Adventure, Food, photography

Postcard: Vancouver Island

When we lived in Vancouver, we embarked on a few weekend getaways to Vancouver Island. We would take a spacious ferry across the Georgia Strait, then drive to a house rental on the shore.

The first time we arrived at this house, it was in the dark of night. The front gate was obscured from the road by overgrown trees and bushes. When we pulled in, there wasn’t anything spectacular about the place. The yard was fairly empty, and the house was a gray one-story.

When we opened the door, though, I was wowed. The house may have been small, but it was beautifully designed. We were greeted immediately with a stunning view of the water from the large picture windows facing the front door. There was an open-concept living, kitchen and dining great room, and a bedroom and bathroom made up the other half of the cozy house. The kitchen had luxury finishes, a large stove, and plenty of counter space. It was an inspiring place to cook.

Cook, we definitely did. There was a well-stocked grocer in town, and a butcher, and we filled up bags to create special meals every time we stayed at the house. There’s also a local craft brewery, so we brought our growlers and filled up at the taps to take the brews back to the house.

The house had a potbelly fireplace in a corner, and there was plenty of wood stored to feed it. We loved lighting the fire and keeping it blazing.

We rented a kayak once and paddle out to put crab traps into the water, tying them to a buoy. Luckily, we made a catch when we pulled the traps up later in the day.

The house sits along a bay, protected from ocean swells by surrounding land. The calmness of the water makes for pleasant paddling. (The water isn’t always calm. Sometimes storms roll in, and they churn up the waves, making for good viewing from the picture windows of the house.)

I loved looking at the water and the snow-capped mountains just on the other side of the bay. When sea conditions were calm, you could see the rocks on the seafloor clearly, like the bottom of a river. I would’ve loved to see the salmon run through there (we weren’t around during the salmon run).

My favorite time of day was low tide. The receding water would expose oysters on the seafloor. These oysters were huge beach oysters (the most famous ones from Vancouver are called Fanny Bays). I loved walking out and harvesting them. Once we cracked them open, they were full of deliciously salty natural jus, with flavors that ranged from mineral to melon and cucumber.

It was a great pleasure living in Vancouver (the local license plate declares “Beautiful British Columbia” for good reason). Being able to harvest oysters from a beach house was the greatest pleasure among many.

I haven’t had oysters like those since we left Vancouver. I miss them: the experience and the flavor.

The photo above reminds me of that time. I like how the view of the outside is framed by the effect of low light in the interior of the house. The water is calm out front, and the mountains stand elegant in the distance. Maybe I took this photo while waiting for low tide, looking forward to harvest time.

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