Friday, June 28, 2019

How Green Is My Valley

A rural landscape on Salt Spring Island...
Green fields and sheep in the distance...
Salt Spring Island off Vancouver Island's east coast is a mix of lush farms tucked in between tracts of lush forests.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Never Surrender

Canadian rocker Corey Hart at Victoria's Save-On Centre...
Corey Hart... still looking good at 57
My wife and I recently attended a concert headlined by Corey Hart. It was one of the most entertaining concerts I've ever attended, maybe the best.

Hart was a big deal in Canada back in the 1980s when he exploded on the music scene with his hit Sunglasses at Night. His bad boy good looks, singing and songwriting talent made him a fixture in Canadian music for about a decade.

He abruptly left the industry -- and Canada -- to devote time to his wife and kids.

He never expected to return to sing music in a big way, but was encouraged by the reception that he got when he was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. That led to a 'retirement' tour that proved to be so popular that he decided to return to making music again.

Hart really knocked it out of the park for the Victoria concert. He had fans come up on stage for hugs and serenades, he wandered into the audience to sing and he cracked jokes such as apologizing for the all the cheesy pouting that he did in his old music videos when he was always cast as a broody, intense James Dean-type.

He was clearly have a great time and got emotional whenever he talked about his wife and kids, and the fans that have been inspired by him.

Monday, June 24, 2019

F(l)ail

Paddleboards ready to go on a downstream run...
Idyllic start to our paddle run...

A few weeks ago, my paddle partner and I did a river run on our inflatable SUPs. It was probably the last run of our second season.

It started off gently. The river levels were way down, the flow was slow... in fact, we grounded a few times causing us to 'Superman', i.e. get tossed forward off the front of the board.

Things took a different turn at the end though when we went through a Class-3 chute. The churning froth tossed me off my platform and into the drink. The powerful water tore my waist leash off. I carried on downstream, flailing in the water while my board wound up caught up on rock.

Aside the adrenaline rush, I was otherwise fine and unscathed. It took some fancy manoeuvres and good luck to get my board unstuck.

A hung up paddleboard in the middle of the river...
My grounded paddleboard...

Friday, June 21, 2019

Raging Grannies

The Raging Grannies get their game on at the Salt Spring Island Saturday market...
The Raging Grannies entertain and amuse on Salt Spring Island...
Although Raging Grannies are now a global phenomenon, they got their start in our very own Victoria, BC back in the mid-80s. At the time I was in the Navy, and we were frequently the target of their political protests when we hosted foreign warships.

The Grannies protested the presence of nuclear warships in BC waters, assuming that they were ARMED with nuclear weapons. Sometimes they were, but other times they were simply powered by a nuclear power plant, a distinction that the Grannies didn't seem to understand.

Over the years and decades, the target of their songs and protests has expanded to include other concerns such as the growing climate emergency.

For the most part, they are endured with good humour. Who wants to be the person who arrests or hassles a grandmother?

This particular chapter on Salt Spring Island were entertaining market goers with a cheeky tune protesting oil tankers off the BC coast...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Hustle

A budding artist learns the value of persistence and hustle...
Tough gig for a new artist...
Salt Spring Island has a population of about 10000 people spread out across a large rural landscape. A lot of people eke out a living as artists and/or farmers, and every Saturday the main community of Ganges hosts a market.

Children start to learn the art of hawking their wares at an early age. Most market shoppers were oblivious to this young budding entrepreneur in their midst. He was gamely trying to sell his art at a small table in the main thoroughfare. Despite not having much luck competing against the more professional sellers among the larger tent displays, he showed no sign of giving up and quitting early.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Lavender fields forever

Fielfs of purple at a Salt Spring Island lavender farm...
A field of rich purple and green...
During a recent camping trip to nearby Salt Spring Island, we paid a visit to a lavender farm. Did you know that there are three broad kinds of lavender?

French lavender is used in the creation of beauty products. It's the one that you probably think of when you think of the flower.

English lavender is used in cooking.

Spanish lavender is used mostly as a cross pollinator. It's a pale white/yellow colour, not the traditional purple that you normally associate with lavender.

Stalks of lavender on Salt Spring Island...
Prince would approve...

Friday, June 14, 2019

Storm is coming...

Mother nature dwarfs a BC Ferry on its way to the mainland...
A dramatic and huge cloud hangs over a BC ferry...
If you look carefully you can see a British Columbia ferry capable of carrying 370 cars and 2100 people on the left hand side of this image. It's dwarfed by the dramatic towering cumulus cloud overhead.

Sometimes we overlook the scale of nature at our peril. For example, some people still think climate change isn't happening. They look around their world, and are convinced that mankind cannot be affecting the environment.

But all the life on this planet -- from the deepest ocean to the highest mountain -- is just a thin film covering a ball of rock. Take a basketball and cover it with two coats of blue paint. That thin film of paint would accurately represent the scale of our biosphere on this planet.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wayback Wednesday: Grand Canyon

Sitting on the edge of the canyon...
The Grand Canyon... words can't describe the impact of its view...
It was six years ago that my wife and I were perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon basking in its rich colours and vast scale.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Brentwood Bay

Brentwood Bay's colourful docks and jetties...
Off in the distance the Malahat Mountain overlooks Brentwood Bay...

Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula to the north of Saanich on Vancouver Island seems to be resisting the tendency to high-density development that is afflicting the other south island communities. So far it has maintained its quaint seaside charm. For that reason, it's a popular place for my wife and I to go out for breakfast on a sunny weekend morning.

As sea breezes waft in through the window, you can enjoy the comings and going of ferries, sailing boats and paddle craft.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Third time the charm?

The sea stacks along Cannon Beach OR...
The sea stacks of Cannon Beach at sunset...

I'm in the middle of planning our summer 2019 trip to Oregon. It will be our third trip in five years.

Once again we are hoping to see the city of Bend and the nearby Painted Hills. On both of our previous trips we had to give up on them due to the thick smoke from wild fires.

It is the grim reality of climate change. It has had a big impact on summer tourism in the Pacific Northwest.

And not just tourism... it's affecting our health. Our son who currently lives in Edmonton Alberta was recently describing the apocalyptic smoke hanging over the city which has resulted in health warnings from local authorities.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Balls of glass

Glowy glass globes at Robert Held's studio..
Spheres of colour and light...
Visitors to glass artist Robert Held's studio in Parksville are treated to a wall full of his magical and colourful glass globes that glow with inner lights.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Faces

An installation for Vancouver Island's Otherworld event...
Zardoz the great and powerful...
A couple of art installations from an Otherworld event on Vancouver Island several years ago.

A painting on the wall of a structure at Otherworld...
When gods blow kisses...
Otherworld is Vancouver Island's Official Regional Burning Man Event. It supports and draws its inspiration from the official Burning Man Festival that happens every year in the Nevada desert.

This year the Burning Man festival is facing difficulties. Originally a small, low-key event when it started in 1990, it has grown to the point of 80000 people gathering in the desert for a week of partying and celebration of creativity.

As a result, it is now on the radar of the Bureau of Land Management down in the States who are looking at the impact it has on the local environment with a mind to making changes. There was even talk that Burning Man might not happen at all but that fear seems to have subsided.

Meanwhile the local event is doing very well for itself, growing year and year. This year is will be held at a very upscale venue near Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island.