Beautiful Bowen Island

I have been to many places in the world, from the Caribbean to Europe to Asia. I’ve swam at tropical beaches, walked amongst ancient ruins, hiked up frozen glaciers, and watched the sun set from each side of a continent. I have been to a lot of beautiful places, and I have seen a lot of beautiful things. However, nothing has ever come close to comparing to the beauty that is bountiful at Bowen Island, British Columbia. See what I did there? All the alliteration. Bowen Island is a small island off the coast of mainland B.C. It is accessible by public ferry and a bus ride from Vancouver. You can catch the 257 (Horseshoe Bay Express) bus at Granville Station in downtown Vancouver (fare $

3.75

), which will take you on a forty minute journey to Horseshoe Bay. The ride there takes you through North Vancouver, which slightly resembles Beverly Hills. The streets are steep and lined with flowery gated homes; you almost wonder if the bus can actually make it to the top of each hill, but you’re too busy admiring the decadent scenery. Exiting the wealthy suburban showcase, you emerge into a wide open view of the entire sparkling bay. I’m talking framed painting worthy. The rest of the drive speeds by as the bus twists and turns through many winding roads with each view more wonderful than the last. Upon arriving at Horseshoe Bay, you are dropped off at the ferry terminal. You are welcome to board the ferry right away, but I highly suggest taking a small tour of the tiny bay-town before departure. You can explore the docks and rocky shores, or you can get a warm/cold drink at the local Starbucks (we are close to it’s founding city afterall!). Your next step is buying your ticket to board the ferry. It will only cost you $

9.55

, return ticket, and the ride will take approximately twenty minutes. You can buy food and drinks on board; that is if you’re not too busy above deck admiring the views. The ride over alone is pretty spectacular, but nothing compared to actually arriving on the island. As the ferry chugs into the fittingly named snug cove, you already begin to feel the warm welcoming of the tiny island community. Gulls are squawking a happy greeting; small boats are clunking together in the slow waves, and what seems like all of the residents of the island are happily greeting each new visitor off the ferry. Small shack-shops line the dock, including strangely placed Taco shop, and a couple of locally owned bait shops. A wide grass opening lays to the right of the docks, and some larger restaurants and shops are further up the hill. At most other places in the world, this would be the perfect setting for a tourist trap, however, Bowen Island is far from that. I came dangerously close to declaring Bowen Island as my new home, and never returning to Toronto again. A road just off the loading dock leads past some cozy cottages, to a small gravel path. Walking through an archway of low-hanging trees, you emerge to a seemingly private cove. After you stop to catch your breath, you will be amazed at what you see before you. The land hugs around a sparkling, inland body of water that is sprinkled with little white sail boats. Tall trees rise above the edges and make their way to a dipping midpoint where a small pond flows through. A small bridge allows the flow of water, from pond to ocean, and provides a convenient seating area with a wooden bench. Sitting here, you can watch the ducks and swans of the island floating around quietly as they bask in the warm afternoon sun. In the cove itself you can see two sea otters lapping and playing in the distance. Did I mention the playful sea otters? The smells of salt water mixing with evergreen scents float in the air, and the sounds of trickling water melt into the background. A lone fisherman readies his boat and navigates the low-tide as he prepares to head out to sea. Leaning back in the wooden bench and looking beyond the cove, you can see mainland B.C. a few miles offshore. The snow-capped mountains loom high above the water’s edge, contrasted by the dark base of the temperate rainforest between. I have been to many beautiful places in the world, but I could never imagine any place to be as beautiful as this. To me, Bowen Island, British Columbia, is the most beautiful place in the entire world.

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