I left Vancouver as the co-pilot on a sea plane – just in case I was needed… and skidded down 15 minutes later in the harbour of Silva Bay, Gabriola Island in a wash of sea water as the plane taxied in to the dock. As I was seated next to the pilot for the flight, I had the best view in the 6 seater plane, and my first impressions of Gabriola Island were of sun-dappled tall green cedar and fir trees on top of large boulders which lined the harbour. Tangled up in the rocks were sun-bleached logs so characteristic of Canadian west coast beaches.
Gabriola Island is one of the many islands sandwiched between the mainland and Vancouver Island, home to the BC state capital Victoria. I stayed at gorgeous B&B Casa Blanca, owned by friends of mine and located right on the water, making it super peaceful and relaxed.
I spent a fantastic week with my friends; zipping up and down the coast in a tin boat, crabbing (and getting bitten taking them out of the traps), digging for clams, and clambering over boulders and logs on extended beach walks. It is such a beautiful part of the world.
Just standing on the beach below the house I saw sea otters and seals playing in the current just off-shore. Bald eagles are present year-round, and on occasion transitory orcas have travelled down the channel – which would have been incredible to see from the breakfast table.
Driving around the island you see the same faces in different settings, and of course being western Canada, people have all types of toys lashed to their cars: kayaks, canoes and bikes because they are all off to have some sort of adventure. Gabriola is one of those places where the rest of the world seems so far away, and people definitely have the work/life balance sorted. Its going to be hard to leave here.