12 July 2011

A Visit to Paradise

Not everyone was as lucky as I was to have a place to call home every summer doing something I absolutely loved!  I was able to work (can you call it work when you are doing everything you ever dreamed of doing?) on a farm in Bragg Creek, Alberta, helping with a riding school and farm camp.  Honestly, I loved every minute of it. I still call Flying Goose Farm home!  Carmen Pearson, who ran The Goose, for as long as I remember has been a teacher, mentor, boss, mother and friend.  A few years ago Carmen and her family moved from the beautiful Foothills of Alberta to the incredible Gulf Island of Mayne, in the Strait of Georgia.  So, while in Victoria, I just had to take the trip to visit her on her little bit of paradise!

We stayed at the resort Carmen now owns, Blue Vista Resort. Honestly, if you've ever wanted to visit the Gulf Islands, go to Mayne and stay at Blue Vista. It was charming, beautiful, and I fell totally in love!

We stopped at the Mayne Island Farmers Market, where Eli bought a real quill and ink to write with and I bought a delicious raspberry pie for dinner at the Pearson's. I love small town farmer's markets more than anything!

Once we met up with Carmen, she took us straight to the beach to shuck oysters for dinner.  Guess what? I didn't eat them, but it was fun to "harvest" them.  Apparently there is something about the ocean streams, or the tides, or something, that makes the oysters and clams on the beaches of Mayne edible and not chalk full of toxins.  We also learned that when you harvest the oysters you have to throw the shells back to the beach, because the baby oysters live on the backs of the big ones, so to keep the population up, you just throw back the shells.  There is also something about the ocean streams that make the Mayne climate much more mild than other places. We watched the rain pour in Vancouver while the sun was shinning on Mayne. It was beautiful. 


Eli thought the beach was pretty cool.  We found the only sea star that wasn't firmly stuck to a boulder.  Eli wanted to take it home as a pet, but we convinced him to leave it there with his family.

This crab also almost came home with us. 

Andrew, Carmen's husband, and one of my favourite British men in the whole world because as long as I can remember he has always called me "Love,"  took us for a ride in his boat to see the Sea Lions on an island just off Mayne.

We sat and watched them bark at each other for half an hour, fighting for a place on that rock, disappearing in the rising tide. It was pretty cool.

It was so nice to just explore the island. The 21 square km didn't take long at all to cover, but we enjoyed every bit of it.  Carmen told us all about the sordid past of the island, from the rum runs during American Prohibition (Carmen's house sits on "Smugglers Cove" where the rum runners would beach when runnig from the US authorities), to the deportation of the Japanese settlers during WWII.  She also told us about all the islands around, many of which were privately owned by people much more wealthy than me!  Oh to own an island just to throw some peacocks and goats on it.  In another life...  The greatest part though was being able to enjoy the company of dear old friends!

Carmen's kids, who I watched grow up on the farm, were both there for the summer. I can't believe how grown up and wonderful they both are!  Love them. 

Kay, this could have possibly been my favourite thing on Mayne Island: Car Stops. They were all over the island, places where you could stand to hitch hike to wherever you needed to be.  No place was very far, but if you didn't want to walk, you could just catch a ride with whomever came along.  Awesome.
Honestly, pack up right now and go.  If you are going to fly, fly into Victoria though, because the ferries are cheaper to and from there (and maybe you'll be as lucky as we were and see killer whales from the ferry as you travel!).  However you get there, you will love it, I promise!

Here's a video I made years ago with all my pictures from Flying Goose Farm.  There are a few of you out there who will appreciate the memories!

1 comment:

  1. I want to go!!! Do a giveaway! :)
    We went to Salt Spring once, it was similar. We loved it!


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