Monday, July 24, 2017

Sandcut Beach

Neon green cave plant life...
So green it glows...
Sandcut Beach -- about 75 minutes to the west of Victoria -- features some shallow caves that are alternately exposed and hidden by the changing tides. The roofs of the caves are lined with this bright green carpet of... well, some sort of plant life.

Water seeps through and down the sandstone cliffs to flow to the ocean, creating these abstract patterns in the fine sand.

A film of water gently etches the beach...
Beach sand etched by a film of water...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Beaches

Sandcut beach stretches off into the distance...
View from the top of Sandcut's waterfall...
No, not the sappy 80s chick flick...

To the west of Victoria on southern Vancouver Island are a series of beaches that collectively make up the 47 km long Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. The terrain of the beaches varies from fine sand to gravel to fields of barnacle-covered boulders. A few of them feature waterfalls that get quite spectacular during the rainy winter months.

None of them are suitable for surfing in the ways that the beaches of Tofino and Ucluelet are although I did get a few short runs in at China Beach recently. Mostly I played on the water with my paddle board, periodically accompanied by a curious seal or sea otter sneaking up behind me in the kelp beds.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Buskin' it...

Dancers, jugglers and acrobats...
Jugglers, dancers and acrobats... plus fire!
Last weekend the six day Victoria Buskers Festival wrapped up. We saw about six acts, including long-time returning favourites Les Vitamines (above lower left).

There was some controversy over the event this year. In past years, it was a two-week long event with many more acts spread out over the main harbour waterfront.

However, the organizer of that event had some sort of falling out with his business sponsors and Victoria city which led to his festival leaving town and re-locating to the interior city of Kamloops. It won't be back.

Instead the city and businesses threw their weight behind a new scaled-down event.

It definitely wasn't of the same calibre of previous events. There were fewer acts, spread out over venues that were separated by a few blocks, forcing you to hussle from one show to the next to see the good acts. Nor were the chosen venues physically ideal for crowds of spectators.

Hopefully, the new iteration improves for next year...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Manic Monday: Blow me down!

Not the landing that this para-glider had hoped for...
Only his pride was hurt...
Scootering on a fine sunny day along the Victoria waterfront, my wife and I came across this scene... a para-glider over the local beach got caught in winds that blew him ashore and into a power line. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt although he did seem embarrassed by the attention he attracted from passing motorists and pedestrians.

It took a fire truck to come and unhook his lines from the overhead light. No word on whether he was facing any sort of fine or charges for his misfortune.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Gorge rapids

White water spills out of the upper Gorge in Saanich, BC...
The churning waters of the Gorge waterway... 
I've been looking for opportunities to practice my stand up paddle surfing skills. Inspiration caused me to consider the Gorge waterway as a potential source of wave action.

Most of the time, the water along this river-like sliver of ocean is calm and inviting. However, under the local Gorge-Tillicum bridge, the waterway narrows and can produce whitewater rapids as the water flows out of upper Portage Inlet at low low tide.

I went to check them out and was disappointed to see that they are completely unsuitable for practicing any sort of paddle board sport. The water is turbulent, full of eddies and whirlpools that don't mimic ocean waves in any way. Even the most experienced paddler would likely find themselves getting tossed into the churning, heaving water and facing a watery death.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pride Parade 2017

Highlights from Victoria's 2017 Pride Parade...
2017 Pride Parade highlights...
This past weekend's Pride Parade was the biggest one to date. The usual faces were in attendance, including flamboyant regular Attila Basset who went for a simpler costume this year... one that didn't require its own set of wheels to transport.

I remember simpler times when it was a parade that celebrated the gay and bi- communities. Then the transgender crowd become part of the event.

This year marked a sort of gender-bending free-for-all where dozens of new 'genders' are now required to be recognized in Canadian law, each with their own pronouns such as zie/hir/ey/em, etc. It's now possible for someone to identify as 70% female/ 30% male, whatever that means. In times like this I identify as 'extraterrestrial' because I'm pretty sure I'm not on Earth anymore.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Post-parade

Spectators watch the Canada Day Parade go by in Parksville, BC...
Canada Day Parade spectators
Parksville Canada Day parade...
Parade floats are cheered on by the crowds...
Parksville on Vancouver Island celebrated the recent Canada Day with a parade. Being a small community without a big budget, the parade was big on emergency vehicles whooping it up with their sirens.

Still it didn't stop the crowd from enthusiastically cheering and waving. In fact, the parade was so long that one little girl lost interest and got down into the gravel to play.

Parade burn out...
Dealing with the parade burn out...



Friday, July 7, 2017

Sally's Cafe

Qualicum Beach standing in for Chesapeake Shores...
Downtown Qualicum Beach stands in for Chesapeake Shores...
Last year at our up island condo I briefly met actor Treat Williams. He was staying at our resort as part of the cast of Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores. Season 1 of the series was filmed in and around the Oceanside area of Vancouver Island, standing in for fictional Chesapeake Shores in Maryland.

It's a rather tame night time soap -- no evil twins, scheming wives or crooked businessmen -- but my wife and and I eventually enjoyed watching it just to see the familiar locations. One of the most prominent locations on the show is Sally's Cafe, the social hub of the small town. It even turns up in the show's opening credits.

In reality, the cafe is the former Chamber of Commerce building of nearby Qualicum Falls. During a recent stay at our condo, we stopped by to take a photo. I had always assumed that the interior scenes were filmed elsewhere so I was surprised when we peaked through the windows to see all the props set up to film the interior scenes as well.

They've just finished filming the second season of the continuing adventures of the O'Brien clan which should start airing later this summer.

By the way, the series makes a great drinking game if you want to try it. Every time you hear a main character heave a sigh, down a drink. You'll be tanked before the final credits role...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Return to Otherworld

Otherworld art installation...
The great and powerful Zardoz...
I re-discovered this old photo in my archives... a record of my attendance at Otherworld on Vancouver Island five years ago.

It's one of numerous Burning Man ancillary events across North America. I went at the insistence of a friend who was a regular at this annual event. At the time, it took place in the forest on private land near Shawnigan Lake, but has since re-located further up island to Bamfield.

If I had to describe the event, it was sort of a cross between Bartertown (see the film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome for reference) and Woodstock.

There were two distinct groups who were there. The first group were young adults there to just sit around and socialize, dance to the techno music, and do a lot of drugs. That was most of them it seemed.

The second group were the talented artists who put together art installations such as this one. Or people with entertaining skills such as fire spinners. I would have preferred to see more of this group.

I really couldn't get into the spirit of it. Many of the people that I met struck me as self-absorbed and vacuous. It was an interesting experience but not enough that I wanted to repeat it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mixed messages...

Three skulls mean "Keep Away!"
Esther, Hector and Axel...
This small house is found on Tofino's main street. It was clear that the owner didn't want cars parking on the street in front of his property, but he managed to make his point with a bit of humour.