Boating down Memory Lane…

I went on a boat ride about 4 years ago around Howe Sound, which is probably one of the most beautiful places I can think of, and I’ve been to a lot of truly beautiful places.
It’s the view you will gaze upon as you drive to up to Whistler from Vancouver. On a sunny day, it’s so stunning that (even though I’ve driven this road a gazillion times) I want to stop and take photos. In my humble opinion, that is one hell of a good recommendation of a place, when a local is still awed by the place that they live.
Camp Fircom. It was run by the United Church of Canada but was the least religious of all the summer camps I’ve been to. Chapel was optional.

The first thing I wanted to do was try and find the summer camp on Gambier Island that I went to when I was 7 years old, Camp Fircom. I went there with my mom and two younger sisters and we had some really, really good times. We sang Kumbaya. We roasted marshmallows and drank hot cocoa. We made necklaces with pieces of wood that had a hole drilled in it and glued our name onto it with pasta alphabet letters. The dining hall had the most distinctive smell… Tang juice crystals and mystery meat. Seriously, I can still conjure up that smell.

The dining/meeting hall.
View from the dining hall. Not bad, not bad at all!
This is the dock where the boat would drop you off for CAMP!
We came across a few old boats just tied up and looking like they were waiting for sweet death. They might have been scheduled to be sunk for a man-made reef in the area? This is a great spot for scuba diving.

My next quest was to try and find my old friend Wendy’s summer cabin, also on Gambier. I figured if we circled the island we’d eventually find it.  The question was, would I remember what it looked like? I used to come every summer for about 5 years, so I’d hope I’d remember, but that was a long time ago.

I have so many memories of this place. I did so many things that scared me here, things that I wouldn’t be allowed to do at home. We jumped off cliffs, high docks and walked on log booms. We explored (what we thought) were haunted houses, but were really just old abandoned cabins. We’d walk the trails at night, doing what? I can’t remember. We had an outside sleep-over at the end of the bay with no tents but thankfully some older cousins to protect us. Or try to scare us, we weren’t sure which. We caught dog fish, tried to find pearls in the oysters and read so many Archie comics I can’t keep count. WE ate ramen noodles and got sunburns. We sailed a laser boat and water skied. We swam and explored rowed a boat. My time at that cabin was were I think I learned to spread my wings.

The cabin is on the upper right by the Canadian flag.
 Despite its beauty there’s a lot of industry going on in Howe Sound. 
We came across this lovely assortment of harbor seals. They weren’t all that afraid of us… more curious than anything. Or lazy…
This dilapidated structure is near Britannia Beach. Britannia was a mine site and there are still remnants of it’s early days. (See new mine in background, It’s now a tourist attraction, and a pretty cool one at that!)
This is the epitome of a hot summer day in Vancouver. Kayaks and paddle boards. This very well could be paradise. 



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4 Responses to Boating down Memory Lane…

  1. Anonymous October 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Oh boy – no kidding memory lane. What I remember most about Camp Fircom is that it was a wonderful mix of people – and no one talked at all about where they came from or if they had money or needed assistance. The whole point of the place was for mothers and children to be together and have fun. That doesn’t happen very often. It was really a magical few days.

    • My name is Andrea October 6, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      See, and as kids we never knew that there were these kinds of differences between people… it was a great place filled with so many memories!

  2. Melissa October 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    The smell you remember is the disinfectant Dettol. I only figured that out a few years ago when I got a whiff of it somewhere for some reason and was immediately transported back to Camp Fircom. I’m always amazed by the connection between scents and memories.

    • My name is Andrea October 6, 2012 at 12:55 am #

      Oh, now you’ve ruined my romantic memories! Ha ha! Disinfectant MIXED with Tang crystals!

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