Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, B.C

We are still catching up with news and pictures, thanks for reading!!

After a short flight over the water and across the Canadian border we touched down safely in the Qualicum Beach airport on Vancouver Island. This time our welcome was from Paul and Jill Connor, a dynamic English turned Canadian couple who have teamed up with my parents for many flying adventures. This was my first opportunity to meet Paul and Jill and also Adam and I’s first trip to Vancouver Island, B.C. We were instantly charmed by our hosts and thrilled by the spectacular location of their home on the island’s Northeastern coast.

A wonderful weekend ensued and we felt more relaxed than we had in weeks. Between cups and cups of English tea and Jill’s wonderful cooking we feasted like kings, breaking from eating only to recreate and socialize. Walks on the beach, practice on the slack line, some intense mountain biking (Paul and Adam teamed up for that one) and a kayak trip to a nearby pub for a drink helped us stay hungry and also gave us a chance to get to know Qualicum Beach and all of the life that still resides there.



3 Shot HDR Canon 5D F4_24-105mm




Each day the tide recedes away from a wide, rocky beach, revealing an array of shells, crabs, starfish, and ocean flora that I recognized from the long lost tide pools of my childhood in Mendocino. Less heavily traveled than the California or Massachusetts coastlines, this beach is still home to a bustling ecosystem and Adam and I spent hours marveling at the creatures that each day appear for a few hours while the ocean is away at low tide.

3 Shot HDR Canon 5D F4_24-105mm

3 Shot HDR Canon 5D F4_24-105mm


3 Shot HDR Canon 5D F4_24-105mm


3 Shot HDR Canon 5D F4_24-105mm

We even saw one of the strangely phallic “gooey ducks”, which aggressively squirted water at me when I came across its resting place. Limited to around fifteen days of harvest opportunity a year, those that hold permits to “fish” for these creatures are now part of a multi-million dollar industry. Though considered a delicacy (and valued at around $30/pound) having seen one of these creatures in its natural state I am uncertain I would be drawn to consume it. As Jill put it (saving me from having to say it myself), “they look like willies”.

Geoduck


I wanted to take a moment to write about some friends of mine that live in Vancouver Island’s big city of Victoria. Last year I met Emma, Nadine, and Hilary on a bus in Northern Argentina and they were quick to befriend me as a fellow traveler. We formed “Team Canada” and continued on together into Bolivia, separating only out of necessity on the border of Peru several weeks later. These ladies, like Orion who we wrote about back in Colorado, deeply impacted my travels for the better and became fast friends. I was fortunate enough to reconnect with Hilary twice, in Buenos Aires and in Boston and had hoped to visit the whole team while I was in their area. In the face of limited time on the island and uncertain weather for our return flight to Washington (we ended up leaving much in the same way that we had arrived – all of a sudden), I failed to make the trip down the island to Victoria. Please forgive me Team Canada, you have been in my thoughts all summer!!!

I write this because it was at this time, marked by much deliberating, that Adam and I really began to see our trip, once stretching unimaginably long before us, coming to a rapid close. Just as we had ended up rushing to arrive in Washington on time, we were now in a hurry to continue our journey south to California. We swore to return to Vancouver Island (and also to British Columbia mainland, where other wonderful friends reside) on our next adventure.

Up next – our return to Washington and a last hurrah in the Olympics!

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