Before Smoky Skies: Vacation Spirits at Cowichan Bay, British Columbia

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. late morning cowichan bay

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

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.cowichanbay smaller

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.heronperch

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 heron

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.millbaytea

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.dry raspberry picking

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. prawnboatsign

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.eveningspotprawns

Place to buy fresh spotted prawns. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong 

prawn baskets

Prawn baskets on working boat. Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong

dock to seaplane

Dock for seaplane boarding at Maple Bay, Vancouver Island 2021. Photo by J.Chong fromsaltspring island

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 cowichan 2012

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

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Fritz says:

    Such a remarkably stunning part of the world. Your pictures do it justice, Jean. The threats to BC and the rest of the world from climate change are unnerving and egregious. We human beings need to take serious action. Now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      It certainly is serious matter in terms of overheating in the wrong places in Canada. What can I do but only ride my bike to do stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Fritz says:

        And you’re doing that in fine style!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pit says:

    Ever so gorgeous landscape. Were you affected much by the fires and smoke? Hopefully things are better now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      I don’t live in this area. However friends said that sometimes smoke hangs around over the bay, that you cannot see across the bay. And there’s a thin film of ash on their deck rail. 😦 In Alberta, we had 2 weeks of wildfire smoke movin’, blown in from British Columbia. B.C. has over 200 wildfires this year. Normally skies are brilliant blue. This is the 3rd year in past few years where a few summer weeks’ air is tainted. I suppose in Texas, there are occasionally some fires?


  3. Pit says:

    We certainly have wildfires occasionally, but no big ones this year so far – luckily.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mj says:

    Gorgeous photography. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Jean says:

      thx for visiting. And best wishes on your book.


  5. kegarland says:

    This looks very calm, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      It was a much needed true vacation with great friends!


  6. Lani says:

    Looks like an amazing trip – esp flying over the islands. All that blue. ❤ Love that heron photo, too!


    1. Jean says:

      It was also a friendship reunion after she and I lost touch for nearly 30 yrs. We were bookworms together, did art in school. Just lots of fun. A well-worth visit vacation! I recommend Vancouver Island.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lani says:

        Yes, I’ve been and it was stunning. Vancouver in general looks to be an amazing place to live.

        Liked by 1 person

Chime in with your thoughts here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s