Fresh off the plane

Tahsis Travel Blog

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The ferry crossing from Vancouver to Nanaimo.

I was intending to write this blog as I went along travelling, and had thought a bit about the two day journey and what the fun parts where, and was just waiting for that little bit more to add in after I arrived at work, when I realised after three days that I'd already seen as much as I was going to see, in terms of substance at least, but whereas I had about 47 hours to take in the excitement of travelling, I ended up spending more than two months in Tahsis. 

A remote town is an understatement.  It is reached by two ways, no three if you include sea plane but that is hardly a common commute.  The second most popular is by boat, usually recreational boats launched from Gold River, the nearest town on the road.  Most people make the journey though by truck or car, from Gold River, often with a trailer in tow that has carried aformentioned boat from somewhere far away, such as Washington State.
Another Ferry on the way back to the mainland.
    The road is more of a dirt track, bumpy in the summer, and washed out in the winter.  A freight truck makes the perilous journey once a week, bringing nearly all the fresh food for the town in on Fridays. 

The other source of fresh food is fishing.  I worked at Westview Marina the entire time I was in Tahsis.  It is a facility catered around the needs of fishermen (and sometimes women!) who come to Vancouver Island to hunt for the regions Salmon and Halibut that are easy to catch.    Fishing is all this village is about.  Over 3000 people live there in the summer, most either fishing, or working some kind of job that caters for the fishers.
Approaching the dock in Nanaimo.
  In winter, this drops to about 100 people.  I thought it was lonely as hell, so I can't begin to imagine what it must be like when it rains.  And does it rain!.  The often heard joke is that it only rained once last winter, starting in October, and cleared up around the middle of April.  To be fair, it wasn't exactly a drought the entire time I was there, the longest period I remember without rain is about 6 days, although this may be off due to days I wasn't working and was too tired to leave my bed.

So in a nutshell my time there was spent working.  There were maybe a few days I did something else, but these I can count without appealing to my toes.  On the days I worked the routine was get up early, shower/shave, be at work for 5am, write 20 fishing licenses out for bums who forgot to do it last night in their hurry to be ready for the morning and who now have to wait while I happily take my time converting one stupid date recording system (month, day, year) to another (year, month, day).
John's big truck thing. Until I saw this pull up in the greyhound bus depot in Campbell River (late I might add) there was a small part of me that suspected the whole thing was a prank.
  There would also be a few boats wanting to fill up with gas for good measure.  This phase lasted maybe two hours, sometimes three on a good day, and went by quickly.

Once that initial rush had died down,  it was like a different job.  We had to clean up the marina after the influx of people.  'The garbages' needed to be emptied, the reclying processed, all the bird/dog/otter/seal shit swept into the sea, fish cleaning tables scrubbed down, bathrooms inspected and cleaned, shelves in the store restocked, paperwork from previous day put through the ancient computer system,  ( I was initially surprised that it ran on windows 98, as the season progressed I began to be surprised that I didn't have to crank a handle every time to get it to do anything), answer the phone - which could mean anything from feeding a line of bullshit about next weeks weather to someone who was thinking about going fishing, to trying to find someone on the VHF network to conduct a rescue mission.
One of the sights in the way in to Tahsis; Three Sister's Waterfall. Much more spectacular in Winter.
  Usually though it was just a case of taking a name and number so the owners could ring them back later on.

I should spare a few lines for my employers.  They took a big chance by offering a stranger a job,  from their point of view probably a bigger one than I took in accepting said offer from strangers but they did it anyway.  There were bad days with them, especially John, the husband and lesser figure in the partnership, as he could be very moody and has a short temper but most of the time it was enjoyable.  Cathy is a lovely person, who you somehow didn't need to be told to do anything, just the suggestion from her that it would be nice to see it done and you would go do it without any further ado.  Usually....  They of course fed us the line about us being the best crew they had ever employed, but it was backed up by a number of customers too so I guess it was true in a way.
The view down the inlet from the 'main road' I walked past this every single day on the way to work and it nearly always made me slow down or stop to enjoy it the better.
  They also said they would be happy to employ me in the future, which is worth an awful lot to me, doubly so when it is written in a reference letter.

And so the season flew on, until the Derby Day, which was busier than I could possibly have imagined, but after that it was like working in a graveyard relative to just a week before.  I started work an hour later, which may sound a good thing but really it meant an extra hour at the end of the day to be worked instead.  As these last days dragged by,  I started making my plans for travelling afterwards,  seeing how this was meant to be a working holiday and all that.  The last day in Tahsis was spent frantically trying to pack all my clothes and other assorted junk in time for the lift I had been given out of time.
Jen out in the garden.
  It turned out they were three hours behind and I had fallen asleep by the time they arrived, a perfect way to summarise the village of Tahsis.

The rest of this blog shall be devoted to the subsequent adventures, although I fear that may be too strong a word, that were planned out so painstakingly and I am now into day two of.



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The ferry crossing from Vancouver …
The ferry crossing from Vancouver…
Another Ferry on the way back to t…
Another Ferry on the way back to …
Approaching the dock in Nanaimo.
Approaching the dock in Nanaimo.
Johns big truck thing.  Until I s…
John's big truck thing. Until I …
One of the sights in the way in to…
One of the sights in the way in t…
The view down the inlet from the …
The view down the inlet from the …
Jen out in the garden.
Jen out in the garden.
Martine on the right.  Aspis head…
Martine on the right. Aspi's hea…
Me and Jen in the garden, but on t…
Me and Jen in the garden, but on …
Jen in orange, Emily with the umbr…
Jen in orange, Emily with the umb…
Jen and Emily with Rugged Mountain…
Jen and Emily with Rugged Mountai…
Billy, the other waitress with her…
Billy, the other waitress with he…
Emily holding the filleted fish fr…
Emily holding the filleted fish f…
Emily with Rob, the Aussie/Canadia…
Emily with Rob, the Aussie/Canadi…
Emily with Dawn the cook.  (these …
Emily with Dawn the cook. (these…
Aspi working hard in the morning. …
Aspi working hard in the morning.…
Tahsis
photo by: physjim86