And some clever quip...
Stanley Park Walk
One of those mornings I wanted to get
outside and I happened to have some time so I went for a walk at
Stanley Park. The walk around Beaver Lake has been
surprisingly productive over the years - you see the usual's
(Spotted Towhee, Chickadee) almost every time, but there are lots
of other things around if you are patient. I was watching
the Chickadees go from tree to tree when I spotted two bright
yellow birds in with the flock. May happened to be at the
same place at the same time is more accurate. These birds
were eating insects in the trees so they rarely stayed anywhere
for more than a moment, but the bright yellow color made them a
little easier to see.
Trying to swing around a 400mm lens for a long
period of time gets tiring, but I probably could have spent
another half an hour watching these little birds.
Salt Spring Island Day Trip
The kids had a week at Freedom camp -
staying with my parents. We drive over on Friday nights and
return Sunday afternoon so we have all day Saturday and some of
Sunday for activities. This weekend we decided to do a day
trip to Salt Spring Island! We left the house early to be
sure we were on the 9am sailing.
The first stop was Embe bakery to get
bread and treats for lunch. The second stop was the Saturday
Market. I've been to the market several times and it is
evolving over time. Parking isn't easy. The vendors
are pretty slick now - they have really nice booths. There
is more food ready to eat than I remember. I remember more
textiles in the past.
I have a hard time taking photos of
peoples work so I generally focus on produce. We picked up
tomatoes and cucumbers for lunch.
The kids know how to parse a market - they started with Scones and
then moved onto Popsicles and finished with Crepes. We tried
Indian food and pre-rolled sushi. Surprisingly, the market
did sell out some vendors. The Scone vendor had what I
thought was a mountain of items but they were sold out by
11. One of the bakeries with bread was sold out even
After the Market, we drove up to Mount Maxwell to have a picnic
and take in the view. I've been up here lots of times before
- it's a favorite place.
Second weekend in Victoria, we decided to do
another Saturday activity. This time the plan was to take
the 10am ferry over to Sidney Spit, have a picnic on the Island
and then come back on the 3pm sailing in the afternoon. I
booked the tickets online a week in advance and away we went!
The ferry trip over takes about 30 minutes. They bay nearest
the spit has regular array of mooring buoys with a channel down
the middle so you can get to the floating docks. It's almost
like driving through a small village seeing all of the boats lined
up on either side of our approach. We unloaded to go grab a
picnic table, but it was false urgency - there was more tables
than would ever be used.
The tide didn't line up great with our day. In an ideal
world, the lowest tide would be around lunch time so you have
plenty of sand to walk out on and no concern about getting left
behind on a shrinking island. Our lowest tide was later
afternoon so if we waited for it, we would miss our ferry
home. We walked through the flooded channels to get between
I was quite surprised by how much bird life was out here.
There were a ton of seagulls - no surprise. We counted at
least 6 Great Blue Herons on various posts and beaches. I
saw five Oyster catchers in the shallows. There were
Sandpipers at the end of the ocean. I didn't bring my big
lens and I regretted it.
Walking down the spit, you feel a bit bad for the flock of
seagulls that launch, fly around and land a 100m down the beach,
only to do the same thing when you make up the distance.
At the tide level we were at, the spit was not connected -
sections were under at least 30cm of water and there was some
current flowing across. The kids didn't have shoes and the
low sections were covered in barnacles and mussels. I wound
up carring a kid from one sand beach to the other and Helen's
shoes made the trip twice. Once we passed the low areas, it
was all sand again.
The end of the spit is more properly and
island - the highest part is probably two meters above high
tide. The dunes are covered in interesting and rare plants
that have been thoroughly documented on iNaturalist.
We kept to the beach level so as to no disturb the plants.
The walk is long enough that you really do
have to be careful with the time. There are only so many
spots of the ferry back (you reserve in advance) so if you miss
your return ferry and the rest are full, you could be looking at
an expensive water taxi ride. In our case we were on the
first ferry of the morning and the 3pm return ferry so we weren't
worried about the ferry, but we didn't want to leave my parents in
the sun for too long.
The walk back was quite a bit easier because the lower tide had
cleared a sand passageway all the way back. The shallow
pools were getting warm in the sun.
We packed a lunch an brought plenty of
water. Apparently the campsite had a water pump (there is a
warning on it about high levels of salt in the water), but the
pumps were disabled by Parks Canada for reasons that weren't made
clear. Close to the ferry landing was at least six picnic
tables - at no point were they all used so you don't have to worry
about getting a space. Nothing beats a cold lunch after a
long walk on the beach!
After lunch, we went for a brief walk on the Island. The
island has invasive European Fallow Deer and while a cull is being
considered, I don't believe it has happened as of 2021. The
forest appears is mostly wide open - almost no brush grows between
the trees. The trees are impressive though. We found
the largest cottonwood tree I have ever seen and Arbutus trees are
plentiful. There were pit toilets in good shape.
We were not the first in the line to get
back on the ferry. People had lots of luggage (coolers,
strollers and beach toys) but we had no problem getting
seats. A short ride back to Sidney and we were back in the
big city. Thanks for a good day!
Evening Bike Ride on Dallas Road
Back in July when I was taking photos of the
moonrise over the Trial Islands, I noticed the nice bike route
next to the ocean. A woman was riding by in roller skates
and lights I figured my kids would want to do the same kind of
thing. My Dad had enough bikes and we brought over our
lights so we went for an early evening bike ride along the bike
We unloaded the truck at the Breakwater on Dallas Road and started
biking East toward Beacon Hill Park. We entered Beacon Hill
Park when Claira declared she needed a bathroom break.
Google maps saved the day by showing us where the Public Washroom
on Cook Street was.
Back on the road again, we biked to our
one way destination - Clover Point. Most of the walkways at
Clover Point don't allow bikes so we walked down to the cliff and
watched the kite surfers out on the water.
It was starting to get dim so the bike lights were starting to
stand out. We got thumbs up from pedestrians who appreciated
the warning we were coming up behind them.
By the time we got back to the truck, 52
minutes had elapsed, but more importantly the sun had
set. What a great night and place for a ride!
My uncle passed away last year. There
was a small reception to remember him in Vancouver, but with COVID
restrictions there was little more we could do. This summer
the restrictions were lowered so my Aunt kindly organized a
weekend of festivities and family in Comox. We all had jobs - mine
was to collect enough photos that we can make event books.
The kids actually had jobs as well - Nara and Claira made the
signs for the recycling bags and the trash bags. Every kid
did one pass of picking up garbage and empty cans to put in the
The Aunts got the hard job - initial setup
of the event and then feeding 25+ people breakfast, lunch and
dinner. I think my Aunt put together tech menu and then each
person had pieces to fill in. We arrived on Friday night
(reservation were only available for Tsawwassen to Duke Point) and
went straight to bed. We arrived early enough on Saturday
morning that we needed breakfast.
There are new babies we haven't seen before! Shona and David
have a daughter Mackenzie that none of us have met before - she
was very patient with lots of stranges around was quickly the star
of the show!
Of course, it's hard to compete with
breakfast! Uncle David has access to some great tractor
equipment and they had setup the covered wagon to be where meals
While Mackenzie got a lot of attention, a lot of us have never met
Beau before either. He was also really patient with crowds
of new people.
Because of COVID there were a lot of people who had not
seen each other a year or two so there was a lot of catching up to
Kids fed, the craziness begins.
Beau likes tractors. When he
saw Davids backhoe, he tried every handle he could to find his way
in and then pressed every button he could find. Once he found
the horn, he got the owner to come out and give him a ride.
kid got a tractor, every other kid wanted to ride a
tractor. Some kids were okay with just sitting in the
seat, but Marcus and Nara are old enough that they can actually
drive the tractors.
I realize that kids
riding in the bucket is a safety concern. For a small ride
with an experienced driver, I think we will be okay. First the
kids got a ride in a little tractor.
It's nice when you have a purpose to ride in a tractor. The
purpose? Go pick some apples!
It's funny how the adults emulate the kids and then the kids emulate
There were some activity
stations. One field had a tub of water and sponges. The
kids turned this into games - tag, a kind of capture the flag and
just general mayhem.
There were some kids that needed naps so decided to get the formals
Janets Direct Family
Tags: eggs(9), tractor(6), food porn(3), market(3), dessert(2), driving(2)
People: Claira(30), Nara(24), Kaylee(14), Marcus(12), James(9), Philip(9)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2021 to 2005 > August 2021
Last Modified Monday, November 15th, 2021 at 19:50:46 Edit
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