Archive for June, 2007

Wow is it raining and blowing out there today !!  There are marginal gale force winds on the west coast of the Island.  Here on the east coast we have a marine small craft warning in effect with 15-25 knot southwesterly winds.  It’s raining sideways so I’ve had to close all the windows on the water side of the house today.   I certainly won’t have to worry about watering lawn or plants for a few days after this squall.

What an exciting time for Port McNeill the past few weeks.  First a young man who grew up here was nominated for a Much Music Video Award.  Colin Minihan is a filmaker and a music video he directed was nominated for best independent video.  He didn’t win but how incredible it must have been for Colin to be in Toronto for the awards ceremony with international music stars & moguls and thousands of screaming fans. 

A few weeks ago we were thrilled to learn that that Clifton Murray from Port McNeill made it to the Top 200 of Canadian Idol from 10,000 hopefuls that auditioned in 10 countries across Canada.  Last week Clifton made Top 22 and this week Top 18.  It’s nail biting to watch the show every week.  Megan and I voted 368 times last week in the alloted 2 hour voting times to help Clifton out.  He’s an actor/singer who’s appeared on the TV show Boston Legal with William Shatner & James Spader and had a supporting role in the move “She’s The Man” with Amanda Bynes.   Clifton’s goal is to reach the Top 10 and we have all our crossables crossed that he does too !! Have a look at the CTV website http://www.ctv.ca/idol/gen/Home.html and click on “competitors.”  Clifton has his own fan club and a blog and there is also a general forum to read posted comments.  If you’re not familiar with the show it’s based on the same model as American Idol where singers reach the Top 22 with votes from celebrity judges.  Then it’s up to the viewers to vote each week for their favourites.  Vote early and vote often that’s the motto at our house right now.  Vote for Clifton

The third good news story is a local marine biologist Jackie Hildering who has been nominated for a Me to We Award sponsored by Canadian Living Magazine.  Jackie has been nominated in the educator category for teaching North Island kids about the environment & leading the Young Naturalists’ Club.  If chosen $5000 will be awarded to the charity of Jackie’s choice along with a feature article in Canadian Living Magazine.   All this talent & enthusiasm from our little town !!

Wishing our Canadian friends and families a Happy Canada Day July 1st and our American friends a Happy 4th of July !!!

Blessings from the beach…


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Thursday morning one of our guests mentioned that the Van Isle 360 race was leaving Telegraph Cove on their way up to Port Hardy.  The biannual event is a circumnavigation (580 nautical miles) of Vancouver Island by sailboat http://www.vanisle360.com/  This year they certainly had the wind on their sails traveling past our part of the island  Port McNeill Sail Past 

In Port Hardy Chris represented the RCMP along with First Nations elders who blessed and welcomed the sailboats & participants as part of National Aboriginal Day June 21st.  The Kwakiutl Band also sponsored the first Kwakwakawakw Arts & Culture Festival Saturday & Sunday.  Chris & Megan spent most of Saturday at Storey’s Beach and a town wide power outage & showers didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the huge event.  There was traditional dancing, carving, canoe races, fashion show, games & races all in an effort to share First Nations culture with all people.

Having mentioned the event to our guests – Bob & Lillian from New Hampshire went to Storey’s Beach to have a look.  There didn’t seem much happening when they arrived so they followed the smoke of a huge bonfire nearby on the Fort Rupert Reserve.  Thinking it was all part of the event they walked into the big house and found themselves in the middle of a potlatch.  They had a marvelous time watching the Hunt family dance wearing ceremonial  regalia and enjoyed some halibut soup.  Having recently visited the BC Museum in Victoria with their display of masks & totems – the potlatch brought history to life for Bob & Lillian.  Especially when they were presented gifts – an integral part of all potlatches which means “giving.”  

Our guests give us so much joy and laughter with their tales of adventure.   Blessings from the beach….Karen

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Mountains at Dawn

Thanks again to Butch for another gorgeous picture from our beach.  I quite often see the sun rise but haven’t ever taken pictures.  I’m happy to enjoy it at the window with my cup of tea before the busyness of the day begins.

I’m still reading the book “Mitten Strings for God” and keep going back to this quote:  “People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”   St. Augustine (354-430 AD). 

There is the most delicious fresh breeze coming in off the water today.  I walked down to low-tide and just stood there listening to the tide and the wind in the trees.   A month or so ago a guest left a few shells behind on the seawall and I noticed today that there are now 3 different displays added to by others.  Shells & rock and driftwood as monuments from those who enjoyed the beach.  It will be interesting to see how the collection progresses over the season.   Seaside Shrine

This morning we said farewell to Vi from Courtenay an amazing 93-year-old woman who is an avid birder, speaks many languages and has traveled the world.   Don’t let the cane fool you.  Vi, her son and daughter-in-law went whale watching, explored Sointula and didn’t stop the 3 days they were here.   I can only hope for 1/2 the energy should I be lucky enough to live that long.   

Blessings from the beach…Karen

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Our little friend Blackie

Thanks to Butch from Colorado for this wonderful picture of “Blackie” munching away on grass in a neighbour’s yard.

I’m reading a book right now called “Mitten Strings for God – Reflections for Mothers in  a Hurry” by Katrina Kenison.  It’s about slowing down and enjoying peaceful times and although I certainly appreciate quiet time I also love all the commotion and activity that life on the beach brings.  This morning I heard the haunting song of the loon, followed by the sound of a tug pulling a loaded barge.  When our ferry passes by the wake causes waves to crash on the beach – one of my alltime favourite sounds.  Right now I can hear a float plane taking off – it’s extremely loud until the plane finally lifts off.  So loud in fact that if I’m on the phone I have to walk into another room so I can hear properly.

This morning the sky is grey and cloudy but the sun is poking out and the water is calm.  Yesterday we had a report of transient orcas traveling through but by the time I received the phone call they’d submerged and passed Ledge Point out of sight.   Drat !!  Fingers crossed our guests will spot some whales today.  Butch & Virginia from Colorado are out on a sailboat with Seasmoke Whale Watching.  It’s a great day to be on a boat although I’m not sure there’s enough wind for sailing. 

Blessings from the beach…Karen

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Sea of Red Serge

It’s a wedding we’ll be talking about for awhile.  The forecast for Saturday June 10th was  for rain and high winds and that’s exactly what we got.  We woke up to a wet & blustery day and felt bad for our neighbours John & Cherel.  Their plan was to get married on the beach – one of their favourite places.  Plan B was to move the wedding inside to our house but the bride and groom decided to go ahead outdoors.  One small miracle was the rain holding off long enough for the ceremony but there was one very tense moment when the huge tent started to lift off the upper deck and almost went airborne.  Guests quickly braced the tent and the show went on.  

The wedding pictures are wonderful with Cherel surrounded by Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in their full dress uniform.   They all stood patiently while many of the 70+ guests took turns having their pictures taken with the group.   John’s chest full of medals is from his time in the military…he spent time in Iraq and the middle East.  Fighting crime in Port McNeill must seem pretty quiet after that !!

This afternoon I heard the young black bear crashing around in the brush across the street from our house.  I couldn’t see him but could follow his progress by the movement & noise of snapping branches.  I’m not sure what he’s up to over there but a few people have complained about him to the conservation officer.  The bear is just minding his own business eating grass and wandering through his territory but I know it makes people nervous because he’s so close to the road.  The way I see it – we’re in his neighbourhood so we should be mindful of that.

Blessings from the beach…Karen

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Peter & Marion cruising the coast  When I mentioned to Marion that I took some pictures of them landing on the beach after a canoeing adventure she explained why she was peering into the water.  Marion was hoping to see a crab crawling along the bottom.  Unfortunately she didn’t find a crab but she and Peter did discover that even with sunscreen the sun’s reflection on the water is very strong.  Rain & storms are so quickly forgotten when we have so many sunshiny days in a row.    

Along with Peter & Marion visiting from England we had guests from Germany, California, Minnesota and Vancouver Island this week.   I told one very animated group at breakfast that given enough time I think they could solve all the problems of the world.  The conversations at the breakfast table can be truly amazing.  This morning the topics varied from the Holocaust to logging – guests included a retired physics teacher and the owner of a shoe repair shop.  

It doesn’t matter where guests are from we all have so much in common.    So many shared experiences like raising a family, work & travel.   Some guests come to us for just one night and we don’t really get much of a chance to connect but some guests really make an impression.  We’ll never forget the “crazy Australians” a group of 4 friends who only stayed one night but made us all laugh until we cried.  And the group we’ve dubbed the “fun family” who were absolutely delighted to fish from our beach and didn’t care that all they caught was their line in the rocks. 

So many stories…so little time.  I can’t wait to find out what this week has in store.  

Blessings from the beach…Karen

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