China may have just set a record. A traffic jam stretching over 65 miles lasted 11 days. No movement. Two lanes of heavy trucks, mostly packed with illegal coal, sat in the stifling daytime heat and freezing nights going nowhere. Road improvements and break downs were blamed. The real culprit, of course, is unchecked growth and too many people.
I remember thinking that very thing over the years when waiting in line at the Massey Tunnel or trying to enter the ‘single’ lane on the Lion’s Gate bridge. Too many people, too many cars. Cities are like that. Beijing, Vancouver, LA, London. It’s just a matter of degree and worse, it may be just a matter of time for Vancouver as well.
Sally, Anne and I encountered our first traffic jam ‘in the country’ just outside of Surge Narrows today. We were on our way to Yoga. The ‘intersection’ at Beasley Pass and Whiterock Passage was choked. Couldn’t move. I just put the boat motor in idle and we waited while the unusually heavy traffic dispersed. I figured well over one hundred Pacific White-sided dolphins were in our way frolicking and jumping and generally just taking up all the room. Dolphins to the right of us, dolphins to the left and even more just in front of us! It took them 15 minutes to pass. Quite a difference from the coal road in China. It was magical.
These dolphins veered left and went ahead. Then they turned and spun to the right. They were simply being road hogs. But we didn’t mind. Funny, really. I used to get impatient with the same erratic driving style when living in Richmond but it is so much easier to handle out here. I must have mellowed, eh? ‘Course it helps to see them leap out of the water, spin and dive out of sight. If the Richmond drivers could have done anything like that, I may have been more tolerant.
These mammals (the dolphins, not the residents of Richmond) are about 75 to 100 pounds each. The have a beautiful dorsal fin, sleek body and pointy-blunt snout. And they just fly through the water. They are officially black but these ones seemed to have a purplish hue. They were gorgeous. Some of them followed us closely but the main pack seemed to be covering the immediate area in much the same manner as a school of fish does. We think they were feeding and our accompaniment was ‘security’. But who really knows?
This yoga thing is tough. I am 62, heavy set and stiff. I am as flexible as a bowling ball and cut much the same silhouette. Worse, I tend to roll while trying to get into one of those pretzel positions. It is embarrassing. Everyone is sitting on their mat in the gym with one foot in the air and balancing on their buttocks. I do the same kind of thing and roll over. Then we get into another contortion and I roll over. The only time I seem fixed in place is when the instructor tells us to ‘roll over’. Then I have trouble!
The guy next to me fell asleep. Everyone is older (few exceptions) and having a bit of difficulty but I am clearly the worst. Sleepy is second worst. Sally is about 2nd or third best. There are a dozen yoga ‘students’. The most wretched part is that our instructor, Rico, is about 68. The guy walks like a teenager. He is slim and trim and can bend himself in to the same shape as a knotted tea towel. It is amazing. And I’ll never get there.
We left and got home a few hours later. While we were putting on the kettle, Anne called on the walkie-talkie, “They are back! The Dolphins are heading down channel. Look outside!” From our elevated position we could see them all and several of them came over to our immediate shore. All in all, I would say that we had a dolphin show of over 40 minutes today.
Surge Narrows! This place is getting busy and the traffic is unusually heavy! Who would’ve guessed?
Pacific Whitesided dolphins can swim as fast as 15knots. Apparently they are very curious and will often approach stationary boats. They feed on schools of fish like herring, anchovy,sardines and squid. I think they were chasing their dinner.It was so exciting to see them at such close range. A memory to think of on those grey rainy days of winter.