Harwood Island - June 24th, 2012
Last weekend, for the first time in my 30 + years living on the west coast, I stepped foot on Harwood island.  The sun had come out in the morning and in a mad dash we had made our way to the sail boat, loaded with food, drinks, music and activity books for the kids. After a short stint of shiner fishin' (for bait) we headed for an island that I have passed probably no less than 1000 times by boat, ferry and plane. It almost seems silly that I have never seen it's shores but June 24th was going to be the day to right that wrong.  We fished for awhile, hoping to catch a cod (and if the stars aligned a Halibut!) but only ended up catching and releasing seven "shoes" (Skipper nicknamed dogfish shoes as they don't put up a fight - they reel in like shoes).  Striking out on fishing meant that it was time to hit the beach (with the emergency chicken kabobs that I had ready to go in the cooler - never count on fish!).

We anchored (after a bit of squabbling - apparantly I was supposed to let the anchor down lightly and not all at once, which very well could have ripped our boat apart, does oops cover it?).  Rowing ashore with supplies, I felt like we were claiming new land, like Captain Vancouver or Chrisopher Columbus, we were going to claim the beach in the name of the Four Penguins (our sailing names for the family Husband is Skipper - makes sense he's the Skipper, I'm Rico, Bubs is Kowalski and Missy is Private - who's job it is to look cute and cuddly).  We had the entire beach to ourselves; like our own slice of paradise.  The kids instantly stripped their clothes off and ran full-frontal-nudity across the beach, while Skipper and I lit a fire and roasted our dinner of chicken skewers, roasted garlic, brie cheese and mushrooms on an old shopping cart over our beach wood fire - it was heaven. Where else can you do this? You can settle on the west coast but if you chose to live in an urban area you will always be sharing beaches with strangers and regulations (not saying that there are no rules here). 

Living on a westcoast island you realize that you are part of something really, really special. It is not the least bit true that here, you will and can do less.......rather you can do MORE with less.  Living on a west coast island you will have to learn to do without certain services and goods however, you will come to know that you are part of the lucky few who have the stunning beauty of the sea and its shores as your own, practically private, back yard. Your children may not necessarily be able to have passes to the zoo or be able to play all the sports under the sun but if you get them outside and share this paradise with them they will learn to start fires from scratch, to enjoy running free, to discover marine animals, "treasure" and adventure. They will learn to just be and enjoy life. 

You can't buy underwear on the island where we live but then again, you can't buy a lot of things that you can get for free, just outside your door, every day. "If once you have slept on an island, you'll never be quite the same......."


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