There is a ‘golden hour’ late in the day, in the late summer where everything just looks, well, like we wished we lived in THAT city, instead of the one with backed up gutters during the rain, gray skies and constant construction.
I have been trying to get out as often as humanly possible, regardless of pain. I try to push back against entropy and the whole ‘degenerative disease’ idea. I don’t expect to win, but then, those are the fights which matter the most, no? Just to fight them.
After Linda helped me get dressed and geared up, we headed out to the Fisherman’s Wharf, which sits off James Bay in Victoria. There are two sections to the docks, the residential and commercial area, starting closest to town. Here Linda feel the sun soaking in before we hit the gangway down. The wharf and piers has a shop famous for fish and chips (the calm water making that TWO fish and chip shops), whale watching tours, and diving shops, among residential houses. Also there are slips for ships, and further along, commercial fishing boats.
The Diving shop has a handy display of cell phones they have found while diving, and on the far left of the picture there is a row of digital camera’s found as well.
With the bright paint on the houses, many far more affordable than any waterfront property ($200,000 for a house here, or $800,000 for one across the street from me). The whole effect is almost Italian with the bright colours, a mini Venice. One thing that west coasters love, whether they are on water or not are plants, and the houses erupted in flowers and vines. And often a hummingbird in steel carving or other decoration hung as well.
This house not only had plant life but had shingles covering it (the cedar ones my grandfather taught me to make with a swedish tool and an axe). Even old ironwork benches and rocking chairs had been turned into planters. This houseboard had a cat which owned the place and prowled around. A houseboat owner down the wharf came out with his dog who barked and ran at the cat until the cat turned, hair fully expanded and gave it THE LOOK. Everyone laughed and one said, “One day that cat is going to catch your dog, what then?”
Two piers down from the houses are the professional fishing boats. Now that the salmon, tuna, crab and other seasons are done, it is pretty quiet. The boats range from small boats to a larger net hauler. James Bay used to be where the industrial was placed (including the paint factory where my father got his job), but these fishing boats are the last jog to our memory that the inner harbour isn’t all condos and tourist hotels.
The Victoria Harbour is one of the most busy by size in Canada if not the Western Hemisphere. Planes take off and land regularly, usually taking people back and forth from Vancouver on a 30 minute schedule (government managers usually). For boats the Coho docking downtown for 50 years, the Victoria Clipper, heading out to Seattle by hydrofoil, and the Victoria Express doing a passenger only service to Port Angeles. Of course there are also sailboats and the long ocean kayaks coming and going, plus the whale watchers boats and other power boats. Around the corner near the coast guard station is where ocean liners line up to dock and unload passengers for a day stop (up to nine of them stacked out at sea).
The harbour is due to be dredged and widened, as determined by the FEDERAL government. The city and the local government sued to avoid that, and lost, so a 50 year delayed upgrade to the harbour WILL happen. I don’t know how the planes will take off, as there are three different companies flying from the Harbour. A plane lands or takes off every few minutes (here is one floatplane from Harbor Air just landing), and how the control tower determines the approach with all the boats, I don’t know. But I do know that when the harbour is foggy, they fly over the hill instead, right over our apartment. The advantage is that the float planes can go from ‘downtown to downtown’ in about 30 minutes, which is about 4 hours quicker than by car.
Here is a different company, Westcoast Air, using a larger and different float plane, a double propeller, revving for the taxi to the signal rock. Once at the signal rock, the plane waits for the go ahead from the tower and then revs for full take off, you can see this one just lifting pontoons between the sailboat and the returning whaling watching boat.
The problem is that just around the corner is a rather small entrance into the harbour, also where all the gasoline and explosives are stored, so you really want to make that take-off. But the pilots do that, and then turn sharply while lifting heading toward Vancouver (this take off lane is headed toward the US across the Georgia Strait). Here is an example of a Harbour Air plane just about to clear and bank.
Of course, being BC, there is always interaction with nature. And if you were interested in Fish heads and guts, then this would be a good place to hang out. No, not just talking about seagulls, but seals. We saw three while there, but two were further out in the water, just poking their head up. Here is one along the dock waiting to see if we are about to dump something good.
One of the reasons that Lower Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands are a world destination for divers is the extreme clarity of the water. When the water is clear you can see down twenty to sixty feet as if it was just a foot or two down, as you can see here. The seal finally surfaced and popped up, mouth open in a ‘feed me’ expression. Before you think I am going to be the ‘Seal Whisperer’, I really don’t want to envision me wheeling down with a wagon filled with buckets of chum and guts to the wharf. I will stick to squirrels and peacocks (and peachicks).
Time to head home, and write this up before I forget. If anyone knows the name of the planes, I would appreciate it. When we have some money again, we will return to get fish and chips, or maybe BBQ. Right now, I am just enjoying going out in the sun.
3 hours ago