tidal pools and more

Sombrio Beach, 10 km south of Port Renfrew, is in the picture today. During August that place just gets into a fog. If staying there for any amount of time you may want to get off the beach back onto the road so far above where the ocean is. The ocean from up there is hidden by a flat layer of white cloud one can look down upon (like in a plane sometimes). From down below it is the fog that mostly hides the sun but not totally. The light changes minute by minute according to the way the sun can get through.
Tidal pools are definitely an attractive feature of this part of the beach.
Sombrio Beach [BL]
sombrio tidal pool

sombrio tidal pool [BL]

Sombrio tidal pool2 [BL]

There is a lot of tiny life in these pools. Mostly those critters are only noticed as they move. A video camera may show these crawling creepers where as I with my camera do not get close enough. There is larger activity as well as shows in the following two photos.
sombrio tidal pool 4 [BL]

sombrio tidal pool 5 [BL]

On this particular day there were mostly five minute openings where the fog parted to show that there is sunlight beyond that cloud.

The light changes continually as the haze swirls.
These people, walking the Juan de Fuca trail, just now descended on Sombrio one of the many beaches along this trail. Every beach has a different look and feel from the ones next to it with some of them to mystical or beautiful for words. Sombrio fits in very nicely with some of the finest on this coastline.


The Port Renfrew Affair

As life moves us and changes day by day, as it always does, and I get a renewal notice from WordPress that the annual 25 bucks is due again for showing my nice address, this blog may be put to a (perhaps for the time being) stop. It is just that there is not much alone time these days and that is when I do my photographing. Under those circumstances it is fine to maintain a Flickr site but as far as my blog goes there hasn’t been enough time to maintain it right for quite a while. So unless things change once again there may be a few more posts before it all winds down on this website.
At any rate my wife, Frankie, and I needed to get some coolness, sea air, and sea breezes, and for that we went to the west coast of this island. The east coast’s sea, which I live on, is kind of like an inland sea and has a totally different feel, temperature, and smell to it. We drive straight across the Island on what used to be logging roads. I remember these main logging roads being closed to the public during the week. One time as I was exploring there during the off limits time on my trusty 400cc Honda two fully loaded logging trucks sandwiched me in. Eating dust and with a few inches to spare front and back between my bike and the trucks it took me 10 to 15 km to extricate myself from that embrace. I have been more careful with those truckers ever since. Yes there was adventure when driving these roads less than 20 years ago but now the road is nicely paved.
One tree I like to show is a gigantic spruce. When the treeists brought in their legions to cut down every tree they could find, one tree was left. This was during the “forests forever” days and that phrase was turning sour when I arrived here in the sixties. There must have been some worries about that big old spruce wanting to escape because there is a fence around it now and it isn’t going anywhere.
The beach most easily accessible in Port Renfrew is Botanical Beach. Even though there are tidal pools here it is not really the best beach for tidal pools. Sombrio Beach, among the easy to access beaches around Port Renfrew, is nicer for that. Botanical Beach is at the end of the Juan de Fuca trail and right above it starts the West Coast Trail. Here is one photo to show where I approached that beach this time. What I like about this photograph is its westcoastness. Botanical Beach
At the water’s edge stands the Port Renfrew Hotel. The hotel burned down some years ago. I stayed there a few times every year from the early seventies till the mid nineties of the past century. Mostly the finishing inside out was cedar but the walls between the bedrooms were paper thin and every sound from the next room could be heard like it was happening in your own bed which, by the way, creaked at the tiniest body movement. One night I listened to my neighbours fighting and swearing, physically fighting, during the first half of the night. During the second half they made up and out. The bar below the bedrooms could be heard as well. Close your eyes and you’d think your bed was in the bar. The separate bathroom had a humongous bath in it and all that, everything in the rooms and bathroom was always spotlessly clean, for $25 per night. Of all the hotels I have stayed in this one is among my favourites. After the fire the place was rebuilt. The second floor with the rooms is now history and the main floor has become a canteenlike pub and a dining room, just those two areas. Ceilings go up now to the roof. Overall the rebuilding has been done nicely especially the preservation of the outside looks.
Port Renfrew Hotel
Port Renfrew Hotel
Port Renfrew and area is known as Victoria’s playground (not as in Victoria the lady but as in Victoria the capital of British Columbia). The area is as beautiful here as anywhere along the Vancouver Island west coast. It gets of course very busy with people on beautiful days but when the sun disappears even for a short time the people tend to disappear as well and that is when I start thinking about visiting Port Renfrew and its beaches.

Cowichan Bay 2013 finals

I have a weird addiction of photographing beyond the capabilities of the camera. Even when upgrading I still have to go that extra impossible step. ayayay!

The phone is used here where the camera wouldn’t do. Straight from the hip.




The photo above makes us look at the village from the Government Wharf

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Actually quite happy to be rid of this year and looking forward to 2014. I’m on my way to a small celebration and will see you all in 2014. All the best and take care.

In the pitch black I used the “HDR Camera+” app. They keep on asking me to upgrade to something with more functions (a bit of a nuissance), but the app is good as is. Using different cameras for different functions this is the most used camera app on my phone.


Cowichan Bay prawn festival

Setting up camp on this early Sunday morning has begun.

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In this part of the world we have the spot prawn which is the largest of the bunch. The allotted time for catching these is in May and June. Sunday past saw the Cowichan Bay prawn festival. All it really is is a gigantic prawn selling and buying event.  Tons of people (mostly buyers) attend and the final result is a festive market atmosphere with local vendors’ sales, exhibitions, prawn cooking demonstrations, music, that sort of thing.

Three sales outlets, one on the Government Wharf, one below it from the boat, and the third one two minutes up the road at the fish monger‘s, had a  mass of people lined up throughout the day


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This Sunday was one of those perfect spring days, sunny but never hot, and people whether waiting or promenading had a great time.

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Even though this is the season for fresh prawns, the buyers are clearly intent to fill their freezers as well. They have come here from up and down Vancouver Island and I expect to see them back in 2014 during the next Cowichan Bay prawn festival.

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here is more information about prawns and cooking them in different ways.


View from the Malahat

Driving up Highway 1 (or the Trans Canada Highway) coming from Victoria you go over the Malahat very soon after leaving Victoria. Both tourists and locals appreciate the views from the Malahat. Even twenty years ago all the way along this stretch of the highway it was scenic. Meanwhile the trees have grown and now largely obstruct the view.

These photographs were taken from the better viewpoint of the two spots that are designated as such. Even here treetops begin to break up the scenery.

This is what we are looking at:


Here are a few good example of the midday blues.




Return to Chemainus

Chemainus is a well established small town with its original economy mostly based on forest and sea. There was full time tree harvesting and a humongous saw mill. When first I had moved to this area I spent a few winter nights putting in shifts at the green chain. To me this was definitely worse than any type of work I was aware of at the time. At any rate this mill belonged to a small operator in this area (when compared to the big internationals that run the show). The family name was Doman. The first Doman here was Herb. Initially he was a trucker. The US likes to take from Free Trade but never give. As a result the “sought lumber” debate between the USA and Canada has been going on since way back in the 20th century and every time it seems to be settled the US Lobby starts all over again. This has caused some hardship north of  the Canada US border and  Domans Industries went in with Western Forest Products (WFP). WFP was a partnership of three companies including Domans. When finances became a real mess Domans was completely taken over by WFP. Meanwhile brand new state of the art mills had replaced ancient wooden contraptions like the one I worked in for two nights. The original mill here closed down after dismissing the workforce, and later rebuild after which a very small crew (in comparison to the old saw mill’s crew) was rehired.


Another industry that played somewhat of a role in Chemainus is the mining industry. It dwindled to nothing as resources were as good as depleted and economic extraction was not feasible. With the logging industry  boats  also played a role. Freighters of course and work boats such as tugboats were very much involved as the tools for organizing and distributing all this timber from our “forests forever”.  The boats still are very much part of the scene.


While I have lived here the forest industry  has gone from full blast to being a much smaller part of the local economy. Chemainus had to adapt or die. A Chemainus business man Karl Schutz became an inspiring drive behind the necessary rejuvenation plan. Tourists became the new economy. The town’s looks changed  Bistros etc became part of the scene and a main attraction was figured out. The idea was to make this town a town of murals. The murals were to depict the area’s history. This was in the seventies. It must have been the next twenty years that saw the appearance of most of today’s murals. Some years ago they were old enough to need restoration which consequently happened. Here are a few of these colossal works of art:


In the days that the old mill made Chemainus  a mill town, it was a very close knit community and much of this community structure still exists. A friendly and hospitable people live here and as soon as spring arrives with visitors, Chemainiacs are ready to make these visitors feel welcome and make sure that they leave with very fond memories.

A few links: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2010/04/17/herb-doman-understood-the-challenges-of-the-vancouver-island-logging-business/






Fisherman’s Wharf, Victoria, BC

Fisherman’s Wharf  is one of those places that has been photographed to the umpteenth extent. Just check out the Google images on the subject. The reason why is that once there, and you are unlucky enough to have a camera on you, the camera somehow jumps into your hand (the how of it is impossible to figure out) and your finger is nervously glued to the trigger. Here are two more photos to add to the world wide collection.

A few scenes from the Lake Cowichan area

The photo above was taken from the campground in Honeymoon Bay as is the next one.

The next photographs come from Youbou. I had a walk on the old mill site. Except for a bit of scrapmetal there was no garbage, but if you want to see ugly by all means check it out. Of course views from there are, like everywhere along that lake, beautiful.

The next picture, if you look close, has an underwater tree stump. All I can think is that the water level before the installation of the weir was drastically different.

One of the interesting land marks in the town of Lake Cowichan is the pedestrian bridge that connects the Kinsmen Park to the main drag. It shows (early) recycling at its best.

I wonder what holds the ceramic glued on and how much surface preparation was needed to keep it from coming unstuck?