre of live shrimp. They were absolutely enormous – bigger than my hand. Teresa and I and the kids had gone along with Dave to pick them up – 10 pounds of the biggest, most fresh shrimp you could imagine.
Dave gets them from a local fisherman who has an amazing complicated set-up in his home/business, right on the water, where he continuously pumps in fresh seawater to keep the shrimp that he’s caught live and fresh. He even chills the seawater to approximate the conditions 400 feet below surface, down where the shrimp live.
I shelled a shrimp myself, if that’s the right word, and actually ate one later on as well. As things turned out, it was a singularly adventurous culinary day for me, as I had both shrimp and oyster – yes, oyster – for the first time. (Perhaps you’ve guessed I’m not a big seafood guy.) The oysters, believe it or not were alive that morning – Dave pulled them right off ‘Barnacle Island’ at low tide. Amazing. It seriously is a different life down on the water.
We also picked up a crab at the fisherman’s place where we got the shrimp, and his destiny was no different:
Ethan, Gabrielle, and Aidan all spent literally hours in the sand and the waves – I managed to catch this particularly good shot of Ethan in between hops over waves:
Speaking of waves, they picked up every 20-30 minutes after a huge ship would pass by, 5-6 kilometres out in the water. During one particularly vicious set, the Loeppky’s boat pounded the beach a bit. Fortunately, it’s a very light Boston Whaler, and can withstand this kind of treatment with no real side effects:
I captured just a small part of the essence of this flower for David Burke, one of Premier’s regional sales managers, who particularly like the red-on-blue contrast, and made me promise to email it to him …
And near the end of the day, we were blessed with a glorious sunset over the water:
We took the 10:00 ferry back to the mainland, got home at 11:30, and fell exhausted into bed after a wonderful, wonderful day. If they were all like this, life would be too good to be true!