More West Coast November: a wander through James Bay

On my last day looking after my daughter’s cat, before going home to my two, I took advantage of the foggy yet fairly decent morning to walk along the coastline pathways. So many people think the west coast of Canada is too grey in the fall and winter – I say they are not looking for the gems. Although I have not left the island, nor gone beyond Greater Victoria, I can find so much to enjoy.

Fisherman’s Wharf. The always popular, colourful mix of houseboats and fishing boats where you can find eateries, artists, kayaks to rent, music, hopeful seals seeking a handout (I believe no longer allowed) and a mix of visitors. Mirror clear.
Art installation?
I have no idea if the bits and pieces were added before this stump washed up on our shores or if someone saw its potential. I love the tide surrounding the base.

Ontario Visit: ahhh, the ocean!

After four days at home I was finally feeling more like myself. Just as well as I had an early morning appointment the first Monday I was back. Which also meant I would have time to drive to a park I used to take my children to but rarely visit these days. Note: I have not forgotten my four day train ride – see above, it took four days to get back to normal – I just have to gather my notes and thoughts along with my sparse photos. It is not easy taking pictures from a moving train. Meanwhile, a quick respite at Cadboro-Gyro Park.

Perhaps Caddy, our very own Cadborosaurus was frolicking on the shores a bit too much. All polished up since my children played on her.

Or that lurking octopus may have had a hand…tentacle or two in the wanton destruction.

That giant starfish looked far too busy to have had anything to do with it.

Easy access to the beach for any and all. Of course I took off my sandals to wiggle my toes in the sand. We do not have many sandy beaches in Victoria.

Natural driftwood sculpture and driftwood architecture in the background.

Rarely does a day go by when there is not a craft on the waters nearby.

Aha! I found the modern day culprit. Perhaps they did not get the memo. Like all sand castles the powers that be smooth them away – albeit with a little help from Public Works.

Mini-Adventure: I saw a Heffalump today

I purposely set out to search for woolly mammoths. I had photo evidence of them frolicking at the Royal Bay Beach Park in Colwood. Off I went, solo.

The beach is perhaps an 8 minute drive from my home depending on traffic and lights. Royal Bay Beach Park was once an unsightly gravel pit, inaccessible to the public for over 100 years. Driving along Metchosin Road we could see the stunning ocean views but always had to keep our windows up to keep out the noisy equipment, flying dust and even the odd bits of rock. It is nice to see this privately owned piece of land is being transformed and is open to the general public.

More woody than woolly, this must be a Heffalump and a baby Heff

These days neglectful digging had better not be discovered!

I spent a lovely hour checking out the main path, nifty driftwood huts, attempted some nimble balancing, and strolling along the seaweed strewn beach. My knee was not very cooperative so I kept mainly to the path and sand. This just meant I would have plan an outing with my daughter in tow.

I cam across maybe five structures, these were the two I rally liked. Some of those pieces must be heavy. One had a very sturdy looking cross beam from back to front. Budding architects.

Perhaps a Push Me-Pull You was lurking in the brush? I did find out these were sawdust arrows for a dozen or so people following the path. Could they not figure out how to turn around to go back from whence they came?

Although all we can see now are the vestiges of the pit days on land, the encroachment of industry is always in view.

The winds blow hard enough that trees permanently list.

Next time I will walk along this section. I drawn towards the beach as though called by a siren. I wisely acknowledged that it would be better to have someone with me.

Mini Adventure: A Perfect Afternoon

I admit to stealing the title idea from another blogger,, he has such lovely insights into what could be a not so good day by finding a nugget of perfection. (Check him out – he is also a Canadian) Yesterday was a bit like hitting the mother lode. I knew I had to get away from the day. Where else but to one of the many spots to not only glimpse the ocean but be immersed in the experience.

I love Vancouver Island. I do not love how expensive it is to live here. A 45 minute drive away is French Beach. A rugged, surf crashing, mist in the air, giant driftwood strewn beach that is not your typical sandy, flip flop, run into the spray type of beach. Although there were two children, under the watchful eyes of the adults with them, who were actually in the water! My daughter said they must be true west coasters.

That is what we do when the world seems to be crashing down. When money, jobs (or lack of same), housing, age and pain become too much a trip to the ocean can wipe it all away, like the writing on the sand. Even if for only a couple of hours. I may not have solved any of the problems but I was certainly invigorated.

The cherry on top of an already perfect afternoon was a stop for coffee and a treat at Shirley Delicious. Yes, Shirley is a real place. Yes, everything is delicious. (Interesting side note, one of the owners has the same surname as the sports doctor I will be seeing later in the week). Shirley a positive sign.