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Abandoned blanket on a bench

Abandoned blanket on a bench

Taking a break at a gas station, I got speaking to an older woman who had been hitchhiking.

She looked like she was a little weathered, had a hard life, and she did give hints of it through our conversation, but what was also a noticeable trait… she still had hopes for a better life.

As we conversed, she mentioned that her backpack was jammed pack with a few clothes and 3 blankets, which was getting to be a little too heavy, so she was thinking about ditching one of her blankets with the hopes it would find someone in need.

It’s funny (not is hilarious manner), here’s a lady who wasn’t asking me for anything… she didn’t have anything… but still had hopes for herself and hopes for the blanket to find someone in need.

I could only offer her something she needed more than I did…. I gave her my last gatorade and an emergency blanket.

When I came out of the gas station, I could see her in the distance walking along the highway, up and over a hill, where I eventually lost sight of her. 

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Dealing with a scare – my eyes

Dealing with a scare – my eyes

This post is not about the details of my eyes, but how I dealt it…

Several months ago, I had to have my eyes checked, particularly one of my eyes that was causing me problems. There was a little concern and I had to keep it monitored.

A month ago, that one particular eye all of a sudden became an issue, I was having a difficult time seeing (blur!) and it scared the heck out of me because it was almost instantaneous.

So when it came to my photography, I had to adjust for the blurriness, including the stain on the other eye.  See (no pun intended), when taking pictures, it was completely blurring for me.  I couldn’t see the focused image in the view finder, it was very frustrating to say the least.

So I’d look for shapes, composition, lighting….and hope the camera’s autofocus would do its job for me.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blind, I can see, I just had to work around the blurriness of it.   Heck, I know what a stop sign looks like, and I know what a kid looks like as he runs across the street….well, I’m guessing he looks scared, but why focus on the negatives, 😉   


ps. It’s all good,  eye was checked…just became weaker and will be monitored. 🙂  


 

World’s Largest Burl – 30 Tons!

World’s Largest Burl – 30 Tons!

What is s Burl?  A burl is the round knotting growth on a tree.  It’s often used for handcrafted objects, due to its attractive figure when polished.

The World’s Largest Burls are all located on Vancouver Island in Port McNeill.
… and they do not come from a tree that you would expect…

The largest one, discovered in 2005 is approx 6 meters tall, 6 meters in diameter and weighs an estimated 30 tons!   The 2nd largest, discovered in 1976, was from a 351 year old Sitka Spruce tree and weighs approx 22 tons!

The interesting fact about the two largest burls is that they don’t come from the most common type of tree (Redwood) that you would expect. These 2 odd balls are actually from Sitka Spruce trees.

Without realizing it, I had driven by it a couple times due to it’s not so blatant location.  It’s located almost dead centre in the town, but protected by trees, bushes and a structure.  If you go looking for it, you’ll see its location is not so obvious to the eye at first.

What also makes this a rare moment for my photos… I had to stand beside it just to give you a size comparison of just how big it really is.  

 

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They both gave the “Evil Death Look” – Eagle vs. Raven

They both gave the “Evil Death Look” – Eagle vs. Raven

Walking along Stories Beach (Fort Rupert – Vancouver Island), I came across a Bald Eagle sitting high up in a tree, where he was taking in the view.  

All of a sudden a Raven landed on a branch nearby.  Wow! They gave each other the Evil Death Look.  Neither one budged for several minutes … I don’t even think they blinked.

Then, at the same time they pulled their heads back
as if say, “just kidding!” 

Eventually the Raven flew away….only to go and bother another Bald Eagle in the area.

More photos from this day – A Visual Experience

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Canadian Geese – Fresh Air – Sunrise – and One Canadian’s Journey

Canadian Geese – Fresh Air – Sunrise – and One Canadian’s Journey

Last evening was a beautiful way to finish the day – (click here).  

This morning was a beautiful way to start the day…

Taking in the clean fresh air of the Northern Island’s (Vancouver Island) peacefulness, while Canadian Geese paddle their way  along the ocean’s shoreline.

More photos from this morning – A Visual Experience 

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Cruise Ship makes a rare appearance in Port Hardy

Cruise Ship makes a rare appearance in Port Hardy

When something unusual happens in the a quiet little town of 4000 people along the the north east side of Vancouver island, people are quick to find out.

Early during the day, I had asked a friend if by chance any cruise ships have entered into the harbour. Unfortunately, the only time a cruise ship makes a stop here is for a medical emergency, either for staff or their customers. So its very rare for a cruise ship to end up in Port Hardy. 

Well, later that day, guess what shows up in the harbour? A cruise ship had to make a medical emergency stop for one of its customers. The coast guard escorted the cruise ship’s tender to the awaiting ambulance.

Even with the “action” going on, it was neat to observe a Cruise Ship in this quaint little town’s harbour.

The ship’s tenders are kept in the middle of the ship and lowered by the crane…

Once the ambulance left with the patient, it wasn’t much longer when the Cruise Ship continued on it’s way…

More Photos from today – A Visual Experience 

side note:  It was very cool to see that the local newspaper – North Island Gazette  had used a couple of my photos from this incident in their articles.  

Miles of Fog Stretched Out over the Ocean

Miles of Fog Stretched Out over the Ocean

This was a really cool experience because I’ve never seen anything like it. It stretched for miles over the ocean and lasted the entire day. Pictures just don’t do it justice of how amazing this was.

Originally the fog draped over Port Hardy for most of the morning. Eventually it sat where you see it in the pictures for the rest of the day and evening. It was still there when I went to bed.

The first picture shows you the length (look way in the distance).

Land-Ocean-Fog-Mountains-Sky

Early Morning Walks – The Sights in Port Hardy

Early Morning Walks – The Sights in Port Hardy

At the crack of dawn when the sun is rising and shining on Port Hardy, its an enjoyable and tranquil time to be walking around exploring.  It’s the peacefulness along the water’s edge with sights of landscapes, ocean, low or high tide and frozen mountain tops in the distance. Very visually pleasing during this time of the day.

Almost every morning (and evenings) you’ll see at least one or two bald eagles soaring.

One particular bald eagle has claimed the tree top over looking Hardy Bay. His tree is actually right along the water’s edge, beside the Pier Side Landing Hotel, and visible from the windows of the North Coast Trail Hostel. He’s there every morning and returns in the evening.

As you walk along the path, following the water’s edge, there are several information plaques about the northern island’s wildlife.  A couple interesting facts that caught my attention…

First – Black Bears.  The Black Bear can weigh anywhere from 200 – 600 pounds.  Huh? You mean there is no average?  Just seems odd that there is 400 pound adjustment.

Second – Steller Lion Seals.  This was really odd when it came to Life Span.  The Females – 30yrs.  The Males – 18yrs.  That’s almost 1/2!  Huge difference.  Not sure why that is, but it was interesting none-the-less. 

Other informational plaques included the Orcas (Killer Whale), Birds, Wolves, and few more for you to read about.   All very interesting stuff!

At low tide, don’t forget you have an Alien Landscape to explore!

The harbour with all its boats and float planes. Float Planes can be seen coming and going throughout the day. 

I managed to capture this Loon skimming and playing on top of the water. 

Walk through town and you immediately notice its very quiet for awhile because most businesses don’t open until 10am.  

 

 

 


Not one of my better shots, but it was pretty neat to see a bald eagle watching a sea otter swim passed, while a raven was nearby.  All 3 are very common in this area. 

I have a few more really neat photos from my morning walks in Port HardyA Visual Experience  Have a look! 

 

 

 

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You can’t run during midstream

You can’t run during midstream

First night …  

Don’t you just hate it when you wake up in the middle of the night and really, really have to go pee, but just outside there’s a bear walking around only a few feet away? sigh.. It was going to be a long night…. I knew I shouldn’t have drank so much water before bed….sigh

Thank-goodness the bear left sooner rather than later, I was relieved in more ways than one.

But when you’re standing there in the dark, all by yourself, every little noise is amplified and you can’t wait until you’re back in the van…. sigh…you start talking to yourself, “geez, how much water did I drink?”, “Come on, hurry up”, “Ugh, this is taking forever.” Noises coming from the forest, messing with your mind. And what you don’t see is a squirrel saying to another squirrel, “Watch this guy jump”, as he purposely lifts his foot up and then stomps on a twig, *SNAP!*, while you’re trying to pee, but you can’t run during mid-stream… you could, but the never ends well.

That morning, although I was still recovering from yesterday’s Attack of the Tin full of Cookies, I still managed to enjoy the cozy comforts of sleeping in the newly converted camper van.

With no time schedule to be any where, it was only 5:30am, but I still felt compelled to get out of the bed and start my day. It was only plus 3 degrees outside, my nose was frozen and I was dreading the next step of getting up…. putting on cold clothes. It’s funny, because no matter how fast you are jumping out of bed and racing to put your clothes on to keep warm, your clothes are still the same….cold! It’s like you’re trying to trick the cold into being warm because you’re so fast. Nope, not going to happen.

Looking around and making sure no bears where around, it was time to boil water for my tea. I’ve always enjoyed my morning cup of tea, and its more enjoyable when you can relax and take in the beauty of nature. That’s when I saw…. the squirrel ! He was back to torment me more, I just know it! But I gave him a stern look and shook my fist in his direction and he took off. I sure showed him. 

Morning View

 

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