Some of you know that I've recently moved to an island which is accessed only by boat. Some 30 or so families live here, parking our cars on the mainland and taking our little "barges" back and forth to the island on a daily basis. It's not actually that far across the water, but this move has entailed some....lifestyle adjustments. Everything that comes into the house, including groceries, is brought across in a wheel barrow and carried up the hill to the house. Recycling and garbage is brought back the same way. Our newspaper is dropped in a little box at the end of the dock. Same goes for courier deliveries and most recently my CSA veggie bin delivery which is going seamlessly by the way, thanks Green Earth! And I never forget my keys or phone in the house or the car anymore.
We inherited a barge with the house, apparently originally handcrafted in the living room of the house we now occupy. She was a quaint pontoon wonder, but after a few traverses where we nearly sent people for a chilly dip in the harbour, we decided we needed to modernize. So, much to the chagrine of my kids (who think I'm some kind of environmental "freak") we naturally explored electric and solar options.
She was built locally and finally, one recent sunny afternoon, we took delivery of the much anticipated "Solar Express". She is dubbed that because we opted for both an electric motor and solar panels to run it. We're the first here on the island to go that route, so we'll report back soon on how she functions. We are hoping that with the sunny micro-climate on the west side of Vancouver we'll generate enough solar energy to not have to plug in at all. Incidentally, the city of West Vancouver has recently installed communal plugs onto the dock, as an encouragement to other barge owners to convert to electric motors. The minks, otters, eagles and other flora & fauna in the harbour will surely be grateful! More images on that to come, stay tuned!