Thursday 26 January 2023

BCO Coastal Gems: Alert Bay

The Village of Alert Bay is located on Cormorant Island in the only bay on the island that provides sheltered moorage on a year-round basis. The community averages about 450 year-round residents and the village provides a range of services, including a health centre, pharmacy, restaurants, gift shops and liquor store all located within walking distance of the ferry. Alert Bay Boat Harbour provides moorage, showers and laundry facilities. Just outside of the village is a non-commercial air strip, convenient for personal aircraft as well as for emergency services. Alert Bay is rich in cultural heritage and easily accessible by a scenic ferry ride from Port McNeill.

Activities such as whale watching, eco-tours, kayaking, hiking and biking are popular, and the area provides lots of great fishing opportunities.

Alert Bay is the gateway to Knight and Kingcome Inlets and is close to the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, a wilderness area consisting of a maze of several small islands, inlets and adjacent foreshore at the southern end of Queen Charlotte Strait. The numerous remote, solitary islands in the marine park provide access to some of the world’s most phenomenal waterways and coastlines, with an array of indigenous marine and coastal wildlife, tremendous scenery, unlimited and unique fishing, yachting and wildlife viewing opportunities and almost endless exploring.

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

Thursday 12 January 2023

5 Steps to Prepare for Travelling in Remote Areas

 The BCO team spends a fair bit of time travelling in remote areas, both on northern Vancouver Island and on the surrounding small islands as well as the mainland. Some of this travelling is done by boat, some by car, and sometimes the team flies in - but planning for these trips regardless of transportation method has some things in common.

1. Have a paper map with you. GPS is well and good, but batteries fail, satellite reception and definitely cell reception can be dodgy in heavily forested areas. Backroad mapbooks are a great resource to have for remote travel. When you are going by boat charts are good. If we are headed to an oceanfront property any photos we can print of the shoreline to help us identify where we are are good, as are Google Earth photos and any online mapping we can print out.

2. Have gravel road equipment in your vehicle. Make sure your spare tire is inflated, and that you have a working jack. Have a shovel for if you get stuck (and if you hit snow, from October to April it is common to hit snow at higher elevations). A small hatchet or chainsaw can come in handy for any downed branches/tree limbs on roads and long driveways. Sturdy gloves can be useful.

3. Let someone know your travel plan, and let them know when you're back. When one of the team heads out on a field trip, the rest of us know where they are going. And, they let us know when they are back in town.

4. Have outdoor gear with you. Sometimes it is easy to leave home in town with your runners on and light gear, only to find muddy, wet ground and wet undergrowth that you end up tromping through. Or in summer you head out in shorts only to end up walking through overgrown trails and getting scratched up. This summer some of our team ended up at a property that was unexpectedly heavy with mosquitoes - bug spray and long sleeves were definitely needed!

5. Prepare for the unexpected. Roads will be blocked, weather will change, properties (or parks, or trails) will be hard to find. The more you can prepare for these to happen, the better your trip will go. Don't book an appointment for later that day, because that will ensure something will stop you getting back in time!

It can be easy to head out from the south end of the island and not realize just how vast and remote the north island and surrounding islands can be. A little time spent preparing means your adventure can be enjoyable, rather than frustrating.

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