Humans of Campbell River: Esther Hollink

Humans of Campbell River is a collaboration between Destination Campbell River and Bluetree Photography. Showcasing the stories of those who call our coastal community home. Each week we deep dive into a new story and the connections between people and place. This week we’re sharing the story of Esther Hollink. 

Hello my name is Esther Hollink, and this is my story.

Born and raised in The Netherlands in a family of globetrotters and sailors, it didn’t take long to catch the travel bug myself. Right after high school I spent a year studying languages in England and France, returning to Amsterdam to go to university right after. I felt stuck in the big city and missing the ocean, so when the opportunity arose to join my dad on a cross Atlantic sailing trip. Of course I jumped to the opportunity right away. 17 days later, we had arrived in the beautiful warm climate of the Caribbean.

Woman standing in front of the camera

What a trip that was, but as a 21-year-old I wanted to explore different avenues and work on Mega-Yachts. Shortly after leaving my Dad’s boat I landed a job on a 100’ private yacht as a stewardess and that was the start of my hospitality career. The mega yacht industry is probably one with the highest standards of the hospitality industry. Therefore teaching me an incredible amount in a very short time. It was the perfect combination of travel and work while getting the experience to learn the industry at the same time. The work was tough, the parties were wild, the weather was beautiful, and life was great!!!

A family standing together in front of the ocean

On one of our trips on board the yacht we stopped at a Resort in The British Virgin Islands called “The Bitter End Yacht Club”. I had the opportunity to explore the Resort and fell in love with it. I handed in my resume and after finishing my contract and delivering the 100’ sailboat to the Mediterranean, crossing the Atlantic again, I flew back to the BVI and started my job as a sailing instructor at this 80-room all-inclusive high-end Resort. The Resort is water access only and on the very last tip of the last island of the British Virgin Islands named Virgin Gorda. 250 staff total and only 25 of us living on the Resort property, of course this group of 25 became my friends and work family in no time. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I met and got to know my future husband.

A couple smiling

We clicked right away and spent all our free time together sailing, deep sea fishing, diving, and exploring the islands. Brent was the Marina manager at the Resort and had already been working there for 5 years. Originally from Montreal, Brent grew up sailing in the summers (playing hockey in the winters) and ended up working at Beaconsfield Yacht Club. He then had the opportunity to move to the Caribbean to work as the marina manager at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Fast forward 5 years and we got married on a private beach around the corner from the Resort and were starting to think about starting a family pretty soon. The local health care and education system were amongst some of the reasons for us to look for different opportunities around the world to call home. Vancouver Island, our favorite location to vacation, has a similar relaxed atmosphere and down to earth lifestyle became our new destination of choice. We were living in our 5th-wheel in Parksville (I was now pregnant with our first son), when my parents came to visit over the Christmas holidays and fell in love with Vancouver Island too.

A family standing by the ocean

Brown’s Bay Resort was amongst numerous Resorts that were for sale at the time, and we traveled all over the island to look for the perfect investment opportunity for our family. Brown’s Bay Resort became the perfect one! We have been at Brown’s Bay for almost 15 years and are raising our two sons (Joost 14 and Cooper 12) here on the property. Many changes have occurred since we took over the property. With the absence of onsite rental accommodations, Cabins and Glamping tents were constructed. The restaurant received a full reno and a totally different menu, staff accommodations have been created and lots more upgrades continue yearly. The property was very commercial when we moved in and therefor it’s our family’s goal to restore and continue the vision of the Adams family when they first started the lodge and rental cabins here in the early 50s. We are building a future for our kids and a small community to be proud of on the Island. We are very proud to be a part of the Campbell River Community and have this amazing location to call home.

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