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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Let’s go exploring!

The two night and one day of rain had finally stopped this morning and the weather was supposed to be a beautiful what should we do today?

Go have some Island time! We decided to head over to Denman and Hornby Islands. We arrived promptly at the ferry terminal at 11am which is 6 minutes up the road from our RV park and were told that the cost of doing both islands would be $75! WOAH!!! Given it gets dark at 4:15pm we thought about turning around and coming back another day to go to the islands, but then we reconsidered and said to ourselves “Why not just do Denman Island today?“. So we paid for our ferry passage $38.80 (still expensive but what can you do?) and proceeded to wait for the ferry. We then checked what time the next ferry left....THE NEXT FERRY DIDN’T LEAVE UNTIL 12noon. OMG! Next time we will be a bit better prepared and do our research on ferry crossing times!

We were given a map of Denman with all of the parks, trails, artisans and wineries on it and elected to save the “town” to the end of our day and instead head out to a winery that served lunch with a wine tasting.

We were greeted by Jayne Fogarty who did the wine tasting with us. She grew up on an acre in Don Mills, Ontario and went to the same school that my brother had taught at in Don Mills. Small world! Jayne told us that there are about 1,000 residents of the island and during the summer the population on the island grows to about 5,000, with all of the visitors who come to hike and stay on the island.

All of the wines at Corlan Vineyard’s, estate-grown are certified 100% organic grapes, blackberries and raspberries. A number of their wines have won international competitions in Germany, and in the Finger Lakes, USA The winery has only 5 acres of grapes and produces 500 cases of wine each year, which they sell from the winery, at the Denman Island farmer’s market or the Qualicum Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. We tried 2 white wines, a red wine and 2 dessert wines. We really liked the Siegerrebe ($18) a very aromatic white wine and the blackberry and raspberry dessert wines ($25). So we bought a bottle of each of the wines we enjoyed. Unfortunately they have stopped serving lunch, so its a good thing we brought extra muffins to eat as there was nowhere to get lunch!

We were greeted at the farm by their 3 border collies which they use to herd their sheep, as well as to keep the birds off the grapevines in the summer. They also had chickens so we bought some brown eggs from the cooler at the end of their road for $5.

We wanted to see if we could look across from Denman Island and see Fanny Bay from the south end of the Island. At the winery Jayne had told us that we could drive to the end of the road and then hike the trail in Boyle Point Provincial Park to the end of the Island. So that’s what we did!

The trail was fairly easy and after about 25 minutes we were at the end of the island overlooking Chrome Island, the lighthouse station island that we had seen the other day when we visited Deep Bay.

Chrome Island viewed from Boyle Point Provincial Park.

We quickly realized that we couldn’t see across to Fanny Bay from the spot we had hiked to, so we doubled back and took another small trail to try to get us a better viewpoint back to Fanny Bay.

While we were hiking this obscure trail we could hear birds hooting and hollering and Richard said “that sounds like an eagle or a hawk”. We didn’t find Fanny Bay, but we did find this pair of magnificent birds just sitting in a tree below us!

Wow! 2 bald eagles just sitting on top of a tree. BEAUTIFUL! Now I really need that new camera and lens because this is as close as my zoom lens would get!

A bit grainy because I’ve cropped in as much as I could in Photoshop, but aren’t they amazing! What a neat experience to see them in the wild and listen to them too!

We left Boyle Point Provincial Park and headed up the eastern side of the island on the coastal road. We had seen on our map that there was a cidery so we wanted to check it out.

Cidery it was...alcoholic cider it was not. We still bought a big jug of apple cider for $10 as we both really enjoy drinking cider. Again, another honour system where you write down what you’ve bought and put your money in the cash box.

We wanted to take the 3:40pm ferry back to Buckley Bay to get home before dark at 4:15pm, so we stopped into the “town” on Denman Island, which is just up the road from the ferry docks.

Here is the town...

The General Store established in 1908 doubles as the Post Office, liquor store, grocery store and gas station. The Covid protocols were very strict here and you had to wait for a bell to be rung from the inside, before you could enter, to limit the number of people in the store.

The craft shop attached to a coffee shop/bookstore was across the street, along with the hardware store. There is a community hall and school all located in the same area.

The local real estate office for Denman island.

Unfortunately we were unable to visit the Denman Island Chocolate factory as it is also the owner’s home and he doesn’t allow people on his property. That was a bit disappointing, but we did find every flavour of the chocolate produced at the General Store!

I bought a lovely bowl at the Denman Island Craft Shop made by local artist Bev Severn.

It is now our fruit bowl in Newman!

Tomorrow we have to go and refill Newman with propane down in Bowser. We’re running low and propane fuels our furnace and we can’t be running out of heat!

Hopefully we’ll have lots more time for exploring tomorrow as well!

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