Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A balancing act


A collection of cairns glow in the setting sun on Vancouver Island...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Airy aerie

A pair of breeding eagles overhead on Galiano Island...
Soon to making sweet sweet eagle love...
And speaking of eagles...

On Galiano Island a few months ago we spotted this pair of eagles "skree-ing" in a tree overhead as we were walking along the harbour waterfront.

It was just good luck that we turned and I happened to glance up another nearby tree to see this nest.

An eagle's nest is its home...
Soon to be the sight of eaglets...
An eagle's nest is known as an aerie. Typically they are constructed from large sticks and lined with moss, grass, seaweed, etc.

A typical nest can be as wide as ten feet in diameter and up to nine feet high. However, first year nests are usually smaller, and the nest size will increase each year as eagles re-use the nest and add sticks to it. So that would suggest that this nest is a newer nest.

Bald eagles are territorial. Breeding pairs return to the same nest site year after year.

Very large nests can weigh as much as 1000 pounds!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Tree of Life

A tree glows brightly in the rays of the setting sun...
Brilliants shades of green...
We were walking along Parksville's boardwalk. The sun was low in the west. We passed under this tree. I glanced up and was struck by how it positively glowed on the sunlight.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Flock of Eagles

A young eagle checks out a newly dead clam on a Parksville beach.
A cloud appears above your head 
A beam of light comes shining down on you 
Shining down on you
-- "I Ran"
We tried to tempt this young eagle with a freshly dead crab. We tossed it over to him and s/he cautiously approached it and gave it a couple of exploratory pecks.

Maybe it was all the work involved to get at the meat when there were easier pickings about that deterred the bird.

BTW, a group of eagles is known more specifically as a "convocation" of eagles.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Beach buffet

Eagles on the beach at Parksville...

While in Parksville recently we noticed dozens and dozens of bald eagles congregating on the beach. We walked over to investigate and discovered that they were digging some sort of fish out of the sand.

Unfortunately for the fish once the tide went out they were exposed to the eagle-eyed... uh... eagles unless they are buried quite deep. (The fish, not the eagles).

Bird food...
Sitting ducks for the eagles...



Monday, May 11, 2020

Mt Baker

The explanatory lookout sign at the top of Malahat Mountain...
Mt Baker seen from Vancouver Island...
It has been a long while since I stopped to admire Mt Baker from the top of our own mountain Malahat on Vancouver Island. It was a clear spring day last Friday and I decided to check out the view.

I lined the mountain up with the sign at the lookout but, if you want to see the real deal up close, check it out below.

Washington State's Mt Baker...
Washington's Mt. Baker...

Friday, May 8, 2020

Exclusive

The surf clubhouse at Jordan River
The surf clubhouse at Jordan River

The surfing at Jordan River has effectively ended for the season as the winter storms -- and their associated waves -- fade away. A rare spring surf day last week resulted in 70 people showing up. Far more than can reasonably be accommodated by the small spot so my surf pals gave up after a short time.

Jordan River has its own surf club who 'own' this clubhouse at the site. It includes storage for their boards as well as a sauna for the use of its members. You can only join the club through invitation. The few members that I know of are old timers who have been surfing out here for decades.

They aren't known for being inviting of newcomers and outsiders. And they barely tolerate SUPboarders like me. So I likely won't be offered a membership card anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The buffalo don't roam

A buffalo roadblock at Oregon's Wildlife Safari...
Buffalo block the road...
At Oregon's Wildlife Safari, the animals are free to roam while visitors are confined to their cars and must slowly drive through the compound...

... unless the animals decide to bring things to a stop. That's what these grazing bison did for about fifteen minutes as they paused in the middle of the road for some important bison business.

A llama mingles with the bison at Oregon's Wildlife Safari...
An amblin' lama...

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The death of conspicuous consumption?

An ironic message... buying more does NOT enrich your life...
An apropos message in today's times...
In my Facebook feed recently was this quote:
The great irony coming out of all this is that the world's economy is in danger simply because people are only buying what they need. Think about that.
The COVID crisis has revealed just how flawed our First World consumerist lifestyle is with its emphasis on 'growth' where 'growth' is really just a euphemism for 'buy more useless s**t'.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Ferries and flowers

A BC Ferry approaches Active Pass on its way to Vancouver Island.
A colourful ferry under colourless skies...
BC Ferries connects Vancouver Island to the rest of Canada. In these days of COVID-19 though, they are suffering from a severe drop-off in travelers as a result of lock downs and a closed border between the U.S. and Canada.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Mt Arrowsmith

Mt Arrowsmith seen from Nanoose on Vancouver Island.
The snow capped peaks of Mt Arrowsmith...
Mt Arrowsmith dominates Vancouver Island's central region. It can be seen from Parksville on the island's east coast all the way to Port Alberni on the island's west coast.

Here it's lit up by an early morning sun on a winter day...

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Missing children

Parksville main family park is closed for business thanks to COVID-19.
Parksville's main park... a victim of the current COVID crisis.
The main playground of the excellent children's park at Parksville sits empty and unused. This is our world right now.

I hope it doesn't last long.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Blue sundial

A sundial with a (de-)motivational inscription...
Why so blue, Sue?
Wandering the grounds of the Galiano Inn, I came across this weathered looking sundial in one corner of the yard. The inscription around the outer edges reads:
"As tyme and houres passeth awaye
So doth this life of man decaye
As tyme can be redeemed at no cost
Bestow it well & let no houre be lost"
I guess it could be distilled down to "Use it or lose it".

Friday, April 17, 2020

Mostly moist moss

A pillar of moss on Galiano Island...
Moss and tree converge into one...
Okay, say the title of this post fast five times... I'll wait here.😏

One fact of life about living on the We(s)t Coast, is that you see a lot of moss. It's everywhere... on your roof, spreading across your driveway, growing up the side of your garden shed, hanging down from tree branches...

It will literally take over trees as demonstrated by this specimen on Galiano Island.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Parksville Bay x 2

Two views of Parksville's main bay...
High noon versus sunset on Parksville's beach...
My wife and I decided to retreat to our condo in Oceanside during the Easter weekend. People across the world are being urged to stay indoors during the COVID crisis. Rather than sitting in our house we figured we could at least enjoy some seaside scenery and fresh air.

This is the view of Parksville Bay from our room. One was taken during the low tide of day, the other during the high tide of sunset...

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Don't call me Shirley

The Shirley Delicious Cafe sits empty...
Another one bites the dust...
On the way to surf at Jordan River, you will pass through the blink-and-you'll-miss-it community of Shirley. Most surfers and west coast campers know it for the coffee and deserts served at the Shirley Delicious Cafe.

On a recent surf expedition, I saw that the cafe was closed. Like every other cafe, bakery and restaurant in the province, the COVID crisis had forced it to shutter its doors.

Shirley pleads for isolation...
Shirley loves you and wants to keep you safe...
On the other side of the highway, was this sign urging visitors from the urban core to #stayhome. A recent sunny weekend saw the highway and western beaches jammed with city folk looking to escape the urban lockdown.

Following the example of Tofino and the Gulf Islands, these communities promptly shut down the campgrounds and beaches in an effort to control the crowds. Too much road traffic and too many people threatened to strain the response time of any emergency services, and overwhelm local emergency facilities.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Retreat indeed

Retreat Island off Galiano Island...
West coast beautiful...
Retreat Island is a pretty-as-a-postcard 7-acre island off of Galiano's west coast. It's hard to believe that this photo was taken during a very spring-like day in February.

There is a home on the island... Google tells me it was for sale as late as 2017 and sold sometime in early 2018. You can see more details of this island and the superb home on it on this Youtube video and here.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

How small is it?

Billboards on Galiano Island...
Life in the slow lane of Galiano...
It's hard to believe that it was only a five weeks ago that my wife and I spend an idyllic weekend on the southern Gulf Island of Galiano. The COVID crisis was still a week or two away from hitting Canada. Since then everything about our way of life has changed.

Now Galiano is closed to outside visitors over fears that its limited health care facilities would be swiftly overrun by sick tourists.

Galiano is pretty small. Cue: "HOW SMALL IS IT?"

It's so small that these sandwich boards in Sturdies Bay are the local versions of billboards advertising the handful of tourists shops and eateries in the community.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Mexican muscle...

It's not easy to push over a lighthouse!
You work out however you can...
While in Mexico, I got a workout in by pushing over the waterfront lighthouse.
My wife poses in front of the lighthouse.
My wife poses...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sunrise at 20.8478° N

The sun comes up over the horizon off Mexico...
A panorama of gold and blue...
Sunrise over the Caribbean off the coast near Puerto Morelos, Mexico...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Where have all the people gone...

Sounthern Vancouver Island beaches closed to visitors during the COVID crisis...
Abandoned beaches...
A few days ago, beaches such as this one to the west of Victoria on Vancouver Island would be teeming with beachcombers, families enjoying the spring sunshine, surfers...

As of yesterday, they will be deserted thanks to the ongoing global COVID crisis. It became evident to local government that the sheer number of people flooding to the area to escape the restrictions imposed in the city simply moved the problem to the surrounding communities.

In response to the lack of physical distancing being practiced, the decision was made to shut the beaches.

Realistically, there probably isn't a way to enforce it, but hopefully people will understand the need and respect the ban.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunrise at 48.8476° N

The Feb sun rises over BC's Mayne Island...
The sun's rays appear over Mayne Island...
Mayne Island BC off the east coast of Vancouver Island lies just south of the 49th parallel.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Winning battles / Losing wars

Numerous plastic bits litter the beach near Puerto Moreles in Mexico..
Plastic and foam among the seaweed of a Mexican beach...
During our stay in Mexico we took a stroll to the nearby village of Puerto Morelos. Just off the waterfront is a large protected marine park. Tour boats take visitors out to snorkel among the marine wildlife.

As we strolled along the beach though, it was disheartening to see how much plastic debris there was along the shoreline.

The climate crisis has brought into sharp focus other abuse we are heaping on the natural environment such as our overuse of disposable plastic.

Sometimes I wonder: Are we in the middle of a battle -- or a war -- to save ourselves from ourselves?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Top of the island

The line of mountains down Vancouver Island's spine...
Vistas at the top of Mt Washington...
My wife and I went skiing this past weekend at Vancouver Island's Mt Washington.

It was a 10/10 day... sunny with freshly groomed snow that had just the right 'bite' to it. 

And few crowds despite the excellent conditions. That may have had something to do with the COVID-19 virus which is spreading across the globe. 

Many public venues and events are closing down in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. Mt Washington itself had already cancelled the rest of the season's social events. 

It was a good thing we went skiing when we did. Two days later management decided to shut down all operations on the mountain, effectively ending the ski season about three weeks early.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Morning breakfast

Breakfast over the bay...
Warm sun, good food, excellent company...
Both mornings during our Galiano stay, I picked up some coffee and some very tasty baked goods from a nearby cafe/bakery.

We enjoyed them from our very private balcony which overlooked the resort grounds and the main ferry terminal of Sturdies Bay.

In the warm mid-morning sun, we were happy to eat our breakfast while watching the ferry traffic go by.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Lover's Leap

A memorial overlooks Lover's Leap on Galiano Island...
A cliff... and a memorial. Is there an ominous connection here?
If you drive along Galiano's length, you'll pass Lover,s Leap. It's a viewpoint overlooking Wallace Island and Trincomali Channel from Bodega Ridge Provincial Park. The drop to the water below is pretty significant. If you were to tumble off the edge, you'd hit a few ledges and trees on the way down before you hit the water.

I have no idea how/if Lover's Leap earned its name. My wife and I stopped to take some photos and we noticed two things:

i. The protective chain link was missing. And there was no warning sign to keep wayward dogs or children away from the edge.

ii. There was a memorial of some sort at the site.

It was disturbing to contemplate what the implications of these facts, but no Internet research on my part has turned up any tragic stories.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Sea Wave lives!

The blue boat on Galiano Island...
The Sea Wave circa 2015...
It was more than five years ago that I first featured the land-locked Sea Wave in this blog. It was partially hidden in the undergrowth that marked the entrance to the island's native reserve.

I decided to see if it was still around during our recent Galiano Island adventure. We drove out to the end of the road, parked and I hiked down the hill.

Sure enough, the Sea Wave was still there, although she looked worse for wear. Despite having lost her superstructure to the wind and elements, her bright blue paint was surprisingly unfaded.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Galiano getaway--Part 2

The main accommodations at the Galiano Inn...
Lush greenery at the Galiano...
Galiano Inn is an intimate resort. It has only ten rooms and ten villa suites.

Our room was at the end of the main accommodations block. It was very private, bright and spacious with great views of the main harbour.

We were doubly blessed in that the end-February weather was sunny and unseasonably warm.

The best view in the house...
The best view in the house...

Monday, March 2, 2020

Galiano getaway

The main sign at the Galiano Inn greets visitors...
The sign that greets visitors to the Galiano Inn...
Every February, my wife and I do a mid-winter spa getaway to a local resort. It's a chance to beat the mid-winter blues, and also celebrate the combination of our anniversary, her birthday and Valentine's Day.

This year, we stayed at the Galiano Inn on nearby Galiano Island. Galiano is one of the southern Gulf Islands off the east coast of southern Vancouver Island.

We'll be looking at more of Galiano and the Inn in posts to come...

The morning sun lights up the Galiano Inn...
The Galiano Inn lit by the rising sun...

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Winter whitewater

Stamp River Falls near Port Alberni...
Stamp River Falls
Stamp River pours through a cleft in the rocks as it makes it way down to Port Alberni.

The falls are impressive to see. Even more impressive is the fact that salmon somehow fight upstream past this barrier, although they have help from an installed fish ladder.

Stamp River on its way to Port Alberni...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A peek from the peak...

A view from the top of a Mt Washington ski run...
Snow and clouds at five thousand feet...
A view of the nearby ranges from the top of Mt Washington. My wife and I were there for a day of skiing. This year's warmer than usual winter has thinned out the snow at the top.

My gal gets ready to do a run...
Sun, warm temperatures and no crowds... perfect!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Get in touch with your inner Dark Knight

Buddha was wise but Batman is wiser...
DO?, BE?, DO?, BE?, DO?...

Buddha once said: "The mind is everything. What you think, you become..."

You know who kicks Buddha's ass? Batman!

Batman said: "It's not who I am underneath... but what I DO... that defines me."

You don't become by thinking. You become by doing.

I overcame my fear of heights through a series of bungy jumps and a jump from the 900 foot high Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas.

I couldn't trick myself into thinking I was brave or unafraid of heights. I essentially went BERSERKER and simply threw myself off the edge. THEN I became less fearful of heights.

Patience, bravery, sympathy... we tend to think of these as character traits that we either have or don't have. That makes it difficult to see how you can become something that you're "not".

But, if you think of them not as traits, but as skills to be learned, then it becomes easier to change who we are by taking ACTION sometimes in spite of what you think of yourself.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Regal


A sand sculpted queen casts a royal look.
Casting a royal look...
One of the sand sculptures from last summer's sand sculpting competition in Parksville BC.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Find your happy place

A lazy river flows through central Oregon.
Lush greenery lines a slow moving river...
Everyone should have a place where they can escape to whenever their immediate situation is frustrating them to the point where they would just like to punch somebody in the face.

This is my place... a lazy river that is lined with lush green trees under warm blue skies.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Biblical

Russell Farms Market... hard hit by January floods.
Receding flood waters flow in and out
of the popular Russell Farms Market
Vancouver Island set a record for rainfall during the month of January, particularly during the last weekend. At time it came down in sheets that continued for hours.

The result was that some roadside businesses -- such as the one pictured above -- suffered catastrophic flooding. This roadside produce stand is expected to be closed for months as a result.

Further up island, debris and downed trees were swept down swollen and surging rivers and out to sea. As tides rolled in, they simply redistributed all that flotsam on to nearby beaches.

Parksville Bay's main beach after the flood...
A carpet of root balls, down trees and debris...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gong hei fat choy!

Dragons dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year...
A traditional dragon dance put on by our hosts...
My wife and I recently celebrated the Chinese New Year thanks to one of her co-workers who purchased a restaurant table at a charity event.

It was attended by many high-profile locals in business and politics. One politician -- who shall remain nameless -- proudly congratulated the attendees for their good will and charity in not giving in to the racism that was rearing its head in other parts of the country, thanks to the current corornavirus situation.

The irony that the statement itself was a sort of subtle virtue-signalling racism of its own was lost on this politician.

Gingerbread Gates of Chinatown...
A gingerbread house depicting our local Chinatown...
This year is the Year of the Rat. I was born in The Year of the Dog, while my wife was born in The Year of the Monkey. Apparently, that makes us strongly sexually attractive to each other.

Just sayin'... 😜


Monday, February 3, 2020

Brentwood Bay

A ferry crosses the Saanich Inlet...
The Mill Bay to Brentwood ferry chugs along...
To the north of Victoria on the east shore of Saanich Inlet is bucolic Brentwood Bay. There are a couple of nice restaurants there, but not much else. It's mostly a bedroom community for Victoria.

It's a nice staging point for a kayak ride down Todd Inlet which will take you in behind Butchart Gardens.

It's also one end of the Mill Bay ferry route, one of only two ways of getting past the Malahat. The ferry doesn't take a lot of cars though, and periodically there are calls for a bridge across the Saanich Inlet.

Brentwood Bay seen from the top of the Malahat...
The tiny town of Brentwood Bay...