Hot Springs: Another two-week/yr community?
13 September 2008 | Hot Springs Cove, Vancouver Island
Ewin Inlet to Hot Springs Cove (49 21.7N, 126 15.9W) August 25.
Photo: Bathers in the hot springs
The weather gives us a day of sunshine and quiet winds to get around dreaded Estevan Point. It's not the northwest wind we wanted, but it's the best we're going to get. We motor through swells that turn into bumpy seas off the point, but at least we don't have to battle against howling winds and raging seas.
We anchor in Hot Springs Cove to the stern of the motor yacht Innchanter, a floating B&B that's been here now for about nine years. We wait until late afternoon to let the crowds die down, and then hike the trail to the springs. We think we must have succeeded when we pass a stream of people on the trail going back to the dock, but when we get there we still find the pools almost full. The springs are less hot than usual because of all the rains but that makes them more pleasant. Some years they've been uncomfortably hot.
I'm disappointed that there are too many people to use shampoo in the pools. It's now against the rules. I remember the time when the springs were for fishermen and yachties who needed baths. Now most of the bathers come in seaplanes and high speed taxi boats from hotels in Tofino where they probably have both bathtubs and showers.
The next morning we take the dinghy to the Innchanter to show Voyages to Windward to Sean, the owner. We find him in the galley cooking up blueberry pancakes for a group of architects and designers who are here for the opening of a new school in the native village across the cove. He offers us latte and we join them in the dining room on the fantail with a view through leaded glass windows of Osprey at anchor. There we're joined by another Hot Springs resident named Jeff who tells us that he and Sean are part of a co-op which is selling 40 building lots around the east side of the cove. The co-op rules forbid keeping pets, renting the houses out, or living in them for more than six months a year. They may create a more exclusive community that way but the end result I suppose they think they are being easier on the environment with these restrictions, but if people can't rent houses, they build more houses and use more resources. It also leaves houses vacant for most of the year and vacant houses deteriorate quickly on this coast. And the houses are right across from an Indian Reserve with a bunch of poor people which sounds like a prescription for trouble. The east coast system we're familiar with, as at Martha's Vineyard and North Haven Maine where you rent out your vacation home when you're not there, providing maintenance jobs to the locals, seems so much more sensible.