Australia, you’ve got some pretty big boots to fill.

Dear everybody,

If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve encountered my propensity for exaggeration once or twice in our acquaintance, and are probably a bit skeptical about the hyperbolic nature of some of my statements; that being said, you should know that I really, truly, unexaggeratedly mean it when I say that this trip to Bowen Island, B.C., has been one of the greatest, most moving experiences of my life.

Dan, my host, and his entire family have been incredibly warm and welcoming. And Dan, already a Renaissance man when when I knew him in Toronto (lawyer, poet, voracious reader, fisher, naturalist, ferryboat lover) has proven himself to also be an excellent cook, carpenter, and charismatic host. This is the cabin he built — the cabin he built, for goodness’ sake — and that we were staying in:

And here’s the man himself:

splitting a victory beer with me at the top of the mountain

In case you should have any lingering doubt that this man has hosting superpowers, know that he managed to get me to partake in a whole host of outdoor activities that, by my nature, I tend to resist in a way some of you know only too well (Hi Dad!). Not only did Dan take me on a six-hour hike mountain hike mostly bushwhacking  or following deer trails, but we also explored abandoned mine shafts, went swimming in a lake within hours of my arrival on the island, and went kayaking.

the view from the top of the mountain

There is so much beauty on this island, it’s unreal. For the ornithologists who happen to be reading this, we’ve spotted two Great Blue Herons, a woodpecker, some chickadees, about a million crows, and, on my first day here, a Barred Owl. Other fantastic wildlife spottings included the local doe and her twin fawns that flit nervously about Dan’s cabin at dawn and at dusk, several enormous slugs (especially the Banana Slugs that thrive on the island), some seals, and the Cowpers’ pets, Banshee the cat and Deme the dog.

Hello, Bowen Island:

the sky in the early morning

light on the trees during the mountain hike

two Banana Slugs, spooning in the morning

moss growing on a tree stump

hewn cedar with moss


the undersides of the fern leaves

underwater mussels on the beach by Dan's parents' house

Pretty great, right?

But there’s one incredible phenomenon I’m missing a photograph of, and that’s the phosphorescence in the water that Dan and I went to see every night. What happens is that the plankton in the water become luminescent when they’re disturbed or set in motion. It is impossible to become tired of this sight.

Imagine this: the water is smooth as glass and black as the sky above it, save for the small, silver reflection of certain stars. When you first dip your hand below the surface, at first it seems that you’re stirring the reflection of the stars themselves until it becomes clear that the incredible light is taking place beneath the water’s surface. And the more your hand moves in the deep, the more particles of light stir about it, spiraling and shimmering in its wake, tracing your every movement with its bioluminescent specs — an underwater comet tail of light.

Miss you all and hope you’re well.

From Bowen Island with love,









2 thoughts on “LGA-YVR

  1. Dan says:

    Aw shucks. My ears are burning!

  2. I see you’ve made good use of the macro already. It will only get worse once I get there…

    – Sam

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