Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Visit

A week has gone by since my friends, Ann and Ken, returned home. The week of their visit was a continuation of our changeable weather - occasional spots of sunlight broken up by cloud, rain, mist, and sudden bursts torrential rain. Consequently, some days I took few pictures. Still, a trip to Salt Spring Island, and a rainless moment on the docks at Genoa Bay, provided some photo ops without soaking the camera.

Ann and Ken are great guests to have around - I didn't have to wash a single dish all week as Ken took the role of chief bottlewasher. Thankfully, he is also accustomed to life without a mechanical dishwasher and fully understands the need to keep on top of those dishes which, he claims, have a habit of reproducing madly if left alone on the kitchen counter. Naughty dishes! There is only one bathroom in my home, and Allie's litterbox is kept in the bathtub. So even Allie had to line up to use the bathroom in the morning.

C'mon, c'mon, I gotta GO!!!!

Ann, Ken and I all enjoy checking out the thrift stores, so on our tours around the Cowichan Valley we hit eleven of them! I did find a great cast iron frypan, in excellent condition and well balanced, for $8 - it was just the size and make I wanted. I'm sure I picked up some other goodies too, though I can't for the life of me remember what.

On their first full day here, we wandered around downtown Duncan, twenty minutes away. Though I am there fairly frequently, I never really noticed the plethora of beautiful totems and murals. I forgot my camera that day, but Ken kindly gave me permission to past these ones of his:

We spent one day on Salt Spring Island, a fifteen minute ferry ride from Crofton. We took the dogs with us, and Sadie happily agreed to share the back seat with Ken.

Watching the tiny tugs pull huge barges in and out of the mill as we cross the bay always fascinates me - I never fail to think of "The Little Train that Could", because I'm quite sure those tiny tugs are in the same category, full of a positive attitude and saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...."

The rain held off long enough for us to spend some time tromping around the beautiful Ruckle Park.

While gazing at the waves washing onto the smooth coastal rocks, we suddenly spotted something I've never seen here before - a dolphin!! (Okay, it may have been a porpoise - which I also haven't seen in our waters - but the shape of the fin and the lighter colour of the body led us to be pretty certain it was a dolphin. Both porpoises and dolphins do live in these waters.) The dolphin came up several times, arching through the water just offshore. My camera wasn't set up for multiple shots, so I kept missing him.

He was moving along the coastline, and I would have followed in the hopes of getting a shot, but was prevented by this sign:

Sadie and Ann searched for him, but to no avail.

So you'll have to take my word that we saw a dolphin. Maybe if you stare hard enough and long enough at this image, you'll see him!

It was an exciting moment. Once back home, I watched the sky light up with our signature sunset:

And the next morning began with a signature sunrise, though I didn't get down to the beach to capture it reflected in the waters.

Thursday, we took a drive out to Cowichan Bay to pick up fresh crab for dinner, and fresh kamut bread and ginger cookies from True Grain Bread. The weather wasn't conducive to picture-taking, but here are a couple of shots from the last time I visited on a sunny day.

(I swear I had a nice one of the bakery, with a colourful bike outside, but darned if I can find it!)

On the way back, we ran out to Genoa Bay where there is a nice little Gallery that carried some art cards Ann wanted for her relative in Europe. While there, I watched a cormorant on the top of a post on the wharf. He (or she) was so gracefully stretching the wings to catch what little sun appeared. I have read that birds hold their wings out like this (or sometimes lie on the ground with wings outstretched) to rid themselves of parasites. The cormorant showed no concern for my presence and put on quite a show for us.

And that's the end of an interesting and fun week, despite less-than-cooperative weather.


EvenSong said...

I see him! I see the dolphin! It's a BLUE dolphin! (Al says you need to get a Nikon...)
Looks like you folks had a lovely visit.

georgia little pea said...

You live in such a gorgeous part of the world! I'm not entirely sure where it is (sorry to say, I get a bit confused with all the different blogs) but to have those sunrises and sunsets (My god! They are breathtaking, like boiling clouds!) The little communities. The dolphin (YES! Of course I see him...a rare bluey too.) And may I say, those pictures of the commorant are stunning. What a very calm bird...unless you had some serious telephoto?

I am now very jealous as I look out my litle house onto the suburban street on garbage collection day.

Jean said...

Hmmm... a Nikon? I actually test-drove one when I was shopping for my latest camera, and wasn't happy with the quality of the photos. Perhaps it was my lack of expertise, or perhaps the particular model. I think what I really need is a new brain that will grasp the intricacies of using an SLR camera (or at least the manual settings on my point and shoot) so I can get a better zoom lens.

Gerogia, we're on Vancouver Island, which is off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. As for the birds - they aren't usually that calm. He was, however, at the top of a very tall pole, but the photo was just taken with the 10x zoom on my point-and-shoot camera.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Those Cormorant pictures were spectacular, Jean! And.. I saw the dolphin too! Seriously, I do believe you:) Love the photo of Allie waiting at the bathroom door, and the scenery shots at Ruckle Park were really lovely. As for cameras, there are two new point and shoot cameras out with amazing zooms. My Nikon Coolpix 500 has a 36x zoom (that gets you closer than my big 500 mm lens, although not with quite the same quality and detail) and there's a Canon with a 35x zoom that Shiprock has bought that he's very happy with. You can see a picture and read his comments here: (Sorry, no time to do hot link.) For blogging, the quality of these pictures is not bad at all. If you're wanting to print, then an SLR is the way to go, but the weight of the lens you would need for those bird shots is definitely a drawback.