Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Resort reflections

A Parksville, BC resort is reflecting in the early morning tidal pools.

Parksville's Beach Club Resort is reflected in the early morning tidal pools of the main bay...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Magic Monday: Mysterious creatures

Do ape-men roam the forests of Vancouver Island?

Previously here I've mentioned Cadborosaurus, the mythological sea serpent that supposedly lives in the ocean off Vancouver Island. Another creature from the same realm is sasquatch a.k.a. Bigfoot. I think you'd find that most British Columbians would smile, maybe chuckle politely, at the idea that an entire population of ape-like giants remain undiscovered while roaming the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Nonetheless that hasn't stopped local crypto-zoologists from trying to find conclusive proof that such creatures exist. Their cause is not helped by the fact that nearly every photo of the creature is a blurry mess suggesting that sasquatch may be less of a long lost big ape and more of a guy in a gorilla suit.

My own personal theory is that the legend is based on sightings of bears walking upright while trying to see or smell something in the distance. In the deep gloom of a forest, particularly at dusk or dawn, a bear standing on its hind legs could easily be mistaken for a large apeman creature.

Still, I gotta admit that a small part of me that goes back to my boyhood would like to believe that these reclusive creatures really do exist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Water, waves and wind...

Catching the breezes of Parksville's main bay...
This past weekend in Parksville I had my first real taste of successful kiteboarding. Earlier this year I developed an interest in trying this sport but I'm too timid to risk life and limb doing the more extreme version of kitesurfing. Kitesurfing often involves high winds and gravity-defying leaps into the air on a gust of wind.

Instead I've taken up the more geriatric version known as SUKing... standup kiteboarding in which a larger and more stable paddleboard is substituted for the short version of a kiteboard.

My kite is relatively small -- the better to avoid sudden unexpected flights due to strong winds -- and it doesn't generate the same sorts of speeds that the regular sport does. Still I was chuffed when I sailed past one woman who called out to me, "Holy s**t! Does that ever look complex!"

Monday, June 20, 2016


The path to Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island...

Soft light filtered through the overhead canopy on the trail from the parking lot to Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island invites visitors to explore...

Friday, June 17, 2016


A cruise ship parked at Ogden Point in Victoria, BC...

Even from the top of Christmas Hill in Saanich five kilometres away, this cruise ship dominates the Victoria skyline.

Visiting cruise ships bring in A LOT of tourist dollars to the region. Typically, they arrive, the passengers disembark and return, and the ships leave five to sixteen hours later.

However, there are hopes of turning Victoria into a home port where ships would start and end their cruises here. That would generate even more money for the industry and the local economy... potentially up to twenty times more money.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wayback Wednesday: Galiano explorers

Galiano shoreline with its strange formations...
Literally for years I have been trying to get to the marine park that exists at the north end of the southern Gulf Island of Galiano. Attempts to reach it by road/hiking have been thwarted by the native reserve that separates the park from the rest of the island.

Last summer, my wife and I tried to get there via the sea in our NuCanoes. Unfortunately, the swift tides flowing through the channel to the north of Galiano were too intimidating. I ventured forth first to try it and found myself surging forward in the choppy water. Our canoes are very stable so I wasn't worried about tipping. I WAS worried that I would shoot through the channel and be tossed out into the middle of the Salish Sea. That would have left me in the shipping lanes at night hoping not to get run over! for a passing freighter or ferry to rescue me.

Reluctantly, I turned around and gave up the quest. However, I hope to try it again this summer at some point.

Kicking back at the end of a day of paddling...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sky, sea, snow, sand, surf... sensational!

Families enjoy the main beach at Parksville, BC...

Oceanside on Vancouver Island is a great place to be on a hot day... where else can you play on warm sand and splash about in warm tidal pools against a background of snow-capped mountains in the distance?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wayback Wednesday: The Return of Henrietta

One of the Victoria Hippo Tours amphibious buses tours the inner harbour.

Henrietta is one of the amphibious buses of Victoria Hippo Tours. They tour downtown Victoria on four wheels before taking to the water and doing another tour around the inner harbour.

I previously blogged that it's a great way to experience Victoria... my wife and I have done it three times with assorted visiting relatives. In fact, we make a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in one of their promotional Youtube videos.

So last fall we were bummed to read that the operator was relocating the business to the Caribbean. Who can blame him? Victoria is a beautiful city, but how do you compete with warm tropical breezes, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches?

More recently though the operator announced that the Caribbean arrangement had fallen through and that the buses were returning to Victoria. I have no idea how long they'll stick around this time, but, if you're visiting Victoria this summer, do add Henrietta to your 'Must Do' list.

Henrietta the amphibious bus...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder Cafe serves up the food for surfers.

In my previous post I mentioned the eventual closing of the village of Jordan River.

One of the two small restaurants has already closed its doors, but, for now, The Cold Shoulder intends to keep supplying good meals and conversation to locals and visiting surfers alike.

You can there from here...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adios Rio Jordan

The mouth of the Jordan River...
I was out at Jordan River recently to try my hand at standup paddle surfing again.

Once known as Rio Jordan, the community started as a logging camp and had a population of over 1000. It's now little more than a small collection of homes, two tiny restaurants and a spartan campground that mostly caters to visiting surfers. Even this village is going to disappear soon though.

Several years ago the hydro dam upriver was identified as likely to collapse following the magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake expected to hit the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years. The resulting torrent of water will wipe out the community downstream. Rather than risk that, the provincial hydro authority recently purchased all the remaining homes and the campground.

The houses will be shuttered and probably removed at some point. Surfers will be grateful to know that the power authority will not be closing the campsite, but will install an early warning system to alert them in the event of the dam failure.

How awesome would it be to surf THAT wall of water when it comes foaming out of the river mouth?

The surf point adjacent to the river mouth...