For context on the neighborhood, Canadian cottage culture, and pretty pix, check out Howe Sound day, which documents a trip we took mostly to look at the property. That was almost six months ago; time moves slower in cottage country. The two pictures in that piece identified as being from the north shore of Keats are taken from the cottage. Here’s another.
Why? · When we looked at the place we liked the view, we liked the general setup, we liked the accessibility from Vancouver, the price seemed OK, and there was nothing obviously wrong.
While we were over there some of the party had a nap and I went for a walk in the woods with our son, now eight.
You have to understand that Keats is not a very big island, that the cottages are lined up along the oceanfront and that behind them the ground rises steeply into really rough bush. There were some rough paths through the bush behind the cottages so I said to the boy “let’s check ’em out.” We got maybe a hundred yards down the trail and he was saying “Dad, should we be here? Is it safe? Will we get lost? I think we should go back.” I realized that we were raising a 100% city boy who had probably never been in the woods, out of sight of human habitation, in his life. Suddenly the purchase seemed more attractive.
Details · It’s pretty near the northernmost point of the island. It has an address—several of them in fact—but the streets named are purely hypothetical entries on some decades-old plan and were never built. If you zoom in close enough in Google maps you can actually see the place.
It’s got electricity and phone, and a very decent well shared with the other cottagers on that bit of shoreline. It has 150 feet of Pacific-ocean waterfront with a “foreshore lease” and a floating dock in the summer months, which is good because you can’t really drive to it. The house is probably 75 vertical feet above the water on a rocky cliff, so erosion worry is minimized and the view is good. There’s a weekend ferry that will drop you off at your own dock. There are two bedrooms and reasonably modern appliances. Plumbing is a problem.
Internet!?!? · Well, there’d be dial-up access if that were any use. In the summer, I look forward to the occasional weekend completely off the grid, but that’s not very realistic if we wanted to, now and then, spend a week or more. Suffice it to say that the telco is not interested in extending DSL facilities to anywhere this remote.
Hmm... there are two companies competing to offer satellite Internet, but the data rates are pretty ordinary and it’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get installed and set up. Also, we’re at the north end of the island and there’s a small mountain in the middle, so I bet we can’t see the satellite.
We have direct line-of-sight to the “Hope Point Repeater” of the Gambier Radio Internet Project and its principal responds to email, so that might work.
We also have line-of-sight to most of Gibsons which means that if we could find someone there with broadband and an open mind, we could set up a long-distance WiFi repeater. Does anyone reading this live in Gibsons?
Why Again · We tell ourselves that it’s a decent investment in times of financial turmoil, and that it’s for the kids, and those things are mostly true, but having a place where you can get up early and walk to say good morning to the ocean before you say anything to anyone else, that’s why really.