The Katzenjammer Kids

“A pyrate was sailing his sloop

Aloof and so proud on the poop

While so noble alone

So their legend has shown

Pyrates aren’t so nice as a group”

– Anon

 

Wednesday August 28

The plan today, and we’re pretty jazzed about it, is to have brunch with Liz and Andy at their home in Sechelt. We’ve visited there before (August 17 Post) and we were smitten by it’s seaside quaintness and it’s cottagey comfort. Of course Andy and Liz don’t live there any longer, now they live on…’The Island’. They’re actually in Sechelt today to prep the house for a family of vacationers, who will live there on a short term rental

Our goal is to meet them in Sechelt, at 11.30am. We wake up with the kids, shower, grab a bagful of foodstuffs, make some final plans with Colin, for whom we will be babysitting later (he’s got a date) and head off down the coast highway to…Starbucks

Andy and Liz’s home is on land leased from the Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nations. It’s on a quiet beachfront street with a great ocean view

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The day is cool and slightly overcast. There’s been a bit of rain lately which, besides causing a ‘summer has ended’ panic amongst the locals, has also made the ground slightly mushy. We drive down Cheli Avenue, along Sinku Drive and over the conveyor belt that takes gravel from the mountain down to the waiting barges. It’s not pretty but the little sailboat moored just off the beach certainly is

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We park in a little area set aside for that purpose. The front tires sink deeply into the rain softened mud (geez, i hope we can reverse out of this mess)

As we stroll along the street, looking for the house, we spot a grumpy looking older gent…and he’s staring at us

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I yell a friendly “Why hello there!”

Grumpy old man keeps staring…and says nothing

I shout “And a fine good morning to you too sir”

Grumpy gives me the stinkeye

Thank gawd…there’s the house (and boy, is she a beauty)

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Wendy and I get a big welcoming hug from Liz and Andy. Even Nina, their warmhearted pooch, seems enthusiastic about our visit (i think she can smell the bacon we’re carrying). We drop the bag and ask, “What’s the scoop with Grumpy Old Man out there?”

Liz says, “Oh you must mean our neighbour” and then proceeds to recount the many adventures Andy and Liz have shared with him

He’s about eighty years old, German, married with a couple of grown children. He lives at the end of the street, has a sailboat sitting idle in his garden and he likes to stare out at the ocean

Oh…and he’s completely miserable

We are flabbergasted. That doesn’t sound possible…the Germans are known to be such pleasant volks. Germans ROCK!! (that explains the hotels damaged during their last ‘European Tour’)

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Apparently, ‘Hi Yo’ …yes, his name is Hi Yo (i asked and he’s neither related to the ‘Silvers’ nor to the Seven Dwarfs)…was for awhile keeping notes and taking pictures of everyone coming in and out of Andy and Liz’s house (hmm…German AND a spy)

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When Liz asked him why he was taking such measures, he told them that he was keeping track of every family who rented their home. Andy told him that he could find all of that information…including rental schedules…online, at their website. The spying stopped

Hmm…what’s that smell? Oh, Wendy has the bacon cooking and it seems that vittles are about to be served

Over brunch we talk about Liz and Andy’s island adventure and their plans for the completion of their island getaway. They truly are homesteading pioneers…trekking to, and building a home in, the wilderness

What sets And and Liz apart is their continued commitment to live organically within an established natural system. To have their presence enhance rather than diminish the environment. Building a home on the rocky summit of an island is no easy feat…doing it in a sustainable manner is bold, intuitive, courageous and completely illogical. Thank goodness for dreamers

Liz has a dentist appointment today…and because she’s had some bad experiences, she’s much afeared (that’s homesteader talk). Wendy offers to do some NLP (neuro linguistic programming) with Liz and she readily accepts. They get right to work…

It doesn’t take long and it’s powerful to observe. When it’s over Liz has a big smile in her face. The smile is still there as she heads out to her appointment (wonder if it’ll still be there when the sawbones is done with her)

(Liz during her dentist appointment)

(Liz after the dentist)

Andy and Nina have alternative methods of mind control

(note: not Andy and Nina)

Just before we leave, Liz and Andy’s friend Eddy shows up. Eddy’s another Aussie who has moved to the coast. We don’t get much of an opportunity to visit with him but we sure do enjoy the time we have

Wow…the car really backed out of the mud easily. The Civic rules!

 

One last note on Grumpy Old German Men

Bad news for the relentlessly cheery Pollyannas among us: Grumpy old men (and women) may live longer. Or so says a new German study that suggests that pessimists live longer, healthier lives than those who are overly optimistic

In other words, Eeyore is likely to outlive Tigger.’

(‘hey youngster…i’m gonna outlive ya’…now get off my lawn)

 

Thursday August 29

We planned on going to yoga today but we were running late and it just didn’t happen. It was raining heavily so we made other plans. We decided to do something roguish like, scoping out ‘Smuggler Cove’. It’s the home of Larry Kelly…aka: ‘Pirate Kelly’, ‘King of the Smugglers’, ‘Pig Iron’. (Pig Iron! how praytell does one earn the moniker Pig Iron?)

Funny story…you see, Larry…

‘…came up to Canada after fighting for the confederates in the American Civil War. When the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, many unemployed Chinese workers tried to emigrate to the United States but were forbidden official entry. Kelly assisted the Chinese to cross the border for a fee of $100 each. His insurance against detection was to have the Chinese agree to be roped together and tied to a large hunk of pig iron. If there was a chance that “Pig Iron” would be apprehended by U.S. customs, he would throw the iron and Chinese overboard.

The Cove also served as a storage area for liquor manufactured in a large still near Cook Bay on Texada Island in the 1920’s. From Smuggler Cove it was loaded into fast boats and smuggled across the border into the United States.’

Today Smuggler Cove is a Provincial Park (or is it?). It’s also a ‘small, picturesque all-weather anchorage on the south side of Sechelt Peninsula near Secret Cove’ and the sight of a really fantastic hiking trail

It’s a monsoon outside and Wendy is dying to use her new rain gear…ahhh Synchronicity. We are a go

Zoltan is coming with us. That’s welcome news…who better to protect us from rascally Irish pirates

We drive 8.4km North on Highway 101, hang a left on Brooks Road, drive for another 3.3km and ta da…we’re at the entrance to the park

A sign warns us to lock and remove all valuables from our car. Another sign warns us to beware of bears. (liars and pirates and bears…oh my)

Ten paces onto the trail and we’re ducking under trees that have fallen across the path. Fantastic!

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A swamp area runs for several hundred yards and it smells absolutely divine (what manner of sorcery is at work here?)

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And where there’s water…Life

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A muscular tree sits, clenching a rock that has become a part of it (like me and the Lazy Boy)

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And then Zoltan spots a secret pathway down to the cove…”After you” she says, ducking aside to let me pass (hey, wait a minute)

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There isn’t much to see at sea level…we have to climb

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And climb…

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Smuggler Cove opens up before us. Zoltan sees a small boat anchored and asks, “Are there still Pirates?”

“Yes”, I say “There are Pirates everywhere” (har billy!)

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She doesn’t believe me…and dances away and up the hill

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There are many Arbutus trees in the park. Arbutus Menziessii, Canada’s only broad leaf evergreen. It doesn’t shed it’s leaves but in the summer (right in front of our eyes), it sheds it’s bark. This leaves the tree feeling as smoothe as if it’s been sanded, oiled and polished to a lovely mustardy hue.

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The bark drapes off the trees and is strewn about the forest floor. Zoltan picks it up and attaches it to my pack

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Until I am festooned with bark

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The trail ends at water’s edge. We have no idea what we’re looking at…but from where we stand, we can feel the power of the sea and sky

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And now we retrace our steps back along the trail

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And as a final, glorious gift, the park reminds us of the fragility of it’s beauty

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We heartily recommend this park and this trail to everyone. Whether by boat, by car or by pirate ship…find your way here and enjoy a sensational outdoor experience

We’ll see you all again real soon. Until then…

“Fifteen men on the Dead Man’s Chest Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

― Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Treasure Island’

 

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle

P.S.

We sent a photo of our Heron friend (August 27 Post) to the people at ‘Nature Canada’. It’ll assist them in keeping track of bird populations and maybe we can get a positive identification on the Heron we observed. Their response is below

Hi Steve and Wendy,

Thank you for contacting us with this question, and for sharing your sighting with us. Given where your picture was taken in BC it definitely shows a Great Blue Heron of the fannini subspecies, aka the Pacific Great Blue Heron. This subspecies breeds throughout the Strait of Georgia and elsewhere in BC and is listed as “special concern” under the federal Species At Risk Act.

Thanks again and happy birdwatching!

Cheers,

Alex

http://www.naturecanada.ca/

 

 

 

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