Friday, March 30, 2018

Beaches

Water spills over the hallowed out cliffs of Sandcut Beach...
Water spills into the ocean off Sandcut Beach...
On the same day that we took in Mystic Beach to the west of Sooke on Vancouver Island, we also took in the appropriately named Sandcut Beach with its own waterfall.

The surf at Mystic Beach...
The surf at Mystic Beach...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Not so welcome anymore...

Sea lions get comfortable in Newport, OR harbour...
Sea lions living the easy life in Newport, OR...
Oregon has a sea lion problem.

When we went through Newport, OR last fall, we saw that sea lions appeared to be a welcome presence in the harbour. It looked like they had even built special platforms to accommodate them adjacent to the waterfront jetty. From there tourists could observe them close up, hear them and... uhm, smell them.

At one time sea lions along the west coast were hunted to the point of near population collapse. Then, they were protected in an effort to increase their numbers. So successful was this campaign that their numbers increased ten-fold up and down the coast.

Which is bad news for the salmon populations on which the sea lions feed. Which, in turn, is bad news for other animals that rely on salmon for food, such as orcas. It's thought that the declining salmon populations are having an impact on diminishing orca populations, including those as far north as our own Vancouver Island.

Oregon has embarked on a plan to start re-locating sea lions away from rivers where salmon return to spawn. So, the guys and gals in these photos may soon find themselves being bumrushed out of town.

Enjoy the accommodations while you can...
Enjoy the view while you can sea lions!

Monday, March 26, 2018

White slopes, blue skies


As winter slides into spring, the snow on our local ski mountain is slowly turning soft. The good news though is that ski days are getting sunnier.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A tale of herring do

A gathering of gulls...
Gulls gather to gorge...
A few weeks ago in Parksville on Vancouver Island, the arrival of the herring run was the signal for fishing boats and seagulls to arrive in huge numbers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

View from The Blue Crab

Victoria harbour at dusk...
The glow of lights on the water...

One of our favourite restaurants is Victoria’s Blue Crab Seafood House. Its previous name of The Blue Crab Bar and Grill didn't accurately reflect its fine dining atmosphere. It’s one of the pricier places in town which is why we don’t eat here often. However, the food is worth every penny. We’ve never had a bad experience here.

What makes it extra special is the view of the harbour from the large picture windows that make up one wall. As you eat, you are treated to the ever changing vista of a working harbour. Pleasure craft, water taxis, ferries, sea-planes, and kayaks keep things interesting. When we ate there last week, the glow of the lights on the water from the condo towers on the far side looked magical.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Selkirk Trestle

The popular Selkirk Trestle...
The well traveled Selkirk Trestle...
Selkirk Trestle separates Victoria’s inner harbour from the upper harbour. At one time it supported an actual railway bed. Now it’s part of the popular Galloping Goose bicycle / pedestrian route that starts in Victoria and goes as far west as the ghost town of Leechtown 55 kilometres to the west.

On the far side of the trestle from where this photo was taken, is the water off Bamfield Park. For many years now, a number of boats – many of them decrepit and leaking oil – have taken to ‘squatting’ there. Local municipalities have tried to evict them, but with limited success as the water technically falls under federal jurisdiction. Recently though the city of Victoria won a court challenge that will allow them to remove the boats.

Water squatters...
Water squatters...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Funny Friday: Fast and Furious


Last week a friend and I were able to get back out on our stand up paddleboards on nearby China Beach to have a go at surfing.

The sun was warm and the water was... less so. Things didn't always go as planned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mystery art

Steampunk Tardis?
Strange door to another dimension...
Walking around the waterfront a few weeks ago, I saw a mysterious structure stuck out of sight behind a social housing complex.

It looked like some bizarre version of Dr. Who's time-traveling Tardis. Nope. It turned out to be the remains of a old safe fitted with some sort of accent lighting. No plaque or anything else to explain its significance.

I'm assuming it's some sort of mystery art installation, meant to be enjoyed only by those in the know.

A safe out of time...
Safe to say this one isn't...

Friday, March 9, 2018

TGIF

Celebrating in Anacortes WA...
-- photo credit: L. Laplante

It's the weekend! Let's celebrate with dance!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Winged warrior

Hawk-eyed and ready...
Eagle-eyed sentry...
Often at resorts in tropical climates, the outdoor restaurants are magnets for local birds, usually crows or similar breeds. They are there to scavenge for free food. Often they are bold enough to land on tables and snatch any morsels they see.

This guy/gal at Dreams Resort in Huatulco was there to re-establish law and order in the avian world. Several times throughout the day, a handler would walk it around the grounds on his arm and unleash it to chase off unwanted winged beggars. Between shifts, s/he was content to sit on a corn cob perch stuck into the ground and pose for amused resort guests.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Laid back lizard

A friendly iguana entertains the crowds at a Huatulco restaurant...
Bored? Mellow? Irritated? Who can tell?
Visiting a local restaurant during our Huatulco vacay, we encountered this goodly sized iguana who would pose for pictures.

S/he seemed all good with being handled, but how would I know a pissed-off iguana if I saw one? Also, I'm not sure allowing an iguana into a restaurant to be handled by staff and patrons would pass hygienic muster here in Canada.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Snow Day

Snow day on the slopes of Mt. Washington...
Nothing but snow and shadows...
My wife and I are off for a weekend of skiing. This photo was taken about a month ago the day before a thick blanket of snow fell on our local ski mountain over a 24-hour period.

In fact, it got so thick that they had to close the mountain for a day. Roads to and from the top were closed, trapping some people at the resort overnight. The resort, however, stepped up to help and allowed visitors to sleep on the floor of the restaurant.

An adventure within an adventure...