Friday, June 29, 2007

June 25, 2007 – Day 11 – Monday

The day dawned bright and sunny – for a change. I squeezed out a little time to write in here, but Diana got up and off we went again. Today, we went sailing. Yeah!! Diana was so worried about this planned event. For weeks she regularly talked about it – nervously, but today, all her nightmares came true.

We drove to Grice Bay, just south of Tofino, and put our kayaks together. Once assembled, down went the centreboard and up went the sail. Oh yeah! Now it did sail nicely, but the real candy was that Diana liked it so much that she wants to go again at home where we have stronger winds!!! I had hoped she would enjoy herself, but this was totally unexpected.

This strange looking photo is of an under water kelp bed that we sailed a few inches over top of.

At one point, a giant rainbow ring – a sure sign of a storm coming in a few days, corralled the bright sun. Under its warmth, and pushed by a light breeze, my fishing was unsuccessful, but the sailing was so fun! The GPS indicated we travelled for a total of 7KM with a maximum speed of 6.3KM per hour.

Our only trouble was that we forgot to take food, but under our grins, just our stomachs were complaining.

June 24, 2007 – Day 10 – Sunday

Last night was a terrible night. The rain fell without stopping, although it did lighten up a few times.

When morning finally came, we hurriedly packed up. Breakfast was a bit rough. Due to the soggy weather, we could only get to our grapefruits, but they were good.

Once packed up, the weather miraculously cleared, so we spent several hours walking the sandy beach. Combers Beach was wonderful! The sun came out to dance on the waves and the four-foot surf crashed in rhythmically as I strolled with my sweetheart in its warmth. It was wonderfully romantic.

When we finally left the warm cream-coloured sand, we drove back to Ucluelet and checked into #24, Reef Point Cottages. The cabin was beautiful, but after a shivering night in the pouring rain, it was as close to being a palace as I have ever enjoyed! A lower-floor bedroom, balcony and hot tub below a main floor living room, kitchen, bathroom, and upper balcony. Wow!! And I thought the beach was going to be the nicest thing I saw all day!

June 23, 2007 – Day 9 - Saturday

Moved out of Cabin #12 into the cold west coastal rain. It poured all day while we drove the 40+ kilometres to Tofino, stopping at many beaches and tourist sights along the way. Mostly, we stayed in the car and planned our future visits for less “liquid sunshine” days.

We took in Tofino’s exotic stores and the outdoor market. The people were friendly and we met a local photographer, Wayne Barnes, at the rain-soaked outdoor market. His photography is great, but he has no Internet presence for you to visit. I guess you’ll just have to come here to see
his work for yourself. Wayne seemed to especially enjoy photographing massive waves crashing onto jagged rocks and shooting their foam high into the air. Impressive!!

After exploring the sights in Tofino – wandering about in our much appreciated rain gear, we drove a few minutes south to Green Point Campground and set up our tent in the pouring rain! The weather remained cold and we got soaked! Are we having fun yet?

We had planned to eat in camp, but it was too rainy to cook under the thick sky, so we drove back to Ucluelet for a wonderful supper at the Canadian Princess Resort, a restaurant in the dining room of a luxury ship of yesteryear.
Following the fine supper, we swallowed hard and headed back to our tiny, portable apartment in the rain.

See the tiny river bed that ran through our camp all night?

June 22, 2007 – Day 8 - Friday

5:15AM arrived so unexpectedly that I didn’t even hear my alarm. Good thing Diana did! 5:50AM found us pulling into the crammed parking lot above the Government Wharf in Ucluelet. Being raised on a lighthouse, boarding the waiting 30-foot fibreglass boat felt normal to me, but to Diana, it was sort of like skydiving on her very first plane ride. Jeremy, the owner/operator of the M.V. Tight Lines, was both accommodating and confidence strengthening, and in moments, we were gently powering out of Ucluelet’s narrow and secluded harbour towards open water.

A four-foot ground swell, carrying a two-foot chop greeted us as we sped from the confines of the protected harbour into the vast Pacific Ocean. A nasty sea for a smaller boat, ours handled exceptionally well, and in less than twenty minutes, we were
slopping along with our salmon lures trailing behind us.
The humid chill of the offshore breeze was soon interrupted by a tug on the tip of my 9-foot rod, and a split-second later, I was fighting the first catch of many. The large Red Spring Salmon turned out to be the biggest of the day, and my arm will remember him for a while! Next, Diana took her turn with a Sea Bass. It was awesome to see the look on her face as she fought and landed it.

Jeremy was 8 for 8 in landing our catches with his net, but between us, Diana and I lost 4 before they reached the boat. Two of my salmon were a bit too small, but still, we went home with six nice fish.

As we trolled and travelled to four different locations we saw bald eagles perched on sea-bound rocks and soaring overhead, sometimes twittering to each other in their own unique language. Farther inland, a small black bear foraged on a dark outcrop of rocky beach as we trolled by, reeling in another salmon that he probably would have appreciated.
Soon our charter time was up, and Jeremy sped us back towards Ucluelet. He headed for a narrow passageway, between some exposed rocks and the shoreline, when suddenly he pointed to a frothy patch up ahead. Two Humpback whales cavorted close to shore, and blocked our route! Jeremy slowed to a snail’s pace as we drew near. The whales put on a little show for us as we passed, but as I held my camera at the ready, I secretly wished for a little more drama.

After eating some big salmon steaks,
we cut, wrapped and froze the rest of our fish. The afternoon was well upon us as we drove to Tofino, stopping at several scenic places along the serpentine, 40KM route. Rain had begun before we were finished eating, but our spirits wer high. Once done looking around Tofino and area, we headed back to #12, Reef Point Cottages for a late supper of more fresh salmon. Mmmmm!

June 21, 2007 – Day 7 – Thursday

Following a great night’s sleep, Diana and I puttered around Ucluelet, visiting every shop we could find. A little drizzle fell on us, but we had fun anyway. We shopped around and booked a fishing charter for tomorrow before wandering the shoreline of Big Beach. The beach consisted of many rock outcroppings punctuated with soft sand and rimmed by beached, sun-bleached logs. I found a nice orange starfish for Diana and between the two of us, we collected a few pretty shells. Everywhere, kelp hung from tide-exposed rocks, punctuated by white barnacles and black muscles. This first shot is a close-up of about 5 inches of barnacles.

June 20, 2007 – Day 6 - Wednesday

This morning found us packing up our tent & stuff before ambling along the beach, picking the occasional shell and taking in the unspoiled scene. The tide was way out and there was much to see. Finally, we climbed back into our car an headed out.

South on Highway 19 and then west on the #4, took us toward our ultimate destination. Along Hwy 4, we stopped in Port Alberni, where we looked up an old friend, Rickie Joe. He and his wife were out, but we said a quick “Hello” to their live-aboard boat before heading back to the open road. Oh, did I say, “open”?

The narrow pavement snaked its way up and down several mountain passes. At higher elevations, rain misted down on our windshield and obscured our views. The murky mist painted the emerald rain forest with a mystical aura that seemed to hold us in the spell of anticipation as our car negotiated the innumerable curves. Cold and rugged, but hauntingly beautiful, the thick evergreen forest finally parted to reveal the quaint village of Ucluelet. We had arrived! 
Once moved into our awesome, little cabin, #12, Reef Point Cottages, Diana and I drove out to see Amphitrite Point Lightstation. Mighty surf pounded the dark, jagged coastline, sending unnerving spray into the cool, intermittent drizzle of the evening. Wow!

June 19, 2007 – Day 5 - Tuesday

Today, Diana and I drove to Tswsaassen and boarded the ferry to Duke Point. The crossing was beautiful!

After picking up some fishing gear in Nanaimo, we wound our way northward along the coast road to Cortenay.

A few miles farther north, the road to Miracle Beach was secluded, but worth the find. The grey-coloured sand and sights of the ocean beach, combined with the tranquility of a secluded campsite made us long to linger. Peace giving was what it was.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 17 & 18, 2007 - Days 3 and 4 - Merritt to Vancouver

June 17, 2007
It is now Sunday morning and my sweetheart is still sleeping. Soon we
will leave Merritt.

The drive to Vancouver was wet. Grey clouds hung in ragged shrouds from the surrounding mountain peaks and dropped drizzle on us here and there. At one point, we rose into a cloud. It felt like
driving through a sopping sponge. Finally, we arrived safely in Vancouver.

Sharon created a great supper and we visited until the day was spent. 

June 18, 2007

This morning, George and I went to the gym for a workout. It was a wonderful change from sitting behind the wheel!

Sharon took Diana and I shopping and out for lunch. We had a great time. After the shopping, Diana and Sharon made pies and I helped out a little. A nice relaxing day!

Tomorrow, we are off to Nanaimo and some more adventure. The weather promises to be fair and that is good because our tent will be our next hotel.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Beginning - June 15 & 16, 2007 - Day 1 & 2 - Friday & Sat

June 15, 2007
Today is the first day of our 25th wedding anniversary trip. We had some trouble getting ready to go today, but finally did – quite late. We drove to Sparwood, B.C. and stood by the world’s largest truck for a quick photo.

We then continued on to Fernie and are here now at the Super 8, watching Law & Order (on TV). Tomorrow we travel to Kelowna to visit my sister and her family and then on to Vancouver.

June 16, 2007
We had a great day today, but great days seem to always come with a setback or two. Diana and I left Fernie, bound for Kelowna, B.C., but accidentally took Highway 3A instead of Hwy 3. We ended up at Kootenay Bay and had to wait about 20 minutes to take the ferry across the lake.Several years ago, we talked about driving to this very spot and taking this ferry, so the mistake turned out to be a welcome adventure.

The highways, in the area we travelled yesterday, were so twisty and windy that progress was slow. However, we did find an elusive sasquatch who stood still long enough for a photo op.  Isn’t he huge?

We finally reached my sister’s place and enjoyed a short visit with my nephews Josh & Justin as well as Josh’s girlfriend, Erin, but my sister and her husband were out and could not be located. We wanted to get to Vancouver, so we pulled out – a little sad that we had arrived too late to see everyone.

The road was not as windy, but rain fell and there was construction. By the time we arrived in Merit, B.C., both Diana and I were exhausted. We drove down the hotel strip and finally pick out a place to crash for the night.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Windows and Waterspouts

Hi everyone, just another update. I have been on the road for a couple of days, and not able to post this latest landmark, but “better late than never” I always say. On June 5th, I completed work on “Windows and Waterspouts”, and am now giving “Tag” a work over. Things are coming together!

As of yesterday, I also finished off "Tag".

Friday, June 1, 2007

The boat

Hey everyone,
For some time now, I have been working on creating a catamaran out of two kayaks and making the thing sail like a proper vessel. I must say that the challenge has been great fun. A month or so ago, my wife came to my aid by buying me "Sailing For Dummies". I was surprised at how much there was to know about sailing. When I lived on Pointer Island, sailing was too slow for my youthful pride, and I never learned how it was done. What a shame!!! However, it is never too late to learn and I have - well I'll really know when I take the lady out for her maiden voyage. I have the rigging complete and the centreboards are just in need of a bit of lead weight and a coat of fiberglass. Perhaps tomorrow evening will be the big day, but time will tell. I'll be sure to post some photos.