Bowen Island Journal

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August 31, 2006
Alan Fotheringham weighs in with his annual "how I spent my summer holidays" piece. He comes over here in the summer and often writes something like this at the end of the year. A piece he wrote in Maclean's a while back made some really offensive comments about Vanessa, who runs the Paradise Grill. This year, as usual, he gets some truths late and some half baked. The community consensus last time was that he thinks of us islanders as quaint.

He's out of touch, indeed more out of touch than any of you far flung readers of this blog. So he assumes that the cougar that is currently on the island is simply an extension of the old rumour about lions prowling the place. There is a persistent rumour of cougars here, but in the last year the sightings and scat have proved that there actually is one here at the moment.

He makes some really disparaging remarks about the Dalai Lama and the work that is being done to find a place to build a retreat centre here. He has a tender review of the Bow Fest parade, but, friends, the woman on the horse was not drunk. It was Karo, sure, but she wasn't drunk. And he trots out his usual amazement that he can get the New York Times here on Sunday morning.

And then there is this total historical mash up: "My retreat is called Bowen Island, named after a rear admiral in the British Royal Navy who discovered this little piece of heaven in 1860. Evidence would suggest that he wasn’t the first guy in the territory. It would seem the Spanish high-riggers, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, beat the Brits to the job. Witness the names of the other islands built in Paradise: Saturna, Galiano, Valdes, Texada, Ganges, Lasqueti, Gabriola, Hernando. I rest my case."

Bowen Island was never seen by Bowen. It was actually named by Captain Richards in 1859, taking the lead from Vancouver who named the Sound for Rear Admiral Richard Howe and the heros of the Glorious First of June. And of course it is true that the English weren't the first in the territory, and neither were the Spanish. The Squamish have been here for at least 9,000 years. And the Squamish name for Fotherham's little retreat at Hood Point is Kwumshum, which means "fast drumming ground" or "thumping feet" for the sound the tide makes as it rolls over the rocks between Bowen and Finnisterre Island. I rest my case.

See you next year Alan.




Alan Fotheringham weighs in with his annual "how I spent my summer holidays" piece. He comes over here in the summer and often writes something like this at the end of the year. A piece he wrote in Maclean's a while back made some really offensive comments about Vanessa, who runs the Paradise Grill. This year, as usual, he gets some truths late and some half baked. The community consensus last time was that he thinks of us islanders as quaint.

He's out of touch, indeed more out of touch than any of you far flung readers of this blog. So he assumes that the cougar that is currently on the island is simply an extension of the old rumour about lions prowling the place. There is a persistent rumour of cougars here, but in the last year the sightings and scat have proved that there actually is one here at the moment.

He makes some really disparaging remarks about the Dalai Lama and the work that is being done to find a place to build a retreat centre here. He has a tender review of the Bow Fest parade, but, friends, the woman on the horse was not drunk. It was Karo, sure, but she wasn't drunk. And he trots out his usual amazement that he can get the New York Times here on Sunday morning.

And then there is this total historical mash up: "My retreat is called Bowen Island, named after a rear admiral in the British Royal Navy who discovered this little piece of heaven in 1860. Evidence would suggest that he wasn’t the first guy in the territory. It would seem the Spanish high-riggers, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, beat the Brits to the job. Witness the names of the other islands built in Paradise: Saturna, Galiano, Valdes, Texada, Ganges, Lasqueti, Gabriola, Hernando. I rest my case."

Bowen Island was never seen by Bowen. It was actually named by Captain Richards in 1859, taking the lead from Vancouver who named the Sound for Rear Admiral Richard Howe and the heros of the Glorious First of June. And of course it is true that the English weren't the first in the territory, and neither were the Spanish. The Squamish have been here for at least 9,000 years. And the Squamish name for Fotherham's little retreat at Hood Point is Kwumshum, which means "fast drumming ground" or "thumping feet" for the sound the tide makes as it rolls over the rocks between Bowen and Finnisterre Island. I rest my case.

See you next year Alan.




August 30, 2006
Our new local radio station, which has been on the air for a little while, is now live on the web. If you want to tune in, go visit Artisan Radio. David is playing mostly non-stop music and old radio shows these days. It's great stuff. And be sure to tune in for the Bowen Showcase daily from 5-6pm, for an hour of local music. David has been kind enough to include some of my stuff in the mix.

Soon we'll be contributing with local programming, but in the meantime, it makes a great work accompaniment.




August 29, 2006
It's a thick day here in the coastal atmosphere. Clouds moved in overnight from the west and this morning there was a thick haze in the channel. There are no boats out on the Sound today, in stark contrast to the traffic of the last few days, the last hot summer weekend. There is no wind, but the air is cooler. It might rain today which would be good as we've only had 4mm all month. The pile of split maple I stacked in the spring is dry and I'm looking at it like I know it won't be long before it starts to get used in the woodstove.

August is dying on the vine, and we are entering the last month of summer, the transition into fall, ever so gently and cautiously.




August 26, 2006
Back home again after a couple of weeks away. One notices the stuff that has changed. The nights are cooler now and the ocean is getting really cold. The blackberries are in full swing with a good crop this year. There is something decadent about blackberry pie. When you cook blackberries, they dissolve into some kind of perfume. It's gorgeous.

I know have enough Oregon grapes and salal to make a lot of jelly, so I'll probably do that tomorrow.

Bowfest is today, our annual Island gathering and this year's theme is medieval.




August 04, 2006
I have begun to assemble a collection of Google Earth placemarks on Bowen Island.

You can view them by making sure you have Google Earth installed on your machine and then downloading this .kmz file: Bowen Island.kmz which contains all the place marks. I'll be adding to it over time, and current versions will be uploaded here, and accessible on the sidebar.




August 03, 2006
SPent a day snorkelling at Cates Bay beach today.

Holy crap, what a beautiful place to snorkel. At the north end of the public beach is a rocky point and lots of underwater rock reefs. The visibility was amazing, easily 15 feet, and there were lots of little fish around, shiners and plenty of rockfish deeper down. Some of the rockfish were good sized ones too. Lots of crabs in the mussel beds and plenty of ochre sea stars and little blue stars as well

Diving down about 15 feet or so there are lots of eelgrass beds with dungeness crabs and big red rock crabs scuttling about. It's probably great diving down there, heading into the steeper deeps. I'll bet there's scores of rockfish in there,being that it's part of a Rockfish conservation area.

You can see the whole area on this satellite photo. In the bay north of the point, you can see how the sea floor is shallower. That's where the reefs are. Next time, I'm going around the outside of the far point into the surgier areas to see if there are anemones and urchins.




August 02, 2006
We're a pretty friendly bunch around here, but if there is one thing that gets the goat of most Bowen Islanders, it's the folks that jump into the ferry line up ahead of others.

We have a pretty straightforward ferry loading scheme: you line up. There is a slight glitch however in that elegance in that the lineup happens on Bowen Trunk Road, and there are several gaps in the line due to restrictions such as not blocking fire hydrants, fire lanes and driveways. But the municipality has helpfully painted cross hatching on the road where you are not allowed to park. Despite that, there is sometimes confusion when, coming around the corner from Miller Road, you might pull into the ferry lineup without checking whether the traffic is lined up above you on the hill. This often happens, especially to visitors.

(You can see what I mean in the Google Maps image of the crossroads.)

And it happened this afternoon. As I was riding up Bowen Trunk Road on my bike, I saw a grey Mercedes pull into the lineup when there was clearly an overload - the traffic was backed way up the hill and it was the first sailing after dangerous cargo - 5:00pm on a Wednesday - so it was bound to be full. This car pulled up behind a black Mercedes convertible just above the General Store. Both were parked in the cross hatched areas.

Helpfully, I went over to the driver of the grey car and filled him in on the etiquette and told him there would probably be an overload, so he might want to get up to the top of the line to be fair. He asked if that applied to his friend ahead of him, called Fred, who also arrived late. I said it did. He thanked me and got out to talk to Fred.

I went to the Ruddy Potato, did some shopping and came out, only to see that neither the grey car or the black one had moved. I returned and asked him if he was going to move and he said no. I said it would be the polite and neighbourly thing to do and he thanked me again and simply sat at the wheel of his car looking ahead. I asked Fred the same thing. Fred's wife started making some noises about how they didn't know that was the rule and just as I was about to give them a chance to make good on their mistake Fred barked at me "We're NOT moving."

And they didn't.

And the ferry was overloaded.

Now, my guess is that these three people were embarrassed. They probably felt embarrassed then ashamed when I returned and saw that they hadn't moved even when they knew they were being unfair to others. I can understand that. I've felt that way before. But when offered a clear way to make amends, to do the right thing, they refused. I wonder if it compounded their suffering? I wonder if folks confronted them on the ferry and then later on if they thought about what it means NOT to do the right and fair thing when you know so clearly what it is?

I hope they aren't Islanders. If they were visitors, I can appreciate that it was an honest mistake and that they weren't resourceful enough to deal with politely. I mean, what's in it for them if some Bowen Islanders miss their boat to town because they snuck in? But if they were Islanders, it shows a kind of frightened contempt for their neighbours.

If you are coming to visit us on Bowen Island, remember, please check the line up above the crossroads. If there are no cars up there, you can line up down in the Cove. If there are cars there, you can line up on the hill. And don't take it personally when one of us points out the rules. If you've made an honest mistake, we're very forgiving and friendly people. We'll all thank you for taking the chance to do the right thing.