Living off the grid in northern British Columbia

portrait of old men

This is Pete and Bob, neighbours in Rock Inlet – a half hour flight out of Port Hardy into the middle of nowhere. Pete lives on a flotilla of barges, cobbled together by planks and rope, complete with a foundry, workshop, greenhouse, two-story home, recreation barge & gift shop. If he needs anything, he literally can just make it. Would you believe his green house has peach trees in it? Pete even has worked out his own system of electrical generation by running a fire hose up the mountain, which channels water down through a turbine and alternator. With that he has everything he needs to power his computer and satellite internet connection.

His bearded neighbour, Bob, has his own flotilla across the inlet, where he hunts, fishes and earns whatever money he needs by beach combing.

While flying up and down the coast last weekend, I met these two because Pete had emailed Pacific Coastal for a pickup. Pete gave his rough location and our pilot circled the inlet until he spotted the barges and touched down in an amphibious plane, the Grumman Goose. The fact that these two live so far off the grid astounds me and these are just two of the many characters I got to know up north.

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