Archive for the ‘Sea Lion 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.


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.


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.


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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On Tuesday September 22nd I was thrilled to board the Naiad for a whale watching trip.  Some years the b&b is so busy I don’t get a chance to go out with the Mackays so I was absolutely determined to go before the season ended. I joined b&b guests Steve & Gill from the UK and Ria & Rob from the Netherlands. Also on board were visitors from Ottawa, Michigan, Germany and another local like me from Sointula.

We made a few stops along the way to pick up more guests.  The first stop was Alder Bay Resort to pick up a fellow wearing shorts (yikes – it made me cold just looking at him) and next Hidden Cove Resort shown here.  Years ago before we knew we’d be living on the North Island my Mom asked me to organize a whale watching trip for the 4 of us.  We stayed here at Hidden Cove Resort and one night as we sat on the deck watching a cruise ship go by we couldn’t believe people were lucky enough to live in such a beautiful place.  And here we are…

We didn’t have to travel far to see whales.  The A-30’s were near Critical Point and entertained us for a few hours with their spyhopping, tail  & flipper slapping.  They were fishing & playing which was great for the guests who had never seen orcas before.  No peaceful synchronized rest mode for this feisty pod.    I can’t even imagine how many thousands of pictures were taken on all the digital cameras onboard.

I didn’t take that many because I didn’t want to spend all my time with my eye to the viewfinder hoping for the perfect shot.  Instead I scurried from one side of the boat to the other so I wouldn’t miss anything.  It was pretty chilly out there and the weather started to get rough so we left the orcas for a bit to find a calm harbour to eat lunch.   Amazingly enough when we came back out into the strait the whales were still there.  Finally they headed east and Captain Bill turned west so we could look for humpbacks and start to make our way home.

It always seems to unfold like a well rehearsed performance.  Cue the orcas, cue the humpbacks.  There they were 4 humpbacks who were determined we would all get a close-up view. 

They’re not as pretty as orcas but so incredible and so huge !!  Not an easy life traveling the ocean…see all the nicks and scrapes and imagine the tiny organisms hanging on for a free ride.  I’ve seen a humpback breach and it’s hard to imagine how a creature so huge can throw itself completely out of the water.  The humpbacks didn’t stay around very long and we were off to the next part of our magical mystery tour. 



Exit humpbacks…cue the sea lions.  I’ve never seen so many sea lions at one time.  They were fighting, sleeping, resting and making sooooo much noise.  And when we suddenly moved downwind we found out sea lions are incredibly smelly.  Think rotten fish and multiply that by about 100.  This isn’t the best picture I took of the stinkers but I like it because it shows so many of them at once.  They weren’t bothered by us at all but carried on with their arguments and afternoon naps. 


Huge thanks to the Mackay family for allowing me to tag along on one of the best shows on earth.  It was great to catch up with first mate Nicole.  She’s been friends with our daughter since they were in grade 5.  Nicole and I are both huge fans of tuna with extra mayo.  Really it’s more a case of would you like some tuna with your mayo.  So I was happy to bring along sandwiches and cookies to share.  Hey it was cold out there — we needed the extra calories 🙂 I’m a happy girl.  I’ve had my whale fix now.

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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There just isn’t anyplace else I would have rather been yesterday afternoon than aboard the Naiad Explorer.  Captain Bill took a group of about a dozen of us on a 3-hour cruise of the Broughton Archipelago.  It was a beautiful sunny day but winter coats and mitts were required because the wind was raw and the sea a bit choppy in spots.  A few minutes away from the Port McNeill harbour we had a look at Orca Sand & Gravel where a huge ship was loading gravel bound for bridges and office buildings in California.  The only company that can boast it sells sand to Hawaii !!  From there we traveled around Malcolm & Cormorant Islands to have a look at Echo Bay and Pierre’s Bay where we stopped for lunch.   All of these buildings are being moved into Echo Bay next month.  We were all most impressed with the bbq — called the Weber 8 million.  It was specially constructed for pig roasts hosted regularly each summer.  

 Naiad Explorer   Pierre\'s Bay Lodge  Pierre\'s Bay Bakery & Gift Shop Little bits of west coast history Seven sea lions sunbathing...

After lunch we made our way through channels and past countless islands, saw some petroglyphs and white sandy beaches.  My favourite part of the day was watching the sea lions.  They’re so funny…and noisy and if the wind is blowing the wrong way…really smelly !!  Coming back into town after such marvelous adventures we were a group of windblown but happy sailors.  I was thrilled to have the chance to enjoy our own backyard on a perfect North Island day.  Blessings from the beach… 

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