Saturday, August 29, 2020

The chimney

Not so mysterious...

This Vancouver Island structure rises out of the forest around it very much like Stein's Pillar in Oregon

However, this structure is strictly man made... it's the remains of an old chimney that formed part of a cement factory that once stood on the site. 

Today it is the location of a major tourist attraction known as The Butchart Gardens.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A pop of colour

Snow capped mountains are the backdrop for Port Alberni...
A colourful truck on the road to Port Alberni's waterfront...

The COVID pandemic has effectively crushed our normal travel plans to the U.S. Not gonna lie... we are not happy about it.

We won't even be able to do extensive travel in our own back yard this year. My wife's employer is trying to recover from a three-month shutdown so extended holidays are out for her this year.

We may have to settle for close-by locations such as Port Alberni.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

On a roll...

Kayakers on a roll...
Kayakers getting wet during manoeuvres...

Although it looks like a couple of these kayakers are having problems, it's all in hand. This group were practicing their rolls which is a fundamental skill for kayaking.

Some were more successful than others...

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Island

But is it art, really?

Recently a public arts group, built this small artificial island, complete with its own tree, and anchored it off a nearby park. "Island" is really just a fancy term for dock.

They invited the public to come and "experience" their art, and locals were happy to oblige during these hot days of summer.

All of this seems innocent fun, except that they moored it in a controversial section of our Gorge Waterway. This particular section of water has become the site of derelict boats being used by the homeless, or those who simply want to live on the water without the responsibility of buying waterfront property.

The city has spent years trying to clear the boats out. The problem is that the water is owned by a different level of government. They had just started making headway with the problem, when this island came along to encourage others to simply put up any old floating bit of junk to live on, and justify it as "art".

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Watering Can

A giant watering can of fun for kids...
Wet and fun, oh yes!
On a summer day, a popular destination for kids (and their grateful parents!) is the giant watering can in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.

Whether it's a shower, a spray or a spew of water, it's all good medicine for hot and hyperactive children coping with severely restricted summer activities during these days of COVID-19.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Duck soup

Ducks plow through the matt of algae on Swan Lake...

We live close to a small nearby lake known as Swan Lake. It was carved out via glacial action and is fed only by a few streams and rainwater.

All of which means the water is relatively stagnant. In the summer, algae blooms spread across much of the lake's surface creating a pea soup effect.

However, it doesn't seem to bother the numerous ducks, cormorants, gulls, turtles, frogs and small fish that call the lake home.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Lost Airmen of the Empire

 A tribute to the fallen...

On a wind swept rise adjacent to the Greater Victoria Airport, you'll come across this sombre piece of art. It's a tribute to the airmen who lost their lives in the great wars of the 20th century.

The artist is Illarion Gallant who has numerous high profile art pieces installed throughout the area. I like his art for the fact that it's accessible and unambiguous unlike say a banana duct- taped to a wall.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Secret squirrel

Squirrel gymnastics...
A local ninja squirrel makes off with the goods...
Recently we've been going through bird seed for our feeders at a goodly rate. We didn't give it much thought... simply continued to load up the feeder every few days.

Early one morning I looked up from my coffee to see this guy/gal doing squirrel gymnastics to get to the seed.

Mystery solved... we've taken to setting out a separate supply of sunflower seeds for the local squirrel population.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Not a ride at the fair...

Ralmax' impressive stacker-reclaimer in Victoria...
Industrial carousel...
Although this looks like some sort of high-tech fair ride, that's only an effect of the wide-angle panorama setting on my phone.

This is a stacker-reclaimer... a big-ass piece of engineering designed to move coal between freighters and rail cars at nearby North Vancouver.

The sheer size of it captures the attention of everyone who drives, cycles or walks past its construction site at Victoria's Point Hope Shipyard where it has been under construction by Ralmax Group for the the past eighteen months.

The buckets used to scoop up the coal...
No, not the seats for the ride...



Monday, August 3, 2020

Double patties

A bridge over the Englishman River...
Water beats rock...
Another view of the 'double-patties' that were mentioned in my previous post. You can imagine how much higher the river levels are in the winter to have carved out this unusual formation.

The bridge leads to a network of trails that will take you deep into the forests further upstream. Just remember to bring your bear bells with you.