Category Archives: Gulf Islands

Victoria, BC and Gulf Islands – Day 8 Roesland and More Disc Golf

We started with a breakfast of Bannock, another camping tradition. There was a geocaching course in the campground so we took the time to do that. There were a series of four GPS coordinates where you had to find the previous to get the next coordinates. Each location also corresponded to a habitat of a local animal and each had information and questions to answer. The last one also had coins that were limited in supply.

Deer
Deer

Next we went to another part of the National Park call Roesland. It used to be little resort dating back to 1920s. It operated until 1990, soon after a local group with the provincial government took it over. Later it was consolidated with lots of other place into a National Park.

Woodpecker Tree
Woodpecker Tree

It has an islet that is only accessible when it is low tide. We walked out to the end. We spotted a bald eagle and the tree she has her nest in. I think we also spotted 2 juveniles but I couldn’t get a close enough look.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

We also saw some cool conglomerate rock on the coast. Looking it up online it is something called Puddingstone. Basically it is about 84 million years old mixture of fine sediment and larger pebbles and then compressed.

Conglomerate
Conglomerate

We spent half an hour sitting on some comfy chairs over looking the bay with a cool breeze blowing. From there we went to the local bakery for some lunch. Everyone one had the Banger Roll (giant sausage roll) except Philip who had a Samosa.

Comfy Chairs
Comfy Chairs
Not a Nurse Log
Not a Nurse Log

In the afternoon we played the last nine hole at the disc golf course. We came across a really cool tree. At first I thought it was a nurse log with three trees growing out. That though only lasted a second as the ‘log’ was clearly not rotten and would be barely visible for the age of the trees. It is a tree that got knocked over, probably in a wind storm and survived. The three ‘trees’ are actually branches.

Knocked Down Still Alive Tree
Knocked Down Still Alive Tree
Last Hole
Last Hole

The last hole is the same as the one I played years ago. It is 66 meters (216 feet) up a very steep hill. You have to work your way up while going forward and hoping not to slice it back off the hill. It is steep enough to require putting your hands down and scrambling up some parts.

Hole 27 Hill
Hole 27 Hill

We went back to the campsite for dinner and relaxing. The kids got playing with the kids in the next site over and had a great time.

Favorite Things…

Ian – Geocaching
Margaret – Everything
Mom – Geocaching
Philip -Everything

I think they are getting tired of answering this question every evening.

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Victoria, BC and Gulf Islands – Day 7 Mount Norman & Disc Golf

Our morning started with a RCMP officer walking around the campground. He stopped to ask if I saw anyone with a fire going the night before. We had seen on fake propane fire. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it. There was a fire ban on but there are different jurisdictions and slightly different rules. I think it was fine under one set of rules and not under the other.

View of Swartz Bay from Mount Norman
View of Swartz Bay from Mount Norman

We took the morning to climb Mount Norman while it was still cool. It was a fairly short (1.3 km / .8 miles one way) hike but a good elevation gain (244 m / 800 feet). It was steep but the view at the top was well worth it. We did run into some Parks Canada employees and filled out a survey. We pointed out the error on their map. They had a map of what we could see from the look out and had incorrectly labeled North Pender as South. The kids ran the whole way back.

View From Mount Norman
View From Mount Norman

We went back to our campsite for lunch and then went to play disc golf. We are not supposed to call it ‘Frisbee’ Golf as that is trademarked. Disc golf is very much like regular golf. The idea is to get you disc to the pin in as few throws as possible. On this course there are two types of holes. The first and original to the course are stove pipe over a 4×4. Make it go ding and you are in. The second is more official and there is a basket with chains.

Old Style Disc Golf Pin
Old Style Disc Golf Pin
In the hole
In the hole
New Style Disc Golf Basket Maybe In
New Style Disc Golf Basket Maybe In

We played 18 of the 27 holes. I got on birdie and parred a couple but overall I was way over. I played a lot when I was younger and lived on the island. The course changed about six years ago eliminating my favorite hole. I think they needed to change it up to keep it challenging. Plus back then there were only 18 holes.

Margaret Throwing
Margaret Throwing
Philip Throwing
Philip Throwing

Philip was pretty good at it and Ian was better than Margaret. Margaret never managed to get any power behind her throws. I think she could with more practice. As you can see some people throw with enough power to chip the trees. Most of the trees are just fine. This one I am not sure if it was already dead and that meant it didn’t heal or the repeated hits with discs killed it. No idea.

Badly Nicked Dead Tree
Badly Nicked Dead Tree

Favorite Things…

Mom – Mount Norman lookout
Ian – Disc Golf
Margaret – Disc Golf
Philip – Disc Golf

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Victoria, BC and Gulf Islands – Day 6 – Canada Day and Orcas

We spent the morning visiting my mother, getting laundry done, having showers and of course charging our electronics. We spent the whole morning there chatting and catching up.

My Mom's Deck
My Mom’s Deck

We had had a late night the night before thanks to some drunken and very loud neighbors. I got up at midnight to go to the bathroom. While I carefully didn’t shine a light on them I did make sure they noticed me. They quieted down after and headed to bed. They did finish of their night with a drunken, off key, top of their lungs rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. They also had the words wrong. Fortunately they were only there for one night.

My Moms House
My Moms House

For the afternoon we went to Hope Bay Bible Camp for their Canada Day Celebrations. They had free hot dogs, drinks and ice cream. The kids played a game called Frenzy Ball. The camp is the sister camp to one here in Kelowna where we hold Beaver camps. I took a picture of the rules so we can play it ourselves. It also explains the existence of a small fenced hexagon.

Ian Water Fight
Ian Water Fight

The kids quickly got involved in a water fight. Most of it was sponge balls but there were two water guns. My kids all got a chance with it. They also all got soaked. Ian gave his best ‘Rambo’ impression which is scary since he has never seen the movie.

Margaret the Sniper
Margaret the Sniper

Margaret decided to be a sniper and climbed to the top of about a 10 foot wall and sat up there straddling the wall. She had Philip completely confused as he couldn’t figure out how he was getting wet. Then a leader spotted her, decided it wasn’t safe and made her get down.

We went back to my mother’s for dinner cooked by Tony. It was a wonderful chili soup and good bread. We talked and talked.

The residents of Pender have a phone tree for when Orcas are spotted. My mom got a call and we had about 5 minutes before they would arrive. We got down to the beach. We took some pictures of the kids.

Seal
Seal

We then spotted a seal just off shore. We think it might have known the Orcas were coming and was hiding. In looking at the photos I spotted a juvenile. The Orcas we saw are resident which means that they eat salmon. There are also transients which will eat seals and large variety of other things. The seal also may have thought we had fish. People fishing throw the bits they don’t want in the water giving the seals a free meal.

More Seals
More Seals

Then the Orcas came by. They came in two groups. With the first I mostly watched and took photos in the general direction. Most missed or were to far away to be any good. With the second group I zoomed in a far as I could and spent more time aiming. It meant that I missed seeing some but I got more usable pictures. This was something that Ian really wanted to do. He is totally enthralled with Orcas but I couldn’t guarantee that we would see any. I made him a collage of the photos that I am going to get a 8×10 print made. In some of the photos you can see a much smaller whale next to a much larger one. We believe that it is one of the newborn from this year. We have had 4 births this year which is excellent for an endangered species. Newborns are 8.5 feet long and about 300 pounds.

Orcas Off Pender Blog
Orcas Off Pender Blog

Favorite things…

I apparently forgot to ask today. I would have to say the Orcas for everyone but some might have thought the water fight.

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