Treasure Island

Looking down from the highway, the forested mountainsides seemed to continue all the way to the horizon. I wondered what it must be like in there… if you get lost in those woods, you’d be gone forever. No roads visible down there, but there would probably be lots of rivers and streams. Images from that movie “Deliverance” came to mind, or maybe of running from bears while offering them your sandwiches and apples instead of your body.

Anyway, we were far away from such imagined drama, speeding along the Coquihalla highway towards Vancouver, passing through the Coquihalla Summit area. We’d left Vernon earlier that day, driving along the banks of the Okanagan Lake and through the city of Kelowna. We’d seen a lot of beautiful mountains, waterfalls and forests during the past few days, but no sign of the legendary Ogopogo lake monster, BC’s answer to the Loch Ness variety.

We were keen to reach Vancouver and meet up with old friends. Now I must clarify that they are quite a bit younger than us, but we do know them from the days when we were living and working in Ghana, years ago.

Looking South towards the centre of Vancouver, from a viewpoint on the hills above West Vancouver. A very sunny day, apparently not so common in this part of the world.

We dropped off the rental vehicle at the Vancouver Airport and were collected by my ex-colleague but very much current friend Craig. Good to meet up again after so many years on different continents! We scrambled into his pickup with our luggage and he drove us through the outskirts of Vancouver, past great views over the city and eventually to the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay.

On the ferry towards the greenery of Bowen Island

I’m not sure whether a trip with a ferry should be called a “ride” or a “cruise”, but it was in any case an exciting experience. Not because anything unexpected happened, but because we had a feeling of discovery – travelling towards another unknown place… On the route towards Snug Cove we could already see that Bowen Island, located centrally in the Howe Sound fjord, was going to be very interesting to explore and enjoy.

The island was named after the Royal Navy’s Rear Admiral James Bowen, who participated in a much earlier victorious sea battle against the French. He apparently never visited the island, which had earlier been used by the Squamish Nation for hunting and fishing. Loggers started working there in 1870, some of them settling. Craig and Bridget settled there much later and we were very fortunate to visit them and to be accommodated in their lovely house in a fantastic setting.

What luxury if this is the view from your (equally luxurious) guest bedroom!
It wasn’t really “endless”, I made sure of that!
… and I enjoyed this one too.
Fairy frolicking between the forest ferns

The house is located quite near the centre of the island, on the fringes of a forested area. Great for walks between the ferns and towards Grafton Lake. Fantastic to experience the peace and quiet of the forest, without worrying about any bears! Some websites do say that there is the occasional black bear on the island, maybe one every few years or so. Apparently they get there by floating across on log rafts, and presumably they leave the same way?

Craig pondering something at Grafton Lake. I was reminded of a quote: “Sometimes I sits and thinks, but sometimes I just sits

Bowen Island is a very lovely place to visit. If you google “Bowen Island” then one of the suggested sites says that it is “one of the most beautiful places in British Columbia” and that is saying a lot! I have to agree. I’ll not try to provide the complete travelogue to this island (visit this link for that) but the following few pictures are a good sample. The treasures on this island are not buried but are exhibited and available for anybody to enjoy. We certainly did!

A deer, seen literally metres away from Craig’s workshop.
This bird was sampling the nourishment provided near the house. Craig, or Andrew Hester or Jez Simms, perhaps you guys will be able to help me with an identification?
Wildlife in the forest. Spending time in forests releases the inner child :).
On the beach, not sure if this was Tunstall Bay or Bowen Bay or another beautiful bay that we visited.
The last time that I saw this look on Craig’s face was when we were fending off two “ladies of the night” at a bar in Kayes, western Mali. But that’s a different story.

Craig is a geologist-turned-high-tech-lumberjack who started and runs SeatoSkyCNC, manufacturing signs and other various products out of wood or light metal with the computerised router setup in his workshop. Bridget is an environmental scientist who also gives yoga classes. So they really live in an ideal location on Bowen Island and it was just fantastic to spend a few days with them. I wish we could just go back tomorrow!

Great to spend some time with Craig and Bridget on a daytrip to Squamish and Vancouver.
View down onto the Squamish River from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola ride.
The Vancouver Gas Town Steam Clock, originally steam-powered, but now running on an electric motor.

That image of the steam clock was used to indicate the flow of time and that our time in BC had unfortunately come to an end. Sad to leave our friends and their beautiful home behind, we travelled to Vancouver Airport to board a flight towards Toronto, the location of my next post.

3 thoughts on “Treasure Island

  1. A stay with Craig and Bridget on Bowen Island would be pretty awesome, indeed! Lots of great walks there, lots of opportunities to go kayaking or canoeing, etc. And the surrounding Vancouver area and the rest of BC is fantastic, too. But you should ensure to do a few things: Go in summer (or just before/after) just to be sure you don’t freeze, take a raincoat (Vancouver can be quite moist…) and make it part of a larger trip through BC and Alberta, etc. It’s a long way to go to visit just one island, however nice. It’s a fantastic part of the world for a road trip, and you do know people at either side of our own route: Craig and Bridget on Bowen Island, and the Kiewiets in Calgary. Maybe you guys know other people in the area too.

    Liked by 2 people

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