The Secret of Clam Bay Farms

March 14, 2016

The Gulf Islands on Canada’s west coast are absolutely stunning to lay your eyes on. This beauty attracts artistic people who want to share it with the world.

The following is an example of this:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Pender Islands Edition

Wednesday, May 17, 2000

The secret of Clam Bay Farms

by Tanya Lester

Some people say that nothing in a small island community is secret.

Not according to Vancouver television co-producers John Lovelace and Leigh Badgley or their staff.

Last week, they did a film shoot at that magical place called Clam Bay Farms on North Pender for their TV program Secrets of Wilderness Canada (formerly named Wings Over Canada).

“It’s so relatively close to the mainland but it really is a secret,” said Katy Yu, publicist for Insight Film and Video Production Studio. She talked to the Penders Edition last Wednesday on location at Clam Bay Farms where they were in the midst of a two-day shoot.

Lovelace agreed and pointed out that the Penders is only 30 minutes by airplane from the major urban centre of Vancouver, yet it seems a world away.

Peter Speck, who owns Clam Bay Farms, straddles both worlds. He lives most of the time in West Vancouver where he publishes the North Shore News, distributed in bother West and North Vancouver.

Once a week things shift for him as he heads by airplane to his environmentally friendly guest lodge and farm. “I’m a steward here because I will pass and all things will pass,” Speck said. “I think this place for me is a gift from God and I am to look after if while I am here.”

In 1988, Speck came into ownership of the property. The wood used to build the lodgings came from the trees growing right on his land.

Today there is still a sawmill on site as well as a recycling system.

Sewage is broken down in the septic fields. Rainwater is collected in a pond and used to irrigate the crops. It is also sent through a treatment station so it can be used for drinking and washing water.

The television program will be a tribute to Speck’s work. For many viewers, it will also encourage a visit to the place.

“It’s so quiet here,” Yu said. “I think it’s definitely an alternative in the right direction for those stressed-out workaholics.”

Yu believes Clam Bay Farms can provide an urban dweller a break in a way that is a superior alternative to a holiday in Disneyland or Los Vegas.

One difference is that spirit shines through clearly on this ocean-bordered farm where the lodgings are in harmony with the natural landscape. They include one-room retreats with names like The Boat House and The Oar House. Perched on the harbour’s edge, each is as self-contained as a houseboat. The journey, however, is not on the water. It is spiritual in nature.

Late afternoon on Wednesday under The Boat house was the setting for Lovelace to interview Dr. John Krahn. The two talked quietly in comfortable chairs beneath the structure’s raw wooden awning.

Each day Krahn walks over to The Boat House from his home on Armadale Road. He sits, sheltered from the wind and rain, and watches what he says is infinitely better than television.

One day he counted eight bird species there.

Krahn once witnessed crows and eagles in battle over the pig and sheep entrails discarded near the water after the animals were butchered on the farm. The episode ended with six eagles perched majestically in the high treetops as the obvious victors, he said.

Some days Krahn observes sea otters or a mother mink with her young ones.

Clearly he feels awe for his surroundings next to the ocean tide.

Krahn’s appreciation for the area is heightened by the fact that he and his wife have seen much of the world’s beauty. They have travelled on Mennonite missions to many parts of the globe.

For the last decade, Krahn has been compiling a book of stories titled Our Family Story by Grampa K.

It includes some of the family adventures while on missions as well as animal stories and a historical section based on his ancestral link to Russia.

Krahn’s work, of course, was not all about enjoyable experiences. There were times, he said, when it was impossible to help heal someone. He saw a tremendous amount of pain and anger to which he could provide no solution.

“This helps to heal,” he said, nodding at the natural beauty around him. “This is the kind of thing that helps to balance it out.”

As if on cue, a blue heron winged its way out of the water and was airborne.

Lovelace’s float plane was up there, too, as the crew took aerial shots of Clam Bay Farms.

Watch for this undisturbed piece of earthly paradise on Secrets of Wilderness Canada, which Yu expects will be broadcast soon on Rogers cable television.

For many who live on the Penders, it will be a reminder of why they decided to find a place on the islands.












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