Overall : (I reduced this by 50% because of the frustrating long lineups lately to get on the ferry)
By Elizabeth Rains
I live on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia and sometimes travel to Vancouver for editing work. The only way to get there with a car is by ferry. The more prohibitively expensive options are taking a water taxi, or float plane to the city, but then you have no car on the other side.
The Queen of Surrey leaves from Langdale, crosses Howe Sound, and docks at the Horseshoe Bay terminal in 40 minutes. That’s just enough time for me to work on my novel or write for my blog. A great place to write on the boat is at the Coast Cafe Express.
Since mid-March the coffee shop was closed because of COVID-19, but that made it an even better writing spot than it was pre-virus. It was quieter than ever.
Lynn Perez was the lone occupant of the cafe’s ocean-facing counter. Perez lives in Hopkins Landing, which is walking distance from the Langdale ferry dock. She was drinking coffee and tapping into her phone. “I’m not a writer,” she said. “The only writing I do is email.”
So that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again.
In a major refit of the ferry last year, the cafe changed its seating scheme. Short round stools and small, round tables, which I found uncomfortable for writing, were replaced by tall stools and writer-friendly counters with ample electrical outlets. The plug-ins are the biggest plus for me as a writer because my aging laptop often runs out of juice.
Write about swimming in the ocean.
Speaking of juice, the drinking kind is available, along with coffee, tea, and munchies in the ferry’s main food outlet. The wifi is strongest at each end of the journey and weakest at the midpoint around Gambier where there is neither cell phone coverage or wifi for about 10 to 15 minutes, so you can’t even use your phone as a hotspot. During that time you can work offline or stroll to the ferry’s main food outlet.
The Coastal Cafe cafeteria remains open during the pandemic with extra distancing and sanitizing. There you can purchase a coffee, tea, and munchies and take them to the Express area, your car, or the seating area on the upper car deck to enjoy the ocean view through the port holes.
Elizabeth Rains has been a reporter for the Vancouver Sun and an editor for several consumer and trade magazines. She is the author of two nonfiction books, including Demon in My Blood (Greystone Books, 2017). She was editorial director and publisher of Pacific Rim Magazine for 14 years. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of The Capilano Review. She has twice been president of the Magazine Association of B.C. She is active in Editors Canada and speaks frequently at industry events. She also freelances as an editor and publishing consultant through her company, Cove Media. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Carleton University, as well as certificates in graphic design and web publishing.
Website address: www.rains.ca
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