The Foggy Island - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 1, 2024

The Foggy Island

  Reconnecting with the Foggy Island

With the snow mostly melted,  Vancouver Island reverted to its more normal mild and foggy Winter personality. It was a little more so this time because of warm air coming from Hawaii, known locally as the "Pineapple Express". This is said to be boosted this year by "El Nino", which is associated with warmer temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. We are glad to be going out for a look now, because the weather people are saying the next excitement coming is the "Polar Vortex". That sounds more like a Christmas movie, and something we will happily observe from Valencia.

Our first idea for "reconnecting with our Island" was to go to the waterfronts of Victoria. As it happens, daughter Joni lives right by the water, so we landed up by her place first.  There is a bare tree in front, and we found it full of little brown birds. With the low light at this time of year, we unfortunately could only come away with a foggy picture, but it was a new bird for us, a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

24071 Eurasian Tree Sparrow
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Of course, gulls are pretty much the most common sight near the water. There are apparently eight varieties of gull here, but we seem to only see the Glaucous Winged! Except for the black headed Bonaparte's Gull, they all look the same to us anyway.A

24072 Glaucous Winged Gull
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Scott AndersonKeep looking. They’re all different, once you know the signs. Except for the immatures, which are totally confusing.
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2 months ago
Cormorant checks out Gull at the Gorge waterway.
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A very common diving duck hereabouts is the Bufflehead. It is quite striking, and we were eager to find its name, once we saw it. This was definitely the season to find it, since it goes and hides in the forest in Summer.

24073 Bufflehead
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Here is another type of duck that we noticed for the first time. Since it is "common", maybe we just weren't looking.

24074 Common Merganser
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The Cormorant is a really widespread bird, which can be seen all across Canada and the US, and on the Gulf coast of Yucatan, where we saw a lot of it.

Double Crested Cormorant - same as seen in Yucatan!
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Now that we have seemingly become avid birders, we object in principle to anti-bird propaganda. We noticed this harshly worded sign along the bike path by the Gorge Waterway.

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Karen PoretAnd, don’t feed crows! They poop on everything!
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAnd Canada geese!
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2 months ago

Just opposite the anti-pigeon sign, we spotted a ferry being towed into drydock. This caught our attention because it was not a ferry we had ever seen before. As it happens, this is one that runs a little north of here, between Nanaimo and Vancouver. We learned more about it from the Price's, since Sue uses it frequently. We have hopes now of building this ferry into a more efficient way for us to get off the Island when starting a cycle trip. More about that in a later post.

The Gorge waterfront. The tugs are pulling the Hullo Ferry into drydock. More on Hullo later.
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Karen PoretGoodbye to the “hullo”..🙄
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2 months ago
Sue PriceIt's an awesome ferry!!!
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2 months ago

A major tourist hotspot in Victoria is Fisherman's Wharf, which features many picturesque float homes. It is most famous with us for Barb's Fish and Chips, which is unfortunately closed in this season. Fish and Chips is very fitting here, not only for the marine environment but also because Victoria treasures its British heritage.  But here in the photo we see  place with Mexican food. At least its Mexican seafood. Note the cacti on the roof!

Float homes at Fisherman's Wharf, Victoria. The yellow building offers Mexican food?
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Karen PoretGotta keep those tourists happy!
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2 months ago

On the dock we ran into an otter, looking as cute and playful as a cat. Some other tourists soon gathered, and we speculated on whether it would bite. "Yes", was the 100% vote, so no otter petting!

River Otter relaxing on the dock at Fisherman's Wharf
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Anybody with a Victoria guidebook will wonder at the limited and idiosyncratic visit we describe here. Because we know the place so well, we were not trying for a real "tour". Had that been the case, there would have been bakeries, the Provincial Legislature, the Empress Hotel, Munro's Books, Beacon Hill Park, and more, in here. But mostly what you got was some birds and a fishy Otter. Sorry!

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