By: Gabriella Somerville
Imagine a place where you can never be more than five minutes away from the ocean. A place so organic with its small winding roads and paths to the shore that you never want to stop exploring. A place where all your worries seem to just dissolve into the forest and the sea. That place is Mayne Island, my home and one of the many beautiful Gulf Islands located in the Salish Sea.
The outdoors here are like none other. A big blue ocean encompassing mountains, valleys, and forests. I can hear the harbour seals clapping in the water as the waves crash ashore from the distance of my home. The sea surrounding Mayne Island is full of life, whether that life be wild, locals catching dinner, or visitors passing through.
Between Mayne Island and Galiano Island is a body of water, rightfully named “Active Pass”. When I was in high school I would take a water taxi through Active Pass to Gulf Island Secondary School on Salt Spring Island along with the other outer island students. On these boat rides we would often see the whales migrating through along with the sea lions, seagulls, and salmon. Now that’s a commute to school, I think any kid would enjoy!
Growing up on Mayne Island sometimes felt more like growing up on the water. Being so close to the ocean meant my family and I would spend the majority of our free time fishing, swimming, or cruising. Many families, including mine, get much of our food from the water that surrounds us. Nothing tastes quite as good as freshly caught seafood, especially when you’re the one who caught, cleaned, and cooked it.
There is a plethora of wildlife from sea to shore. You can view the bald eagles or wild deer from just about anywhere on the island. My personal favourite view would be from the top of Mount Parke. A lovely peak looking out towards all the Southern Gulf Islands where you can see the eagles sore overhead while watching the deer wander in the valleys below. Having such an abundance of precious creatures in an untouched environment reminds you that you, too, are part of this natural ecosystem.
I work at the Blue Vista Resort year round, a quaint abode with nine cozy cabins. Having the privilege of working in such a beautiful setting makes me eager to share this hidden gem with others who will appreciate it the way I do. One of the highlights of working at the resort is being able to see the families and their free range children enjoying themselves in the shared spaces. This area is adorable! A little playground for the kids, picnic tables for the family and, soon to be, barbeque shed for all those grilling connoisseurs.
Spring to fall you can find many of the Mayne Island artisans sharing their local crafts or baked goods at the farmers market. Whenever I need to clear my head or just relax, a simple walk through the charming rural roadways will do the trick. I usually come across a farm stand or two. You will know you are in a small town when strangers wave at you as they drive by. That is just one of the things that makes this place so special. So next time you find yourself needing some tranquility, nature, or community atmosphere, it’s closer than you may think, and please stop by to say “hi”!
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