Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Towhees

A power of watchful towhees at Swan Lake...
Towhees watching me curiously at nearby Swan Lake...
Towhees are a type of sparrow, much more colourful and full of personality than the ubiquitous standard grey-brown things often found at bird feeders.

This pair watched me with curiosity at nearby Swan Lake one morning.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The easy life...

Best of friends share a patch of grass to catch some ZZZs.
Dogs have so much to teach us...
Life's simple pleasures... a warm day, a patch of grass and a good companion to share your snooze with...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's a Dad Thing...

Dad's make a great beach toy...
Dad's make a great beach toy.
A dad cheerfully lets his daughter practice her sand sculpting/ drawing on his back during a lazy and sunny summer day at Parksville's main beach.

Friday, August 21, 2015

"Let's Go Fly a Kite"

Kites and fans at an Oceanside beach on a fine summer day...
Kites and fans...
I saw Mary Poppins as a young boy and the one song in that movie that stuck with me above all others was "Let's Go Fly a Kite".

It's sung toward the end of the movie when the father of the children -- previously a dour, no-nonsense businessman (banker?) -- comes to the realization that he is emotionally disconnected from his children. Skipping down the street with his children in hand, he sings the song in celebration of his new-found caring attitude.

And, really, who DOESN'T feel a little more cheerful when they see a kite? Young or old, something about that tiny construction of string and fabric bobbing in the breeze, always frees our soul a little bit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Perfect

One man's perfect drink...
Is this the perfect root beer?
Let's take a break from my recent Gulf Island visit to catch up on some photos that have been 'laying around' on my hard drive...

Recently I was in a local sweet shop when I came across this beverage. It's described as a "chocolate covered, maple smoked bacon soda".

I know, right?!

The only way that it could be a more perfect beverage for guys is if it had 6 percent alcohol...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wild Thyme

Saturna Island's unique eatery...
Saturna Island's unique eatery...
Wild Thyme is the name of a unique coffee house located on Saturna, a stone's throw up the steep hill from the ferry terminal. It's an old English double decker bus converted by the shop's owner Aleah Johnson, recently featured on the cover of Beautiful BC magazine.

The 2nd deck eating area...
Meals are served on the second floor (deck)...
The second deck is a cozy restaurant. It probably enhances your enjoyment of the experience if you are a short person. At five-foot, seven-inches my head was bumping up against the ceiling.

The cramped gallery where the food is prepared...
The gallery...
not for the claustrophobic...
The galley -- tiny and crowded but functional -- is on the first floor. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to enjoy a meal, but I did enjoy the ambiance and a cup of joe.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

East Point

Saturna Island's slice of New England...
A slice of New England at the end of Saturna...

The de-commissioned Fog Alarm Building above sits at the far end of Saturna Island overlooking East Point.

Despite the fact that East Point is supposed to be one of the prime locations for sighting orcas in the Gulf Islands I have yet to seen them after three visits to the site.

However, I was lucky enough to see porpoises and some lounging sea lions (below)  -- probably the reason for frequent orca visits -- on a nearby rock.

Sea lions lolling on a rock off Saturna Island...
Sea lions (and one eagle) enjoying the salty breezes...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saturna

West Coast silhouettes...
Gulf Island silhouettes
Saturna is the most 'remote' of the southern Gulf Islands serviced by BC Ferries. Physically it's only 23 kilometres from the Vancouver Island ferry terminal. However, it can take a couple of hours to get there by ferry, if you take one of the milk runs that stop at islands along the way.

I was there to explore the far end of the island. I had never visited in past expeditions because to get there by bike would have been brutal. Saturna is perhaps the most hilly of all the southern Gulf Islands.

Equipped with a gas scooter though it only took twenty minutes or so to reach the end of the road. Another ten minutes of hiking and I was at the end of the island... Echo Bay.

The isolated Echo Bay on Saturna Island...
Echo Bay on Saturna Island...



Friday, August 7, 2015

Top of Mayne

Mt Parke on Mayne Island...
The high point on Mayne Island...
The highest point on Mayne Island is Mt Parke. It's a brisk but not taxing hike to the top. Once there you'll be treated to some great views of the Gulf Islands to the south.

View looking south from Mt Parke on Mayne Island...
View from the top of Mayne Island...



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Active Active Pass

Mayne Island on the right, Galiano Island on the left...
Galiano on the left, Mayne on the right...
Possibly my favourite camp site on the southern Gulf Islands is on Mayne Island. I try to stay at the 'honeymoon' site that is on the periphery of the grounds overlooking Active Pass.

Active Pass separates Mayne Island from Galiano Island. Twice an hour, a BC ferry passes through as they travel between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Other traffic routinely includes smaller ferries traveling between the islands, floatplanes, pleasure craft and -- if you are lucky enough to see them -- the occasional pod of orcas.

Passing ferries in Active Pass...
Ferries passing in daytime Active Pass...

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gulf Island Getaway

The official flag of BC Ferries?
The official flag of BC Ferries...
Recently, I loaded up my scooter with several days worth of camping gear and headed over the Gulf Island of Mayne Island.

Although the high ferry fares between Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are a source of constant irritation to locals, it's hard to put a price on the spiritual value of watching some of the most beautiful coastal scenery on the planet pass by on a sunny summer day.

The couple below though seemed immune to the beauty surrounding them and content to simply catch some zzzz's at the stern of the ship.

Snoozin' at the stern...
Sun and slumber on a BC ferry...