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Thursday, August 29, 2013



If the timing is right, I can leave my home on the odd hour (example 9 a.m. or in this case 11:00 a.m.) and arrive on a fairly remote island three hours later.  This trip includes taking two ferries.  A road trip of one hour, followed by the first ferry that only takes ten minutes, and the second smaller ferry that takes 45 minutes.

Off I went.  It was my friend’s birthday, and if I arrived at her home by 2 p.m., I would have time to help her with the final preparations for a gathering that would start at 4:30.  I didn’t let her know that I’d decided to join the group because the weather has been rather iffy.  I decided to surprise her!

Since it is summer, ferry traffic is much heavier.  I arrived at the first terminal as the ferry was loading and basically drove right on.  Usually, vehicles that are going straight through to the next island are asked to park in specific lanes so that they are first off and have enough time to make the connection.  However, late comers (such as me) take their chances. Although the first ferry is a very short ride, I did take the opportunity to get out of my vehicle to stretch my legs etc.

When the ferry docked, instead of being one of the first off, I was the last car to disembark!  I had to drive all the way across the island to the next terminal....would I make it in time??
Finally I arrived at the dock just as the very small ferry was completing its loading.  I was last in line of course, parked behind a pick-up truck.  Each car in front of the pick-up truck was slowly directed onto the ferry.  The ferry employee then approached the pick-up truck, and said, “Sorry that’s it for this trip.”  She walked up to my window, and repeated the message. close! Now a two hour wait until the ferry returned for the next trip.  I wouldn’t arrive until 4 p.m.!  I'd be a surprise all right!

Short interlude, wondering how best to spend the next two hours:  
  • A walk in the rain?  
  • Should I read my book?   
  • Just what should I do?  
  • I had quickly packed food in a cooler...sliced turkey, blueberries, homemade lemon loaf, graham cracker crumbs, lemons and condensed milk (pie makings)...I had a bottle of water...I wouldn’t starve...

Just a minute... the ferry employee was talking on her radio.  She was describing the size of the truck in front of me and then her eyes slowly turned to mine.  Still talking on her radio, she walked towards my vehicle once again, extended her hand out for my ticket and said, “The truck is too big, but after a bit of maneuvering, we have just enough room for you to squeak on."

Although feeling sorry for the occupants of the truck that was left behind, I couldn’t believe my luck! Halleluliah!  Grinning, I drove on and jockeyed into position.  The chain was closed behind me, and away we sailed. 

Thank you Universe with a special thanks to Lucky Lizard!!

Although it was raining, I thought I’d go up on deck with my camera to see if there were any photo opportunities, for example, 3 pods of Orca Whales (50 or 60) as seen August 26 in Active Pass.

“Not so fast,” chuckled Lucky Lizard in my head ,” I got you onto the ferry, I didn’t say there’d be any room to open your car door and get out!” 

I was so r.e.l.i.e.v.e.d that I had taken time on the first ferry to stretch my legs ETC., if you get my drift. ;)


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lucky Lizard and the Wildlife Refuge

The other day, I was surprised to see a stranger on my front doorstep!  A lizard!

 Could it be a one of these?  I have no idea; I just wondered if it was a 'lucky lizard'.  At the same time we spotted the lizard, my son was replacing the hubs on his car wheels and he had left the trunk open.  As I peered into the dark trunk, I took out a large bin and noticed something black tucked in behind it.  "What is this?" I asked.  His face lit up.  Lo and behold, it was his winter jacket that he had been searching for, for months ~ and in the pocket of said jacket was the spare key for my vehicle.  Yay!  Thank you lucky lizard!

The lizard becomes the latest addition to the list of wildlife creatures that inhabit my garden and yard environment.  Speaking of wildlife, I dropped in to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre today.  This particular refuge has an interesting history, see the link.  Even though Snowbird lives way across the pond, I could imagine her popping out any minute surrounded by an entourage of animals and birds.;)  As with her recovery centre, this one relies on volunteers for assistance.

It was a bit of a dull, but warm, day which didn't lend itself to good lighting for the birds and animals were hidden behind branches...and of course protective fencing.  Here are some highlights of my visit:

An eye-catching carving greeted visitors.

Two little bear cubs clamoring up a tree stump.  This refuge is well known for its bear recovery program. Apparently around 70 bears have been treated over the years. In February, two tiny baby bears were left orphaned when their mother was hit and killed by a truck on the highway.  Recently two more cubs (about the same age as the other two are now) were rescued.  I'm not sure what happened to their mother.  The cubs are in a large enclosure which can be seen on a webcam in one of the buildings, and it was fun to see them cavorting about, playing together as cubs do.  These bears will be relocated in the wild once they are old enough to fend for themselves so its important that they are kept isolated from people.  The sounds of the natural environment are piped in to their environment...and they are carefully monitored.

There is one resident ...  very large... bear, Knut, who was ambling about his territory.  I just missed  seeing having a splashy bath in a big tub.  Here he is in a resting area.  Can you see him?

I found a video on youtube that shows Knut being fed by hand out of a bucket...(move ahead in the video) something that is not wise in the outside world!    We are encouraged, for example, to pick all fruit from trees or off the ground, as soon as possible to discourage bears from sauntering into neighbourhoods at harvest time.  Sounds like a plan to me!

There were quite a variety of owls ~ horned, barred, tufted, all with their own story.  Here is a barred owl...a bit of an odd shot!
and another kind of owl... thought I'd remember, might be a barn owl??

Now on to the hawks and falcons:

Swainson's hawk

Red-tailed hawk:

The red-tailed hawk was hard to photograph as it was very high up and quite close to the fence.

Peregrine falcons:

Look at Emily, a Saker Falcon! (an aside:  it sounds like the falconer had the head trauma...;))

There were many interesting and informative exhibits.  The large flight centre can be viewed through small one way glass sections.  I saw some bald eagles, other large raptors and smaller birds through the little window.  There is a treatment area as well where a vet volunteers his services to wounded or sick creatures.  At the moment an eagle that was covered in oil is being carefully washed and it will hopefully be released once it is clean and has moulted again. 

On the way out, I noticed this rather disheveled looking individual on the roof, and I wondered what it was thinking...perhaps:

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I'm back to say hello, and share some photos :)  Thanks to readers who have sent me emails and left comments ~ much appreciated :)  I have been reading your blog postings, but please forgive me for not commenting during my absence.

Flighty kindly sent me some pot marigold (his favorite) seeds, and finally one 'hatched' today!  There are a few more promising buds, so here's hoping for more bright yellow faces.  I planted the seeds in a pot that is set inside an old metal chair, located in the rose garden.  This is the only area that is fenced off to keep deer out.   I'm not sure if deer would eat pot marigolds, but why chance it?

The plants are confused; the lawns look like straw, but finally, after a very wet spring, and a very dry July (no rain at all), we have had a few cooler days with some much needed rain.  The weather during July was great for holiday makers and residents alike.  Not too many super hot days (28C), and lots in the low and middle 20C range.  Perfect for sitting in the shade on the deck, reading and enjoying the sights and smells of summer (like BBQ's in the late afternoon) ;)

A couple of days ago, on a day trip to Victoria, I noticed that the breakwater at Ogden Point (here's a link to a webcam) was sporting a handrail.  A newspaper article explains this addition, which was a long time in coming!  Feels much safer to walk along it now ~ because it can be especially wild when a stiff wind comes up.

Earlier in the day, I enjoyed a visit to Hatley Castle, in the photo below, central building of Royal Roads University,  and then drove to the Esquimalt Lagoon close by.

A Canada Goose, one of many of the sea birds on the lagoon side of the spit, approached me, and I was able to get a few good close up and personal photos!

Even earlier in the day, I took a few photos of Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, a very colourful tourist spot.

and a couple of pirates entertaining the visitors:

Eventually I hope to share my April California trip photos!  One of the highlights, of course, was meeting Nikki and Roomie!

That's it for now ~ Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful summer!