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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Now I'm Here

Hello readers, did you miss me? I've been for a three week holiday in Vancouver, and what a fun-packed trip it was.

The Asteroid instalment is a bit longer this week, but I'll try to keep them shorter in the future, as I know you're all busy people. Hope you enjoy it.

Anyway, back to the Canada trip...

Vancouver Island

What a very long and tiring day that was. We started by driving to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry, only to discover that we'd just missed one. Not only that, but we didn't catch the next one either, because it had broken down! They only sail every hour so we had a dull time waiting at the port.

Eventually we got to board, and a hour and a half later we were in Schwarz Bay. There was a short drive to Victoria where we had only about two hours to park the car, see the views from the seaside, and take a quick look at the town.

Next came a fairly long drive up north through some really nice forest and lakeside views, before arriving at Nanaimo. From there it was another ninety minute ferry crossing to Horseshoe Bay on the mainland.

Dinner was a gourmet affair of a kebab wrap: we'd run out of time for a "proper" meal. Finally, we drove back to the hotel in Burnaby where we were staying. Just time for a quick drink in the bar before bed.

Kayaking

We spent a day on the water at Deep Cove on the North Shores. There were five of us, so we hired a canoe for three and two single kayaks. Throughout the day we swapped around, so that those that wanted got to try both kinds of boats.

The steering of the canoe was, um, interesting. Lets just say we didn't always paddle in a straight line. Eventually we worked out that the person at the stern had the majority of the steering power.

For lunch, we stopped at Jug Island, where there was a gravelly beach. It was here that I had slight landing difficulties. What I hadn't realised, is that I'd been pinching a nerve somewhere in my hip during my kayak paddling. Consequently one of my legs had gone numb. As I tried to get out of the kayak, I stumbled and fell sideways, taking the kayak over with me. Oh, and did I mention that I hadn't quite landed far enough up the beach? Anyway, the result was me getting soaked and the boat half-filling with water. I managed to sort the situation out and empty the kayak, before joining my oh-so-helpful friends for lunch. Thank god nobody was quick enough on the draw with their cameras.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is just in the Rockies, about a half hour drive from Vancouver. It's amazing how you can either be at the beach, or in the mountains in only half an hour.

The walk from the car park at the base of the cable-car station, to the top station (not quite at the summit), is some 800m of climb. The shortest way up is a gruelling trail known as the Grouse Grind. Two years ago I did that in about two hours. The course record is twenty odd minutes!

This year we shied away from the grind, and took a longer but slightly less steep approach. My friends didn't actually believe it was easier, but we got there in the end.

Greeting us near the top of the wooded part of the trail, was a black bear! It was only a cub but still quite large-looking. We moved on quickly without disturbing it too much, as Mummy was probably nearby. No photographs unfortunately, as we were a bit too apprehensive.

Going back down the mountain was a lot easier: we used the cable car.

Cycling

For half a day, we hired mountain bikes and, erm, went nowhere near a mountain. Nor even off-road, in fact. Instead, we took a nice leisurely ride around the sea wall, covering False Creek and Stanley Park. We also rode a few trails inside the park, reaching speeds on the descents that would make a police officer angry! Luckily there wasn't one around.

All in all, it was a very fun-packed and yet relaxing trip. I can't wait to go again next year.


Dictionaries

I've been using the on-line dictionary and thesaurus at dictionary.com, but am becoming increasingly disappointed with it. The pop-ups and on-screen advertising is steadily increasing, and the results seem poor on occasions. Can anybody recommend a good replacement?

Right, now it's back to my many writing projects...

4 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Use firefox and the add-on 'addblock plus' and you won't see any adverts or pop-ups.

I use dictionary.com all the time without seeing them at all.

HelenMH said...

Welcome back. Sounds like you had an interesting time.

Lane said...

You certainly had an action packed trip Captain (apart from the wait at the port). And you actually saw a bear cub!

Enjoyed Signals. Full of tension and mysteries.

Captain Black said...

LDUK: I use Opera, which also blocks pop-ups. Dictionary had lots of on-page adverts for a while, but seems to have calmed down a bit now.

Helen: It's good to be back. I think.

Lane: The bear was certainly a surprise. I think we surprised it too.