Doug Cates is selling the family island near Middlepoint, and after five generations of his namesake creating memories there, it’s going to be a difficult task to let go.
Cates recalled his visits there during the 1960s, the camping trips with his grandfather. Since then the island has become a home away from home, a place of refuge he now shares with his own grandkids.
Throughout the years, the Cates family left their mark on the property.
“We had so many years here before we built anything,” Cates said.
In those days there was “just a little shack, really,” in addition to the boathouse. Members of the family would cook on Coleman stoves and haul in their water from the shallow well.
“The family has grown over time. My grandparents had two children; one of them was my dad. Of course, now there’s seven cousins and there’s great-grandchildren, all sorts of people,” Cates said.
The private island sits just south of Edgecombe Island. Over the years, the property, colloquially known as Cates Island, became more than a campsite. It now holds a family-sized home, a guest cottage and a sleeping cabin.
Having deep-water moorage and modern services, the Cates family no longer need to store their food in ice boxes.
But one tradition has remained alive and well — the names given to the island’s notable spots by Cates’ grandfather.
“There’s a place with a pile of rocks all gathered together and he called that Tombstone Territory,” a place where successive generations of children etched their rhymes, sayings like “here lies Sam McGuire, he called Billy the Kid a liar.”
So far, Cates said there have been no showings since the property was listed in June.
Realtor Joel O’Reilly described the $1.5 million listing as a unique one: “This is the first time it has ever been on the market,” he said. “Some of the other islands that are offered on the Coast or have been are sort of more in coves, darker and not nearly as interesting. This is kind of right out there. It has great western exposure to Georgia Strait, so it’s different in that respect.”
The island came into the Cates family when Captain James Cates responded to a newspaper ad in 1960, acquiring it from Oren Kincaid.
In the 1950s, it was sought out by boat-builder Allen Farrell as a place to construct one of his sailboats, the Ocean Girl.
“This is a legacy property in search of a new family,” Cates wrote on a website advertising the property.