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Gabriola Island
Jenn's spiritual home is on "the island". Not Vancouver Island - although that's where Jenn has spent quite a lot of her life.... I mean Gabriola Island. Local residents refer to it simply as "the Island". Gabriola Island is one of the many little islands that dot the strait of Georgia. It is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbour islands, such as Galiano Island and Saltspring Island.
Entrance Island and the Innes residence
Although it is roughly only 10km long and 3km wide, Gabriola has wonderful rocky shorelines, beach-y coves, interesting sandstone formations, ancient petroglyphs. There are several provincial parks on the island, and a good network of roads. You can tell you are away from mainstream, busy civilization here, though. There is no real urban centre on this island. Everybody knows everybody else. The center of commerce is primarily a small arc of shops and stores basically in the middle of a forested area on the island. And, all comings and goings are synchronized with the running of the Gabriola-Nanaimo Ferry. If you are on the island after the last ferry sails, that's it - You ain't goin' anywhere, so settle back and relax.
courtesy PChen
The Gabriola Ferry
Jenn picked me up at the Nanaimo harbour dock (not the main Departure Bay location), and we walked over to the dock where the Nanaimo-Gabriola ferry is waiting for us. Even though the island is relatively small, the ferry is reasonably big, able to hold somewhere around 50-100 vehicles, by my reckoning. It is obviously an older and clunkier ferry, though.

After the 20-minute ferry ride, we arrive on Gabriola Island. We stop by at the grocery store to pick up some wine and a few other odds and ends, and then we head off to the Innes residence. I have to admit to being slightly apprehensive about this, one of those "first meeting" situations. I had never met Jenn's dad before.
The backyard
Jenn's Parent's place turns out to be a wonderful eclectic mix of seaside beach-house, cozy getaway, craft shop, and botanical garden, with good sprinkling of spiritual overtones and environmental harmony. The property has three main buildings: the main house, an A-Frame structure; the garage, studio, and workshop complex; and finally, the narrow but tall 'zen' building. Near as I could tell, the 'zen' building was a place to relax, read, and work out.
Three fifths
Jenn's Mom and Dad welcomed me warmly. It didn't take long to feel comfortable, and I got the sense that Jenn's Dad was, fortunately, not entirely disapproving of me. So far, so good!

Everywhere there was attention to detail, be it in the type of plants, or the way plants were arranged, or the strategic placement of a decorative knick-knack, or the artful cladding around the generator shed. The view out the front of the property into the strait of Georgia is stunning, with a wide expanse of the strait backed by the coastal mountains of mainland BC. Inside the main house, the style is close and cozy, with the angled walls crowded thick with art and photos. I quite liked the whimsical touches in the kitchen, which included wooden fruit of various types on the cupboard's door handles.
Like Guarding Pillars
The Innes Family Living Room
The next day, Jenn took me on a tour of Gabriola. We visited ancient rock petroglyhps carved into exposed sections of bedrock on the forest floor near the center of the island. We drove a circuit around the island, past an old brick factory, farms, and expensive seaside homes. We donned rubber boots and visited the shoreline down below the house, where Jenn expertly poked around in the low tide and showed me all manner of sealife, from starfish to crab to sea anemones. We then wandered a few kilometers down to a nice sandy beach at Sandwell provincial park, one of three provincial parks on the island.
Exploring the Beach
Gabriola Petroglyphs
Scenic Berry Point Road
The logs points the way
Tidal Pool
Entrance Island Sunset Panorama
If you would like to see many more of our pictures of Gabriola Island, then click here to go to an in-depth page with more pictures.

If you are interested, the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce has a website about Gabriola - click here to see it.
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