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British Columbia, eh!

September 18, 2016

4 months in Canada, eh?

Yes, we have spent 2 months in Ontario and 2 months in British Columbia. Visiting friends and family and having a Canadian summer. We had 2 days of rain in 4 months and days and nights that are a little cooler than we are used to.  Occasionally being accused of being too soft as we sit wrapped up in sweaters when it’s 24C and accused of turning on the heat when it’s what Canadians call summer. If only Canadians knew better, ha-ha.

Victoria Harbour

                                                       Victoria BC Harbour View

Despite the allure of Georgian Bay’s shoreline, the hospitality of family and despite the good weather we had, we left Ontario, in late June, headed to Victoria. A relatively quick and painless flight for 5 hours landed us at Victoria’s International Airport. Our friend, Sue, picked us up


                      Sue harvesting the season’s lavender

and heading to town asked us what we thought had changed since the last time we were in Victoria. Took us a while to identify the change but Connie picked up on it right away – Marijuana dispensary stores scattered throughout the city taking advantage of the ever-increasing market for ‘medical’ marijuana. Who’s complaining? Certainly none of our friends who are mostly now in the ‘leisure activity set’ taking advantage of retirement time but needing help form a few friends to keep the muscles going and the mind alert (?).

One characteristic we have seen while on our return to Canada is the incredible diversity of its population. Granted some of the collages below were taken at special events celebrating different aspects of target populations but the diversity in the audiences was stunning.

Having travelled throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans we have not seen this kind of mix of people anywhere.  Sampled below is a collage of photos of people who now make up Canada.  People have come from all over the world and this mix gives us great hopes for Canada’s future.

"Salsa at Blue" - Blue Mountain - Ontario

                                                “Salsa at Blue” – Blue Mountain – Ontario

Everywhere we went we saw evidence of this diversity I really believe we as Canadians have an advantage over many other countries except perhaps Europe.

We spent about 2 months in Victoria moving from place to place house sitting for friends and acquaintances as they spent their time travelling or visiting friends. It meant moving around a lot but also gave us lots of time to relax on our own.

Downtown Victoria with a July sunset

                                    Downtown Victoria with a July sunset


We didn’t sit for very long. Friends called up from San Francisco and said to come and visit. Hell, why not. So for a week we headed down to San Francisco and had a wonderful time visiting Marilyn and Leo.

Marilyn, Leo and Connie with friends at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

Marilyn, Leo and Connie with friends at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

Someone is driving wildly but heh, Mairlyn, Connie and Sammie seem to be having fun.

Someone is driving wildly but heh, Marilyn, Connie and Sammie seem to be having fun.

Leo is our offshore weatherman and kite-boarder extraordinaire. Marilyn is an accomplished sail boarder and hard-working and committed business woman.  We made time for enjoyment and best of all we had their daughter, Sammie, visiting from London, to play with.

One really wonders who our weatherman is - Leo

One really wonders who our weatherman is – Leo

Sad to leave but all things must come to an end so with a last glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset we said good-bye but with promises to at least try our best to see each other within 12 months.


Sunset over the Bay

                                  Sunset over the Bay as seen from the living room

It seemed we never stopped striking off to do things and then end up eating our hearts out over dinner with friends. I hate to say it but I have to admit to putting on a few pounds over the 4 months spent in Canada. It didn’t seem to matter how active we were people were feeding us sumptuous meals. However we did try to at least get some exercise and take advantage of another great summer of warm weather.

Kayaking the Haro Straits

                                                      Kayaking the Haro Straits

Can never stay away from the water for very long. Tempted by the sunshine Sue, Connie and I headed out for a day of kayaking.  Not far from the hustle and bustle of the marina around Sydney lie dozens of coves and islands to explore. Having all shoreline considered public lands one can hop from place to place, picnic on any nice beach, or just stretch ones legs when needed.

Then off to Port Angeles for a visit with Jim and Gail. Spent a week hanging out, going out to the west coast for dead bird counting, a short hike in the Olympic Mountains and, of course, gorging ourselves at the dining table.

Is this good enough for dinner?

                                                    Is this good enough for dinner?

And then there was a short hike in the Olympic Mountains.

High in the ranges of the Olympics

High in the ranges of the Olympics

Both of these places, high in the mountains and

And a visit to the mouth of the recently un-damed Elwha River

And a visit to the mouth of the recently un-damed Elwha River

down on the shores of the Straits of Juan de Fuca were spectacular in their own right. The Elwha River’s removed dam has resulted in a new alluvial fan building on the shoreline from the debris washing down. The salmon are now running up the river once again and is serving as a place of scientific study to see what impacts are of removing dams from rivers. I think in this case a resounding success.

And the farce continues in America

            And the farce continues in America so it’s good to head back to Canada

Of course, summer is a time for festivals and one dear to my heart is the Classic Boat Festival. It happened a few days before our scheduled departure for South Africa. Again, all the familiar boat names were in evidence but a number of spectacularly new ones were in evidence.

Victoria's Classic Boat Festival complete with one of the family's gems - a Gibb winch

Victoria’s Classic Boat Festival complete with one of the family’s gems – a Gibb winch

And then there was the Moss Street Art Festival which was, as always, well attended.

Moss Street Art Festival

                                                   Moss Street Art Festival

And getting around Victoria was never much of a difficulty. I have my trusty bike in storage and apart from a flat tire due to standing for a few years it’s all ready to go. The bike also gets me out with Sierd on some of the trails that cover the island. And here Sierd made me work hard for my lunch.


                                Sierd on the re-built Kinsol Trestle Bridge

Time to go though. The plane was waiting and the South African spring was calling.

The waiting game

                                                          The waiting game

What I would really rather be doing instead of travelling on a plane is sitting on the deck of a boat with the sun shining and a cool drink on hand!

Ahh, there's the chair

                                                    Ahh, there’s the chair

But the trip back to spring in South Africa is fraught with more waiting but what better place to have to spend 24 hours for a connecting flight


There's only one place in the world this could be - Amsterdam

                  There’s only one place in the world this could be – Amsterdam

Before I leave this post just want to say a big thank you to everyone who hosted during our visit back. Your hospitality was greatly appreciated and know that we thoroughly enjoyed having time to spend with special friends and family – Thank You

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Wayno permalink
    September 18, 2016 18:38

    I’ll just take that personally mate. Hah! Was great to catch up.. however brief.

  2. Jo Todd permalink
    September 18, 2016 20:21

    Hi Tony and Connie We always enjoy receiving your news and Jeannette had told me that you were heading back to South Africa. Ian, I and Andrew are planning to visit Jeannette in November. Possibly November 17th to December 2nd so it would be amazing if we could catch up with you. Nothing is booked as yet so will be in touch when our plans are definite. love from all the Todds, Jo

  3. September 18, 2016 21:11

    Arrived back in Vancouver on Sept 15th. Boat now on the hard in Spain. Sorry to miss you. Wishing you fair winds and calm seas.

    Barrie and Sandra

  4. September 18, 2016 23:22

    Tony, Connie:
    Great seeing you in Ladysmith for those all-too-brief minutes. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventures. Fairwinds, Fred

  5. Darrel and Loretta Smith permalink
    September 19, 2016 09:08

    Another great post. Thanks for sharing. We’re lucky to come from such a great country. But we don’t miss the cold either!

    We have booked our flights to SA for May … you’ll be gone by then no doubt. We’ll let you know if we have any questions.

    Good luck with the next steps. Love and hugs, Loretta and Darrel

  6. Donald Inned permalink
    September 19, 2016 17:11

    Tony…what a nice wrap-up of you and Connie’s visit back. It was great to get that one coffee in Mate Thanks!…..I am sorry there was not another…time evaporates but I sure look forward to the next coffee together. Take care and stay well you Two, Happy Winds much Great Peace Don

  7. Annie Boldt permalink
    September 19, 2016 18:30

    I hope you made it home on Sunday at 3 pm our time as planned and there were no travel blips.
    It was so GREAT to see you both again this summer and in such good shape!
    No pic of us in your post( sob) ( ha) but I do recognize the pic of the view of the Inner Harbour at sunset.
    I look forward to your next blog as you know.
    Annie B.

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