Saturday, July 30, 2011

Davis Bay Sandcastles - July 30, 2011

It was a super sunny day for today's annual Davis Bay Sandcastle Competition. This is an annual event put on by our local Rotary organizations. Boy, did they pick the day for a long very low tide!

Some very creative minds went to work this morning designing all elements of creatures. Here are a few of our favourites:

Amazing likeness!

Love those toenails! Purple clam shells

Seaweed for the thong.

Mr Tortoise soaking up some sun

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SUP - July 24, 2011

Today was an amazing day. Summer has finally arrived in earnest here on the Sunshine Coast and we were looking for some fun in the sun. Our good friends at Alpha Adventures hosted the 1st Annual SUP Festival in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. I've been wanting to try this hot new sport out for a while now, but everything finally came together today.

What is SUP? Stand Up Paddleboarding! I am so sorry not to have pictures...I didn't want to worry about the camera on the beach and in the water. I'll try to get some from a friend to add to this post tomorrow.

Picture standing on a surfboard in fairly calm water and using a single paddle...something like a canoe paddle, but really long. How hard would it be? Balance of surfing but advertised as easy as kayaking? It was awesome!

Thanks to Jamie Mani, Alpha Adventure co-owner, for hooking us up with equipment and a quick 5 minute lesson. Yes, a whole 5 minutes to get a pfd, learn how to measure for the appropriate paddle length, learn to carry the board into the water. Next, you get on the board in a kneeling position on all fours and center yourself on the board. I like to think of it as yoga a few cat/cow to get comfortable on the board. When you've got the feel of it, roll back onto your toes and into somewhere between downward dog and forward fold. Get your balance and roll yourself up to a standing position. You're up!

This is where the work begins. This isn't just standing on a board and paddling. This is balance! Core muscles working, knees bent, thighs engaged, arms & abs pulling through the water. This was a perfect day to learn...sunny and warm so not a big deal if you fall into the water. We were out at high tide on Sechelt Inlet, so fairly calm water and a very long stretch of shallow (3') water. Just a little windy to cause some waves to give you something to pay attention to. Now you learn to paddle and steer and see how brave you are to venture to deeper water.

So much fun, but high concentration necessary to not fall into the water. (only once!) After a break to warm up & dry off in the sun, I took a second try at it. Amazing improvement 2nd time out and able to enjoy and look around a bit more. What a gorgeous day! Shallow enough water to feel very safe, but so clear you could see the bottom. Lots of families out enjoying a day at the beach and trying out the equipment. I am looking forward to upcoming Wednesday evenings when Alpha Adventures does regular SUP nights in Davis Bay. Yes, come out after work and try paddleboarding in the Salish Sea. Can't wait to try this again!

To watch a video of the day, check out Thanks to Laurie at for the photo & video!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BC Bike Race - July 7, 2011

This week's highlight was BC Bike Race's annual appearance on the Sunshine Coast. This is a premier mountain bike race with over 400 riders from all around the world competing for 7 days. The Sunshine Coast is proud to be home for 3 days of the race.

Today, riders made the trip from Sechelt to Langdale...38km with 1,400m of elevation climbing. Serious stuff, but they all love the 7km downhill decent at the end. These are the same trails that I hike regularly on Mt Elphinstone. The last kilometer comes down through our neighborhood with the finish line at the ferry terminal.

The fastest riders made the trip in 2 hours. A good number were in by 3 hours and some made a day of it. There is obvious relief & joy when they hit the finish line.

The first rider I spoke to was from Belgium and the next pair was from the UK. Love to see people come from around the world to ride in my backyard. The brits loved the course, but were disappointed that they hadn't seen a bear yet. I told them that was probably a good thing.

One rider said, "The most fun you can have on your bike."

After the race, there is still much work to be done. The support team for the event is as least as big as the riders themselves.

Each day there are celebrations and awards for top finishers. Teams of 2, individuals, and two race categories. There are a number of women racing, and the best are right up there with the guys. These women rock.

What better after 3 hours of gruelling riding than a massage by this caring crew?

The first task after the race is food & drinks. Tables are layed out for the riders with fruit & drinks to rehydrate. The second task is to give the bikes a quick shower and get them loaded up on the truck for easy transport on the ferry.

Once the bike is taken care of...its time for the riders to have a shower, too. Yes, there is a mobile truck for that, too.

Then its time to hit tent city a have a good long sleep. Afterall, there is more singletrack waiting the next morning.

Good luck to all the riders in stage 6 & 7!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Days - July 4, 2011

Immigrating to a new country means many changes & new experiences. I can't imagine what it must be like for those who move half-way round the world. I may have moved a couple of thousand miles, but it is still the same hemisphere, the same language and many similar customs.

Some of my American friends ask, "Do you have the 4th of July?" I say, "Yes, its just like July 3rd and 5th."

Today, I had errands in Sechelt, so I decided to make some time for me and enjoyed a quiet hour break on the beach. Unfortunately, my favourite Sechelt lunch stop was closed (Monday), so I chose the 2nd best thing and picked up sushi to go for a picnic on Sechelt beach. As you can see, I pretty much had the place to myself. The kids were out swimming and jumping off the pier. It may be summer, but it's not warm enough for me to actually be in the ocean just yet. Such a nice time to sit and reflect.

Canadians celebrate the nation's birthday on July 1 - Canada Day. In fact, celebrations are very similar to American Independence Day events. Parades, honour to military & to country, bbq, concerts in the park, and a general day of outdoor fun. It's just that Canada didn't have a revolutionary war. Everything happened peacefully and orderly, so the emphasis on fireworks just isn't there. Sure, some celebrations include them...but it isn't the headline item like in the States.

Canada Day is a birthday opening to summer to be spent with family and friends. The first of many long relaxing weekends by the ocean, camping, or just entertaining on the deck.