Typical islanders are a special breed. They are multi-talented in fixing things from plumbing to electricity, handling chain saws and water pumps. They have to be creative to find solutions to everyday problems without running to the local hardware store to find a particular part or the grocery store to pick up some coffee. There are no stores and everything has to be planned in advance or invented. During the summer season the island becomes a busy place. The sound of chain saws and rock drills competes with the cries of seagulls and crows. Social events happen either impromptu or organized. A few houses are known as a hub for meetings and parties. People gather in the late afternoon to chat about challenges with their water or solar systems. Many events are organized for all islanders.
One of them is the annual meeting of PIHA (Passage Island Homeowners Association), an informal organization that plans community projects and events. Minutes of the previous meeting are presented for approval, new initiatives or challenges are discussed, the financial statement is presented and islanders are reminded to pay their modest annual dues. The annual Nautical Mishap Award is given to the person who had the most hilarious or most devastating incident on the water.
In 2018 a non-profit society, called Passage Betterments Society or PBS was created to manage island improvement and safety projects.
All Island annual parties are often held, particularly on New Year’s Eve and on the annual summer Seagull Regatta weekend. An islander will act as DJ accompanied by coloured lights and a disco ball. The dancing often continues into the wee hours. Easter on Passage Island is also a very popular family event with Easter Egg hunts, lots of games and a beach fire/weenie-roast at the end of the day.
The most popular gathering place is “west bay”, a pebble beach where islanders meet to swim, BBQ their dinners or watch a stunning sunset. A rustic palapa was built with beach logs, old whale bones, fishing floats, and massive cedar benches cut with an islander’s alaskan mill. Children use a floating platform from where they jump into the water. One of the best things about the island’s small size is that everyone knows each other. It is truly a community.
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