Sunday, July 30, 2006

In other news, I may have taken my last hike to Cape Roger Curtis in its near wild state. The owners have hired security guards and are seeking to erect a fence to keep people out.

Well, it's private property, but that seems a little over the top. Only way to visit those beaches now is by water. I suppose they can do what they want, but fences and guards aren't very neighbourly.

A perfect Bowen Island summer weekend. Friday night we played Irish tunes outside at The Snug and we probably played there until close to 11:00pm. Then yesterday the fun continued with an impromptu gig up at David Chamberlain's new bookstore, Sherlock Tomes, which is also the site of Artisan Radio. We were all set to go online with the first ever live music broadcast when a tree feel across Grafton Road right at the entrance to the square knocking out power for hours. So no live boradcast, but plenty of fun playing music blackout style.

Later after harvest a bunch of salal berries, it was down to Cates Hill Chapel to accompany Jude Neale in an amazing concert of Opera, standards and celtic songs. Jude is a remarkable woman, a true character - all dressed in ball gowns and shocking orange hair - and her voice can fill a concert hall. Amazing.

To cap it off early this morning we were rocked by a thunderstorm that crashed and slashed it's way up Howe Sound. THankfully it was accompanied by a deluge of rain which was good for the garden and kept the lightning from starting any fires.

Now, it's off to the beach.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Finally back home after traipsing all over Ontario for a couple of weeks.

The huckleberries are still holding on strong, to my delight, and I'll be out to harvest some of them this week. The blackberries and salal are starting to come into their own which is nice too, although they are at least three weeks away from intensive harvest. Haven't checkd my secrete wild raspberry patches yet.

The water was cold yesterday at the beach, on the flood tide, but it didn't stop us from swimming at Bowen Bay and later consuming a supper of grilled veggies with sundried tomato pesto on Italian bread with salad and one of the most intensively perfumed melons I have ever eaten.

This is what summer is all about.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Van posts a great set of directions to the two most accessible mine adits (horizontal shafts) on Bowen island:

There actually two mine shafts that I am aware of. The first one what i will call the lower mineshaft is in the Bluewater area with the entrance off of Mutiny Lane which runs off Upper Windjammer. Access is on the right side of Mutiny Lane about 100 feet or so further up from the pump house on your left. If you reach the gate at the end then you went to far. The mine shaft is about 100 yards up the trail. This mine shaft is the most interesting in my view is this lower one because the shaft splits into a "Y" about 100 feet in. The other one which I call the "upper mine shaft" is just goes straight into the mountain side about 200 feet.

The second mine shaft which I previously called the upper shaft is about 30 -45 minutes hike going up towards the Mt Gardner summit off of the same trail. Take a left turn at the signs for Mt Gardner. It is about 25 minutes or so form this point. Look for a "slag heap" thing on your right just at the head of the creek bed that you will have hiked up. You will see what is left of a flatten ore car laying at a foot of a tree at the base of this 'heap". However watch out for a very deep vertical shaft filled with very cold water about half way in. There are planks laid across it but you still must watch your step. Please note If you have crossed a creek bed without seeing 'slag heap" and mine shaft, you again have gone to far and must retrace your steps.

The over all hike is a good one for those who do not want to go all the way to the summit. If you keep to the trial on your left you will end out coming out at the Blue Water Reservoir and water tower which is about a 100 yards from where you started from. Alternately you can start at the gate by the water tower.I have done this hike from this end in about 55 min. to 1 hour 10 minutes with only a couple of 2 minutes stops. It has also taken me up to three hours when taking guests on the hike and stopping at three view sites as well as the two mine shafts.

The location can be seen here.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Crow in teh rhodos

Flying off to Onatrio for a couple of weeks. The huckleberries are probably going to be done before we get back, but I'm looking forward to making some blackberry jam and swimming in the phosphoresence then.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Also today, Mark Groen posted a series of photos from a recent hike to the top of Mount Gardner, the highest point on the island.
Another great day of snorkeling at Bowen Bay today.

This afternoon I cruised both ends of the beach and the extended rocky headlands. At the north end of the beach I swam as far as the next beach along, under the pier to the west of Bowen Bay beach. Heading west from Bowen Bay beach, you travel over some very rocky terrain covered mostly in bladder rack and a tall seaweed that looks a little like a fir tree. There are great forests of this, and they obscure kelp down below. Lots of stuff hides in here, most common are the shiners, with the breeding males quite large and black. Today there were three species of crabs scurrying over the rocks (yellow and purple shore crabs and large red rock crabs) and lots of ochre sea stars hiding at the base of the rocks. Several sculpins and a goby were seen here too.

Heading further west around the point towards the pier, there is a large flat and shallow area covered in a thick green algae. There were schools of what I think were herring here - very take and relaxed and not jittery at all. I could just drift into their midst without a problem. These were large schools, the largest was maybe a couple of hundred. There was also a school of needle fish here too. I turned at the second beach and swam back for a look at the south end of Bowen Bay. Swimming together, Aine and I swam all the way along the rocks and under the first pier in the photo and into the bay. We saw shiners, crabs, a juvenile black rockfish, a small cod and more of the herring. Also the same sea stars and less crab action on the steeper rocks. The little bay at the end is quite rocky and the water was very murky in there from plankton. No sign of the bay pipefish today, but on the way back we saw these gorgeous tiny fish swimming at the surface in small schools. They were no longer than an inch and the had a bright irridescent spot at the base of their tail. Their bodies were long and thin. Very beautiful tiny fish.

The water was really warm today, even down at ten feet where I dived looking for flounder and rockfish. Cloudier than last time though with maybe eight feet of visibility although nothing came clear until it was two feet away.

Finished the evening off with an impromptu picnic of cheese, bread, fruit, tabouleh and fresh picked huckleberries with friends we ran into. A lovely, quiet Bowen sunset. The beach was quieter than it had been on the long weekend and populated by more friends than strangers.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

It has been a week of unusual things in the water.

First on Thursday, coming back from Victoria we saw a pod of killer whales off Mayne Island. There were five or six and one breached a couple of times. An unusual sight to be sure.

Then last night, the red tide in Deep Bay.

And today, during our first picnic of the season at Bowen Bay beach, we saw a deer swim across the mouth of the bay, his four points sticking out of the clear glassy water with the sky turning pink behind him. His mate jumped in too, but she came right back out. Too cold for her, I guess.

But not too cold for me. I went for a nice leisurely snorkel around the rock face at the south end of the beach and between the beach and the dock I saw the following:

  • Bay pipe fish in the weeds (related to the seahorse)
  • Black rockfish
  • Sculpins
  • Shiner surfperch
  • Moon jellyfish
  • Cod
  • Needlefish
You can get a good view of the beach in this satellite photo.