Thar She Blows

Yesterday started in Ucluelet where Dave, Amanda and I jumped on the Seaway Express to make the trip to Bamfield. It was a pretty awesome cruise that took us through the Broken Group islands, which are a world-renowned kayak destination. Along the way we spotted a Grey Whale and a Humpback Whale, both of whom put on a show of spouting and diving with their tails breaking the surface.

Once the Seaway Express dropped us off in Bamfield, we took the tour of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. The highlight for me was the “touch tank” which is inhabited by a variety of sea creatures such as starfish, urchins, and crabs. All the animals are safe to handle and we were encouraged to dip our hands in and pick up the various critters.

After our spin through the research station we hopped on a water taxi to head to the older half of Bamfield which sits across the inlet. There we wandered along the boardwalk that takes you along the shore and could be considered the main “street.” Eventually we found ourselves on Bradys Beach which had a beautiful view of the ocean. Farther down from the beach is a place called “the blowhole.” The Blowhole is a narrow channel in the rocks which turns into a small cavern and when a large wave rushes in, the back pressure will cause a spout of foamy water to jet straight up in the air. I was standing a little too close and got soaked. Fortunately my camera is weather sealed.

Back at the dock we had a little time to kill and thought a beer would be in order. Unfortunately, the place up the road was in the middle of renovations and the only other pub was closed on Wednesdays. We did spot a bunch of the locals sitting outside the general store (which also served as the liquor store) knocking back some Budweisers and we realized that this is how after work drinks are done in a tiny place like Bamfield. So we went into the store, dug the last six pack of Granville Island Hefeweizen out from behind a pile of (ugh) Molson Canadian in the beer fridge and sat back on a park bench and sipped beer until the boat arrived to take us back to Ucuelet. I understand why my sister liked small town living so much. You’d never get away with drinking beer out in the open in a city.

That evening we decided to hit up the Shelter Restaurant in Tofino for dinner. One of Dave’s friend’s joined us and we feasted on tasty salmon and clam chowder before heading back to Dave’s to crash. An entire day running around in the fresh air takes the gas out of you.

Today was pretty mellow. We had thought about going kayaking, but slept in instead and had a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe. Amanda and I left town, spent a little time on Schooner Cove and then hit Nanaimo for the ferry. The damn ferry line was all backed up so we wound up missing the 5:20, despite our reservation, and made it back on the 7pm sailing. Good thing Amanda had 3 seasons of How I Met Your Mother on her laptop. It made the wait go by pretty quickly.

I’ve also put some pictures up on my flickr account if y’all are interested.

Update from Ucluelet

I’m in Ucluelet right now at an internet cafe waiting for the boat to Bamfield to sail. Their office people didn’t show up so they’re waiting around to get keys and stuff before they can depart.

Amanda and I made it back from Pemberton without any problems. We left early so we could avoid the traffic rush that was sure to hit the sea to sky highway. After showering and doing laundry we hopped on a ferry to Nanaimo to stay with Amanda’s aunt and uncle who live near Ladysmith. They were really awesome and we ate all kinds of tasty food and heard scuba diving tales from her uncle.

Yesterday found us heading to Tofino to visit Dave and check out the west coast. It’s a beautiful drive even though it poured rain on us most of the way. Personally, I love the coastal rains so it doesn’t bother me much. The rain let up in the evening and we cooked up a bunch of prawn skewers on Long Beach last night. Tasty!

Now we wait for the ship to Bamfield…

Pemberton – Day 2

Much less busy today since we could just get up and head down to Pemberton after a leisurely morning spent swimming in the lake and cooking breakfast. 

The first act up was Sam Roberts and he rocked his music pretty hard. There were a lot more people at the festival today. Probably because the highway isn’t as clogged as yesterday and people aren’t working today. We’d heard rumors that the sea to sky highway was backed up past Whistler yesterday afternoon.

My Morning Jacket took the stage after Sam Roberts. We didn’t know what to expect but we’d all heard good things about their live show. I went up to the front section to hang out with the drunken rowdies so I could get a good view. It had started to rain a little bit which chased loads of people away from the main stage. So My Morning Jacket look like a bunch of hippies who do these jammy kinda songs. At one point the singer, a bearded longhair dude, was wearing a cape and holding a large bunch of cedar leaves. 

Next was Buck 65 at the side stage. This is a one-man hip hop show that’s tinged with country flavors. Dude really knows how to work a crowd and is great live.

Tragically Hip back at the mainstage. Gord Downie was a bit of an animal today. Lots of screaming and growling and tossing stuff (like pieces of microphone stands) into the audience. I thourougly enjoyed it! Amanda and Josh don’t like the Tragically Hip so they retreated to the beer gardens since they had cleared out for the Hip. Amanda and Josh are the first Canadians I know that don’t like the hip. I question whether they are really Canadian or whether they are foreign agents in our midst. 

Caught a bit of the Black Mountain show at the side stage. Neat band and I enjoyed their show. The last song was all slow and acoustic so we ditched them to get a place for the Flaming Lips.

The Flaming Lips are the whole reason I came to Pemberton. I’ve seen them twice this summer already and twice before that which makes this my fifth Lips show. 

I’ll write more later, we’re in a coffee shop in Pemberton and we’ve got to head out to the festival now.

Pemberton – Day 1

Thank goodness we left early on Friday to get to our camp spot! Pemberton is a small town north of Whistler that was hosting the Pemberton Festival and they expected 40,000 people to arrive. We hit a traffic jam outside of town and it was only noon! About an hour later we’d made it through the town and headed to our camp spot at Birkenhead. Birkenhead’s a great spot with a lake, a river, and is much quieter than the camp spots near Pemberton that are full of drunken yahoos. 

After setting up at Birkenhead we headed into the festival. Unfortunately we weren’t in time to see Metric, but we did make it for Wolfmother’s show, which rocked! They’re a throwback to the rock bands of the 70’s and are great to see live in a festival atmosphere. Once we’d been slapped around by Wolfmother, Serj Tankian (singer for System of a Down) took the stage in a white suit and top hat. He was cool to see. Sounded a lot like System but maybe a little mellower.

Interpol were the surprise hit of the day for me. I’ve seen them once at the Commodore before and it was a good show but wasn’t anywhere near as good as their show today! I’m going to have to check out the new album. 

The headliners were Nine Inch Nails and they were aweseome. They played a good mix of old songs and new stuff. 

We cut out near the end of NIN so we could try and catch one of the shuttles back to our parking lot. Fortunately we chose to park at the “Pole Yard”, a small log home building place on the north end of town. Being on the north end meant we didn’t have to go through Pemberton to get to our car. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to be running any shuttles up to the Pole Yard so we had a 30 minute walk to get to my little Honda Civic. As it turned out the entire shuttle service was in disarray and we made better time than most of the people who shuttled.

Wifi on Mayne Island

Today Shanman and I were running around Mayne Island, which is a beautiful place! We’re staying at the only campground on Mayne and they have Wifi so I can hit up the internet through my Macbook.  I took tonnes of photos today and sent a couple of them to my flickr account

There’s all kinds of parks and beaches to explore, which is what we spent our day doing. This evening we’ve been chilling out at our campsite while seals splashed around in the bay.

En Route

Last Sunday night (July 13) my good friend Dave’s Dad passed away after a fight with cancer. Dave, who lives in Tofino, spent the past week in Vernon and came back through Vancouver on Saturday. I haven’t seen Dave in quite some time and it was good to get together, even if the circumstances weren’t the best. 

After wrestling our way out of the airport parking lot we headed downtown to the Black Frog for a pint and some food. The Black Frog is one of our favorite places to spend time since it’s modeled after one of our favorite bars in Edmonton, The Black Dog. We spent most of the day catching up on our lives over the past couple of months and finally I dropped Dave off at the airport again for his flight to Tofino. 

Sunday was pretty mellow. A couple naps. Bike ride into the south end of town. Packed up for our trip to Mayne Island today. 

Mayne Island is one of my favorite islands to visit amongst the Gulf Islands. There’s one campground which is privately owned and is situated on a gorgeous oceanfront location.   The campground features an outdoor shower, built using cedar, that’s nestled in the trees so you can look out over the bay while you’re cleaning up. Since it’s tucked in the trees, no-one on the ocean can see you (fortunately!).

I’m sitting at the ferry terminal waiting for the Village Bay ferry to load. It appears to be late since we’re supposed to be leaving right now!

Beneath the Valley of the Underdog (Mudhoney)

Welcome everyone! Since I’m taking this summer off I thought I’d set up a blog to keep everybody updated on all my adventures.

This weekend promises to be pretty chill. I was out at the Hastings Racetrack yesterday afternoon for our company’s corporate event. The racetrack taught me that gambling on horses is a sucker’s game. If I bet the favorites to show, which is a conservative bet with one of the best chances of winning, I’ll wind up winning $0.60 on $4.00, which equates to 15%. But your odds of winning on that bet are roughly 50% (not an accurate number, I just made an educated guess from the 3 or 4 races I watched) which means you’ll lose your whole stake half the time! Gambling is for suckers!

I’ve always thought the real way to win at gambling is to own the gambling medium, such as the horsetrack.

After gambling and catching up with everyone from work I headed down to Dadeo to meet the North Shore crew for some of the best cajun food in town. They also have a killer key lime pie that I had to take down, despite my stomach being so full it was beginning to hurt.

Once we’d gorged ourselves on cajun we all piled into Tanya’s place for some rock band action. I actually drummed and did not too bad. 78% on easy, which is awesome for me. I don’t own rock band so I rarely get a chance to play it, preferring instead to play the real drums that I took up this spring.

Back to this blog. I’ve just thrown up a “theme” that looks half-decent in order to get the site running. I can clean it and make it pretty later. Most people use RSS feeds to monitor blogs anyway so the site’s look is irrelevant for these people.

Now I think I’m going to hop on the bike and do some riding before it gets too hot out.