Thursday 27 September 2018

BCO Coastal Gems: Malcolm Island (Sointula)

Malcolm Island sits just off the north-east corner of Vancouver Island, in the Queen Charlotte Strait, on the edge of the renowned Broughton Archipelago. The island is known these days for its rubbing beaches - stretches of round stone beaches where orca whales come and rub their bodies under the water.

Whales at the Bere Pt rubbing beach

Malcolm Island is a sprawling island 24km in length. A wide logging ride runs down the spine, from the small residential area of Mitchell Bay to the lighthouse (still manned) at Pulteney Point.
Pulteney Point lighthouse

The village of Sointula is on the eastern side of the island, facing Port McNeill and Vancouver Island. Sointula was established in the early 1900s by Finnish settlers hoping to create a perfect utopia. Although the group disbanded, the village remained as did its Finnish influence. It adapted to become a resource hub for the area in fishing and logging, as well as a place for artists and summer visitors. The village is home to the province's oldest co-op store, and offers amenities (fuel, food, lodging, medical services and even a library). 
the side of the Sointula Co-op

Access is by BC Ferries from Port McNeill (a 25 minute ride), or by personal boat. 
looking back at Sointula from the ferry

There is much to see and do on the island, from visiting the Sointula Museum to hiking the Beautiful Bay Trail to eating at the local cafe/bakery. 
Old building across from the Museum

Like all the islands off the coast of Vancouver Island, Malcolm Island has its own character and vibe. Welcoming (be prepared for every driver to wave at you as you pass), slightly off beat, and full of history, Malcolm Island is a place to visit and explore and perhaps even stay.

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

Thursday 20 September 2018

Winterizing your Recreational Property

Fall begins tomorrow and with it comes the promise of rain and wind and storms on the west coast. Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your residence, you should prepare your recreational and remote properties for the fall and winter seasons.

Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. There is nothing worse than burst pipes in the spring!

General tidy up - make sure all the loose items from summer, such as chairs, tables, planters, tools, etc are put away in a secure place. Winter weather can wreck these items, and winter storms can send them flying.

Clean up - make sure that food stuffs are either well packaged, stored somewhere else or thrown out. Mice love a winter meal! Putting linens, towels, dishcloths, etc somewhere extra dry will help keep mould from growing on damp fabrics.

Lock up - make sure the property is closed up properly. Windows and doors should be latched so wind doesn't blow them open and so that critters can't get in.

Docks - make sure the surface is "gripped" or cleaned so that if someone needs to use the docks they won't slip on the slick surface from all the winter moisture.

Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long branches that are getting too close to buildings. These can come down during winter storms doing a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. Time to get it done before the big storms come!

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

Thursday 13 September 2018

Power Generation on Remote and Recreational Properties

When dealing with recreational and remote properties there are considerations that don't come up with regular residential properties. For instance - is there power and where does it come from?

Some recreational and remote properties are close enough to small communities that they can hook into existing BC Hydro power supplies. It can be surprising how many boat access communities, such as Quatsino on the NW coast of Vancouver Island, actually have power from BC Hydro. This is then just like obtaining power for any new property - lines need to be accessed and power brought into the property through coordination with BC Hydro, neighbouring properties and local communities.

For properties beyond the scope of BC Hydro, there are still options for power. Many of the older, more established remote properties will have gas generators of some sort. This involves generators and usually a battery bank to store power so that the generators aren't running all the time. This requires gas to be brought on to the property, and general upkeep on the equipment.

Solar power has become an attractive option for some, and it is not unusual to see a house or cottage with an array of solar panels on the roof, or as a stand-alone system. These supply a battery bank which stores the energy. Some larger properties have been known to use solar power but keep a gas generator on hand as an emergency back-up system.

Another option for those who have access to a running water supply is personal use hydro-power. This requires a license for the water use, and on a good, strong water source can be a great power supply. There are a variety of set-ups depending on the amount of power required.

All of the options have pros and cons when it comes to upkeep, initial cost of installation and materials, efficiency, etc. It requires some good research both on the options and the property itself. At BCO we have a good deal of information on alternative energy and are always looking out for new and innovative ideas in power for remote/recreational properties.

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

Thursday 6 September 2018

BCO Coastal Gems: Tahsis

The coastal village of Tahsis is situated at the head of protected Tahsis Inlet, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island near Nootka Sound. Tahsis offers access to a number of wilderness hiking trails, caving, incredible ocean kayaking, scuba diving, wind surfing, sailing and canoeing.  

 The Village of Tahsis offers a variety of accommodations, from guest houses to campgrounds and marinas. 

The area is best known for offering world-class sport fishing as massive runs of salmon migrate down the west of British Columbia to their spawning grounds in coastal streams and rivers. Anglers can also venture out to the Pacific Ocean where fishing is excellent for halibut, flounder, rockfish and lingcod. Crabs, prawns, shrimp, oysters and other seafood are also plentiful. Wildlife abounds! Black bear, wolves, cougars, Roosevelt elk and coastal black-tailed deer are frequent visitors to this area. 

Guests from around the world marvel at the eagles, sea lions, whales and other marine wildlife that is common in the nearby waters. The picturesque and versatile west coast village offers a full-service marina and a safe, friendly small town atmosphere that boasts an incredible blend of outdoor adventures and some of the most rugged and breathtaking scenery in British Columbia, Canada.

Tahsis is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, approx 2.5 hours' drive from Campbell River along the Gold River Hwy and then past Gold River onto gravel road. It can also be reached by boat launched from Gold River or other west coast communities.

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