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PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, WE ARE BEING VERY CAUTIOUS. BECAUSE YOU WILL BE LIVING WITH US, AND IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN "SOCIAL DISTANCE" , WE WILL NEED TO WEAR MASKS WHENEVER WE CAN.
PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT SKILLS YOU CAN OFFER IN YOUR NOTE TO US. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING, IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU ARE ABLE TO WORK WITH LITTLE DIRECTION.
We are a friendly community-engaged couple living on a small oceanfront acreage on beautiful Gabriola Island. We love our island paradise for its gorgeous beaches, wooded walking trails, and its wildlife. We are lucky enough to see seals, river otters, sea lions, and bald eagles on a daily basis. On especially lucky days, we might see a pod of orcas travelling past or a pair of humpback whales feeding offshore.
We live in a supportive community of interesting people, many of whom are artists or artisans. The nickname for our island is the "Isle of the Arts" and it truly lives up to its name. We have a Saturday Farmers' and Artisans' Market from May through October, and many farm stands sell fresh produce during the growing season. There's almost always some kind of musical event happening, too. It's pretty easy to get around...hitchhiking is a common mode of transportation and we have a bus system that does regular but infrequent trips around the island.
Chris is an accomplished photographer who mostly creates photo-based encaustic wax pieces. He has recently begun creating furniture using driftwood found on our beaches. Margy is a silversmith who produces jewellery and small silver objects in her studio.
We have hosted international guests for 5 years with Wwoof Canada, and this is our 2nd year with Workaway. Most of our guests have become friends who we keep in touch with, and several have made repeat visits.
Accommodation is in a tiny sleeping shed, so we can accommodate just one guest at a time (we will consider couples). We invite guests to use our home as their own, sharing our kitchen, dining area, living space, and bathroom.
We provide healthy food, as much locally-grown as possible. Guests are responsible to prepare their own breakfast and lunch, with food we provide. We share the cooking of the evening meal and ask guests to pitch in. We love to experience foods from other cultures.
We try to expose our guests to the island lifestyle as much as we can...kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming, and attending cultural events are just a few of the activities. We have bicycles and kayaks available for guests to use to explore on their own, too.
We try to provide a great experience for you, but please recognize that this arrangement is a "give and take", and we have specific tasks we need to get done. The skills we are looking for are listed in a section below.
Our schedule is to work from 8:30am until 1:30pm with a coffee break. That leaves afternoons and evenings free for you to explore the island. Weekends are free time unless we have a specific project that can only be done then.
Come check out our little piece of paradise in the Salish Sea...we think you'll fall in love with it!
(Please check our availability...I do try to keep our calendar up to date.)
DIY and building projects
We encourage our visitors to immerse themselves in island culture. Chris is a strong kayaker and can guide you in exploring the shoreline and experiencing marine mammals close up. We have a small power boat, and like to visit other islands in our area. We can take a picnic, go beachcombing, and try to catch fish, crabs, or prawns for dinner.
Our island is full of artists and artisans of every kind, and most of them are happy to have visitors to their studios. We are blessed with very talented musicians, and there's no shortage of musical events. A couple of our local pubs hold jam nights, and everyone is welcome to join in.
For sporty types, there are also opportunities to play soccer, baseball, volleyball, and so on. There's a small, well-equipped gym that offers drop-in rates located in the island's small village. PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME OF THIS HAS CHANGED DUE TO THE PANDEMIC...BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES STILL AVAILABLE.
These are the skills we are currently seeking:
- General labour: carefully deconstructing an old cabin to preserve as much of the building materials as possible and preparing the site for a new build
- Painting: re-staining the exterior of a two storey building and painting trim, doors, etc. (requires ladder work)
- Gardening knowledge: weeding flower and vegetable gardens, maintaining compost bins
- Landscaping experience: help in designing and building paths using gravel, river stones, logs, etc.
- Firewood prep: Splitting and stacking wood for next winter (DONE)
- General yard maintenance skills: there are always blackberry brambles to be cleared, branches to prune, grass to cut and rake, and so on.
Work is usually for 5 day (some days may be a little longer). We start working at 8:30am, so afternoons and weekends are generally free time to explore the island.
BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS, WE HAVE MADE SOME CHANGES.
We prefer to have one guest at a time OR a couple who don't mind sharing a bed.
We are easygoing, but we do expect our guests to help with preparing meals and cleaning up after meals. We eat a wide range of foods, but try to source as much as we can locally. Mealtime is generally a shared experience, often with other family (our daughter and son-in-law and our 6-year-old grandson live down the road) or with friends. Potluck dinners are a common way of entertaining here.
We are non-smokers, and smoking is permitted in only a few locations on the property -- it gets very dry here in the summer months and wildfires are definitely a hazard.
We provide a bicycle for our visitors, and there are several places of interest (beaches, rock formations, parks) that are an easy bike ride away. Hitchhiking is common here, and it's pretty easy to get a ride during daylight hours.
The community of Nanaimo is a 20-minute ferry ride away. From there, you can access Victoria, Pacific Rim National Park (Tofino), or other Vancouver Island or Gulf Island locations.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 5.5 hours a day, 5 days a week