Friday, June 30, 2017

Not so fantastic plastic

Your grandchildren's grandchildren will see this...
It will last long enough for your grandchildren's grandchildren to see..
Many ancient civilizations that have disappeared have left behind traces of their existence. Pyramids, catacombs, the Sphinx, coliseums...

In a future time -- maybe sooner than later -- when our world is just another dead planet in a solar system full of them, visiting extraterrestrials may learn of our existence via the plastic that we left behind.

As a result of our throwaway society, plastic infects every bit of our globe. Micro-plastics fill the ocean and are making their way up the food chain. Recently, the beaches of Henderson Island, a remote island off South America located 5000 miles away from the nearest civilization, were discovered to contain an estimated 37.7 million items of debris together weighing 17.6 tonnes. The wall of garbage -- carried to the island via ocean currents -- is killing off the local sea turtles that can no longer access the beach to lay their eggs.

Separately, photographer Chris Jordan has documented the sad deaths of albatrosses on Midway Island in the Pacific, twitching the last of their lives away as they starve. Their stomachs are full of ocean-borne plastic bits that they have mistaken for food.

This display at Tofino's Botanical Gardens is a testament to the durability of plastic and styofoam. It's a collection of the debris that poured into the ocean following Japan's earthquake of 2011. It floated all the way across the Pacific Ocean to wash up on the shores of Vancouver Island in the two years following the disaster.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Can't you READ?!

Everywhere a sign...
Take me down to the Paradox City,
Where the pot is green and the signs are witty...
-- with apologies to Guns'n'Roses
Seen at the Tofino Botanical Gardens...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Art is where you make it...

A bit of on-the-spot art on a Vancouver Island beach...
Somewhere... beyond the sea,
She's there... watching for me...
-- Beyond the Sea
Improvised beach art on a Vancouver Island beach...

Friday, June 23, 2017

The golden hour

Mother and daughter play in the day's dying light...
A mother and daughter share quality time at the perfect end of the day..
In photography, the golden hour refers to those hours immediately after sunrise and before sunset. They are considered the best time to capture photos because of the warm light.

In Tofino, locals and visitors congregate on Mackenzie Beach with wine glasses in hand to say farewell to the sun at the end of the day.

The girl who held the sun...
Not gonna let the sun go down on her...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weeping Cedar Woman

Weeping Cedar Woman is the name of this sculpture. She stands about fifteen feet tall.

She's probably weeping because her breasts are the heads of serpents and two long serpents spill out of her empty eye sockets. Plus she's probably hungry, judging from her emaciated appearance.

The sculpture has some history attached to it which you can read about here and here.

Bizarrely, this piece of art currently overlooks the children's park at Tofino.

Happy nightmares kiddies...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Master of its domain

A young eagle surveys his domain.
Eagle-eyes watch for prey...
Hiking Ucluelet's Wild Pacific Trail is a must-do for anyone visiting the Tofino-Ucluelet region of Vancouver Island.

On this particular trip, a sharp-eyed local drew our attention to this eagle keeping a vigilant watch over the pedestrians below.

Bald eagles aren't born "bald". They are actually brown all over and it's not until they are four or five that their head feathers morph into the distinctive white colour associated with them. This particular guy/gal still has vestiges of brown around its eyes.

While in downtown Tofino one day we watched a monster of a bald eagle flying overhead. I guessed that its wings spanned six feet or more.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Wind and waves...

A lone surfer heads out at dusk...
Heading out at dusk...
Tofino is all about the surf. The town is populated with young people who are willing to pay high rents and work minimum wage service jobs just so that they can ride their boards, even if it is at the end of the day.

However, high offshore winds make for lousy surfing since they "blow" the tops off the waves creating frothy conditions. However, it's good news for the wind riders who are starting to become more prevalent in the area.

A two-day gale passed through the area during our stay there. One sunny but blustery afternoon, I busted out my 3m kite. I promptly got lifted about six feet in the air and nearly had my arms torn out of the sockets. At times I was sitting on my ass and the kite was still dragging me across the sand...

Kite surfers and wind surfer share water time...
Kite surfers and wind surfer share water time...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: First World problems

Waves wash over the gunwales of a sunken pleasure craft off Sidney, BC...
Think your day is bad? 
Pity this poor boat owner... 
Winds can be a bitch..
First published Jan 19, 2015:

Curious onlookers glance at the remains of a pleasure craft sitting gunwales deep in the water off of Sidney, BC.

A friend told me that a lot of boat owners don't get insurance for their craft because the premiums are so high.

Update Jun 14, 2017:

Derelict boats have become a major problem in the neighbouring cities of Saanich and Oak Bay who both share a common body of water in Cadboro Bay.

The problem is one of jurisdiction. The cities own the beaches above the high tide line while the federal government is responsible for everything below that. And, by their nature, these boats straddle that boundary.

In desperation, local community groups have taken it upon themselves to dismantle and dispose of the vessels. However, this is only treating a symptom and not the problem itself of irresponsible owners.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Guest photography: Roman Fedortsov

A cucumber with HUGE eyes and wicked teeth...

It has been a long time since I featured the work of another photographer here. Today's featured photographer -- who I discovered via Imgur -- is Russian commercial fisherman Roman Fedortsov.

Fedortsov's Instagram and Flickr accounts are full of the photos of the strange creatures that his boats' nets have pulled up from the deep.

Not gonna lie... some of these things scare the sh*t out of me. I mean have a look at some of these ugly mofos... When you live deep where sunlight doesn't reach, eyes are less important than having big ass teeth to hold onto whatever you bump into in the dark...

Next time I get thrown off my paddleboard, I'm gonna be thinking uneasily of what could be passing underneath me.

Pretty sure that this thing would clamp itself to your face, 
shove an ovipositor down your throat 
and lay its alien eggs...

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tofino

Tofino waterfront...
View from the Tofino waterfront...
Surf hub Tofino, and its nearby sister town of Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island are still relatively inaccessible by road. As the crow flies they aren't very far from Victoria, but the twisty, turny road to get there will slow you down to 30 km per hour in some places.

That said, every time we go there we see the signs of creeping 'Whistler-fication'. Decades ago BC's Whistler mountain was a simple, off-the-grid ski range until villages of trendy upscale restaurants, nightclubs and bars, commercial outlets, high end condos and luxurious hotels transformed it into a crowded playground for well-off city dwellers escaping their concrete canyons.

Tofino is not there yet, but the signs are clear that its rustic charms will eventually disappear under a tsunami of commercialism and city crowds.

Sun up... head down...
Tofino's main park: When the sun's up and
you want to get your head down...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer games

Fireside Jenga...
Firewood stacked like... well, firewood...
Here in Canada we play our own camping-style variations of popular games. For example, above we see our fireside version of Jenga.

And below, we see the West Coast variation of Tetris. This is where every cubic inch of your Westfalia is packed with your camping and surf gear in the most efficient way possible, allowing you to squat for days in the parking lot adjacent to the surf beach. 😃

Westfalia Tetris...
Packed to the max...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Zipping along

High wire act...
White water high wire act...
My wife and I are old hands at ziplining since we first did it eight or nine years ago.

The West Coast Wild zipline over the Kennedy River on the way to Tofino on Vancouver Island isn't the longest one we've ever done, but it's one of the most dramatic as it takes you over rocky gullies filled with white water rapids.

My wife went full Spiderman as she whizzed along the lines over the churning water below her.

View of the rapids...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Waiting for company

The Cobourg lighthouse at the end of the local pier...
Standing guard...
Against a distant horizon, the lighthouse at the end of the pier in Cobourg waits patiently -- as it has every year since 1924 -- to guide the boats of summer.