Archive for the ‘Pender Island’ Tag

Travimals   2 comments

I love zoos and aquariums, the big one and the little ones too.  I remember how much I enjoyed going to the city of my birth, Oklahoma City, and visiting the zoo there.  Over time, at least from the last time I was there, quite a while ago, the zoo always tried to maintain an open environment for the animals and give them what they needed.  Way back “in the day” some of the enclosures were rather small for some of the larger animals but that improved.  The zoo gave me a great appreciation for animals, the diversity, the immensity of some, the concept that there are predators and prey and that this extends to humans.  We are animals and eating other animals is what we do.  Religious aspects aside, and personal choice aside, to demand that others not eat meat is, well, like asking an elephant not to mate, a crocodile not to swim or wasps not to sting.  To be sure, have respect for the sacrifice, from taking the life.  Even vegetarians are killing something.  That grain is alive inside, ready to create a new oat seedling when the moisture, soil and temperature are right.  Doesn’t it have a “right” to be what it can be?  How dare we snuff out its potential to make oatmeal!

Well, I did digress.  I apologize.  When we were in Vancouver we visited the excellent aquarium there.  I still prefer Monterrey’s , Atlanta’s, and even Chattanooga’s along with Baltimore and even New Orleans.  But is had some very good exhibits.  They were promoting their new exhibit with  African penguins.  As to be expected they were really cute.

Cute little African penguins.

As cute as they are, they are still in an aquarium.  They are still in captivity.

Daryn and Little Nora move out of the way on the left for the hoards lining up to see the little guys who seemed just as interested in the people.

But what travel allows is the opportunity to encounter animals.  That word encounter, to me at least, implies either a serendipitous experience or an active search with an uncertain outcome.  Granted, there are some animals that many or most would not want to encounter except under very controlled circumstances if at all.  Vipers, sharks, Kodiak bears, Black Widow spiders, and Ted Nugent, as examples!  Some people go pretty far in this, such as the guy in Utah that has dressed himself up as a Mountain Goat and trying to keep up with said animals in the mountains in that gorgeous state.  I just hope he isn’t still romping on the trails come mating season or has left this off before Mr. Nugent decides to show up there for hunting season.  Not sure which would be worse for the goat guy.  I don’t know if he is dressed as a male or female goat but both present potential issues that could be quite threatening or uncomfortable.

Digression!  Mea culpa!  The kids, from the Papa and Nana perspective, had the good fortune of going out in a Zodiac to whale watch and ended up about 100 yards off where we were staying on Pender Island, as was reported in an earlier post.  This would be an active search.  Far better than the zoo, as you get to see the animals in their habitat, in this case, as pod units.

Orcas off Gowland Point.

A day or so after their journey back to where they woke up that morning, we were down at Gowland Point, exploring the beach.The whole gang was there.  We worked around towards Brooks Point watching the geese, duck, sailboats and freighters that were in the strait.  Someone, I don’t know who, was creating a bit of noise out on this peaceful end of South Pender.  Others were gathering along the shore.  And so there they were, sometimes 20 or 30 yards off shore, casually working their way along their course around the southwest edge of the Penders.  It was only a small group, a family perhaps, but did not appear to be an entire pod.  This was exciting.  The serendipitous encounter.  People, including ourselves, ran along the shore, climbing over rock and trying to stay even with the Orcas who pressed slowly ahead through the midst of boats that were already there.  And not a Zodiac in sight, just the serendipity crew to observe at that time.

A small group with at least one youthful Orca.

Only yards from shore. Or meters!


But this was not the only encounter.  Nana, one morning, decided to be the early bird.  Well the early bird didn’t get the worm but got the bird.  An eagle sat just outside our house, looking down over the kelp beds below, scouting for breakfast.  Lightening quick, Nana snapped a couple of pictures before it moved on.

Eagle just off the deck of our rental house on North Pender Island. Looking for food or enjoying the sunrise? Way to go Nana!

Here’s one to fawn over.

Fawn on the heights over Poets’ Cove

While traveling by car we ran into, not literally, other species.  These guys are apparently considering whether or not to risk the falling rock!

Bighorn sheep considering their next move.

Sometimes you can just be too slow to the camera.  As a Where’s Waldo experiment, see if you can spot one of the two bears encountered along our path?

Got to move fast to the camera…where’s the bear??

Find him?  He actually is barely, or bearly in the picture but looks like a shadow.  So this one is just for the memory book of the brain.  As to the appropriate travimal experience, my vote is for encounters!  But I will still enjoy the searches and the zoos and aquariums, as well.  Considering the areas we drove through on the mainland, it is remarkable, but we did not bag that moose we were looking for.  I bet it was there, though, just didn’t have eyes sharp enough to see him.  Next time!


Arbutus   Leave a comment

A tree that is not native to just the northwest coastal areas, but is also found in Mediterranean climates and other areas is the Arbutus tree.  In areas outside this area in Canada it is known by other names but usually as a Madrone.  Nana fell in love with the Arbutus and took this picture on Pender Island on a tiny peninsula from which you can look out at the strait separating North Pender from other islands such as Salt Spring.

The Arbutus or Madrone tree. Nana’s pictures!

The Saanich First Nation peoples had great respect for the tree and would not burn it for firewood as it had saved them during a great flood, yeah, that BIG one that everyone seems to have had, as it gave them something to grab onto on a high spot of land.  It was used for medicinal purposes and somehow or another used for contraception. Anyway, it is a beautiful tree.  Unfortunately, it peeled exposed bark area just invites engravers, such as in the second picture.  I promise, “Rob” is not me!

I have trouble reading this after “Rob”. Help anyone?!

Here are a few other images I think Nana took.

I won’t do a Rorshach on this one!

This next one does the best job of showing how the bark peals.

Posted July 20, 2012 by papaandnana in Photography, Roadtrip

Tagged with , , , ,

Highs   Leave a comment

People like to get high.  This has multiple meanings, some more pejorative than others.  Well, depending on your point of view.  The Pender Islands start at sea level and for every inch of increase in elevation above low tide there is something, somewhere to behold.  To get really high on Pender there are a couple of options.  My new personal favorite is the trail up to the top of Mt. Norman. It is said that it is the journey, not the destination that is paramount.   Nahhh!  That may be true some of the time but in this case it IS the destination.  The trail up is interesting with a wide variety of plants, insects and birds, flat and steep sections of trail climbing about 800 feet above the waters below.

Starting up the trail to Mt. Norman.

The sun rising through the trees.

Getting high in the Penders, or anywhere in the Southern Gulf Islands or the San Juan Islands has its benefits.  The views from above might as well be from an airplane.  The land falls away quickly to the waters below, sounds, passages and bays.  From the top of Pender the observer can spy mountains running across the top of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington almost to the Pacific.  The entire southern edge of Vancouver Island is visible over the islands, such as Salt Spring, in between.  Directly below are bays, anchorages, homes along the shores and resort areas.  Sailboats, ferries, merchant ships, powerboats and kayakers run through these silvery blue passages.  Interestingly, many locals are upset that tankers are carrying petroleum through these passages, more than they might, since the U.S. leaderships has stifled the Keystone pipeline for supposed ecological reasons.  As a result, more of the oil from the interior of Canada will go to China instead increasing the risk of an ecological disaster in an area that is far more sensitive to a spill than anywhere along the Keystone pipeline route.  Spills along that route would be much more accessible than along the shores of these islands.  Just look at the beauty below.  In the gallery you can see two tankers moving along the designated passage close to the Penders.

North Pender viewed looking west from Mt. Norman on South Pender to its east. Confused?!

Salt Spring Island with Vancouver Island behind with North Pender in the foreground. One of the large ferries plies to waters to Schwartz Bay on Vancouver Island.

Daryn, Robin, Little Nora, Papa and Nana. Oh, and by the way, Megan!

Posted June 27, 2012 by papaandnana in Roadtrip

Tagged with , , , , ,

Arrival   2 comments

Daryn, searching to rescue his soul.

Daryn, alone in the wilderness, destitute in spirit and soul.  Lost amongst soaring fir and spruce.  What fate awaits him this day?  Starvation? Slowly freezing to die a solitary death in the icy waste land below soaring Mt. Baker.  Survival uncertain, he staggers onward.  But lo, on the horizon, rescue!  His family has traveled over 3000 miles to find him.  Given up everything to bring him to safety.  They slowly move closer together and in a moment of poignant reunion, break into cheers, giggles, joyful exaltation!

Reunion at last. Who knew he could survive 30 days in the wilderness eating nothing but his underwear and pine cones.

In their joy, they break into playful song and dance.  They soon begin a snowball fight in the freezing lofty heights.  They ARE somewhat surprised at his condition after such an ordeal.

Little Nora gives a snow-splash to Nana. This is an important religious ritual in the far northwest among the natives that once roamed here signifying love and celebration.

The family, having only donkeys for transportation, fine, sturdy animals traversed snow mounds and glacial streams, themselves struggling to return to civilization.  At one particularly dangerous crossing they thought their way was fully blocked but all made it safely jumping from boulder to rock and boulder again until safely beyond danger.

Dangerous traverse for Papa, Nana, Daryn, Robin and tough little Nora.

After many days, with swollen feet and empty stomachs the family finally made the coastline.  Pressing northward along rocky shores, jutting high along the coast, around gently curving bays and fording rivers and streams flowing out to the sea, the family arrived at a seaport.  There they boarded their tiny sailboat and set forth, gerning the jib and flousting the foremast, across the stormy passage to their destination, Pender Island.  There the natives are thought to be kind, gentle and often appear to find certain herbs useful in improving their mood.  A place of peace and respite for the tired and struggling family.

Land ho! Pender Island comes into view after the family’s journey across the Strait of Georgia. After weathering stormy seas, great white whales, killer squid and packs of gangster Triggerfish, very aptly named, landfall!

Arrived in their Canadian paradise they were warmly greeted by traveling troubadours. A festival of food and crafts was presented for our benefit.

The Stella Sol troubadours celebrate our arrival along with the natives of Pender Island who brought forth their crafts and food for the family to enjoy.

Little Nora makes an offering to the Stella Sol troubadours.

Accepted by the natives, the family, famished from their epic journey, begin to enjoy life again purchasing the bounty of the deep blue sea to consume in their humble abode.  For additional documentation and images of their journey please see the Roadtrip 2012 Part II page.

Posted June 23, 2012 by papaandnana in Attempted humor, Roadtrip

Tagged with , , , ,