The island is 18km long and 12km wide, or 12km long and 18km wide, depending on which way up you hold the map. It’s known to islanders as “the rock”. The main event of the day seems to be the arrival of the ferry. There are three crossings a day from Thursday to Monday – no service on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
There are roads on the island, all unpaved except for Main Street, but since the ferry only takes passengers and the provisions they’ve bought on the other side, cars on the island have to remain on the island.
One consequence of this is people don’t lock their cars, and often leave the keys in the ignition – no one’s going to steal your car since there’s no where for them to take it.
There is no mains electricity connection to the island. Islanders generate their own by solar power, wind power or some other method.
Today is Halloween. I’ve fixed up my bike and will head downtown (downtown being the ferry port where there is a quay, a bar/restuarant and a small shop) a bit later to watch the kids do their trick-or-treating.
Right now I’m in a cabin about 10 feet wide and 14 feet long (or the other way round maybe, but probably not). It’s made from a wood frame and covered with Tyvak house covering, a kind of plastic covering that keeps the rain off. There’s a wood-burning stove, a sink full of dishes (I’d wash them but there’s no water – either the pump is broken or there’s a leak in the pipe somewhere between here and the well).
The toilet is outside and is a bucket with a toilet seat on top. When the bucket fills up it’s emptied into a wooden pen so that it can become fertilizer for the land. Most people here try to live as self-sufficiently as they can, recycling as much as they can, employing one another to help build their houses, irrigation ditches, water wheels, solar panels, stoves…
When the other night, the night I arrived on the island, islanders were laughing that I didn’t know what I was in for, I mentioned that I felt a bit like Edward Woodward in the Wicker Man, to which someone said “No, this isn’t a bad place. This is a good place.” But I didn’t mean it a bad way, though seeing people dressing up in costumes and talking about how the following night would blow my mind I was feeling a bit paranoid. But I wasn’t sacrificed two nights ago and I don’t expect to be sacrificed tonight, but I do feel like an outsider coming from a more mainstream and traditional culture, or at least from a different culture.