Archive for the ‘Hornby Island’ Category

Sunset Over Denman No.2

July 1, 2012

See also.

Sunset Over Denman

July 6, 2009



June 13, 2007

Looks like it has been exactly a year since my first post. Crazy. Lots of ebbs and flows, adventures, new horizons. Some high (and low) points include:

Very bad poetry

Depressive episodes

Mind-blowing days

Bitchy browsing

Near apocalypses

Moments of pure tranquility

And blazing beauty

Also lots of politics, and history and bookishness besides, but you already knew that…Guess I’ll keep on going for a little while, since the last 365 days haven’t been so bad. Thanks one and all for coming along on the ride (especially Irina, without whom this site would be remarkably monochromatic…) and making this more than a monologue. You’re a “special” bunch…


July 26, 2006

I couldn’t totally cover the Hornby Island experience (are you experienced? have you ever been experienced?) without mentioning something about Helliwell. Rarely has a short hike up a hill through lovely pine forests ever been more worthwhile, since you emerge out into this magical land. It is something like a dry, crunchy alpine field, but you are standing on a 200-300 ft. cliff looking across the strait. And of course there are beautiful, truly inspiring views. If it weren’t for the wind and the baking sun, you could sit out there all afternoon, totally entranced by the place. I’m posting a picture, but you really just had to be there.

And so it was with that (well, at least in memory) that we finally said goodbye to Hornby…now Irina is suddenly talking about this place called Tofino, which a friendly native of Vancouver Island currently ensconced in Montreal also told me I just had to see. Wonder what it’s going to be like…

1 July (Canada Day), 2006, Hornby Island BC

July 22, 2006

Today we’re on Hornby Island. Had to take two short ferry rides to get here — one from Vancouver Island to Denman & then another to Hornby. These islands are to the east of Vancouver Island in the Straits of Georgia. You are three ferry rides from the mainland — definitely off the beaten path. Beautiful. Hornby is a little hippy paradise. Just one road ringing the island — cute signs for guerilla-style craft operations (potters, painters, etc…), small organic farms, and only one store — an eclectic co-op where you can buy anything from produce to fishing tackle. The community bulletin board alone is a journey into transcendence and the mysteries of the universe…

Right next to the ferry dock as you get off is this little bar and restaurant called “The Thatch.” It’s a funky hobbit-hole of a place with wooden decks hanging over the beach. It earns its namesake from the wild grass lawn growing on the roof. I half expected to see a herd of goats up there…

After finding a spot to camp and put Betty into action as a makeshift “tent” we headed over to the beach. Spent all afternoon there…A beautiful sheltered spot where the water was really warm. Did my first swimming in the Pacific, avoiding the large clumps of sand dollars in the silky soft sand. Not only is the water nicer than in say, Maine or New Jersey, but you also play Frisbee and get a tan while looking at incredible snow-capped peaks. There were even a few southerners who had decided to come up the coast for Canada day, and we befriended one. He was a little blond to fit the role, but Pancho (a.k.a Brent) certainly smoked like he’d come right from the barrio.

After returning from the beach and dusting off the sand, we spent the evening going back and forth from pub to campsite. Had an amazing buffet dinner and sat listening to a local band of girls from 12 to about 20 playing xylophones and other percussion instruments. It could have been the Caribbean if not for the mountains.

Watched the sunset from a point where you could see in every direction; almost a 360 degree panorama. Breathtaking and peaceful all at once. Like few other spots in the world I’ve ever seen. Simply magical. We kept drinking and when the dusk finally subsided there was a little fireworks display — nice. Continued drinking, smoking and sitting by the fire long into the night. At one point I wandered out on my own in the dark — fueled by booze, dope and other mind alterants and looking for adventure. Almost fell through the rickety old dock — made by hippies, maintained by hippies — but barely survived to make the journey home. There were other stragglers among us, and the collective hangover on the island the next morning was palpable in the air. And yet what air.

Sitting and waiting for the ferry home I remember being in Betty behind yet another VW van with custom paint. In this case it was a rosy-cheeked gnome with the caption — “Zwerg is our co-pilot.” Some wise man (judging by the head gear) came out of the van with a staff in one hand and a book (of koans, no doubt) in the other. He smiled and waved a benediction as he passed, walking down the road like Moses heading out into the desert. When the ferry came there was no one in sight and the tribe had obviously just wandered off, leaving their conveyance behind. It’s OK, on Hornby there’s usually another ferry coming around eventually. I can certainly imagine not being in much of a rush to leave, either. Maybe someday I’ll come back and never leave…


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