Access: To reach Bowen Island first grab a bus bound for Horseshoe Bay. At the end of the line follow the crowds into the ferry terminal. The ferry crossing takes just 20 minutes and return fare is included in the ticket price. In addition to hourly service by BC Ferries, Bowen Island is also serviced by water taxi. Call Cormorant Marine at 604-947-2243 or 604-250-2630. For those who are in a hurry to relax contact Bowen Taxi at 604-947-0000. Translink is now supporting a rudimentary bus service on the island during peak hours. All buses are equipped with bike-racks. More information about the Bowen Island Community Shuttle can be had by calling 604-947-0229.

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Visiting Bowen Island is always a treat. This funky little community on the edge of West Vancouver is not a suburb nor is it a rural backwater like many of the Gulf Islands. Just 3,000 full time residents call this 5260-hectare rock home. In addition to kayaking opportunities which are detailed in the Sea Kayaking Section, Bowen Island offers three pleasant hikes. All start from the ferry terminal and all are accessible most of the year. If lucky, you'll miss a ferry or two after the hike and - shucks! - have to do some carbo-loading in the Bowen Island Neighbourhood Pub [604-947-2782.] Cappuccino, ice cream and the usual post-hike rewards are also available from the cluster of shops just above the ferry landing.

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Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

Though not in themselves palatable, skunk cabbage leaves had a zillion uses around the aboriginal kitchen. The unusually large leaves were ideal for lining and covering containers, lining steam pits, making fruit leather and sun drying seafood. Bears are known to bung themselves up by ingesting copious quantities of mud just prior to settling in for that long winter nap. Come springtime they seek out the laxative properties of skunk cabbage to -- stand back -- flush the system.

Illustration by Manami Kimura