Thursday 31 October 2013

Hidden Coastal Gems: Okeover Inlet

Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands have an international reputation as a place of stunning natural beauty. Whether you explore by power boat, sail boat or kayak, this region offers limitless exploration and wonder. Okeover Inlet, on the mainland coast, is just next to the marine park as well as Malaspina Peninsula, and offers tranquil waters and easy access.
There is road access to the area, with a marina, resorts, residential areas and campsites along the inlet. Due to its protected waters, many Desolation Sound boaters stop in Okeover Inlet.
There are some excellent hiking trails in the region, and you are just a short distance away from both Lund and Powell River. This is definitely a coastal gem worth exploring!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 24 October 2013

Boundary Markers on the Water

Looking at the land from the water offers a different perspective. One of the things people who are out sight seeing or fishing for the first time may have questions about are some of the markings you can see on apparently unoccupied land. These can appear to be art work or secret messages, but actually they are for the benefit of everyone.
When fishing in amongst the islands and just off the coast, it is the responsibility of the person fishing to know and follow the regulations set out by the Department of Fisheries. These regulations include closures, places in the water where fishing is not allowed, or is only allowed to certain sectors of the fishing community (commercial, sport, etc). The boundary markers are generally visible from the water, some newer than others, some faded with time (many boundaries have been in place for years). Sometimes good old-fashioned signs work.

The markers are generally a triangle and a square, although there is no clear definition on the DFO website as to which is used when and generally the regulations will simply say "between the boundary markers at ..." Whenever you see one of these markers, search the shore opposite (often in a bay) for its mate. Line the two markers up, and the "invisible line" between the two markers is your boundary. You don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the line, as there can be hefty fines!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 17 October 2013

BCO Lifestyle: Private Islands

"You guys sell islands? Like, real islands?"

 Schloss Island

You can hear the slight awe, and longing, and envy, in the voices when people say this to us. It's true; BC Oceanfront sells private islands - whole, entire islands that are privately owned in a price range to suite many budgets.

Leech Island

Owning an island in reality of course requires a lot of thought and planning. How will you get there? (Generally boat, sometimes float plane.) Do you want protected or open water? How far do you want to be from civilization?

Harlock Island 

For some people the owning of the island is enough, and it will never be developed. It will remain a natural escape from the world, perhaps for camping on or just day trips. Or just for someone in a land-locked big city to know, they own an island in the Pacific Ocean.

 Round Island

Other people want to live on the island, at least some of the time if not full-time (and some definitely want to live there full time). That then becomes a more involved exercise. Where does the power come from? How will water be obtained? How will the building materials get there? Some people circumvent all these complicated issued by buying an island already developed, and so only requiring upkeep. But others want to create their own personal retreat and place. For them, the work and the creation of building is part of the desire.

Shewell Island
Within the BCO office there is a wealth of knowledge about the realities of coastal properties, including private islands. Ed has spent years working in the remote areas of the coast, making relationships, gathering information and seeing over time what works and what doesn’t. The BCO office team specializes in gathering information about remote areas.

Sturt Island
Islands are a dream for so many, and here at BCO, we really can help make that dream come true.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 10 October 2013

BCO on the Job: Hanging Signs

When recreational, remote and waterfront properties are your speciality, there are certain logistics that come into play. One that many people don't think of, but is a crucial part of the job, is getting signs up.

Shelley putting up a sign.

Ed putting up a sign.

Signs are awkward to carry and transport, and the ones we put up on properties have to be big enough to be visible from a distance. The minimum size is a 4 foot by 4 foot, and usually they are larger than that. Getting them into the boat or truck is one thing, getting them to where they are going to go on the property is another thing altogether!

This was a long hill with that sign in hand.
Shelley cliff climbing.

Signs need to go up at all times of the year, and they need to be sturdy enough and mounted well enough to withstand all types of weather, especially some of the wilder winter weather the BC coast can receive. This adds to the challenge of prepping the sign.
Keeping the sign standing.
Ed getting a sign ready.

Ed and Shelley are usually the ones to put up the signs, although both of them have recruited others to help on occasion. As Shelley says about these outings, "Sometimes it seems to be a comedy of errors - you never have the right supplies no matter what you bring and something always creates a challenge."
Ed and Shelley had to make this ladder from scrap lumber at the site.
Logistics on this massive sign were tricky.

Waterfront properties are usually done using Ed's boat. This means that Shelley is often the one sent to place the sign while Ed steadies the boat (and laughs at Shelley).

Was this before or after you dropped the hammer, Shelley?

Sometimes, like this summer, Ed will put friends and family to work putting signs up. In this case he recruited some family friends to get the signs out one day!

Two sets of hands definitely makes it easier.

"Getting the sign on the right property can be difficult," says Shelley. "There aren't any street numbers on these properties, so good mapping and charts are crucial." You don't want to go back and take it down until it is sold!

Picking up the sign hangers.

Some properties require travelling to by vehicle and some good trekking to find the right location to place the sign. Up on trees, in clearings and in other places of high visibility are what is needed. Sometimes on the beach is where it has to go.

A tall lone tree is perfect.

That driftwood root isn't going anywhere.

The reward in getting these signs out comes when we receive a call in the office from someone who is in a boat or on a remote road looking at the sign and calling to inquire about the property, or they've written the number down and called us when they are back in cell range. (Of course that can also pose challenges for us in the office, as we have a lot of signs out there and telling us it was seen from the water doesn't really narrow it down!)

Whatever it takes to get the sign in place.

Sign hanging is just another unique aspect of the BCO office. "It's always interesting, but in the end we get the job done while having fun and being outdoors. Just another thing that I love about the work I do!"

Smile Shelley!
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 3 October 2013

Coastal Hidden Gems: Kyuquot

Kyuquot is a west coast village well known as a fishing destination and rich in First Nations history. Kyuquot Sound is one of five major waterways on the west coast of Vancouver Island, north of Gold River, where the fishing is exciting and the scenery breath-taking. It is a place to experience the true west coast.

The small village of Kyuquot is on Walter's Island in a sheltered bay. It is home to a general store, a government dock and about 300 residents. Most visitors come for the fishing, but there are also opportunities for other marine adventures, such as whale watching and exploring the region. Sea otters are becoming a more frequent sight as well along the west coast of the island.

Kyuquot is accessible by water or air only. Fair Harbour is the closest drive-to community, and that is a three and a half hour drive from Campbell River, mostly on gravel roads. It is a 30 minute boat ride and water taxi can be arranged ahead of time. One can also fly in from Gold River, or take the passenger boat from Gold River (MV Uchuck III).

The region has a true west coast history, with high First Nations significance, fur trading, whaling, forestry and fishing all as part of the development and story.
Ed says Kyuquot is "one of Vancouver Island's very few communities that still make the west coast of Vancouver Island their home. The abundant sea life is amazing."

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!