Thursday 13 September 2012

Fishing off Vancouver Island's West Coast

Fishing is still one of the biggest attractions that brings people to Vancouver Island - and for good reason!

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Wildlife Viewing in the Waters around Campbell River

There is nothing more spectacular than a hot August day on the waters off Campbell River, looking for wildlife.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Strange Sights: The Tree of Lost Soles

While some of the things you find on the BC coast are hidden gems, others are just plain strange. For example, this tree, locally known as "The Tree of Soles" is on the side of the road from Port Hardy to Cape Scott, on Northern Vancouver Island.

This is not a small tree - and one does wonder how some of the higher additions to the collection got there!

These strange sights certainly add flavour to the BC Coast!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Coastal Hidden Gems: Ronning's Garden

The BC Coastal regions are rich with historical stories, thanks to the many unique characters and groups that have settled through-out the area over the past several hundred years (or further back in the case of our First Nations). Many of these areas are no longer inhabited, but if you know where to look the stories remain.

In 1910 a Norwegian man by the name of Bernt Ronning settled in the forests on the northwestern end of Vancouver Island. At this time there were almost 1,000 people living in the area, all trying to make a go of homesteading and surviving in this remote region. Most of them were of Scandinavian descent. The government of the time had promised a road from Cape Scott through to Port Hardy, but that never happened and so many of the settlers left after a few years. But not Ronning, who over the next 50 years made a living as a trapper and fisherman, and established an incredible exotic garden in the midst of the northern island wilderness.

According to an article written in the 1950s which is posted at the garden, Ronning used to order plants from nurseries all over the world and then hike them in to his place, sometimes taking a couple of days to get there. The 5 acres of gardens almost disappeared, until some locals decided to save what remained and reclaim the gardens from the surrounding forest. No buildings remain, but many of the plants are now giants, appearing oddly at home in the midst of the rainforest.
A giant Monkey Puzzle tree.

 To find Ronning's Garden, you take the gravel road to Cape Scott. The turn off is about 1.5 hours from Port Hardy, and is well marked by a wooden sign. From the marked parking area it is about a 15 minute walk to the gardens, where there is an information board posted to tell you about the plants and the work being done to rescue the gardens. 

Another BC hidden gem.

Friday 13 April 2012

Coastal British Columbia Featured Region -- Quatsino Sound

Quatsino Sound is one of Vancouver Island's many outdoor paradises! Located on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island, this large sound is the launching off point for amazing sport fishing, marine wildlife watching and other outdoor pursuits. It offers a great variety of exploration opportunities throughout the network of protected inlets as well as access to the open west coast. There are numerous rivers and lakes in the area abundant with trout, steelhead and spawning salmon in the fall. Seventeen miles to the southwest out Quatsino Sound is the open west coast of Vancouver Island that offers spectacular fishing for salmon, halibut and other fish species. There are a number of parks in the area, including Quatsino Provincial Park and Marble River Provincial Park, as well as forestry recreation sites.

Quatsino is a quaint historical coastal community founded in the late 1800s, with approximately 60 year-round residents plus a complement of part-time and seasonal vacationers. The community is serviced with a local road, hydro electricity and telephone. There is a government wharf and post office, as well as a church and school. The area gets decent cell phone reception. 

Quatsino Sound is accessible only by water or float plane. Boat launch facilities and water taxi are available 5 miles away in Coal Harbour, which is a 20 minute drive to Port Hardy on a paved road. Port Hardy provides essential and convenient services including: a municipal airport with flights from Vancouver and Calgary and ferry service connection north to Prince Rupert.