Now that some wildfire fire smoke drifted into Calgary this summer across the Rocky Mountains from 300 different wildfires burning in British Columbia, I am grateful for my lovely, earlier vacation interlude with friends at Cowichan Bay, on southern Vancouver Island. It feels I just beat the smoky sky blues by a few days.
Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
After landing in Victoria and for next few days, just brilliant blue skies beaming over halcyon ocean bay and river estuary, was a heavenly backdrop for fabulous views.
Goldfinch birds divebombing in the morning. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Alive with Birds
Every day, green-backed Anna’s hummingbirds whirred and zipped around. A bold one, wheeled within a few inches of us before I could snap any photo. It was the first time I had witnessed so many hummingbirds in 1 spot just by lazying around on a house deck.
Lovely homemade seafood dinner with local wine and views. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Occasionally bright goldfinches lightning-flashed by to hide amongst thick tree foliage and sing away. Overhead dark turkey vultures wheeled lazily while blue herons from a nearby forest trees, sailed slowly, across neighbouring skies. Apparently my friends saw some heron parents teaching their teen offspring how to fly and land gracefully onto tree branches, without breaking off weak branches.
Blue heron perched over the bay. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
I did occasionally glimpse a bald eagle or two in the communal skies. I was hampered by a new camera that I was still trying to understand its controls and idiosyncrasies, so I barely took enough birdie shots.
Blue heron comfy in its view. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Withering from Extreme Heat
Apparently the area had not enough rain for the past few months –a serious growing concern even thought the temperatures were 30-35 C degrees –not exactly Arizona heat. However this is the Pacific northwest coast, known for also its big growth temperate rainforests. Scientists have just estimated over 1 billion sea life may have literally cooked to death along the Canadian Pacific coast this summer. News that was released just halfway during summer 2021. Mussels, other shell sea creatures which cling to rocks or normally live in cool tidal pools, would have perished. This would include varieties of seaweed which others feast on also.
Lunch picnic at Mill Bay, Vancouver Island 2021.
Mill Bay, Vancouver Island 2021.
We went for an amble through local woods and then along gravel paths by a horse farm where wild raspberry bushes languished in the burning sun. Every raspberry we plucked off, was dried up or its outer skin had an abnormal dry crunch. British Columbia is normally Canada’s biggest producer of raspberries because of its ideal climate.
Wild raspberries dried out from lack of rain. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
This heat might not bode well for a good blackberry harvest since blackberries enjoy a dose of rain. The British Columbian blueberry farm producers were dashing around trying to harvest before losing their crop, while also having problems with hiring enough workers.
By Government dock, Cowichan Bay. Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
One evening we wandered down to the Government dock where there were more tethered fishing boats compared to other marinas. These commercial boats plough several hundred kms. out into the Pacific Ocean, for crab, fish and shrimp.
Place to buy fresh spotted prawns. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Prawn baskets on working boat. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Dock for seaplane boarding at Maple Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Flying over Canadian Gulf Islands 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Happy spirits were still smiling, when I embarked a small seaplane crammed with 8 people where we were treated to flight from Cowichan area, with a stopover at Saltspring Island, views of Gulf Islands big and small dotting the Pacific, before landing in downtown Vancouver.
B.C. Ferry with First Nations decorative artwork. Salish Sea 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Stopover at Saltspring Island harbour 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Sunrise. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island Summer 2012. Photo by J.Chong. Taken on an earlier different trip.
Sunrise. Cowichan Bay 2021. Photo by J.Chong