Wednesday, July 27, 2011
This was a great day - sunny and the water was quite flat. My battery conked out after the second hour, otherwise I would have shots of the copper mine shaft, long abandoned - but still an impressive one man operation on the shore of Gasters Bay. The decision was made to head towards the lighthouse - this turned out to be a lucky choice. A bit cooler, bit of wind but the caplin were on the run and 3-4 minke whales were having quite a time scooping them up. They rose and dove among the kayaks - never completely surfacing but still putting on quite a show.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Bald eagle - one of several who were giving quite a show.
Stepping into a whole different world.
Cedar and hemlock in rainforest
After paddling through the oyster farm and meandering up the inlet we found a section of Meares Island where Ray knew of a separate trail. As we approached we were all struck by the number of eagles that were coming and going in the beach area we were headed. There was plenty of time for those in the group with cameras with batteries still working, to pull them out of dry bags. One of our group had such a large camera I thought she was on assignment. It was an uncommon experience for me to see so many eagles at the same time and for them to tolerate the company of kayakers for so long. We landed on the beach to one side of a small salmon river; after a gourmet packed lunch we followed Ray through a small break in the shore brush into a rainforest with damp pathways, huge ferns and giant cedars. It was an extraordinary place and one that would have been clear cut in the 1980s if it not for the efforts of the tribal band and local supporters.
Landing on Vargas Island in low tide - requires a long walk from kayaks
Vargas Island beach
Lunch on Vargas Island
Meare's Island from Vargas Island beach
Candice(TSK guide) with starfish briefly moved from attached bottom.
Low tide along Templar Channel
Snail egg encasing
Exposed shoreline with low tide
Resting on kelp bed off Wickaninnish Island
Tofino Sea Kayaking was a great choice to kayak in the Clayoqout Sound region. A local kayaking guide was important to assist in dealing with currents, tides, vegetation, wildlife and important safety/cultural considerations. Clayoquot Sound is home to three First Nations. The local native population is concentrated in the village of Opitsat on Meares Island. There is also first nations land on Vargas Island. When you read the navigational chart 3673 a section of the east side of the beach is identified as IR so kayakers need to be aware of this when landing and avoid unless previously negotiated. Clayoquot Sound was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which serves to confirm significance of the ecosystem.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The Inn at Tough City - a great spot for sushi and Asahi beer
Sea Shanty restaurant
Tofino Sea Kayaking - preparing for trip
Beach launch for Tofino Sea Kayaking
View of Meare's Island across the harbour
Attending the Whistler CPA Congress was a great opportunity to attend scientic sessions and our AGMs.Since there is significant travel involved, I originally thought I should take a few extra days of annual leave and kayak somewhere on the Pacific Ocean. I was traveling with as little gear as possible so needed to link with an outfitting company that provided tours and all the gear. I chose the Tofino Kayaking Company which also operates the Paddler's Inn. So I was able to stay at the Inn(coffee and breakfast) and walk downstairs for the kayaking tours. Gourmet packed lunches were prepared for the kayak trips and this was a great bonus since between arrival and the 0800 hrs departure I had no time to find food/snacks. Before and after I took advantage of the coffee bar, deck and the book shelves at the Inn.
Post kayaking dinner times I spent at the Inn at Tough City where I had bowls of rice, sushi and asahi beer. The sushi rolls used local Dungeness crab pulled out the harbour just 200 feet from the restaurant.
I did underestimate the amount of time and the connections needed to get from Whistler to Tofino. But it was worth it. In fact, time was so tight I had to take a Piper Navahoe flight with Orca Airlines in order to connect with my AC flight home. I was a little concerned about the fog the night before, but when it came to flight time it was clear and sunny - it turned out to be the best weather day of my trip in BC. The shuttle drive to the Long Beach airport drove past McKenzie Beach and Cox Bay and this gave us a great view and perspective on why surfing is so popular in this part of the island. Orca Air was a great company - helpful staff from booking, checking in, to the pilots. The flight from Tofino to Vancouver Airport was quite incredible - but you have to make sure you give yourself time, I think I was lucky. Tofino is quite often locked in with fog through July and August and flights can be delayed. Plus, Orca Air flights land at the south terminal, which is quite a distance from the main terminal. On landing there is a bit of a walk to the terminal and then a taxi or free shuttle(15 minutes) which lets passengers off at arrival level of the main terminal.
View from the village
Even running around the golf course you have to have an eye
Crankworx 2011 - mountain bikers from all over were in Whistler
the location of a lot of celebrations during the Olympics
A great place in the village for a seasonal brew and fish taco
The best view of all the mountains - even in the offseason.
Mountainscape from Blackcomb
View from the Peak to Peak gondola
Whistler was the site of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association(CPA) congress and it was a spectacular location. We were surrounded by mountains and even in cloudy and drizzly weather it is an unbelievable site. Between organizational meetings and scientific sessions we all crammed in a lot of sight seeing. It turned out the end of the congress was the best day to get to the top of Blackcomb which was a great opportunity to catch black bears in the fields below the lift and just beyond trails where mountain bikers were racing. This is a spot where visitors from all over the world drop by and it was a riot to see old and young visitors engage in an spontaneous snowball fights.