IMG_1679Walking the shoreline south from Ford Bay on Hornby Island toward the south end of the IMG_1692island at Norman Point is an other-worldly experience. The shore is composed of layers of sandstone, each of which seems to weather differently under the vigorous assault of waves and wind.

This is the northern extent of the strong katabatic winds that often descend from the mountainous backbone of Vancouver Island and are here called the Qualicum winds. They result from a pressure imbalance between west and east and a gap in the mountains that lets the wind funnel through. Similar downslope winds exist all around the world including the Santa Annas of Southern California, the Chinooks of the Rockies, the Mistral of southern France and many more. As we passed a portion of this shoreline yesterday, white spray flew upward in great white mustaches as wave after wave crashed in.

IMG_1715At some places, the sandstone surface is pockmarked with thousands of small holes, some still containing water and tiny sea creatures from the previous tides and waves. At others, large cavities are etched out of creamy featureless sandstone cliffs. Walking over this landscape feels at times as if one is flying over some part of Southern Utah or perhaps some distant villages and canyons in exotic eastern Turkey or North Africa.

Returning, we followed a forest trail, slipped past a fearsome Muscovy duck, IMG_1729and came upon the Clay Studio Pottery of Masoud Zadeh (www.masoudzadeh.ca). Masoud was in the middle of a 4-day firing of 170 new pots, etc. He produces lovely thin-walled bowls on the wheel as well as lots of cups. Masoud is a striking-looking Persian who seemed shy at first, but as we talked to him about forms and glazes and firing techniques (cones and all that), he warmed to us. We bought our first souvenir of this trip, a coffee cup with rolling blue and white waves, and Masoud proudly showed us that the cup also contains a heart that is revealed as you drink your coffee or tea and then disappears as you finish your drink.

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On our second day on Hornby we walked 3 miles along a winding busy road in search of the central village with its art shops and island co-op and wondered at all the traffic coming and going. Whatever happened to the peaceful quiet of Ford Cove….? We stopped to photograph colorfully painted water tanks which are used by the local fire department and passed farms advertising fresh organic produce. Once in town, we discovered a delightful mix of friendly people, many working as talented artists. We found out that the road was so crowded because a tree had fallen on a power line in the night, cutting off electricity. So…., no lattes for us; all of the people who passed us had failed to get their coffee in town, and were heading to a coffee shop in Ford Cove. No luck there either.; their generator had failed and there was only regular coffee to be had… So, the disappointed residents all returned home, and we went back to Cat’s Cradle, still thinking that Hornby Island was definitely worth the stop, even without any caffeinated beverages.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Glad to see you having a few days of rest and appreciation after the qualicum wind adventure!

  2. Dear Val and Leslie,

    your photos made me realize how much of the Gulf Islands I’ve never seen. We’ll definitely visit Hornby, what an interesting and charming place.


  3. I’m loving these tales. Keep them coming.

  4. Dear Leslie and Val,

    YOur adventures require me to get out my atlas and scope out British Columbia in search of your sea worthy travels. Found all of your mentioned sites…Straits of Georgia, Qualicum Beach and Hornby Island. Your photos are exquisite as always. So much to see and learn about. Thanks for taking me away from the hassles of house remodeling and spending big bucks for items needed as our own house begins to take shape. It calms the mind peacefully and often gives me a laugh or two.
    Travel on my friends. But keep safe and wear your life vests!!!!

  5. I love the image of Val “hanging” off the painted boat. 😀

  6. We loved the rock formations and local culture. What a great area to explore!

  7. While you were sailing far away this past weekend, I was delighted to hear an NPR interview with Laura along with her buddies, KD Lang and Niko. So wonderful to hear her being so successful and her music is a wonder. You must be such proud parents!!!! Congrats on all your adventures, at home and sailing the uncharted (OK, not so uncharted) waters of Canadian Isles. I want a drink out of that mystery cup!

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