Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oregon coast

We are in familiar territory again. We are traveling south through Oregon down the coast that Kris has been camping and playing on since she was a kid. We stopped in Portland so Cheri could replace her broken computer, then fought the Friday traffic out towards the coast. Most campgrounds seemed to be filled with weekend campers so we ended up boondocking at the Spirit Mountain Casino. Cheri had a good night playing with her money before the other poker players finally wrestled it away from her.

Flying kites on the beach.

On Saturday we finally made it to the coast and every campground we passed was still full with weekend campers. This is the first time since Memorial Day weekend, when we started our trip, that we have had a hard time getting a campsite. We stopped at a commercial "RV Resort" and they had two sites left. We had a wonderful afternoon playing on a relatively secluded beach.

We have just a few days left on our trip and we expect that weekday sites will be easier to find.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slowly heading home

Well, we spent some time at the Royal BC Museum on Monday. It was a holiday in BC and we were amazed watching traffic congeal around the arteries of Victoria. We had no problem finding a campsite that night though. (Well, after we ignored the GPS - because it directed us to the Parks Maintenance yard several miles away first.) We stayed in a National campground just above the main road leading to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. It wasn't too bad if we pretended the traffic noise was wind in the trees. We arrived at the terminal at 7:20 a.m. in hopes of making the 8:00 ferry to Vancouver - it was not to be. We watched as a plethora of trucks and cars were loaded without us. When it was clear we were not going to be loaded - Cheri went out and turned our propane back on and made breakfast.

We were able to meet Jenny from the last paddling trip for Dim Sum lunch when we did arrive on the mainland. Then we started our drive south. We were warned to expect an hour delay at the border - so we were happy it only took us 50 minutes to get through. When the Officer heard we had been gone three months he looked at us and asked. "So are you folks employed these days or what?" When Cheri explained that she was retired and Kris was a teacher - he stopped asking us questions and sent us on our way. We didn't even get a chance to declare the new waterproof camera we bought in Canada.

It is a good thing we ran into a little traffic on Vancouver Island yesterday. It helped to prepare us for the freeway driving and the incredible snarl of traffic in Seattle. Of all the miles we have put on the Bee in the past few months - we haven't driven on a freeway or had any traffic issues since we left California in May! We had to readjust our defensive driving from watching for wildlife to watching other drivers. We both are suffering from a mild case of culture shock.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nuchatlitz adventure

I'm back from my kayaking adventure on the west coast. The trip was great, with amazingly good weather, great people, and a nice mix of exploring the sandy beaches and time on the water.

We saw many sea otters, but never close enough for me to get a good picture. At one campsite, there were two otters that hung out and ate just off our beach at dinner time. Some shorebirds are starting migration south, and I saw some small flocks of semipalmated sandpiper and black turnstones. Lots of driftwood on the beaches, and some interesting plants, like the big-headed sedge below.

The first day was very hot and sunny, and then the fog moved in and kept it a little cooler, but I think I spent the entire trip paddling in a shirt and shorts. We were a big group on this trip, and Ali and Luke, our guides, did a great job keeping us on track and feeding us.

But the day before we were picked up by the water taxi had to be the most spectacular in terms of wildlife. A small group of us went for an afternoon paddle after setting up camp. We were crossing to another island, when one of the group called out "Orca!" and we watched a large male and a smaller companion swim right past us and out towards the ocean. Amazing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seperation Anxiety

Kris had so much fun on our kayak trip last week - she went on another adventure this week. The kayak company had some last minute openings and Kris decided to take advantage of one. She is off on the west side of Vancouver Island for another 6 day kayak trip. She took the Spot with her and is dutifully sending a locator twice a day for me to track her adventure. Having sent spot locators from several of our excursions - I am having fun reading between the beacons, so to speak. I can extrapolate that after she sent the signal from an island at their lunch break they probably paddled around several neighboring islands before returning to the camp where she sent another signal- even though the spot shows a straight line from lunch to camp.

I on the other hand am on the east side of Vancouver Island at the Salmon Point RV Park chilling for a week. That is if you can call 90 degree days chilling. I have use of a pool AND a hot tub to help me beat the heat. In all our travels this is the first RV park I have encountered with these amenities.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kayak camping

Even though my camera took a swim, Cheri took some still images with her video camera. This campsite is pretty typical of where we stayed. Every night we'd carry the kayaks up into the woods. The evening tides were so high, the water would come to the very top of the beach at night, so above the tide line was the safest place for our kayaks.

Then in the morning, we'd carry the kayaks back down to the beach, usually at a very low tide, which meant carrying kayaks over lots of algae. The task of packing the kayak usually took us a while. It's amazing how much stuff will fit, but getting there can be a long process.

The low morning tides made for excellent viewing of the intertidal creatures. I thought this group of sea anemones looked like an art installation I've seen somewhere.

And then we'd be off exploring more little islands in the fog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Johnstone Strait Expedition

We're back from our week long kayak/camping trip with Spirit of the West Adventures. We had a small group of 5 people and a guide, and had some good paddling and lots of great food. We started out in the community of Telegraph Cove where we got picked up by the water taxi to shuttle us out to our first camp. While in Telegraph Cove, we spent some time at the Bones Project, a non-profit whale education center featuring articulated skeletons of marine mammals. They had some great skeletons, but the light made it difficult to photograph. I'm posing next to a blue whale jaw bone.

They also had an articulated fin whale hanging from the ceiling that was pretty amazing.

After checking out the bones, we taxied to our campsite, and from there we explored a number of little islands, camping along beaches and clam shell middens. The paddling and scenery were great. We had some fog, but otherwise the weather was ideal. The only bummer of the trip is I found that salt water and electronics don't mix. My camera took a dive the second day of the trip, and hasn't recovered. Fortunately the memory card still works, or I wouldn't have any pictures to share. This is the lunch site at Mamalilacoola where my camera took a swim off the dock.

This is a totem at the old village site. Luke, our guide, said it might have been a funeral pole.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Packing Again

We are finished with laundry and are packing to go on a six day kayak trip in the Johnston Strait between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. We will not be able to post any blogs while we are away - but hopefully we will have lots of Orca pictures when we return. We will try to send a spot every day to track our progress. Does life get any better than this?