Archive for the 'Vancouver Island & Region' Category
While on a work trip to coastal Oregon, an urgent need arose for me to be in the middle of Vancouver island. I got there about 24 hours later by driving to Portland, Flying to Seattle, and taking a ship to Victoria, then driving to the work site in the hinterlands. Strangely enough, for such a whirlwind trip, I had an oddly relaxed schedule that allowed me to make a few stops and enjoy things along the way. First, the Oregon coast:
I even had time to stop at cape lookout state park for a couple of miles of hiking:
A little cliff climbing at the end of the cape!
I made it down to the bottom, where I was rewarded with this:
While in Seattle waiting for the ship to Canada, I spent some time at the Pike Place market. It was a beautiful fall day, and there were lots of people out on the promenade.
To my utter delight and surprise, a carrier group was doing a drive-by,complete with aircraft of various kinds, and escort ships of varying nationalities!
Then, it was time to get aboard the Victoria clipper for a hop across the Strait to Victoria, BC, Canada. Seattle looked great in the background.
Mount Rainier looks great on the horizon.
The clipper really rocks- it throws up a spray that creates a little rainbow!
The clipper arrives in Victoria.
A couple of hours into the countryside…
Some boring telecommunications work done, I returned to catch a flight out of Victoria. I had just enough time to stop at the famed Butchart gardens. Everything was in bloom.
The following is a visual representation of why the effort of hauling my gear thousands of miles, fighting through sometimes difficult water and camping in the cold is worth the effort. I’ve just returned from the area near Tofino, British Columbia, where I was fortunate enough to go kayak camping for a few days.
Sea lions off of Blunden island.
A gray whale and her calf surface briefly.
A sea otter takes a break from his ceaseless activity to watch me. They seem to like he turbulent, foamy water, or at least the food they find there.
Dramatic waves, having traveled immense distances across the open Pacific, come ashore at last.
Whales are huge, but not always obvious. There is a whale in this picture… (click to enlarge, as with all these images)
Only when they break the surface or breathe do you really see them, unless they’re doing something dramatic like broaching or fluking, which I didn’t see this time (although I have seen it – see here).
In the calmer waters behind the barrier islands, it’s a different world.
This is the kind of scenery with which I was continually forced to cope… really, how does one deal with this? It’s everywhere you look; it’s there when the sun sets, and still there in the morning. I couldn’t stop feeling like the luckiest person alive.
Sometimes, this happens:
Numerous inviting beaches await, some with caves or primeval, Tolkeinesque rain forest groves.
Wolves comb the beaches for anything edible. They approached me at close range while I was camping and I had to shoo them away, but unfortunately I didn’t have a camera nearby at the time. They seemed sleek and well-nourished. Here are images of some other wolves I saw once.
I like blue.
This next image, although not that impressive, I will never forget, because it was so hard to get. A 30-knot headwind was blasting mercilessly into my teeth as the tidal current ran against me over a complex bottom, causing confused, turbulent water that pulled in multiple directions with waves popping up unexpectedly to douse me and my unprotected camera. I had to row forward furiously just to go backwards slowly, but I was determined to get an image of these guys. When I put down the paddle for just 8 seconds (I counted), the wind swung me in the opposite direction. The motion of the boat, the lack of good light, and the qualities of the camera made it extremely difficult to get a clear image, all while trying to keep right side up and the camera dry. I took it as a personal challenge to get any image at all, and after all that, when I reached the right spot to take the picture and raised the camera during the 8-second interval, the eagles turned their backs upon me! I shouted “really? That’s the way it’s going to be?” Yes, that’s the way it was.
Many thanks to Blake at Batstar adventure tours, who rented me gear when nobody else seemed interested and was otherwise enormously helpful.2 comments
Some images looking across the Barkley sound from Port Alberni.
One of the local timber plant’s tiny tugboats pulls a raft of unprocessed logs.
A vessel in the harbor is lit by angled light coming in under the clouds.
A very typical scene from the windows of the office here.4 comments
Click on images to make them larger.
Leaving the brilliant, windswept wilderness outpost of Flagstaff, I had a good view of the peaks and a few smaller cinder cones to the west.
I touched down in the metropolitan madness of arid Phoenix…
…flew back north over the geological wonderland of Northern Arizona and Utah:
…and touched down again in rainy Seattle. SEA-TAC is a great airport. I love the wall of glass, suspended on cables:
Finally, I landed in Victoria, BC, Canada, and drove several hours to Port Alberni, another wilderness outpost.
After getting a night’s rest and putting in a day’s work, I used the remaining light to visit Stamp falls regional park, where there is a roaring waterfall and a fish ladder.
It’s verdant, smells like healthy soil and fresh air, and moss covers everything, as is characteristic of the northwest.
There was this giant, which squirted out of a crevice in a cliff, made a 90-degree turn and shot towards the sky.2 comments