It’s been a while since I last wrote, and that is simply because we’ve been busy. And it’s been the best kind of busy; reconnecting with old friends both here and afar.
John and Dianne, our good friends from Ottawa, made the trek to the Island in April, because we said “sure, come in April; the weather is fine, and lots of blossoms are out during our extended spring”. Well they thought we sold them a bill of goods when they landed, and found cold temperatures and snow in Comox! But in the 9 days we shared together here in the Ladysmith area, we had great outings between a few grey and rainy days. Bill and I got to be tour guides, and even though we visited places we have been to one or more times before, we don’t tire of them because we have a different experience each time we go. But the outings to these familiar places were made more special because we could share them with special people, and enjoy them through a fresh set of eyes.
We did the favourites:
Stoney Hill on a somewhat cloudy day but still spectacular and a wonderful walk in the woods and along the cliff edge.
Old Baldy is a short and steep hike but the views along the way and from the top were great. John and Dianne loved the 360 degree views over the Southern Gulf Islands, Saltspring, Saanich peninsula etc.
We followed that with a visit to the Malahat Skywalk, which was a first for us. The day cleared, and we had amazing views of Mt. Baker and environs, as well as Finlayson Arm, where we have paddled. It’s fun to see places we’ve been before with different modes of transport!
We did the Circle Tour out to Botanical Beach. What a treat. Lots of tide pools, blue skies, and the waves crashing on the rocks while we enjoyed our lunch on the beach.
We also island-hopped to Gabriola Island. We rode the brand new ferry over and explored both Drumbeg Provincial Park and Malaspina Galleries to see the unique sandstone formations of the Gulf Island that we love and appreciate. We often see them from the kayak, but Gabriola is a great place to appreciate them from land. We some gorgeous views of the Coast mountains while we ate our lunch on the rocks by Malaspina Galleries.
And of course we had to see Butchart Gardens. Spectacular as usual, with tulips partially in bloom, some blossoms left, and lots of colour. Still one of my favourite places.
I squeezed in a week of onsite work at an event in San Francisco. It used to be a nice place to visit for events, but Covid and SF housing prices have created an even more significant homeless problem, and walking the streets near the convention centre is not a pleasant experience.
So I got out of Dodge as soon as possible, and spent time with my dear friend Matt. We bonded during some tough last years at our previous company, and he has ventured to Canada 3 times now for kayak trips wth us. I was honoured to accompany him on his maiden voyage in his brand new kayak. We paddled the Elkhorn Slough. Sounds weird but this inlet off Monterey Bay is a wildlife refuge, full of sea otters, seals, and many marine sea birds. It was my favourite kind of paddle, toodling along, looking at all kinds of interesting wildlife. The were more seals dozing on the shore, in the sunshine, than in the water There were lots of babies (pups?). Since many of them were dry (had been sunning for a while), the many different colours and markings were very evident. The sea otters were delightful. Seeing them swim backwards on their backs, while crunching food delights was fascinating. And then they would corkscrew in the water for whatever reason. A truly delightful day, made so special by spending with a great friend. Thanks Matt for allowing me to have this experience.
So this week we will be getting ready for our Portugal adventure, postponed from September 2020. Now we are confident that we will board a plane and explore Portugal by foot, car, train, and kayak. Stay tuned!