Sunday, August 13, 2023

A Whale Whisper Onboard


First, we welcomed our family, Deb and Ralph, to the boat.  They are experienced visitors to the Great Bear Rainforest and we always enjoy the time together.  They came a little earlier than usual and found that the fish were smaller and more difficult to find.  

But all went well until....

After absconding with Ralph's very big salmon, he and five of his friends surround the boat hopefully waiting! Not a chance!!!

As is traditional, we enjoyed our crab and salad dinner!


Our next guests were our friends from Chicago Stacy and George.  It was a whirlwind, first trip to the Great Bear Rainforest and a unique experience for Chicagoans.

The first day at Purple Bluff was wonderful  They were hearty souls, enjoying salmon fishing and the scenery.

Eagle nests are always impressive but this one particularly so.  Like all eagle nests, it is builtwith an eye toward predators.  Nests are about 5 feet wide, several feet deep and can weigh up to 3 tons.  Eagles sit in their nest and watch carefully for discarded scrap fish to feed their young.  It is spectacular to have them sweep down a few feet behind the boat and snatch up lunch for the kids.

Although new to downrigger fishing, they proved to be adept learners catching 3 Chinook salmon and a coho.  The coho are very late this year.

The Whale Whisperer

When the whales heard their Puerto Vallarta friend, Stacy, was coming to their Northern grounds, they greeted her (and us) with a spectacular show.  She knows them well and they have a unique bond.  But such a show we did not expect.

The announcement of their presence was a humpback-shaped double blow letting us know that we were watching at least two whales and one was a calf.  We came to a stop at a respectful and safe distance.

Whale calves, at birth, are about 18 feet long and weigh nearly 100 lbs.  They drink blubber milk twice a dayeach.  Each feeding is about 50 gallons and they gain up to 100 lbs a day.  At a few months they start eating "adult food" such as bait fish and krill.  This cow and calf appear to be lunge feeding where they stun their prey to strain through the baleen (toothlike structures) in the mouth.

The cow appears to have a mouthful of bait fish that she has scooped and is straining.  Note her pink tongue which is the size of a small car and fits in a mouth that is 10 feet wide.

Here she goes again stunning the bait fish by lunging backward.  Note the barnacles on her rostrum (knobby head bumps).

Adult whales weigh up to 40 tons and have flukes as much as 18 feet across.  This calf had flukes of about 7 feet.  The calf will gain up to 100 lbs per day and will, as an adult, be 55 feet long.  The calf will stay with its mother for about a year and will quit growing after 10 years.  Life expectacy is up to 90 years.

What a treat for all of us!

Thank you, Stacy, for your whale whispering talents.  Sorry, George, we didn't even get a photo of your two halibut...

But we did have a nice crab dinner...

Traditional crab dinner!

Once again we are reminded of our blessings, one of which is sharing those blessings to include our time in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Beautiful Nova Scotia

People flock to Puerto Vallarta to escape cold or dreary winters in the north.   Playing Bridge has given us the gift of friends from all over the world.

A special gift is our Canadian friends, to include a lovely woman, JoAnne. Her family has lived in the Halifax area since 1750.  I was fortunate to be invited as her guest.  Who could ask for a more knowledgeable tour guide?  JoAnne is a wonderful hostess.  Please join us.

JoAnne and a pink container ship in Halifax Harbour

The sunrise from JoAnne's condo

A lovely dinner hosted by our dear friend, David!

Tidal bore in the Bay of Fundy

Nova Scotia has many galleries and talented artists

Our trip on the iconic and startlingly beautiful Cabot Trail  

Spectacular Mountain Vista on Cape Breton

The Seas of Cape Breton from the Cabot Trail

The rugged coast of Cape Breton

Lobster and Digby scallops are the best

No trip to Nova Scotia would be complete without a trip to Peggy's Cove with its iconic lighthouse

Peggy's Cove Harbour 

At the age of 70 in 1977, William deGarte, began carving a 30 metre granite relief with 30 figures.  The artist featured Work, Bounty and Grace in the work of art.  deGarte worked on it for six years and the work was finished following his death.

And a last evening at JoAnne's lovely home following a visit to a flower farm.

Meanwhile on the other North American Coast, Doug returned to a broken pipe that flooded, among other areas, my yarn stash.  Gallently, he saved all of my yarn and most of my patterns while I ate lobster and scallops and enjoyed my trip.  

You are a hero, Doug!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

How Time Flies

 This morning Doug casually ask when I had last done a blog.   I promptly responded with my go to "I have no idea".  A little research led me to the answer - nearly six months ago.  Much has happened and much fun was had.  Take the quick tour...

At Thanksgiving we made a quick trip to Phoenix and on to San Francisco visit with friends.  My apologies to Jim and Masa for not taking a single photo of our time together.  I guess Mila just stole the show.  We stayed with the Mossadeghi family and were greeted by Mila in a sweater I knitted several years ago.  The sleeves were short and buttons a stretch but a quick trip to the yarn store and time remedied that problem.

Pattern and yarnselected by Mila. Knit by Aunt Jan.

Knitting with my two dear friends, Kathryn and Kathryn at our twicey-early gathering

Dan Patrick with our son-in-law, Ryan, sending greetings to Doug in Mexico!

Shari, Ryan, Jude and Taryn spent a month in Mexico.  Great fun!

Jude with a new Kiwi Project (Nana and Papa's Christmas gift)

I never imagined I had a green thumb, but these are the orchids that I got to rebloom this winter!

Meanwhile Ehryanna is polar bearing it in Manson where she practices writing her name in the sand!

Part way through the visit, we were joined by Ron, Tammy, Eleanor and Tammy's mama, Joni.  The three cousins met in real time for their first visit.  

One of life's greatest gifts is the love of a family.  We are gifted!

Mother and Daughter Pool Time!

Fishy kisses from Daddy

Taryn chose the pattern and Nana knit the hat!  From the National Park Collection - The Virgin Islands.

And Annalee meets her Arizona cousins who just got home from Mexico.  Very much fun!

And disaster strikes, Doug drops Jan off to fly to Halifax but when he returns to the boat, a pipe on the bridge had burst and dumped 230 gallons of water into the salon.  So, while Jan ate lobster and scallops, Doug heroically drives and saves the yarn stash.  What a man!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Douro Valley Through Central Portugal

When traveling Doug and I like to book the major cities and find small but charming places along the way.  We left Evora and headed north to the Duoro River.   We decided Guarda, the highest city in Portugal would be perfect.  We contacted the owner who said he would meet us at the property.  It was a challenge to find because we drove by it several times.

The exterior was not what we had expected, but never judge a book by its cover!

Our charming host used the epidemic lockdown to change from a farmer to a hotelier.  The accomodations are a spacious and lovely remodel of a 14th century barn.  Greeted with a glass of local wine and awoke with piping hot crossaints and just doesn't get much better.

The Douro Valley is the famous valley of fine ports.  Th e roads are harrowing, but better than in the past.  The terracing is too narrow for mechanized vehicles and the scenery is awe inspiring.  

Olive tree groves punctuate the grape vines adding another dimension to the beauty.

No visit to the Douro Valley would be complete without a tour and tasting of the fine ports.

 Port wine can only be grown in the Douro Valley.  We learned that there two main types of port:   Ruby Port and Tawny Port.  Within those types there is a dizzying array of subsets of which the most expensive can be $7,000 USD with the most reasonable about $10 USD.  

The grapes were stomped to prevent the bitter seeds from being crushed and impacting the quality of  the port wine.  But this grape press suggested that things can change.

We had hoped to witness tbe harvest of the grapes which typically would occur in late September but global warming has impacted much of our world.  This year the grapes were harvested in mid August.  The growers at lower elevations are struggling mightily.

Porto is a charming city where I would enjoy a longer stay.  Two days is not enough time.

Perhaps an AirBnB with a kitchen would be fun.  The market was tempting!

The beach at Nazare was calm in early October but January brings throngs of surfers to town to catch waves that may tower to an amazing 80 feet!

A charming beach resort of Costa Nova sports striped houses which originally were occupied by fishermen.

Every country seems to sport their own Venice.  Aveiro is Portugal's Venice.

Coimbra is Portugal's Oxford and was the prototype city for J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series.  A. charming city with wonderful Roman ruins and mournful Fado music