Coastal Cogitations

I’m on vacation this week!  We’re on Vancouver Island, and I’m enjoying both the change of scenery and the change of pace.  My senses seem sharpened by the glorious sea air that smells so good I could make a meal of it.

Sometimes the enhanced sensory experience is wonderful; sometimes, erm… not so much.  Here are my observations to date:

My paranoid writer’s mind never quits. Doesn’t this look like a concealed camera to you?

hidden camera

It’s in the ceiling of our hotel room and the rest of the knots are solid, but not this one.  And you guessed it, it’s right above the bed.  There’s even a shiny thing that looks like a lens inside the knothole.

Suspicious as always, I stood on the bed and poked my finger into the hole.  All I could feel was plastic vapour barrier, so I’m hoping that’s the source of the gleam.  But if you happen to discover amateur porn videos featuring Arlene Cherry on the internet, please don’t tell me.  I’d really rather not know.

Pacific loons are the Fonzies of the ocean. Clad in sleek black, they kick back casually on the waves, far too cool for the rest of the seabirds.  When they dive, it’s with a laid-back ease that makes the mergansers look like skinny little punks who are trying too hard.

I love good oysters, but there’s nothing worse than a bad oyster. And once it’s breaded and fried it’s impossible to tell the difference until after you’ve eaten it.  You don’t want to know how I discovered this.  But, as the saying goes, “This, too, shall pass”.  And it did, quickly.

‘Moving’ right along…

I can’t decide whether I like the ocean better…

…in the sunshine when it’s blue and beautiful:

blue ocean

Or under cloudy skies when it looks like molten silver:

silver ocean

I love it when it’s stormy, too, but we’ve had beautiful weather the whole time we’ve been here so I didn’t get to photograph any big waves.  Maybe next time.

I don’t know this for certain, but I suspect that the designer of the Hyundai Elantra’s seats sneaked into my house while I was sleeping, measured every inch of my body, and designed the seat contours specifically to torture me. (Fortunately the car rental company exchanged it for us, or I’d be in serious pain right now.)

No matter how devastating the damage, nature will eventually recover if it gets the chance. I was lucky to have visited Cathedral Grove before the big storm of 1997.  It was still majestic after the storm, but the mossy grotto beneath the towering trees had become a brighter place criss-crossed with the massive trunks of the fallen giants.  Now, nearly twenty years later, I’m happy to see that it’s slowly returning to its green and shade-dappled glory.

cathedral grove

mossy tree

And best of all, the trilliums and daffodils and camellias are in full bloom, along with cherry trees, magnolias, tulips, hyacinths, forsythia, and just about everything else.  I could keep snapping photos all day long, and the scented air is divine!

trilliums

daffodils

camellias

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods this week?

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P.S. We’ll be on the road today, so I won’t have a chance to respond to comments until we’re back this evening.  “Talk” to you then!

P.P.S. If you haven’t had your say on the format for the Virtual Book Club yet, please click here to offer your comments.  The Book Club will start next week!

Where’s Diane?

I’m on vacation!  Can you guess where?

crown isle gc

The perfume of hyacinths floating on cool misty air was absolutely sublime!

raindrop tree

Even the raindrops are beautiful!

dinner

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into an oenophile – I had my beer for an appetizer. Counterclockwise from top: Painted Turtle Sauvignon Blanc from Oliver BC, Salt Spring Island mussels provençale, pan-fried Fanny Bay oysters, Greek salad. Yum!

shells

I’m usually not much of a shell-picker, but I’ve never seen a moon snail shell in such good condition. This one’s nearly four inches in diameter.

ice cream

Caught in the act, ice cream cone in hand. But you wouldn’t expect any less, would you?

Ready to guess?  If you said “the west coast”, you’re right!  The first two photos were taken at the Crown Isle golf course clubhouse in Comox, BC.  The food is from Deez Bar and Grill in Qualicum Beach, BC, and that’s me on the shore of the Salish Sea, ice cream in hand.

We’re on Vancouver Island for the week, soaking up some humidity and smelling the flowers while it snows in Calgary.

Our hotel is right on the shore, and from our window we’ve already seen harbour seals, a sea otter, bald eagles, common loons (the avian variety, though we’ve seen a few of the human sort, too), and thousands of surf scoters, black scoters, white-winged scoters, greater scaups, harlequin ducks, and of course, seagulls.  Herring roe is lying in drifts along the shore, and the washed-up seaweed looks as though it’s been encrusted in yellow pearls.  (Fortunately it’s not smelly.)  I’m envying the stand-up paddleboarders and kayakers, but I’ll save that adventure for another trip.

We have lots of day trips planned, but we always have to go to one of my favourite places in the world:  Cathedral Grove.  This little pocket of old-growth forest is right off the Alberni Highway (#4), an enchanting few acres of giant trees that are hundreds of years old.  No matter how often I go there, I still stand in awe.

cedar

Just in case you thought I was using a bit more artistic license than usual when I described hiding inside a cedar tree in Book 10 (oops; correction:  Book 9.  I’ve got Book 10 on the brain!)… there’s room to hide an entire baseball team in here!

big tree

Here we are in front of the tree that BC Parks has designated the biggest, though there are several others close to this size. Notice the “small” tree lying behind us – it’s actually the top of a fallen giant, only about 5’ in diameter at that point.

big tree sign

Kinda puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it? This sign was placed around 1992, so that means the big guy is coming up on his 900th birthday.

Yesterday we made it to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and the World Parrot Refuge, and still on our to-do list are trips to Englishman River Falls, some wineries, and any other interesting side trips that catch our eyes in passing.

And best of all, the weather has been perfect so far.  As the joke goes, “Weather is here; wish you were beautiful”.

Hope you’re having a good week – we are! 🙂

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P.S. We’re out and about this morning, but I’ll be back to reply to comments later tonight or tomorrow morning.  “Talk” to you then!