we finally did it. we got to spend a night at the free spirit spheres at qualicum beach! i’ve always wanted to go there and after a failed attempt last summer, sean and i were psyched that a cancellation opened up and we got to go.
after the 2 hour ferry to nanaimo, it was just an easy 40 min drive on highway #19 (or island highway as it’s locally known) to horne lake road. our hosts, tom and rosie, were friendly and welcoming. they even gifted us with a welcome basket of drinks and nibblies.
we booked the newest sphere, melody, for our stay. to get to our sphere, we had to stroll over a short bridge and climbed up a few stairs that goes around the tree. the black walnut interior is open concept, with a pull-down murphy bed. when not in use, the sphere offers bench seats and 2 fold down tables slash work stations. the 5 windows, including the skylight, offered amazing forest views. this is how it feels to be an ewok.
not without modern conveniences, the sphere is electrically heated, has built-in speakers and wired for 120V AC. and of course, we brought movies to set the ambience. like return of the jedi and princess bride, amongst other selections.
although melody has its own private composting toilet, we opted to use the more traditional facilities. the shared bath house building is a short walk from the spheres and include 2 washrooms, 2 showers, sauna, partial kitchen, small fridge, sink, microwave and covered deck with a BBQ. so you’re not completely roughing it.
after settling in, we drove 15 minutes into town to buy some groceries and get some dinner. we decided on fish tales cafe, one of tom’s recommendation. we were charmed by look of the tudor looking, english country restaurant with attached garden as we drove in. but what really delighted us were all the bunnies in their garden. seems that they are wild bunnies who just happened to take up residence in the garden just this past spring. we were so enchanted at being around them, that our poor waitress had to come back a few times to take our order.
but really, how could you not be distracted by all these adorable bun buns?
we got back to our sphere as it was becoming dusk. tom had said that around this time, bats would come out and fly around, above our heads and i wanted to witness that.
sean went to the bath house to wash up, while i was chilling in the sphere. he had been gone for a while and i didn’t really think too much about it. i thought he might have just been exploring the grounds. turns out that he had a face-to-face encounter with a cougar! he was on the way back on the walking path, when he saw the big cat in the woods, looking at him. luckily, sean did everything right – he made no sudden movement, maintained eye contact, did not run and most importantly, did not panic. he spied a pole leaning up on a table in tom’s workshop, by the bath house, and used it to tap on the ground, making noise to scare the cougar back into the woods.
i was so happy he was alright. i can’t imagine what i would have done in that situation! after shaking off our fright, we walked up to the main house to tell tom and rosie about our feline encounter. so that they could inform the other guest on the grounds.
tom had warned us of possible bear sightings that would start in august, but never a cougar. turns out, he had never seen one ever since he’s lived on the property these past 8 years. however, he was excited at the prospect, after we told him of sean’s encounter and sean showed him where it happened.
i was a little bit scared to shower and wash up, as it was dark by this time. but i rationalized that if nothing happened when he came across sean, the cougar had most likely ran off and was not going to come back. still, i had sean come back to meet me and walk me back to our sphere.
we even braved it one more time for a final bathroom trip before bedding down for the night, tapping on the ground with a walking stick, flashlight in front of us, flashlight behind us. it’s dark and it’s the woods, after all.
all safe and sound, we cuddled up to watch a couple of dvds before drifting off. there was even some gentle rocking of the sphere, by the wind during the night. i didn’t feel it at all, but sean did. talk about being rocked to sleep like a baby.