Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mid spring

Cloudless skies, breathless wind...white boats against azure waters.  We begin the warm days of mid spring, with a taste of summer on the air, and a taste of winter yet in the evenings.

Flowers everywhere, on the salmonberries, huckleberries, magnolias, plums and cherries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

English Bay Launch available for sale

You want to buy a Water Taxi Business?

English Bay Launch has listed itself on Craigslist. Currently the water taxis serving Bowen from Vancouver are struggling. They have made a good go of it, but I wouldn't be surprised if they both fold up totally before the end of the year. Coastal Link which ran downtown, had its vessel seized i February leaving me holding about $100 of their debt in the form of a 10 trip pass which I used once.

Frankly, although I have loved using both services for the past year and a bit - and who can argue with crossing Howe Sound in the company of dolphins - the services have become too unreliable to use on a regular basis. Twice I have nearly missed planes because of unreported delays and once I DID miss a meeting because the water taxi just never showed up, and failed to call to let me know.

So I'm back to using BC Ferries for all but the most relaxed trips into town and of course, the old reliable Cormorant Marine, Bowen's own water taxi, to get me home late at night with David Smith at the helm, blues pumping through the cabin.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Only on Bowen: Coffee couriers

Jennifer reminds us that your friendly neighbourhood drop box comes with some obligation.

The way it works is this: several "public" places, like The Snug or the General Store act as informal courier centres where people leave things for other people. The Snug has always been the go to place for these kinds of items - borrowed books, videos, notes. I've even picked up a check there. One year the Bowfest committee just left checks for all the musicians who played in a box at The Snug and we all waltzed in a picked them up.

It's a cool thing, a generous offering from the business owners and damn handy from time to time.

And, as the posters in the above thread note, it is polite to at least buy a coffee when dropping of or picking up an item. Small price to pay for a convenient service such as this.

Another Only on Bowen moment.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Skinny dipping in the Queen Charlotte Channel

Excellent find from the Phorum in a list of 124 years of Vancouver oddities:

"In 1938, 19-year-old Annabelle Mundigel became the first person to swim from Vancouver to Bowen Island. Not until years later did she reveal that she had slipped out of her bathing suit shortly after starting, handed it to her mother in a following boat, and swam the rest of the way clad only in lard. Yards from the island, she put the suit back on."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Friday storm

March went out like a lion delayed.  On Good Friday we awoke to a gale that had built up overnight and was blowing close to 60 km/h in the morning.  The surf was coming straight at us - a classic southeasterly and the rain was heavy.

By 10:00 the gale had strengthened and was gusting at 80 km/h and higher out in the Strait.  Around mid day, I was working in our loft room and an unholy crash sounded above my head.  Upon further inspection we found 8 large branches, each more than 3 meters long and 5 cms thick that had come flailing off a neighbour's Douglas-fir and hit the north side of our house.  No damage to the roof - although I'll need to get up there and have a better look.  Our neighbours suffered a worse fate though when a Douglas-fir came down on their power lines.

Around noon we lost power and it was off all night and clear through the next morning.  All told 24 hours without power which was beat by homes on the west side of the island who were out for nearly 36 hours after a large hemlock fell across the Grafton Road by the entrance to Artisan Square.  It was the second tree this year to fall across the road there.

There was a a lot of duff down on the roads but not too much other damage.  Our neighbour Kay lost some shingles, but we all came through all right.  However walking down on Pebbly Beach today there were two boats washed up on the beach: the two master Sid Sirrocco and the smaller eponymous Diduin which was lying above the high tide line on its side by the beach access.  The Sid Sirrocco was leaking oil all over the beach and the smell of diesel is strong there.  Hopefully it will be gone soon.

Thinking that this is probably the last big storm of the year, but we'll see.  It has been a strong El Nino year and there is a lot of energy in the atmosphere.  A series of lows and strong fronts over the past three weeks has brought really unsettled weather to the region and we have a strong high building off the coast but it hasn't been able to sneak this far north yet so it is steering all the storms over us.  Spring is sprung.