Thursday, June 30, 2005

At the end of June, a month typically characterized by its unsettled weather, comes news that this year we will set a record for the cloudiest June on record.

It usually rains in June, that isn't news. It always comes after a period of early summer weather which we get in late April and early May, duping us every year into believing that the wet months are over and the dry ones are here. But the transition to summer is always longer than that, and it never really arrives until mid July, when the drought begins.

This June has been different though. It has been a lot less rainy than usual but it has been a lot more cloudy. There have been a series of weak lows in the Gulf of Alaska bringing moisture to the south coast but not precipitation. We've had 139 hours of sun, 10 hours less than the previous low record,

There must be some kind of correlation between this unusual weather and the bumper berry crops. I suspect it's the lack of rain, but perhaps the lack of sun keeps the berries fresher and on the bush longer. Botanists out there, feel free to weigh in on this one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Back on July 2, 2001 I made the first entry in what has become this weblog. Four years ago to the day, we moved to the island. My favourite memory of that day is the four of us, huddled together on our bed in the loft looking out over Mannion Bay and watching the last ferry leave at 10:05pm. We all said together "There goes the last ferry. We're not on it. We live here."

That line goes though my head every time I hear the last ferry sound it's whistle and take off for the continent. It cements my commitment to this place, and I never take it for granted that I live here, not once in four whole years.

Thank you for joining me thus far in this ever emerging story.

Monday, June 27, 2005

This is the best berry year of the four I have spent on Bowen Island. The long and easy early summer days have us wander the paths and roads for huckleberries and black raspberries. Yesterday we picked a litre of the red huckleberries and a quarter litre of precious black raspberries. Some of the huckleberry bushes are literally bent over with the fruit. I've never seen the like. I'm pick them as fast as I can, getting some in the freezer and just eating the rest by the spoonful. What a rare luxury.

The salal and blackberry bushes are showing huge potential right now too, and the first few salal berries are plump and sweet. Blackberries are also overburdened with fruit, and I'm looking forward to a jammy August.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

She hasn't posted for a while, and now I see why. In this week's Undercurrent, the results for the Round Bowen kayak race were published and Sue Schoegl took first place in the solo women's category. I hope we can expect a blog post of her race soon. Congrats Sue!

The Round Bowen race is a fantastic event and is becoming one of North America's premier kayak races. The racers start at Snug Cove, head south along the east side of the island, turn into the open water of the Strait of Georgia, battle rip and chop at Cape Roger Curtis and then cruise up the west side, turning at Hood Point and coming home. The conditions vary every year, and this year, the racers were lucky to have a tail wind in the Strait, fairly smooth water at the Cape and an incoming tide pushing them up the west side. Coming home was the challenge, with a head wind and tide making it slow going. Still, the winner made an incredible time of two hours and 37 minutes. Unreal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

It's been a funny spring so far, with that spell of nice weather early on and now cooler and rainy. However it has come to us, it has made for a great berry year so far. The salmonberries are just finishing and this was a bumper season for them. Huckleberries, true to form are following right along in the same abundance, and they seem sweeter this year than usual.

Swainson's thrushes are about too, with their haunting spiralling call. It's my favourite west coast bird song, and it says "summer." More so than the robins, who are year round residents, the Swainson's are the real harbingers of spring.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

It barely counts as a blog, but it IS often about Bowen Island, and so I added it to the noosphere: Spider Robinson's Online Diary.