(Click on any of the photos to see them bigger or for more detailed explanations.)

I had a solid plan for organising our trip to Oona River last week. It all went west on me though when Shannon called to say they were in town and leaving in three hours, a full day before I expected them to call. If we wanted to head out there early to help prepare for all the other Northern BC home learners coming later then I had to get it together and fast! Instead of bring chicken soup I ended up bringing the chicken stock I’d made over night in the crock pot. Instead of bringing homemade hearty veggie burgers I brought simple veg to roast in the oven. Cam and I packed like mad and we were down on the dock loading ourselves into Shannon’s skiff right on time.

Guarding the GardenOonaRalph Edwards spent his last years hereA little peak

What I failed to mention above was the thirty five bathroom breaks I made in that three hours of packing. Most of you know how uncomfortable I am on a boat. Some of you have actually seen me first hand quietly whimpering to myself while I squeeze the boat seat with a death grip. I was even more nervous to be travelling in waters that I have previously experienced as “rough” or “big”. Now I’d be doing it in a little aluminium skiff. Despite my anxiety around boat travel, I recognise how much I enjoy getting to places boats can take me. I put my trust rather easily in my friend “Captain” Ben, who has lived his entire life on or near these north coast waters. Can you believe that I arrived in Oona River without one moment of fear on the trip? Ben is just that good.

Heading to the schoolhouse for a picnicOona


I love Oona River. I love the quiet and peacefulness and the community that knows each other as well as family. I love the slow pace of life and all the quirky things that make Oona special. I’m not sure I’d opt to live in a boat access only community, seeing as I lose about 5 lbs before each time I head out on a boat, but I need to live in a smaller more rural community. I’m laughed at all the time we I say that because most people consider Prince Rupert (population around 9000) very small and remote.

OonaTide's outGathering firewood

The rainbow guest house

Cookout around the fireCricketKale's floweringWatching the Lilys play in the river from the firepit

It was such a treat to visit with Shannon and family before all the other home learners arrived. Our kids hung out, changed clothes a million times, played with the chickens, jumped on the trampoline, made fresh squeezed lemonade, waded in the river, started fires in the bonfire pit and generally horsed around. We spent some time cleaning and setting up the hatchery, although Shannon and Jan tackled the brunt of it before we arrived. We each took a turn rowing a boat out in a beaver dammed lake, had a picnic lunch in the old hand hewn school house/ library/ museum. We popped by neighbours houses to feed cats and went down to the dock to care for the boats moored there. We marvelled at the little goslings, those that didn’t get preyed on by bald eagles.

Maya rowingShannonLeify giving it a go

A walk through Jan's gardenA walk through Jan's gardenA walk through Jan's gardenA walk through Jan's garden

The Fred Letts fish hatchery exceeded my expectations by miles. What an amazing space! From the covered porch, which housed the ever useful dryer, you walk into the very large room where we all lived and slept that weekend. There was a futon couch with a tv and vcr, an irresistible library of books, a kitchenette (with a dishwasher!), a big long table in the center of room and beds lining the walls. My favourite part of the stay was listening to the water rushing through troughs in the actual hatchery space on the floor below. The kids entertained us on makeshift stages next to the bonfire and one evening everyone stayed up late to play a game of Cranium.

In the suite at the hatcheryIn the suite at the hatcheryBits and bobs from inside the hatcheryWaiting to be played

Cherries and Peaches for pancakesOliverThe LilysMaya

We all went over to Pirate Island to ride the zipline, look for goslings and play in the river.

HannaYvette and YaleStrolling through the river at low tideHayden exploring on his own

Lily squared

We set traps in the river behind the hatchery and used nets to see what we could catch. We captured lots of little trout. The kids loved this so much that most stayed back to continue fishing while a few of us went for a walk along the river. It was out-of-this-world beautiful and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures to capture this walk’s beauty.

Hanna finding just the right spot for a trap

Little troutStream VioletLily found a gunnel

A walk along the river

A walk along the riverA walk along the riverA walk along the river

We all packed up for a hot sunny day at the beach and bonfire supper. We had hot dogs and fresh caught crab cooked over the fire after plenty of beach combing at low tide. I remember seeing whales from this beach at New Years.

Making skewers for roasting hot dogsCara and Steve with little Maia and baby bumpQuwabbyDo you see the two Lilys so far away


SwingingFrom one cabin to the otherChild safety

We all gathered for a group picture before leaving the beach. What an fun adventure!

All of us

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6 Responses to Adventures In Oona: Fears Of Sinking, Rainbow Houses And Sleeping In A Fish Hatchery

  1. k says:

    that looks like so much fun! what a beautiful place to visit – i really must head up to the central coast soon.

  2. Justine says:

    Wow that looks amazing. You have such fabulous adventures. I need to get out more with my family (as soon as I’m finished painting the living room, weeding the garden, building the fence, watering the orchard, etc….haha). But seriously, I really do. Kayaking season is here though…..

  3. Lindsay says:

    What a gorgeous place. My dad travels to the Sunshine Coast every year. One day I’m going to have to join him. I love the colourful house and the picture of leaf relaxing with the mountain in the background. What a beautiful area of our country you live in Annie. :)

  4. Courtney says:

    Just remember you and family are more then welcome to use the cabin anytime!! Oona is Wonderful! xo

  5. veronica says:

    Your photos are awe inspiring. I could just stare and stare and stare at the way you see things. How about I just drag you around and you photograph what I see?

    Love the colours, images, moments…….
    It’s all we really get in life…….

    Thanks for sharing…….

  6. Annie says:

    K- yes, please! We could be a home base for you while you explore or we could explore some together… It’s wonderful up here.

    Justine- I just got out in a kayak for the first time last weekend, if you can believe it? (Cam didn’t!) In the windy ocean, even! I had a good time and am looking to try again. Your adventuring is a little different but adventuring nonetheless. You live a wonderful life!

    Lindsay- we are so lucky here. It’s been so long since I’ve been to the Sunshine Coast, I don’t remember it that much. I hope you go and take lots of pictures!

    Courtney- thank you thank you! xx

    Let’s get together again and I’ll take more pictures that include you and Hanna! I didn’t take nearly as many photo opportunities as I’d wanted to in the moment and needed to slow myself down a bit. It felt like the weekend went by very quickly!

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