Friday, March 13, 2009

Last year on March 13th......

On March 8 of last year we headed out with our Travel Trailer for 3 weeks on Vancouver Island. Now that isn't as crazy as it might sound. We used to live on Vancouver Island and we know that by the time March hits, it is pretty well spring on the island. At least in the southern parts - at least most years! As we drove off the ferry in brilliant sunshine, the area did not disappoint with cherry trees in blossom and daffodils lining the streets.

We headed through Victoria and Sooke to French Beach Provincial Park on the south western end of the island - and no, we weren't the only people crazy enough to be camping. It was, in fact a weekend and the parking lot was pretty full with lots of people picnicing for the day. These are two views of the beach, the northern end of it was wave worn rock as you can see with lots of tidal pools. Those mountains in the distance are the Olympic peninsula in Washington State.
The southern end of the beach was all small rocks - April, the Shih Tzu immediately decided she didn't like walking on that! Fortunately there was a nice trail that ran along, parallel to the beach that was a bit more civilized in her opinion. There was also lots of lawns and picnic areas.

As with most 'first trips of the season' when you RV, something goes wrong, and this trip was no exception. We woke up on the Monday to find the batteries were dead - so back into Victoria to find an RV dealer, which we did, and quickly had two new batteries installed. The dealer recommended an RV park in the Sydney area that I can't remember the name of, otherwise I would recommend it - although pricey - especially in season, which fortunately it wasn't - it was a lovely park. We spent a couple of days there so we could take in the Victoria area. The above shot of Harlequin Ducks along with a female Red Breasted Merganser were taken along the water front. The amazing thing about Victoria is that there is a park and path that runs all along the water front and the whole area is an off leash area for dogs! Cyclist, joggers, walkers, kids and dogs all co-existed in perfect harmony. Having a breed not known for coming back, and also the fact that a busy road also parallels the area meant that our dogs stayed on leash.

These Black Oystercatchers were also seen on the water front - another thing - dogs were allowed on the beach! What a concept! Nothing makes me madder, especially in an off season, then to get to an area and find that dogs aren't allowed!!! I can understand in summer, in swimming areas and picnic sites - but there is no reason why areas can't be shared. 'Nuff said but it is a pet peeve of mine so you'll no doubt hear about it again.

This beach was a short walk from the RV site in the Sydney area. It joins up with a beautiful regional park - that again, I can't remember the name of. If I'd known I was going to do this - I wouldn't have thrown away all my notes!

Another area we drove to was the Esquimalt Lagoon. This particular day there was a fierce wind blowing in so all the birds were sheltering on the leeward side of the road, but as you can see, there was quite a collection.

And of course no trip to Victoria would be complete without a stop at Beacon Hill Park - where dogs aren't allowed, at least in the main part of the park, but they were allowed around the edges where this Peacock was.

Our next stop was at Bamberton provincial Park. It was a short drive from Syndey up over the Malahat to Bamberton. We had never stayed in this little park so decided to give it a try. It was a nice campground with a steep, but managable walk down to a little beach. The problem with the beach was that the area was small and there were waterfront homes on both sides so you felt like you were completely on display. Did manage to get some shots of these Surf Scoters.

So on this day last year, we arrived at Rathetrevor Beach in Parksville. The campground was fairly empty when we arrived but it filled up rapidly as spring break was approaching. It was also the Brant Festival and this was one of the main reasons we had decided to go to the island at that time of the year. All the years we lived there we were too busy working and looking after a breeding kennel and hobby farm to take in events like the Brant Festival. We also have daughters and grandchildren on the island and since one of the daughters lives just outside of Parksville this campground became home base for a time.

While my husband was making supper (he does the cooking while we are away) I headed down to the beach with my camera to see if I could find some Brant. (Dog's aren't allowed on the beaches during the festival - and I have no problem with that). It didn't take long to find a small flock feeding on the seaweed at the edge of the water.

I guess I didn't get these quite in order.....I had started taking pictures from a long ways back and slowly worked my way closer.

A flock of Brant flying past. There will be lots more Brant pictures as we move foreward in time.

After supper, one year ago today, we walked the trail along the edge of the beach. Not only were there Brant, the park was full of rabbits and that is what has her attention!

1 comment:

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