Category Archives: social

Merry Christmas from Hornby Island

This is my first Christmas on Hornby Island after past xmas1Christmases at Puerto Vallarta, Costa Rica, Phoenix Ottawa and Vancouver. This will be a very different Christmas. This morning the power went out for the third time since I came in June. By now I have acquired both candles and the skills to start a fire in the wood stove AND make cowboy coffee on the wood strove. The pot of hot water heated faster on the wood stove than the electrical stove.  The power came on at 8 am, just in time for the co-op radio program that I had been invited to guest DJ. The station only broadcasts to the island and only half of the island can get the transmission so that’s a possible an audience of about 500 would be listening if everyone was up at that hour of the morning.  All did not go well. I had a small set of Christmas music I had hoped to play for my new Hornby friends, but the technical elves were up to their old tricks. My new Iphone 7 had a different jack than the radio station and my back up plan of a USB stick could not be read by the machines. So I will be getting some training on the equipment next week.   I have been invited to host a once a month classical radio show.

Following the radio follies, I took my weekly trip to the recycling center to feed the deer this week’s organic material.   Lots of mandarin orange peels but they don’t seem to fancy them. I hit on another real find at the Free store.. an ottoman for me and my landlady’s cat. (see above)   She (the landlady) is in Mexico.

I came home and baked a huge apple crisp for the potluck dinner at New Horizons tomorrow.   I got the apples from the heritage orchard on Hornby which has been in existence for about a 100 years. The orchard has now become a community project. The apples taste better than the ones from the store.

I have to teach on-line for an hour tomorrow to a group of nine grade 7’s in Ontario. They are all English speaking but are wanting enhanced reading experience. Managing 9 kids online at the same time seemed like a bad idea to me but everyone seems to be on their best behaviour.   The book we are about to read is called Replica-Lyra which is about cloning. It was their choice not mine!. Very topical. The other student I have is a grade 2 child in an international school in Shanghai which means English immersion. She is on a 3 week snowboarding trip at the moment but we are still having classes.

Tomorrow night is a house concert at a Yoga retreat on the island. I have had very good things about the musicians and have not been to the yoga retreat.   Then Sunday is the life drawing session, followed by the Hornby Island Photo club. We have to bring 4 photos of Leading Lines.

Next week a new Hornby friend from Victoria is coming to stay for a few days. Although many people leave Hornby for Mexico in the winter, I haven’t made any plans to go south yet but if the power frequently goes out I might consider it. I think the Christmas period will be quieter and I hope to get back to doing some watercolours that I have been leaning by myself but started a few years ago at Emily Carr.

People often say that they have never been to busy since they retired, and I have to agree. Even here on Hornby it is common to be double booked. There are fitness classes, the bridge club, the community choir and many many volunteer opportunities that I have not yet explored. Everywhere I go I run into people I know or who know me after about 5 minutes of chatting with me. This is so much better than Vancouver or even Mexico. And walks, like everything, are within a 10 min drive of where I live.xmas 6

The downside has been trying to find housing over the winter. There are some strange rules and regulations from the Islands trusts about long/short term rentals that take a lot of the housing off the market in the winter. xmas 7Crazy making if you ask me. Not unlike the strata council in my condo in Vancouver that has banned rentals of less than 12 months. Thus my continued stay on Hornby!!!!. Fortunately the BC government has just released their housing task force report that recommends banning condo rental restrictions. I have been fighting with my strata council about this since May and I am glad to see the tide may be turning. So far they have fined me $ 500 for some short term rentals I did over the summer on AIRBNB.   It’s a crazy world. The summer rentals here start at $ 1000 a week. The other downside is that I haven’t had much time to update my blog.

I hope to see more visitors to Hornby next year. I have two futons for guests and 2 bathrooms so lots of space. It is however a 6 hour trip from Vancouver via 3 ferries. Still, it is a pretty scenic trip and well worth it. Save it until the summer to enjoy the beaches and kayaking.

My best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy 2019. Can’t believe it will be 2019!!!

Ann

Ways to Help People Without Actually Doing Anything (and Why They’re Actually Better) – Colin Michael Lucien Jonathan Nelson’s Blog

via Ways to Help People Without Actually Doing Anything (and Why They’re Actually Better) – Colin Michael Lucien Jonathan Nelson’s Blog

I was reflecting today on ways to contribute to the community and I think the gift of friendship is what I can give back.

 

 

My adventure with standup comedy.

comedy club smallMy debut as a stand up comedy was a couple of weeks ago here on Hornby Island.  I am hesitant to write about it because I may generate more notoriety for myself. The experience further supports my feelings that I have found my Happy Place on Hornby Island like so many people here.

Our teacher was Jenny Brown who is a Hornby part-timer from Portland Oregon. She broke it down into simple steps and encouraged everyone regardless of how awkward they were. Stand up comedy is a lot like drawing…. people think they can’t do it,  but once it is broken down into steps it is do able by everyone.   The class started out with about 15 people which quickly dropped to 5 courageous souls.  webteaser 6

When people learned I was doing the comedy class the standard response was ‘’oh how scary”. It did not turn out to be scary at all. Once I got up on the stage and people started laughing at my reflections on life on Hornby I felt like I was on a roll.   It was just like joking around with friends which I do all the time. So the only difference was I had to stick to my script.

The downside to doing a public show is that people recognize me around town. I am used to going about my business in total anonymity.   I am still adjusting to my new found celebrity.. small as it is on the island. I have been deeply touched by the feedback I have had from people who recognize me and are so kind to tell me how much they enjoyed my comedy set. There was an audience of about a 100 which was a sell out for the venue and it raised money for someone getting a liver transplant.

I regret waiting to do this until I retired. I should have done it sooner.   Adventures abound close to home and you don’t have to fly to Zanzibar.  My adventures on Hornby have surpassed my Mexican and European adventures with the added advantage of not having to get on a plane or pass through customs. Don’t wait until you’re retired to get outside your comfort zone. Try it out for yourself like Theatersports on Granville Island in Vancouver and elsewhere.

Comedy graphics by Bee Wolf Ray

 

Services around Hornby Island

One of the biggest challenges to living on the island is that most things are only open a couple of days a week and/or part of the day and there is no universal closing days or times. This can result in wasted trips. What I have done to get around this is until to take a picture on my phone of the sign on the door of places I visit. There are not many websites with opening and closing times. Times can vary by season with longer opening hours in the summer. There is a map that you receive on the Ferry with a list of services with location and hours. However a universal website would be of benefit to summer visitors. That said, because the cell coverage and WIFI is variable across the island, people tend to rely on word of mouth,  Facebook, signs poster on roads, paper and land lines.  I have included links to some of the services I have accessed that might be handy for other visitors.

The master site for Hornby Island is http://hornbyisland.com/ which includes links to accommodation, arts, events and transportation.

Accommodation

The range of accommodation is wide in terms of size and modern conveniences. Some cottages are without TV, laundry etc.   Some people rent out space on their properties for RVs and tents. Some rentals are done by word of mouth.  Many accommodation are posted on the Hornby Island Site with few if any listing on Airbnb. Booking is done by contacting the individuals listed as contact for the accommodation. Starting rentals are around $ 1500 a week to sleep 4-6 people over the summer months.   An availability calendar is available on the site. Booking in May for July/Aug is wise. Trip advisor is another site for booking accommodation as is Wind and Waves. Camping sites are at a premium. There is a beautiful campsite site at Heron Rocks under management of the Heron Rocks Camping Cooperative which is open to members and then non-members if space available. Phone: (250) 335-2670 as no website was found.

Transportation

Getting to and from Hornby Island is a lengthy process. Here is a typical schedule for a trip as a foot passenger from Vancouver to Hornby Island. If you are coming as a foot passenger there is an express bus from Downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay. The Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay at Nanaimo is about 1 hr 40 min.   Then you can pick up the Island link shuttle from Departure Bay to Buckley Bay.  Advance booking for the Island Link is necessary and can be done online.  From Buckley Bay you get the ferry to Denman Island. Then you have a 20 min drive to the ferry landing on the other side of Denman Island to pick up the ferry to Hornby Island. Each crossing is about 10 min. People travelling as foot passengers often approach travellers with cars to hitch a ride across Denman Island.  Seniors with a BC ID are free on Mon-Thurs but you still have to pay for your car.  The ferry fare on Hornby/Denman includes the return fare.

One should check the BC Ferries website up to an hour before leaving as ferries have been known to break down and not be replaced due to lack of availability of replacement ferries.  The Denman and Hornby Island operate on a schedule but will increase sailings if line-ups occur.

The Island Link shuttle will also stop on the highway next to the Nanaimo Airport and then it is a 5 -10 min walk to the departure terminal. You have to book to Ladysmith.

Here is a typical schedule for a walk on passenger from Vancouver.   Times can vary so check the schedules of Translink, BC Ferries and Island Link.   Taking your car requires advance booking on BC Ferries to ensure a spot on the ferry at your desired departure time. The ferry schedule for Denman/Hornby is different on some days of the week so close scrutiny of the schedule is warranted.

From Vancouver to Hornby        
depart Depart time arrive Arrival time fares
Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 250 9:56 Horseshoe Bay 10:30 $ 1.85 senior
Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries 11:00 Nanaimo Departure Bay *free for seniors Tues-Thurs
Departure Bay -Island Link Shuttle Bus 1:00 Buckley Bay 2:10 $28.99
ferry Buckley bay-Denman Island 3:00 Denman 3:10 *
ferry Denman-Hornby Island 3:40 Hornby 3:50 *

Total travel time 6 hours

From Hornby to Vancouver      
depart Depart time arrive Arrival time
Ferry Hornby -Denman 10:00 Denman Island 10:10
ferry Denman-Vancouver Island 10:40 Buckley Bay 10:50
Buckley Bay Island link 11:20 Departure Bay 12:30
Departure Bay BC Ferries 1:15 horseshoe bay 2:55
Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 257 3:15 Georgia and Granville downtown Vancouver 3:45

Flying from Vancouver into Comox Airport with Harbour Air is an option. There are 2 flights a day and prices range from $ 132-$ 199 depending on the day. This would require ground transport or water taxi to Hornby.   A site called Rome2rio.com gives a number of options to get to Hornby from Comox with the shortest being a 2 hour trip using a car from Comox Airport.  A Water Taxi service is available to/from Hornby and Buckley Bay $ 150, Comox Harbour ($175) as well as other destinations. Comox Water Taxi advertises Hornby to Comox in 35 min.

Services on Hornby

The location of most of the services listed here are on the visitor maps you receive on the ferry.

Laundry & Showers. Joe King Park Laundry takes 2 or 3 loonies per load. Water is cold unless you opt for the $ 3 loonie wash.  This is apparently for members.  How to get a membership is posted in the laundry room.

Computer access center Mon-Friday 10-4 near the school offers WIFi and printing but the WIFI coverage was intermittent when I used it.

Credit union Hornby Island Branch 2115 Sollans Rd      250.335-2326 Tue, Wed, Fri 9:30 to 3:00 and there is no ATM.

Co-op Store. You can find most things you need here both groceries and hardware. The website includes hours of the COOP, the  gas bar  and  businesses in the same location as the COOP and the Gas Bar.  There is an ATM there.

The Cove Store Has some groceries, marina, camping and cottages. 7:30 am ~ 9:30 pm everyday July and August  8 am ~ 8 pm everyday September to June

Medical Care Monday to Friday     9:30 am – noon and 1:30 – 4 pm

 The Library offers free computer access and wifi

Sun/Mon Closed
Tue 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
Wed 4pm-8pm
Thu 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
Fri 1pm-5pm
Sat 10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm

There is a summer bus.

Farmers Market Wed and Sat 11am -2 pm

Recycling/Free store The recycling depot is open from 9-1 Thursday to Sun (summer)  for vehicles but you can walk up the driveway to access the services during other hours. The free store is the place to find anything you forgot to bring with you. I have accessed warm clothes, scissors, a frying pan and ice cube trays. There is a great selection of books.  A friend recently scored a couple of Persian rugs and a radio in excellent condition.

Bank Machines are available at the COOP and the Thatch during opening hours. Many merchants only accept cash.

Cell phone coverage is variable but seems to be good around the library.

Arts/Entertainment

http://hornbyisland.com lists many events including concerts and movies.

Art Gallery shows and events: https://hornbyislandartscouncil.wordpress.com/

One of the major events on Hornby is a music festival Aug 1-10. www.hornbyfestival.com

Hornby Island Community Radio 96.55. The community radio station is one of the treasures of Hornby Island. The sad part is that it does not transmit beyond Hornby Island. However you can enjoy it while you are there. Multiple DJs have wide ranging tastes in music and deep knowledge of the artists and genres. You can support the station with an online membership.

Hornby Island has a unique natural history including rocks, marine life, fossils and birds. The natural history museum is only open during July and August, Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 3pm. It is well worth a visit before you go exploring.  It is on the corner of Central and Sollens in the school.

Fitness

https://www.sundooryoga.com/

New Horizons offers yoga and other activities for seniors. Chair yoga, book readings, and  The Kitchen runs 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) at 12:30 with meals by donation.

Cycling rentals- 250-335-0448 lucielemay@yahoo.com

Mountain Biking. A map of the mountain biking and walking trails in Mt Geoffrey Park can be purchased at the bike shop beside the CO-OP.

Kayaking

Hornby Ocean Kayaks

Denman Hornby Canoe &Kayaks

Walking trails are shown on the visitor’s maps you receive on the ferry.

Diving

There are a number of Facebook groups related to Hornby interests: Hornby Helps,  Word of Mouth and Hornby Island Buy and Sell.