Thursday 31 August 2017

Summer Sign Trips

Summer is very busy in the BCO office, although often that office space is outside.


The dry months are perfect for getting out and viewing properties, sometimes with clients and sometimes just Ed and/or Shelley. It's especially a good time for fresh photos and to put signs up.

Because Ed pilots the boat, Shelley is often the sign hanger. This requires scrambling onto rocks and finding the right tree for the sign, all while not dropping your tools and carrying a 4ft x 4ft sign on plywood!

The beauty of recreational and remote real estate is the opportunity to visit not only the specific properties but to be in the regions where those properties are, to experience firsthand the spectacular views and surroundings, and to spend time on the water. Having seen it and experienced it ourselves, it makes it that much sweeter to share with clients and prospective buyers.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 24 August 2017

Homesteading History on the BC Coast

The BC Coast is not just rich in First Nations history, it is also rich in homesteading history. Throughout the last two centuries as resource workers and other groups made their way to the coast small groups, individuals and families took up residence throughout the coast, including on the many islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

It is not uncommon to come across relics from homesteading in the middle of what looks like untouched forest or grassland. From broken fencelines to house foundations and even old tools, evidence is abundant when you start to look. In particular on the north end of Vancouver Island, it is easy to stumble across pieces of machinery and household items from the early 1900s. Apparently at one time 1000 people lived in an area where only a handful of people now live at the Cape Scott area of Vancouver Island.

Another visual reminder of this past history is the abundance of fruit trees scattered throughout the region, from old orchards that have been reclaimed by the surrounding wild. Going for walks in parks and along beach fronts it is not uncommon to find a gnarled old plum or apple tree, still producing fruit. Along with the fruit trees it is possible to also find overgrown domestic plants that survived long after the homestead itself has disappeared. Rhododendrons and holly bushes are common ones to come across.

People have come and gone for various reasons. A number of Scandinavian groups came in the early 1900s to places such as Cape Scott and Sointula on Malcolm Island, looking to establish a new type of community. Many of the homesteaders in the Discovery Islands were families of the local resource workers whose livelihoods depending on the fishing, mining and forestry industries. Then in the 60s there was another wave of homesteading as the hippy generation found the mild weather of the coast perfect for their communes and back-to-the-earth ideals.

As larger communities grew on the coast and on Vancouver Island especially, many of the homesteader families moved away from the more remote areas to the convenience and steady jobs that towns could offer. Now it seems the homesteading movement is gathering interest and attention, and so more people are coming to the coast to once again connect with those more remote areas.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 17 August 2017

Summer on the Beach

Vancouver Island (and the surrounding small islands) is well known for rugged coastline and windswept vistas. While Pacific Rim National Park is world-famous for its sweeping sandy shores, not as many of the other sandy beaches are as well known. But in the summer, locals and tourists alike find them!
Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park

Rathtrevor Beach, in Parksville, is perhaps the next most well-known sandy beach. This one stretches for miles, and at low tide there is more than enough room for everyone to explore and enjoy a piece of sand.

Further up the island in the Comox Valley are Miracle Beach and Saratoga Beach. Along that same stretch is Storries Beach. Miracle Beach and Storries beach offer the benefit of rocky sections of the shoreline that provide for hours of entertainment as well as expanses of sand at lower tides.

Miracle Beach

On the islands in the waters of Vancouver Island there are also many beautiful sand beaches. Tribune Bay on Hornby Island is perhaps one of the best known, while Smelt Bay on Cortes Island is a true gem.

Smelt Bay

Pacific Rim isn't the only place for sandy beaches on the west coast either. For the intrepid traveler willing to go further afield, Raft Cove and San Josef Bay offer beautiful open beaches with views across the open Pacific.

San Josef Bay

The south island also has its share of beaches, with Victoria and Sooke having numerous sandy shorelines to find (Willows beach, Esquimalt Lagoon, Witty's Lagoon, China beach, to name a handful).

So while we may all enjoy exploring our rugged coast, we also have the opportunity on a summer's day to bask on a sandy beach and soak up all that summer has to offer.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 3 August 2017

Marine Traffic off Vancouver Island East Coast

The waterways off Vancouver Island are a highway for all manner of boats. While most people associate fishing - both commercial and recreational - with the area, the marine traffic is made up of much more than just fishing boats of all sizes.
 commercial fishing vessel off Malcolm Island
Ferry boats are a way of life for many islanders. These rugged vessels carry passengers and vehicles year-round on the east side of Vancouver Island, although serious weather can postpone a trip or two!
on the deck of the Malcolm Island ferry from Port McNeill

Quadra Island ferry running to Campbell River

Barges are a common sight as well. These ocean trucks carry goods to the islands and central BC coast, with the help of the rugged tugboats. 
Barge on its way through Discovery Passage
Frequently navy boats are seen in the waters off the island, both on the east and west coasts.
Navy vessel off Nanaimo
The biggest boats that use the marine highway around the central and northern end of the island (the southern end around Victoria does see a fair bit of large freighter traffic as they head out to open waters from Vancouver and Washington State) are cruise ships. These are a regular sight in the spring and summer months, and if you see them from close in they are amazingly big!
Norwegian Sun cruise ship in Discovery Passage
The waterways of Vancouver Island are vibrant and busy, keeping goods and people moving to and from the island. Add in the pleasure boats, sail boats, kayaks and so on - and at the height of summer the marine traffic can outnumber the road traffic around many island communities!
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!