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Posts tagged ‘British Columbia’

Climbing the hill

up-the-hillLast Day in Campbell River and going home


Our day began with a lovely breakfast overlooking Cape Mudge lighthouse. Our hosts have an amazing collection of books and artwork throughout the house, relics of their time in Italy. They have arranged for me to meet with Carol Seeley, a local quilt artist of some fame—and we visit her studio—all new—for a private showing of her work. She is delightful, I quiz her about her techniques, and finally she drops us in the center of town.


We wander a bit about town, checking out the drug store and supermarket—odd to see everything labeled in French and English—instead of Spanish and English— and have lunch at the Boston Pizza restaurant, owned by Carol and her husband. It is a beautiful day and it is a pleasant walk back to the B&B.


We decided to have supper at Freddie’s Pub. We walk (forever) up and down streets trying to find a cross street and finally end up going down the hill on a dirt path holding onto a rope tied to trees at top and bottom. It was really steep and we both would have been laughing by the time we got to the bottom/and top on the return if it hadn’t been more than a bit of work to climb.


Neither of us look forward to the tussle the airport will prove to be —but I need to get back to work. It’s been a wonderful trip. Our host joins us in the garden and we all drink a glass of wine while watching the sun set. He told us that Freddie was a real person and very much still alive and an active member of Rotary.


We are all up early the next morning; the trip to the airport is short; the maneuvering through the various airports challenging; Toronto had snow and we watched the de-icing process on our plane and the ones next to us. Finally we land in Houston and drive home.


more photos are on smugmug at:






Back to Menzies Bay

Our Last Day


The traps were retrieved early this morning and yield about a hundred or so nice sized prawns. The cook steamed them for a nice addition to the Caesar Salad for lunch.


The captain is in no hurry and we slowly make our way through the Malaspina. A large group of sea lions is on a small island and we stop to watch them. Their vocalizations are like something out of a bad concert and we all laugh as they yawn and slip into the water.


Today we spotted nearly a dozen or more eagles and I spied a pair sitting in a tree. Although majestic, they are not cooperating with sitting for photographs. The captain tells us we have enough time to take a spin through Rock Gorge and we all line up on the railings to take a peek at the petroglyphs. The cook and steward are there with us, also snapping photos.


Too soon we see Menzie’s bay; wait for the excavator to be unloaded—a far less exciting venture than the loading, someone retrieves the van and the entire crew loads up our luggage and drops it off in the upper parking lot, and we disembark with each of the crew shaking our hand.


The rest of our travelmates were all Canadians with their vehicles in the parking lot. We are the only ones without local transportation but each of the couples stops and asks us if we need a ride. But the cook gives us a ride to Hidden Harbor Bed & Breakfast where we are met by a beaming Jergen and Inge, our hosts.


Our new accommodations are quite lovely with lots of interesting artwork framed on the walls. Jergen and Inge own a yarn shop/framing shop in addition to this Bed & Breakfast.


I toast myself in front of the gas fireplace and read a totally mindless book for a couple of hours before we both turn in. For folks who haven’t done much of anything all day we were exceptionally tired.


More photos are on smugmug at:


Savary Island

day-five-day-two-on-freighterAboard the freighter Day 4


We had just one scheduled delivery today and so the day was spent leisurely cruising amongst the various islands. Our first stop was on Savary Island, well known in the 20’s for a prestigious summer place for the rich and famous. A cruise line plied these waters on a regular basis. We walked on the beach, amazed at the smooth round pebbles and the lovely purple shells of the mussels.


Our next stop was Manson’s Landing on Cortes Island. Here there was a lovely lagoon covered with Japanese Sea Screws. We watched someone clamming and walked along a trail noting the oyster shells flung far into the forest. The remains of a boat were anchored on shore with just the keel and prow remaining.


A group of orcas entertained the entire crew and passengers for nearly an hour in the afternoon, a pod of twenty or thirty porpoise leaping in the morning. We passed a log boom towed by a tug with seagulls, seals, and a lone eagle perched on the back all catching a ride.


The sun was warm and it was a beautiful day.


We tied up on a log boom and tossed out four crab traps. Perhaps we’ll have a lovely lunch tomorrow.


More photos are in Smugmug at:

Playing Horseshoes with a Rusty Chain Link and Stick

Aboard the freighter Day Two April 2 2009



We arrived in Campbell River at breakfast time. I ate a waffle with maple syrup while we were loaded with a logging truck, explosives, cylinders of gas, and more trees. The sun began to peep out and we cleared Cape Mudge on the southern edge of Quadra Island and headed for Tobe Inlet. The captain opted for a more scenic route between East and West Redondo Island.


The sun is warm and it is quite pleasant on deck, particularly while leaning on the stack out of the wind.


I was rewarded with the sight of several bald eagles soaring, lots of ducks which we thought were buffleheads, and spying the arbutus tree—a deciduous evergreen with orange-ish red bark growing in the most awkward places along the rocky hills. Mussels, a favorite food of bears, covered many of the rocks but they (bears) are still hibernating.


On one small island we spied a grouping of signs in the trees. Apparently this is a contest between various ferries and other vessels—to see whose sign will be posted the highest. Several oyster farms were noted and the crew entertained us with stories of grizzlies and eagles. Somehow one valley’s mist was situated so as to create a rainbow rippling over and under the trees.


We reach our destination at Brem River and offload trees. The captain allows us to wander about  on shore warning us not to go too far as this was where they saw the largest grizzlies they have ever seen. There is no-one here; the trees are stacked neatly with a tarp over them while we make snowballs and try to play a game of horseshoes with a chain link and a stick in the ground.


Too soon it is time to go aboard.


Photos are on smugmug at:

Aboard the freighter and underway







The diesel engines started a little after 3 and we got underway. The noise isn’t objectionable, rather like a low pitched rumble. There was some rocking in certain parts but I slept quite well despite being sure I must be missing something really exciting.


Glen pulled open the curtains and noted that it was snowing—and indeed, there is snow on the trees and hills. We are the first ones up—not a surprise with the time zone difference. Breakfast was as wonderful as we had been led to expect. The captain has posted the time table for freight and I am eager to mark all of the data down on our map and take more photos.


Our first drop off was in a little camp. The deckhands and mates busily unloaded boxes of young trees and the freighter set off. Someone on shore frantically waved at us and we discovered we had to return to pick up a small vehicle. That put us behind on the tides. It is odd to worry about the tides as ours are but a foot or so. 


A logging camp needs fuel and we pick up a truck and some spools of wire. We drop off two log boom chains. They are not ready for us and we must wait for them to clear the log booms and organize the area. It is my first opportunity to watch such a large scale operation; small boom boats which resemble border collies herd the logs into place. A large tractor with salad fork prongs sorts the logs and loads them into a scaffold. Someone crawls underneath these huge logs with a wire, loops them into a bundle, and then the large tractor returns and shoves them into the water. The small boom boats round them up and place them within the booms.


The small boom boats are absolutely fascinating to watch; there are two of them and although they don’t seem to talk to each other, they each know what the other is doing. One guy ties his boat up to the log raft while he walks about with a grappling hook; the other one lets his boat float amongst the logs, retrieving it with the hook and walking between the log raft carrying the boom chain and the logs and the boat as easily as anyone else would walk around on house/patio/yard.


We are on our way again and we pass through some narrow areas with dangerous whirlpools. Some of the islands are for sale and we all ponder the idea of ‘buying’ an island. It is still raining and rather dreary outside but when the captain moors the freighter next to a floating dock and suggests we all take a walk to Eagle Lake while he waits for the tide, we all rush to don jackets and mittens and head out.


This is true rainforest with moss and ferns everywhere. I find a lovely patch of swamp lanterns—creamy yellow flowers in a boggy patch and take lots of photos. Bears are especially fond of the roots and I offer to take some back to the cook. The water in the bay is very clear and I can see huge starfish, solar rays and anemones which resemble huge cauliflower heads. A fine mist is falling and we arrive back at the boat with wet shoes and jackets, glad to be back inside.


The tide is coming in and we enjoy a dinner of roast beef while speculating upon the inhabitants of Stuart Island.


We are very behind on our schedule and all of us long for the sun to come out.


 more photos of this day are on smugmug at:

A Day in Airports

Leaving Texas in a sherbet sky

Leaving Texas in a sherbet sky

Our day began early with dropping off my truck for Hurricane Ike repairs.






We maneuvered our way through the rental car return maze of Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, disrobed to clear Security (well, maybe not—it just felt like it), and took our seats on the first leg of our flight to Campbell River, British Columbia. The sky was a luscious pinky gold resembling a pool of melted sherbet.


United is apparently a ‘troubled’ airline and they are saving money by refurbishing old planes and selling snacks. One of the landing gear trucks had a severe squawk as we rolled down the runway but the pilots landed in San Francisco without difficulty.


San Francisco airport was full of people sprawled everywhere; our layover there was three hours.


Vancouver was our next stop. Logs were stored in the river basin; Scuffy tugboats were everywhere—so different from the tugs in coastal Texas. The airport wasn’t particularly crowded –a good thing—as we had to go through Customs, pick up our bags, go through the airport (no signs anywhere), check in with Central Mountain Air on the far side of the airport, run our bags back to the loading carousel, clear security (again) and run to the end of the gates.


The final flight of the journey was in a Beechcraft; a Canadian coming home from drilling in Saskatchewan conversed with us during the flight. We rode with him on our way to the hotel.


Conversations here involve bears, logging, and the actions of police and government.


Today we explore the city—tomorrow we get on board the freighter.

 More photos on smug mug at

On our way to Campbell River British Columbia

East Texas Lake country in the spring

East Texas Lake country in the spring

Today has been a hubbub of activity.




We’ve packed and repacked and added hats, mittens, and more thermal underwear. I have enough art supplies to last three weeks—far more important than clean underwear—I’m sure Canada has a stock of underwear and socks.


Tomorrow we leave for Campbell River British Columbia for a five day cruise aboard a freighter. We’ll spend most of it in airports and airplanes. This will be our first cruise; I’m hoping I see whales and Northern Lights. But if I don’t, then that will be an excellent reason to repeat the adventure.


Of course, I’ll take lots of pictures.