Category Archives: Victoria

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

Linking up at…

Hip Homeschooling

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.

Linking up at:

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Victoria, BC and Gulf Islands – Day 5 – Sidney and Travel to Pender Island

Today we are moving from our campground in Sidney, outside Victoria to Pender Island. Pender Island is where my mom lives and a large part of the reason for this trip. Our ferry isn’t until the afternoon. Since it is the ferry that the locals take when they just need to run into town to do some errands and it is a holiday on the following day it is going to be very busy.

On the Ferry
On the Ferry

We start our day taking down the campsite, burying the kids in the backseat. We need a bigger vehicle but that will have to wait. We went into Sidney which is this gorgeous little village on the ocean. It is an extremely walkable town and we traversed the entire main street. This is another place that I stop at frequently when I lived on Pender. It has a number of great new and used bookstores that I could spend hours in. We also stopped and picked up a picnic lunch to eat in the ferry terminal.

Ian and the Crab
Ian and the Crab

While we were on our walk we stopped outside the Ocean Discovery Center. We didn’t have time to go in but there was a pool outside with various local creatures in it. Ian made friends with a crab. In the picture Ian is walking like a crab and clicking his fingers. The crab followed him which was cute. We were debating between coincidence and learned behavior from tourist throwing food in.

The last few cars to squeeze on
The last few cars to squeeze on

We got to the ferry terminal about an hour and half before the sailing and had our lunch. We also met up with my mom in the line. She had been in town for some tests. We both got on the ferry but lots didn’t. They will have wait for the next sailing which will probably also fill up. At least they are now first in line but it is a 3+ hour wait. There used to be a hole in the fence that would allow you to sneak out and walk to a nearby pub for some good food while your car waited in line. The hole is long gone thanks to increased security. As you can see this is a much smaller ferry than the first one we were on and has much less in the way of amenities.

Our Campsite Under a Big Cedar Tree
Our Campsite Under a Big Cedar Tree

We got to Pender and set up our camp again. We then took the electronics to my mom’s place to be charged. We couldn’t stay long as she was tired from her day. We had an early dinner and read books for the rest of the evening.

Favorite Things…

Ian – Ferry to Pender
Margaret – Ferry to Pender
Philip – Sidney Bookstores
Mom – Used bookstore and finding some books by Monica Hughes that she had been looking for.

Linking up at…

Hip Homeschooling