Three Weeks of Island Life

In a bunch of snapshots, here is how we spent three weeks on a remote tropical island northwest of Vancouver BC. Every summer we do the same things and yet every year it is totally new. We met new friends, hiked to new peaks, overcame our fear of ‘hiking’ and no longer consider it a bad word (as long as it is accompanied by the word ‘ice cream’), defeated Mexican wrestlers and much more.


There was swimming at East Beach; this shot was taken as the wake from a tug pulling two barges of saw dust rolled up on shore.


Collecting crabs on Laurel Beach for the twenty-fifth year in the row. I did it and now my children do it. I’m sure that is the same bucket I used too. Maybe even the same crabs. Definitely the same beach.


Playing Monopoly in the cabin when the tide is too low for swimming and the crabs aren’t interesting anymore. Definitely the same monopoly board.


Swimming laps around the dock at Maple Beach never gets boring, especially if you remember the goggles and the life jacket.


Our family catch for this year’s fishing derby was one shiner. We contributed lots of marshmallow and rehydrated apple to the marine food chain over the course of our visit. Those are definitely the same fishing rods – mine is the yellow one, my brother used the green one. My dad did a grand job of jury-rigging the reels, and baiting the hooks to make two kids happy.


Hoping to find a little time for felting, I brought enough supplies to last me through a month of solitude. Instead, I quickly attracted a posse of helpers eager to felt soap, explore needlefelting and felt flowers. We felted 72 felt soaps, 12 felt flowers and six felt geodes. I forgot to photograph the brown cat made for a little boy’s birthday (hopefully his family will capture it in its native habitat for me). The kids were entranced with needlefelting;  they created insects, sleeping bags, balls and Mickey. Each child placed an ‘order’ for their favorite creature from Laurie Sharp’s book WoolPets. I told them six hours spent on the feline was all I could muster this summer, but there might be something in their future.

The highlight of the summer was the day we walked across the island and back, and then some, roughly an eight mile trek. My children are not what you would call intrepid hikers. But I think I have them figured out now: break up the walk with several intermediary destinations, throw in some ice cream in the middle and a carnival halfway followed by a bbq, drag along a pair of friends and another mom who knows every camp song in the book and we’re golden.

Keats Camp is a traditional summer camp on the opposite side of the island, facing Gibsons and the rest of the Sunshine Coast. They hosted a great carnival in between two sessions when all of the counselors were at camp, but no campers. The counselors put a ton of enthusiasm, energy and fun into the event: dressing up in costumes, luring the kids from one activity to another, throwing everything they had into the day.


At this station, a pair of counselors impersonated Mexican wrestlers. They had the posturing, the accents, the moves and the stamina to take on challenger after challenger, in the full sun. I don’t know how they did it considering the heat and the brutal attacks launched by the kids.


We played on a tire swing hanging from an enormous big leaf maple while the boys successfully bobbed for apples.


Everyone had to try out the skate park and then join the classic three-legged race, trip and fall.


It seems I manage to capture a bizarre insect each time I go away from home. I would love to know what sort of butterfly this caterpillar will become. Look at those eyebrows! He reminds me of something right out of Roald Dahl, our favorite author this summer.

Thanks to my parents for putting up with us and putting us up for so long. For washing our clothes by hand, baking countless loaves of bread, smashing mussels, supervising dock swims, leading beach walks and just being there. It was a great time.


1 Response to “Three Weeks of Island Life”

  1. 1 Jeremy Carlson Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 11:27 am

    It looks like a wonderful time, Leah. Here’s hoping our kids can play with yours sometime soon.


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