After such a crazy short stay in Regina, Saskatchewan my dad got a promotion back to British Columbia. We knew for a fact that this time it was only going to be a three year stay, because it was considered an “isolation posting” which means the police officers are there for a limited duration. Why only three years? Because after that you go crazy 😉 Here is a look at our stay in Port Alice in this week’s WILW!
I have always tried to be super positive about the places I have lived because deep down I know that each move taught me something and I have had incredible experiences in EVERY place I have been. I think Port Alice was probably the toughest place for me. I moved there when I was 12, and left when I was 15, spending some pretty important early teenage years in a town of less than six hundred people. I loved the location but it was a hard adjustment, especially after I had thrived in Regina.
Despite some loneliness and restlessness (and the fact that the town had three girls my age), I did have some great experiences in Port Alice and overall I am glad I lived there. I would never have learned how to rip the heads off of prawns while prawn trapping if I hadn’t lived there!
Being at a location RIGHT ON THE OCEAN, my dad had access to an RCMP boat in order to patrol the water or access crime scenes and outposts away from the actual town. It was required that the boat be run a lot to keep the barnacles off of it, and to keep it ready for use, so we took advantage of that and started setting prawn and crab traps. We would check them every few days and literally caught THOUSANDS of prawns during our stay. We had to buy an upright freezer to store all of our seafood! It was a really neat experience and we served seafood to all of the people who came to visit us!
My auntie Joanne and grandma!
We used the police boat when there was wildlife coming down the inlet as well. We were able to see whales, lots of seals, otters, and porpoises! One day, a huge “super pod” of porpoises came down the inlet and there were at least 100 of them! My mom and dad jumped on the boat to see them while I was in school!
One of the most memorable experiences was a classroom makeover contest that we won. Our entire class sent in letters as to why our school deserved the makeover and MINE was the one that won! Our little town rallied together and sent out emails and notifications to win the voting contest for the “worst” classroom in Canada, and the winner was to receive a $15,000 classroom makeover from Expo. We won the nation-wide vote and over a couple of days the designers from Cityline and their crew came in and filmed/renovated our classroom! It was so cool! I even had an interview segment on Cityline!
Living in a small town, there was not a whole lot to do, but we tried our best and did everything possible to keep busy! I played soccer, basketball, cross-country, track, curling, and I actually learned how to play the guitar. I really loved the guitar and was getting good at it (or at least I like to tell myself that) but sadly we moved before I got super into it, so I didn’t buy one. I wish I had been into running at this time because the town was built on a hill and I would have been crazy fast after all of that hill work. I would have had to carry bear spray at all times though because we often had bears and cougars roaming around the place!
During the time we lived in Port Alice, my mom and I travelled to Invermere to do my first marathon. We trained all summer and my cousin Mackenzie joined us, as well as my other relatives, to complete the Invermere Loop the Lake 2007 marathon. We trained to walk it, and walked it fast, coming in at 5:42:03. That day I said I quit doing races, and claimed it was my ‘first and last,’ but look at me now 🙂
If you were ever to visit Port Alice, and I totally recommend a visit, I would tell you to explore. Vancouver island is GORGEOUS and we had a house directly on the ocean. In any other place we would never be able to afford that kind of house or location but in Port Alice we had the opportunity and it was amazing. We had a beach fire pit, starfish all over the rocks in front of our house, daily wildlife swimming in the ocean, amazing sunsets and sunrises, and the freshest (albeit a little salty) air possible. I wouldn’t trade living on the ocean for three years for anything!
I may have been a little bored and lonely at times but I think I grew so much as a person in those three years. I became ambitious and academic and I began to understand the power of trying new things. After three pretty neat years, we were ready to leave and excited to start a new adventure in Port Alberni.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Previous WILW posts!
2002 – 2004 Gold River
1996 – 2002 Kimberley
1993 – 1996 McBride
1993 Prince George