An excursion

tidal inlet

Every once in a while we leave our island and go Somewhere Else; this was one of those days. Weather a bit iffy, but on the whole good, mostly cloud to keep us cool with occasional sunny breaks later to cheer us. We took our bikes on a foot ferry to Newcastle Island, a provincial park, and rode around the whole thing (well, as much as was designated bike trail). At one point we dumped the bikes and took our panniers (memo to self: use backpack next time) to a beach where we ate granola bars (or in my case, a muffin) and whistled at a raccoon that hadn’t looked around to see who was there when it came onto the beach. (Much startlement!) Then we ambled with our bikes to a viewpoint and finished lunch. Then we headed home and the brief rain just missed us.

marsh grass

These pictures are from a little mini-inlet that runs from ocean into a saltgrass meadow. I was quite taken by the grass, which looked astonishingly like someone had given it a bad haircut. There were a couple of nondescript brown birds running around in the grass; I’m not positive as I didn’t have binos but I think they were cowbirds. There were also three killdeer on the mud, with much birdy yelling—I suspect a youngun asking for food and parents saying “You’re on your own now, kiddo.”

looking out at the ocean with the city in the distance

A lovely day altogether.

Threatening weather

ocean and storm clouds over land

It’s been raining quite a bit over the last couple of days, doesn’t feel like summer at all. It rained this morning, then seemed to clear in the afternoon, so I grabbed Our Dog and headed down to the beach.

Well of course, by the time I’d gotten out to the lowest low tide point, way out on the flats, the rain was back. And me with no rainjacket, silly optimist that I am.

Oh well. I ignored it, except for cursing that the wind was driving it against exactly the direction I wanted to take pictures into. After a bit it let up, and actually brightened up, but there was more coming, as is clear in this photo. So we headed back in before the next burst hit.

A nice excursion, all in all.

Underwater pinkness

pink crust on rock in tidepool

At very low tides on rocky beaches I sometimes see a pinkish crusty… something… on the rocks. Maybe some kind of hydrocoral? I’m not great on species that generally require a wetsuit and scuba gear to examine closely.

Anyway, this rock caught a bit of sunlight and glowed pinkly under the weed in a tide pool. The sun went behind a cloud the instant I uncapped my camera, of course, but a bit of the pink glow was still there.

The last batch

Amphitrite Point lighthouse

This is the last set of pictures from the trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island—the odds and ends. This first one is the lighthouse at Amphitrite Point—spectacular in a storm, but not too shabby on a sunny day either. (I just discovered there’s a live webcam of this lighthouse, now there’s something to bring up on a story day!)

Continue reading “The last batch”

Yes, I’ve been lazy.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island

But partly it’s been because I’ve been away for a few days… here.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island. One of the prettiest places on earth. I’ll post more pictures over the next few days.

What’s this?

disturbance on surface of ocean

What’s that, off in the distance, disturbing the surface of the ocean?


That’s what it is! A big pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins, presumably hunting. As the ferry approached a number peeled off and aimed to intercept. I guess they wanted to play in the turbulence of the ferry’s passing.

back end of a dolphin

And a closeup. Okay, it’s of the back end of a dolphin, which isn’t the most interesting part, but I have to say they fall into the “hard to photograph” category, at least for me and the CoolPix, which has only a fake “telephoto” setting and a shutter delay. Not to mention that they were moving fast and it wasn’t a bright day, so my shutter speed was a bit too low. Overall I was pleased to get even a fuzzy shot of dolphinbutt—all the other closeups showed disturbances on the water, where a dolphin had been, in fascinating detail.

The red canoe

red canoe floating in morning light

This is an old beater of a fiberglass canoe locked to a railing along a public waterfront walkway. I will admit to being a canoe snob, having had some experience with them, and it’s not a canoe I would want, being heavy, slow, and lowslung in the water. But I imagine it’s there so that someone can go out to check crab traps in the sheltered harbour, or fish, or maybe paddle to the island across the way. And for that it’s a perfectly good canoe.

Leaving it on the shingle below high water mark has some risks when tides and winds coincide to make things a little rough. The week before when I saw it, it was pretty much submerged. This time there was less water in it, but still quite a bit of beach shingle slopping about inside it along with the water.

But oh my, how beautiful against the morning light.

red canoe and brilliant water


dawn sky and reflections in the ocean
And then there’s the little wispy bits of mist…

As I’ve said in other posts, the one benefit of getting up at sparrowfart in order to travel without wasting a whole day is that you get to see the dawn. And take pictures of it. So here are the pictures.

Continue reading “Dawn”

Early morning

sunrise over the ocean
Looking east

On the days when I travel back from the big city to come home, I get up early—these days that means 4:30 am, well before dawn. Or, as my friend Anna says, “At sparrowfart.” First there is pouring coffee into myself, then a drive to the ferry, park the car, walk on as a foot passenger. Get off the ferry on the other side, walk (if the weather isn’t appalling) four kilometers to the Other Ferry, get on and then off that one, and walk another twenty-five minutes to get home. If the weather is dreadful or I’m extra tired or I could save an hour by doing so, I’ll take a cab instead of walking on one or both of the self-propelled stretches.

The actual travel time normally takes about 5 hours. But getting up at 4:30 gets me home by 10:30, and that leaves me with most of the day here, so it’s worth it. (Usually worth it—though after a relatively late night carousing moderately with old friends—dinner! wine! and truly wonderful carrot cake!—that premise is slightly more dubious.)

But at this time of year, leaving that early also means I get to watch the sun rise while at sea. It wasn’t exactly a sunrise today, given the amount of cloud, but it was still pretty damn nice.

stormclouds over the ocean
Looking west

Trickles on sandstone

water trickles over sandstone formations

The water trickles are from a happy, very wet golden retriever who was wondering why the ball wasn’t being thrown at that particular moment, as it should have been.

Tiny seasonal projectiles

garry oak acorn

The garry oaks down at Drumbeg Park are dropping their acorns now, all along the sandstone shelves where beachwalkers walk.

acorns under water, with tiny hermit crab on top of one

Some end up in unexpected places—they’re certainly not a traditional tidepool species. (And yes, that would be a hermit crab exploring this strange intruder.)

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