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Archive for the ‘Black Bear Sightings’ Category

These words are inscribed on a small plaque that hangs in our office.  I’ve always felt drawn to this old fashioned phrase and today it fits how I’m feeling.  Blessed…content…grateful.  This morning’s breakfast included two lively groups visiting from Vancouver who shared their adventure tour experiences out of Telegraph Cove.  Once again we are reminded how amazing it is to live in this place.  Our guests were thrilled to see the grizzly bears of Knight’s Inlet, black bears, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, river otters and eagles.  They excitedly shared their pictures and I’ve been carrying around that enthusiasm all day.  Driving home from errands this afternoon I dumped the groceries on the kitchen counter and raced outside to take capture a few things that are making me smile today.  Clouds.  Big white fluffy clouds as far as I could see.  Quirky formations that make me want to lay on the grass, look skyward and daydream.

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We’ve had a few weather systems pass through since this picture was taken a few hours ago.  Including lots of cool, fresh rain responsible for our garden looking so beautiful and green.  A riot of colour and blooms — roses, bird of paradise, and um lots of beautiful plants I don’t know the name of 🙂  My favourite right now is the lilac tree.  Oh our little lilac tree.  I’m not sure if it was root bound in a pot too long or if it needs better soil but after 10 years it offers up just one lone blossom.  One of my favourite scents that ranks up there with lavender & peppermint.

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Whether everyone is home and available or it’s just me by myself I love a cup of afternoon tea.  Today in the spirit of happiness I treated myself to a homemade London Fog.  Three quarters of a mug of strong Earl Grey tea with 1/4 mug hot milk with a little shot of real vanilla.  Delicious !!  This beautiful mug is from the “Crazy Daisy” collection I found at Murchie’s Tea in Victoria years ago.   Am I a tea-oholic?  How many kinds of tea do you have to have in your cupboard?  Ten, twenty, thirty.  As many times as I tell myself I’m not buying one more kind until I used up all the others I just can’t help myself.

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My soundtrack for today’s happy moments was the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young CD “So Far” I found at the thrift store for $1.50.  I’ve been singing along to “Woodstock,” Teach Your Children Well,” “Ohio,” and this one “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Blessings from the beach from one happy hippy…

 

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It’s official — the busy season is in full swing !! Already this spring we’ve welcomed guests from New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany, France & Holland. This morning I unearthed a few french phrases from an unused and dusty part of my brain so I could explain to our guests that Chris is retired and now drives a water taxi part-time. Cue Chris — there he was in the Rainbow Chaser driving past with a big wave !! Somehow with my rusty French and our guests limited English we managed to talk about children and how sad (tres triste) it is when they move so far away.

We’ve had an incredible amount of wildlife sightings this spring. Transient orcas & humpbacks and black bears are all over the place. We know there is a mama bear and cubs nearby. We hear them crashing around in the bushes looking for berries on the beach and see them at low tide flipping rocks looking for crab. We’ve heard stories of bears walking into carports and even sleeping on front porches. I’m afraid for our furry friends that the more brazen they become the more phone calls the Conservation officer will get. We’re in the bears backyard so as good neighbours we should do everything we can to keep them out of harms way.

We haven’t seen much of the resident orcas yet but in mid May thirty transients came right into the harbour. And last week all it took was our guest Val from the UK to wistfully comment she hadn’t seen a whale. Minutes later she spotted a humpback tail. Our guests were delighted to get breakfast and whale watching that morning. We aim to please at At Water’s Edge Bed & Breakfast 🙂

On a sad note we said goodbye last month to Lisa Falk. Shocking that it was only six days from the day she was diagnosed with leukemia to the day she passed away. I love this picture of Lisa and our daughter Megan on graduation night June 2006. Lisa was a beautiful, bubbly & caring woman who is dearly missed by husband Jed, family & friends. A reminder to us all that life is precious and fragile. We’re seriously looking at our list of things to do “someday” and will do everything we can to make the important ones happen. Top of the list is a motorcycle — so get ready we may be coming to a town near you.
Hugs from the beach…

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The plan was simple really. Unless it was pouring rain Megan and I were determined to hike to San Josef Bay on the west coast. And that’s what we did last Monday. Taking the loggers mantra to be prepared very seriously we packed snacks and a lunch, extra socks, camera, kleenex, water…well, you get the picture. We borrowed a friend’s diesel truck and we were two giggly girls on an adventure. If you haven’t been there before it’s a long drive just to get to the parking lot. Nice paved highway of course to Port Hardy and for a few minutes on the secondary road and then it’s more than an hour on an active logging road through Holberg and on to the head of the Cape Scott trail. We had a few tense moments when logging trucks headed right for us. The logging road is narrow and these were fully loaded rigs. It is very much their road !! We only made one wrong turn into a campground before we finally came to the new parking area. We were impressed with the incredible amount of work done since we were there years ago and we happily started our trek to the beach. When we heard the waves pounding the shore we picked up our pace and and again I was awed by the miles and miles of sand. Amazingly there was not another soul in sight. Dining al fresco against a huge piece of driftwood we quickly shed shoes and socks to dig our feet into lovely warm sand. Then rolling up pant legs we ventured into the water but not for long. It didn’t matter that the sun was shining — the water was darn cold !! After writing our names in the sand and venturing over to the impressive volcanic rock formations it was time to pack up and start the journey home. What intrepid pioneers the Danish were to build homes, a church, a store and school in a beautiful but at times inhospitable climate. For us it was a perfect North Island day. One that included sunshine, one black bear, 3 huge banana slugs and 4 logging trucks. Blessings from the beach…

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I don’t think I’ve ever been amazed so often by the sky than I have right here. Getting up early in the morning to make breakfast for our guests makes me privy to some unbelievable sunrises. I wake up in plenty of time for a quiet cup of tea and a good gaze out the window before I start my day. Because I get up so early I don’t see as many sunsets but that suits me perfectly. I wasn’t always a morning person. When I was in college my Mom would sometimes give me a ride to school. Most mornings my first word was “bye” when I got out of the car and shut the door. These days I think I’d have to stay up most of the night to sleep in past 9:00. I know that I have full brain power in the morning — full energy — and full creativity.
Look at this glorious tree. I took the picture on a trip to Sointula last month because I couldn’t get over the sheer number and beauty of the blossoms. All the signs of spring are here !! I saw my first hummingbird of the season yesterday and this morning dozens of robins were enjoying our freshly cut grass. It must be easier to dig out the grubs or worms or whatever it is birds eat 🙂 Rumour has it (although I haven’t seen one yet) that our neighbourhood black bears are awake after their winter sleep. What a mild winter we had with only a few flurries but no real snow. It’s the “wet” coast so we had our normal winter months of sideways rain and wind. Grey day or sunshiny day — it’s all so beautiful on the beach. And now with all the trees and plants in bud and the choir of birds singing away I throw the windows open every chance I get for the fresh, crisp ocean air.

I love Victoria in the spring!! These adorable ducks live in a pond at Government House where the Lieutenant Governor lives. Incredible that just a few moments away from the city acres of beautifully landscaped gardens are open to the public year round. Megan, my Mom and I also visited Craigdarroch Castle which had been on my “to see” list for year. It’s a very small and new castle by European standards but pretty impressive for BC. I sure enjoyed the 3 generation bonding and managed to hold my own surrounded by 2 girls who were born to shop. My favourite purchase is a floral tea pot from Murchies. These days we’re getting ready for another summer season of b&b guests from around the world and looking forward to whatever coastal adventures come our way.
Blessings from the beach…

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007Mother’s Day was the start of a week of North Island adventures.  Since the Killer Whale Cafe opened in Telegraph Cove we’ve never missed their Mother’s Day brunch.  The sun was shining and after a delicious meal we wandered along the boardwalk to visit the whale interpretive centre.  We were happy to see Buddy the brave little dog who survived a cougar attack a few months ago right outside Stubbs Whale Watching office.  Severe injuries left Buddy blind and requiring further surgeries but owner Mary Borrowman says he’s still greeting guests at the gift shop.  

015Most of the group headed back to Port McNeill but Chris and I along with friends Gwen & Ron carried on to explore Hanuse Beach shown here as well as Beaver Cove, Ledge Point and Cluxewe Beach.  It’s amazing how the beach changes just a few miles from home.  Cluxewe is a shell collectors heaven.  It didn’t take long for Gwen and I to fill a huge bag of shells that have now been placed along the walkway leading to their oceanfront haven. 

The next day Gwen and I did some island hopping.  It was more than a year since I’d been to Sointula so was really looking forward to a day of poking around the shops and doing a bit of beachcombing.  Gwen found lots of driftwood for a Christmas gift idea she has for landlocked relatives. 

019We drove along Kaleva Road the main street and stopped often to take pictures.  This is one of my favourites — only on the North Island would a wooden sculpture be wearing gumboots !!  We visited Harmony Gardens Gallery full of original glasswork by Deb and we chatted with her husband Dan who showed us his new book of incredible photography.   Sadly we didn’t have time to do any hiking or to drive out to the Pultney Point lighthouse — that will have to wait for another trip.

DSCF0175022What we did make time for was a homemade halibut burger and fries at Burger Barn.  That’s me putting in our order !!  And while we were waiting here was our view looking over the marina to the old boathouses.  What a wonderful day.   

The next Friday I was part of a gaggle of girls off on another adventure.  This time the destination was Coal Harbour on the west coast of the island.  During World War II, the village was a bustling base for the Royal Canadian Air Force and their “flying boat” coastal reconnaissance missions.  Coal Harbour was also a whaling station until 1967.

005We were there to have a look at the Community Centre which is being dismantled after having hosted 50 years of dances & events.  Talk about recycling at its finest — friends of ours will be using some of the lovely fir floor planks for their new home down island.  

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This mama black bear was happy munching away on grass along the highway.  Her cub was nearby but hiding behind a tree stump.  We’ve seen lots of bears along the highway this year but are still waiting for “our” bears on the beach down in Hoy Bay. 

On May 15th Nicole from Mackay Whalewatching phoned to tell us there was a humpback whale right out front.  For more than an hour we watched the whale breach over and over again and slap his fin.  I’m so glad we’ve got binoculars on a tripod because my arms would have worn out.  At one point I could see the ferry full of passengers enjoying the show, a floating resort coming into our marina & this enormous humpback coming up out of the water thrilling all of us.  Just another reason why we have  4 sets of binoculars at the window — we don’t want to miss the next act in the never ending adventures.  Blessings from the beach…

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Yes just another perfect day here on the beach.  Even with the rain and cool temperatures — today I saw a heron, an eagle and a seal.  I ate some of the most delicious homemade blueberry white chocolate cheesecake you could ever imagine and I chatted with our daughter on Facebook.   I’m happy that the bed & breakfast is so busy and that we’re welcoming some guests back for their 3rd or 4th summer. 

If ever I feel I’m taking this amazing place for granted I’m always energized by our first time guests who stand in the window just trying to take it all in.  That’s when I list all the things I love about living on the beach.  Like the smell of ocean — bottle that up and sell it as far as I’m concerned.  Wonderful sounds of helicopters, float planes, the ferry’s fog horn, screeching eagles and saucy crows.  And the wonderful sound of giggly 6-year-old guest Olivia who loves spending time on the beach with her parents.  Ahhh the view.  Gorgeous sunrises sometimes striped with pink and red reminding me of a saying I heard as a child “red sky at night — sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning — sailor take warning.”  My own North Island weather forecast.

A few days ago Chris and I sat on the front porch and watched a black bear eating berries right across the road in the bushes.  At first all we could see were branches swaying wildly as Mr. Bear brought the branches closer to clean the berries off.  Finally we could see a head — a very large black head.  A few days before that we were sitting with guests on the beach when a mink ran right in front of Chris — I was so stunned all I could yell was “look, look right in front of you”  I had no idea what it was until later.  Originally I thought it was a marmot — wrong location for those as I was kindly corrected by a friend who informs me they are mountain creatures.

I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would see so many incredible things in my own backyard.  When guests ask where we go on holidays I’m never sure what to say.  We don’t wander far — we’re living our holiday.  Yes it’s nice to have a change of scenery occasionally but when it comes right down to what does a body good — there’s no place like home !!!

Blessings from the beach…

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There’s an old Simon and Garfinkel song that goes, “slow down you move too fast, you got to make the morning last, just kicking down the cobble stones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.”  Go ahead and laugh – how long since you heard the word groovy??  There are a few reasons the song has been playing in my head.   First I heard a friend had thrown out her back.  This is a woman who runs her own business and sits on umpteen committees.  She’s having a hard time getting out of the fast lane but she’s hurting and doesn’t really have a choice.  Is it a sign — you know those not so very subtle ones God gives us.  The ones that usually feel like we’ve been kabonged in the head with a brick.

Then a few days after that my Dad called from Ontario to tell me he cracked a few ribs.  Helping my brother build a retaining wall Dad had worked himself too hard and was more tired than he realized falling into concrete blocks.  My brother lives in a tiny town so Dad was whisked off by ambulance to a bigger hospital for MRI, CAT scan and ultra-sound to make sure he hadn’t damaged any organs — which luckily he hadn’t.  Sent back to my brother’s with some painkillers and an admonition to SLOW DOWN what does Dad do.  Sits quietly reading and watching TV for one whole day before going for a one hour walk the next.  He says he’s okay when sitting or lying down but hurts all the rest of the time.  He suffers from the same living life at Mach 10 disorder.   

Why are we so obstinate when it comes to slowing down.  I’ll admit it I don’t relax well.  I guess that’s why I need the big reminders — like a kidney stone attack or pneumonia.  Think about what keeps you busy when you have a bit of spare time.  For me it’s minutae like checking my email…again, emptying the dishwasher or throwing in a load of laundry.  Because the b&b keeps us so busy in the summer we don’t get days off so I take moments off.  Rare and exquisite moments watering the garden and enjoying the flowers or walking down to the beach to see what’s washed up recently and one of my favourite is taking a cup of tea down to the beach at the end of a long day to watch the world unfold.  Things that slow me down for just a brief few moments.

 

There seems to be an abundance of wildlife this year.  There was a grizzly bear spotted on Malcolm Island which lies directly across from Port McNeill.  The same bear is apparently now out at Cluxewe Resort about 10 minutes west of here.  This week we’ve spotted seals, a sea lion, otters, eagles and herons from the beach.  I haven’t seen any black bears this week but I’ve sure heard them crashing around in the brush across the street from us as they look for berries.  The exciting news though is the resident orcas are back — another link in the amazing north island cycle of life.  Blessings from the beach…

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