Rumour has it that Oprah bought the big glass house overlooking the Spit; and, I can understand why. To the west, there is a fantastic view of Mount Washington and its snow-covered peaks. If you look to the east you might be able to catch a whale or two, or one of the cruise ships heading north to Alaska. Look south and you’ll see a lot of beaches.
In a nutshell, a “spit” is a giant permanent sandbar that juts out into the ocean. This particular spit is called Goose Spit Park and is broken into three sections: the skinny Balmoral Beach, the large H.M.C.S. Quadra, and the tiny and mysterious indigenous reserve.
About 130-years ago, sections of the land became a naval training base — land that is still leased to the H.M.C.S. Quadra. Every summer hundreds of keen, bright-faced youth end up at the Spit to train as naval cadets. My Mom worked here — back when the only way out to the base was by boat. Now you can access the beaches (and base) by driving along Balmoral Road.
I don’t know much about the piece of land at the end of the Spit. I do know that it is one of the smallest Indian Reserves in B.C. and is rumoured to be indigenous burial land. It was allocated as indigenous land about a decade before the naval training base came to be.
Once on the “cove” side of the Spit you’ll find a sheltered lagoon with lots of birds, interesting plants and a view of the Comox Glacier and Mount Washington. One of the photos in the gallery is taken looking north of the lagoon. I rather like it because it reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle photo.
You can do a 1.5-hour hike around the entire park, which we’ll probably do when La Niña is older and able to walk that distance. There are hikers who do an entire loop from the Comox Port, around the Spit counter-clockwise, and back to the town centre via the Mack Laing Interpretive Trail. I can’t imagine how long this would take but it would be one heck of a nice hike.