From the Netherlands to British Columbia, Canada: A Treat for the Weary Spirit

All is well in British Columbia, this western bastion of Canada, where the looming mountains of Vancouver Island protect its eastern isles from the wrath and might of the vast Pacific Ocean.

Nestling in its protective embrace the day dawns stealthily over the quiet sleepiness of Thetis Island, a tiny seed pearl in the strand of islets strung down the eastern coast of the big island.

There is nothing on this tiny fir covered piece of heaven, only a small post office and two places down at Telegraph Harbor catering for the boating fraternity passing through. There is no store or gas station, to reach anywhere you travel by ferry to Chemainus on the big island, or leave by floatplane. Chemainus is only a small townstead, but is besieged each year by thousands of tourists visiting to see the world renowned murals painted throughout the town.

Coming from the populated density of the Netherlands it feels like stretching out, breathing big. The common denominator between home and here is being surrounded by water and a need to get out on it, feel its movement under the bows, inhale the salty tang of the air.

Good job then that on day one of our visit Mr. Mike has to move a concrete dock from Telegraph Harbor round to the west of the island as a favour for a neighbor. A great excuse to get out on the water and climb aboard the Pillar Rock again – the boat that took us on a trip last year into the BC interior up Jervis inlet to Chatterbox Falls.

It’s wonderful for me to leave the guys to do what they have to do, find a quiet spot on the boat and just be, absorbing the peace and solitude. At any given time seals will bob up by the boat with curiosity and interest, heads gleaming like polished billiard balls, whiskers twitching with amusement then quickly disappear without a splash, gliding on to something new.

The Captain was quick to point out an otter, floating idly on it’s back, looking for all the world as if it should be reclined on an inflatable sun-lounger, webbed paws clutching a martini, relaxed and unconcerned by our boat chugging by.

There were eagles too, circling overhead or perched high in the trees, imperious and graceful, aloof to the human activity below.  Everything here is on a wilder and grander scale than the country we have come from. The Netherlands is domesticated and tamed, where ducks and well-groomed parks offer a refinement and structured elegance rather than the raw, untouched almost feral beauty of British Columbia.

Even on the first day of summer the place has a brooding power and presence usually softened by the brightness and warmth of sunlight in other places. Not here. The briny waters gently lapping the rocky beaches belie the harsh lashing waves of the winter storms and the mountain peaks of summer, dusted with powdered sugar, mere echoes of the dense arctic blankets thrown over them in winter.

It’s a place to feed the soul and spirit, remind ourselves of our insignificance as we go about our business on this small planet floating in the vastness of space.

We need to be reminded of that sometimes and this is one place to do it.

About wordgeyser

Our anglo/american family used to live in four countries (USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands) on two continents, separated by distance, time zones, circumstance and cultures. It has been a scary, enriching, challenging place to be. The only things guaranteed to get us through were a sense of humour and the amazing people met along the way. . . This year everything changed with a move for us from the Netherlands, – and a move along with us for our son and his wife from the UK – to Houston, Texas, the same city as our daughter. With our youngest in Vancouver, Canada, we are now all living on the same continent. How this happened, and more importantly why, will be the subject of this ongoing blog...
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2 Responses to From the Netherlands to British Columbia, Canada: A Treat for the Weary Spirit

  1. Jane says:

    Wow… it sounds fantastic. I am adding this to my list of places I must go…

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