Place we like....
So having done some touring, we had been planning on continuing to explore by boat and see what other coastal communities are like. And we will still do some of that, but we think we've found the place we'd like to live. It's a small village called Cumberland (on google maps here) just outside Courtenay in the Comox Valley. It's got some history, being one of the older settlements on the island and having been built on the strength of a nearby coal mine. At one time, it was a city to match Victoria, and also claimed to be the smallest and westernmost city in Canada.
Now, a hundred years later, it is what we might call a small town or large village of about three thousand, with historic buildings on the main street, older housing surrounding that and a recent growth of new housing on the outskirts. The building of the main island highway, with an exit just two miles from the village, makes it ever more attractive as a tourist destination and a place to live.
The village is close to many parks and forests, and has become a bit of a centre for mountain biking. It's also home to a strong community of artists and draws on the cultural traditions of the families whose forefathers came here to work the mine from Europe, China, Japan and all over America.
I'm sounding a bit like the tourist guide here, selling the place as a destination, but perhaps that's because we've really taken a liking to it. Some places just feel right, and for us, Cumberland seems to be one of those. Top middle in the collage are a couple of photos with mountains in the background. They are taken from the schools that the kids would go to until grade 10, when they would need to take a bus a few miles into Courtenay. These views from the playground sum up why we wanted to bring the kids up out here.
So our plan now is to sail for six to eight weeks, and look for a place to rent in the village from August onwards, then come ashore and get stuck into whatever there is to do for work around here. That might sound a bit a**e about face, but like many people we have met here the approach is to find a place we want to be then work out how to support ourselves.
For the next couple of months we'll really enjoy exploring on the water and look forward to our new start on this, the most interesting of islands we've visited in our whole island odyssey.