Marja-Leena Rathje
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island getaway



As some readers may have suspected, we've been away on a week's getaway to a couple of islands. The day after our disastrous federal election, we took a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, then a small ferry over to nearby Gabriola, one of the Gulf Islands. This was our first visit to this island, one that has been on my wish list for some time because of its noted rock formations and petroglyphs. We stayed in a wonderful bed and breakfast for three nights and were lucky with perfect weather in which to explore and take numerous photos.

I'll write more later, including about the rest of our trip on Vancouver Island itself. We made it home Monday evening, happy and pleasantly tired. Amazing how much there is back home to catch up on, I could just turn around and go back to the lazy life on 'island time'. With hundreds of photos to still sort to post here and many blogs to catch up on, I will just leave a couple of scenic shots here to say I'm home.

Marja-Leena | 11/05/2011 | 18 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Travel


Looks lovely, Marja-Leena. Looking forward to the photos, and glad to hear you had good weather and a nice relaxing vacation.

The west coast of Vancouver Island was sparsely populated when I lived in BC and we often hiked on coastal trails beyond Sooke where the road ended. I was lucky enough to have time and energy to see and stay on a number of the islands. Gabriola is a real gem. I know what you mean about being sorry to leave.

Your pictures make me eager to get to the Northwest. We'll be in Seattle soon.

Leslee, thanks, I hope you won't get bored with all the rock photos coming up.

Susan, you have indeed been lucky to visit so many islands, unlike us. Vancouver Island's population has grown but I think it's still sparse beyond Sooke. It's been decades since we've been in that area, another one we wish to explore along with many other islands and the northwest of BC. We really don't even have to leave this province for all the areas we still wish to explore. How about the Maritimes, will you be traveling around that region?

Hattie, hope the weather improves when you get to Seattle. It was back to cold and wet today. I still haven't been able to get much of my spring gardening done.

That's the trouble with coming home isn't it, so many photos and so little time! I find it difficult sometimes to get started.

Looking forward to seeing them, those rock shapes do look intriguing. The dark trunks of the pines against the views of the shore remind me of our trip too.

It sounds as though your escape to the island was a direct result of the election. It looks like a good place to flee to.

That island is now on my list to visit.

But do come to Lummi sometime soon. There's lots to see here.

Gabriola Island was immortalized in part by the late Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957), who lived in what is now part of Vancouver in the most productive and happy 14 years of his life. He visited Gabriola several times, and wrote a short story collection titled "The October Ferry to Gabriola", which was intended to be a part of a longer, multi-volume work.

Lucy, you would know, with all the little trips and photos you take. It's this time of year with all those garden jobs to do...

Joe, hmm, I did make it sound like we were fleeing though we'd planned this holiday for a while with an eye to the weather, but chose to stay home the day of the election, not realizing how stressful that would be. It was a great place to recover in.

Anne, I think all our Gulf Islands are worth a visit, as I'm sure yours are too. We'd been to Whidbey many years ago and would love your Lummi just from your loving descriptions of it. One day.

Black Pete, you seem to know all about Lowry, having mentioned him before in some of my previous posts. I did not remember that story collection, thanks for sharing!

sounds like a lovely trip. amazing how much work home is!! x

Elisa, yes, the trip was lovely as we also saw family and friends in Victoria. And yes, so much to do at home with the garden (if the rain would just hold off) and the house, with company coming too.

this sounds like a great way to recover from the disastrous results of a majority Conservative govt!

Thank you, Marja-Leena. Lowry has been in past years a bit of an obsession of mine, ever since I read his novella The Forest Path to the Spring. It is a fact that in much of his difficult, alcoholic, demon-driven life, his happiest and most productive years were in Vancouver area--TFPTTS is absolutely rhapsodic, raprutous in its description of the area. I have been trying to write a play about that time which takes in his point of view, that of his wife Margery Bonner Lowry, and a single character who is an amalgam of Earle Birney and a half dozen other people important in their lives there. It is a project which frightens me greatly...

Taina, yes, it certainly got our minds off that disaster, though we hadn't consciously planned it that way.

Black Pete, what a fascinating and challenging project! Have you thought of visiting the areas that Lowry lived in and wrote about? I'd be happy to show you the spot near us that was his home for some time. I really must read that book - I've put it in my library wish list.

Enticing dark beach!

I am semi-home (North Carolina) from Wales... Shall come back again when I'm all the way home.

HI Marly, thanks for dropping by during your travels on the way home. I've been following all the excitement in Wales on your blog and at Clive's and look forward to more soon. Sorry, I still haven't got around to more posts about our trip, just too busy.

You're on, ML! Forest Path is rarely published separately due to its length--too short for a novel, too long for a short story. You'll find it in short story collections, such as the Penguin book of Canadian Short Stories ( )edited by Wayne Grady. Good luck!

Black Peter, thanks for the link for the book, will check it out!