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Friday, 12 July 2013

Bowen Island 32 Years Later...July, 2013

Bowen Island, BC

One day last year I was about to catch a ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver and asked if there was a senior’s discount. I had just turned 65. To my surprise I found out that I could travel free as a foot passenger. The only stipulation was that the free ride was only available during the week Monday to Thursday.
A number of times in travelling by ferry to Vancouver and I would look up above the shoreline to the left of me as we passed Bowen Island and see if I could find the house my ex-wife and I once owned back in 1981. It appeared to be still intact. Over the years I had wondered a few times what had happened to the place. It wasn’t a big house as it only had two bedrooms and an open plan kitchen/living room. It was all wood and what they call a Panabode.
This year I got to thinking about taking a trip over to Bowen Island for the day. I was going to be on foot. This past Tuesday I made the journey. All in all I took 4 ferry rides. Two there and two back. If I had brought a car it would have cost me over 200 dollars. Show me an old guy who doesn’t like the word “free” and I’ll show you a nut.
It was one of those perfect BC coast sunny summer days. Many of the ferry passengers were out on the top deck, some stretched out wherever they could find a spot to soak up a few rays. The ocean was calm and there was a slight breeze.
Hitchhiking is legal on Bowen Island and they even have signs where you can wait for a lift. I got a short ride from an old guy who cut off at Hummingbird Lane. Could there be a better name for a street you retired to? There are a couple of big hills on the way to my old house and even with that I decided to hike the rest of the way instead of trying to get a lift.
I spotted my old house from the main road and sauntered down to it. I noticed a car parked in the driveway and caught a glimpse of an older gentleman who disappeared down along the side of the house. This wasn’t my first rodeo as far as knocking on a door of a place that I had once spent time at. I let out a big “hello” and the older gentleman appeared and asked me if he could help me. I did my best to explain who I was and my connection to his house.
Although he was in the middle of an outdoor project he took the time to show me around the house. He is a former engineer who was born in Scotland. He was little reticent about showing me the inside of the house which is understandable. It turned out that he had bought the place about 17 years ago and at the time it was in some disrepair. Over the years he had replaced the roof and outside deck, added a storage room beneath the living area, recreated the front entranceway, built some stairs so that the back deck could be accessed from outside. He had also graded the property around the house so that rainfall drained away from the foundation.
All in all I probably spent about a ½ hour chatting with the owner. One of his neighbours, a guy named Don Nicholson who is a retired architect, was one of our neighbours back in 1981. Unfortunately Don was off of the island the day that I visited.
I took a few photos. Because the house is so high up on a kind of cliff side it isn’t the easiest place to take pics of. It sure does have an amazing view.
Here are some of the photos I took….
Morning coffee at ferry terminal at Departure Bay, Nanaimo.
Upper deck on ferry to Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver.
Mountain Skyline from Salish Sea.
Cowan Point, Bowen Island.
Old house cliff side at Queen Charlotte Heights, Bowen Island. In the group to the left.

Coming into Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver.

Coming into Snug Cove, Bowen Island

Ferry line-up Bowen Island.
Hitchhiking sign.
Strata sign where my old house is located.
The old house 2013.
The old house 1981.
The old house 2013.
The old house 1981.
Kitchen of old house 2013.
Kitchen of old house 1981.
View from back deck 2013.
View from back deck 1981.
New back deck.

New front entrance and stairway.

Current owner on phone.

Goodbye old house!
Old Union Steamship building 1981.
Old Union Steamship building 2013.

Snug Harbour, Bowen Island.
Bowen Island ferry.

Leaving Bowen Island.
Sailboats near Departure Bay, Nanaimo


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