July 30, 2012

A Week Without Shoes

An early morning + two ferries with drives in between + mad rush to get gear on to a water taxi + uphill climb to get gear up a steep ramp at low tide = no inconvenience when I think back on the week spent on Savary Island at the mouth of B.C.s Desolation Sound.

For one bliss-filled week, I, along with my mum, brother, sister and all our respective spouses and kids basically took over the entirety of the Savary Island Resort, a small but amenable complex two thirds of the way west on the small sandspit that is Savary Island.

Mother nature was smiling on us, and from the time we greeted our resort hosts Kim and Michael until the time we left, there was barely a cloud to speak of let alone a whisper of wind. All that sun only leaves one thing to do on a tiny island: visit every beach you can pack in.

Seven kilometres end to end, a kilometre wide at its widest and 300 meters at its narrowest, Savary is plenty easy to get around on a bike or by foot, and there’s water nearby no matter where you go. We splashed in the shallows off the white sand of South Beach, and combed for all manner of sea creatures in the tidal flats of the North side of the island, where you cannot take a step without ending the life of some tiny mollusc, a sand dollar, a snail, crab, or at the very least crunching through a broken oyster or clam shell, already dealt with by a sea otter or ocean faring bird. At this point, I know what you’re thinking: “yeah, but it’s still the Pacific, and northern at that, so the water is cold, right?” Wrong! At it’s best times, as warm as a bathtub, at its worst, just pleasantly cool. Savary is enviably situated at the confluence of some tepid tidal and current movements that make the water surprisingly warm, and crystal clear!

For all those pescatarian and above, my brother will happily recount one mid week meal that consisted solely of salmon caught that morning, prawns fresh caught by the local fire chief that afternoon, and clams and oysters dug up from the mud that day at low tide. D-freakin-licious.

The island is pretty “off the grid", which is awesome. It’s solar panels, well water and pack out your garbage for the most part, so distractions such as cell phones and televisions didn’t much play in to the equation! There are very few vehicles and the locals like it that way (though we did get in a traffic jam invovling a golf cart, our bikes, two dogs and a small pickup truck...), with a single dirt road running the length of the island and a few other side roads that are only marginally vehicle friendly. Bikes and ATVs are the order of things! We had our bikes and it was the best way to get around!  More on the resort itself: hand built by it’s owners from the logs felled and milled from the lot, The resort features four bunk houses, each with a queen bed and two top-bunks, so the twelve of us that were there took over the space quite nicely. We all shared a communal kitchen with two stoves, two big fridges and an industrial sink, with a wrap around bar, comfy couches and benches and drawers full of books to read during your stay. There are no freezers, so if you decide to go, meal plan accordingly! Outdoors, an undercover big table next to a great big barbeque ensured fine al fresco dining. There are no less than four hammocks of varying descriptions, which ensured fine al fresco snoozing. A huge fire pit encircled with chairs, a nice courtyard and a grassy badminton /volleyball net ensured...you guessed it... fine al fresco fun.

There is also a sizable outdoor shower as well as men’s and women’s shower and bathrooms. The resort also has two luxury suites if you don’t fancy “glamping” with your family in the bunkhouses, all self contained with everything you’d need (ie, king sized beds, personal kitchens, forest and ocean views, personal sundeck...). As a guest, the owners are willing to put you to the test...with a potential payoff! The resort  has a contest whereby you, as the guest, can cook Kim and Mike a meal... if they deem it the best of the year, they’ll give you a free stay at the resort! My sister in law took them up on this challenge, putting together a Souvlaki meal that had me drooling (though, I might add, my sister in law was the family researcher who found this resort for us all, and she managed not to tell the rest of the family this contest was up for grabs! ... SnEaKY!) Good luck to her as the year progresses!

As for the rest of our experience, I took more photos than one might consider reasonable, but as “they” say, pictures speak louder than words. I'll spare the audience the show of all 336 pcitures I took and leave you with a video instead.  As it is, it's my sis in law who is the uber talented photographer and has her own studio--don't be surprised if you see her Savary photos showing up on her website! So, aside from me saying that the Chases had an idyllic, restful, sunsoaked vacation all together, I’ll just let the video do the talking ;) Suffice it to say, you won't necessarily recognize all the players in here, but you will see a consistently contented look on all the faces!!