Archive for September, 2007

Wow did we have the most amazing afternoon.  Chris and I went out with friends Marilyn and John this afternoon for a boat ride that turned into one of the best whale watching trips ever !!  We traveled almost all the way up to Port Hardy after Captain Bill Mackay of the Naiad reported transient orcas in the area.  The boat you can see in the distance is whale researcher Graeme Ellis who was extremely interested in the group of at least 25 whales.   Was I excited?  Um let me think about that for half a second…heck yes !!!!  There were so many whales it was hard to decide where to look. 

We couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon.  The sun was shining, the water was sparkling, a cruise ship passed by and I don’t think I stopped grinning the whole time we were out there.   And then to top off the perfect trip a harbour seal came to visit us as we were getting off the boat. 

Tonight we said goodbye to Mike & Patty from California who gave me permission to share their wonderful story about serendipity.  For more than 30 years they owned a restaurant.  Seven days a week Mike managed a staff of 35 and was chef, dishwasher, host or bartender.  He did whatever had to be done which meant decades without a holiday and Patty worried that the hard work would kill him.   So…Mike got out of the restaurant business and when asked by the owner of the neighbourhood bicycle shop what he was going to do next Mike replied “I’m going to open up a bike shop and be your competition.”  That comment was the start of a whole new career for Mike.  A few days later he bought that bike shop  http://www.authorizedbicycle.com and now laughingly admits to working only six days a week instead of seven.   Their time with us included whale watching, kayaking and tomorrow they head off for a day of grizzly bear watching.  Sounds like Mike has found the balance of work & play we all need.

Blessings from the beach…Karen


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On August 20th a barge loaded with logging equipment and a fuel truck spilled near Robson Bight Ecological Reserve which is just south of Port McNeill.  The barge and vehicles all sank and it believed as much as 10,000 litres of fuel were onboard.  It’s not known whether diesel is still seeping from the machinery. 

This letter to the editor from Paul Spong (Orca Live) was printed in the September 5th issue of the North Island Gazette www.northislandgazette.com

Dear editor:

Your comments about the spill in Robson Bight are far too optimistic.  Dozens of orcas inhaled highly toxic diesel fumes for substantial periods of time.

One family, the A30’s swam through the thickest part of the contamination for over six hours, breathing fumes that made nearby people nauseous in minutes. 

Because orcas have no sense of smell, they were totally unaware of the danger.

The potential health consequences of the exposure include lung lesions and pneumonia, both of which can be fatal to orcas.  The symptoms may take months or longer to appear.

We will be holding our collective breath next year when the orcas return, counting dorsal fins and hoping they are all there.

This spill was a disaster for the orcas, and for their vulnerable habitat.

It is imperative that the underwater spill site be inspected and evaluated. 

If the responsible parties (Le Roy Trucking and Timber West) won’t do the inspection, and governments won’t make them, the non-governmental community will do it.

Living Oceans Society is leading the effort to raise the $35,000 needed.

Visit any Island Credit Union or www.livingoceans.org to contribute to the Save Robson Bight fund.  The orcas need us and we owe them.

Paul Spong – Alert Bay

For more information about the spill and possible consequences  here is an on-line article from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society


Blessings from the beach…Karen

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Last week felt more like April than August here on the beach.   A few mornings we were fogged right in and I had to close windows it was so chilly.  Tuesday it was raining sideways most of the day and there were whitecaps rolling in.   The wind was blowing out there at 25 kilometres per hour – not a great day to be out in a little boat.  

One of our guests bravely flew out on a floatplane that morning to a neighbouring small island.  Joy is a traveling nurse who visits First Nations villages every few weeks – a regular guest.   Father & daughter Brian & Tina who were here for their second stay with us were out in a small zodiac whale watching for the day.  Our other 2 guests, Rita & Frances sisters from the UK, wisely decided to stay indoors and work on their embroidery projects.  It was definitely a day for indoor pursuits !!

Then on Sunday the sun poked out long enough for me to take this picture of a beautiful sunrise Port McNeill style.  As I write this today the sun is shining and we’ve got our big white fluffy clouds back.  So, I’m not ready to put my summer clothes in storage just yet. Yesterday guests who went out with Mackay Whale Watching were thrilled to experience a super pod situation spotting over 100 orcas.  How exciting !!!  We soon have our Orca Live group coming to stay and they go out whale watching every day for a week – I’ve got all my crossables crossed they’ll see the same great show. 

We know orcas have passed by recently but we haven’t spotted them ourselves.  Yesterday we watched a harbour porpoise and a seal swim by and there has also been a cougar spotted on Beach Drive in the past few days.   I’m hoping he’s a well fed cougar not interested in snacking on a middle aged b&b owner.

Blessings from the beach…Karen

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