When we first booked this Canada trip we thought we’d only be able to see Rosemarie on the weekends so Scott and I booked a three day kayaking trip way up at the Northern end of Vancouver Island with North Island Kayak.
The weather and water conditions were perfect. No rain at all. Mostly sunny with one moody misty morning. At some points the water was like glass! I kept yelling out “How is this the ocean???!!”
We saw tons of humpback whales in the distance from the campground but didn’t end up seeing any orcas. The orcas were behind schedule… yay climate change.
The other people in the group were friendly.. we had a Brit couple, a Swiss girl, an older Canadian man, and our guide was a young Canadian dude. We didn’t have to do any of the cooking or cleaning, and our tents were already set up for us with humongous elevated sleeping mats. It was all very luxurious.
I lost my mind a little bit when I found out they made dairy-free Nanaimo bars for me.
My arms definitely got tired, but thankfully Scott is a machine and just kept paddling, while I took FREQUENT breaks. Basically we’d do about one to two hours of kayaking at a time, broken up by meals and snack breaks. And it was at a verrry relaxed pace. Over the three days we went the entire way around Hanson Island.
One of the most memorable parts for me was when we kayaked through this little crevice at low tide. The rock walls on both sides were covered with super droopy sea anemone and urchins that were now out of the water. The looked like snotty testicles. Never seen anything like that before!! We went through twice. That’s where we saw the giant morning sun star fish as well.
While we didn’t see any orcas or bears we did still see tons of wildlife. I loved when the eagles flew over us, and kayaking past the rock sausages (seals).
You’ve probably already seen most of these pictures on Instagram/FB but I still wanted to recap the trip again for posterity. It was super fun!!
July 12th was a mammoth day. I went to the gym, then knitting club (Scott came too! The old ladies thought that was a hoot), and then we headed to the airport the cheapskate way via walking+train+train+bus. There was a horrifingly outgoing singing tween at our gate who of course ended up directly behind us on the flight. THANK JEEBUS for headphones omg. I requested vegan food on the flight to avoid dairy and it was ok! Lots of snacks! I only ate one of my emergency pepperoni sticks. (However it sounds like Qantas does it better than Air Canada, from Rosemarie’s report.) I quite enjoyed getting my food first too. I watched three movies and slept a bit.
We arrived in Vancouver still on July 12th, picked up our rental car, which was thankfully not as tiny as I paid for. Stopped at Duffins Doughnuts as per tradition but accidentally got PLAIN DRY old fashioned doughnuts, rather than PLAIN GLAZED old fashioned doughnuts which made me very sad. Thankfully the sadness was short-lived because we had THE BEST YAM ROLL OF MY LIFE in North Van at a randomly picked sushi restaurant. It had two layers of yam!! Everything else was great too. We over-ordered because we forgot how cheap Vancouver sushi is. Then we finally arrived in Squamish and hugged Rosemarie and finally got to lay down horizontally and sleeeeeeeep.
We crammed a lot into the next day as well. No meal left behind, so breakfast sausage and bagels for breakfast, Kululu for lunch. Check check check. Rosemarie and I went to the gym. We hit a wiffle ball around. And tried to stand up paddle board but it was too windy. Scott made it exciting by dropping our waterproof camera into the lake and later finding it.
The next day was big as well. Sense a theme here? We all got up early to catch the ferry to Nanaimo and then drive the rest of the way to Victoria. It looks like a highway on the map but actually it has 900 stoplights and isn’t the most fun drive. We ran a few last minute errands and then finally made it to Leslie and Kyla’s out-of-towners BBQ at their house. It was the first time the Ace Gang had been together in like a decade. It was so fun to hang out with Cassia, Helenka, and Leslie. And tons of others I hadn’t seen in ages like Catty, Monica, David, and their families. We used to spend so much time together.. it still feels so comfortable to hang out even now. We had hotdogs and sorbet and then later a few of us went out for sour beer slushies in the city.
PS Happy 13th Anniversary to Scott and I.
July 15 – Wedding day! We went out for brunch with Cassia and Helenka, then Rosemarie and I got blow outs while the others went sightseeing. We got Korean-Chinese dumplings for a pre-wedding snack and then we headed out to the venue. The ceremony was in a very pretty garden. Again it was fun to hang out with old friends and get pictures of everyone dressed up all fancy. Dinner was delicious and the wedding cake was lactose-free!! Scott and I bailed a little bit early because we are old lol. But Scott got MVP status because he still went to pick up Rose and Lauren later. Best bro-in-law.
We still hadn’t managed to play any pickleball yet so we squeezed it in before post-wedding brunch. Canadians are so lucky that there are free courts everywhere!! Minus one star for these courts being a bit slanted, but plus one star for having a splash pad right next door to cool down! Brunch was massive and it was great to spend more time with Jinnie, who I’d not actually spent much time with in person ever, but still feels like a long-time friend. Rosemarie and Lauren had to head back to Squamish after lunch, and Cassia, Helenka, Scott and I spontaneously decided to check out Butchart Gardens. I thought it was nice but expensive!! On the way back we heard that Leslie and Kyla were having one last gathering by the water near their house so we dropped by to chill and eat more wedding cake. Then finally Scott and I got takeaway Red Fish Blue Fish which we ate in our hotel bed before passing out from exhaustion.
Microwaved saline bags make great heat packs for when you wake up on your birthday with crippling neck pain.
My first macrame. Except not really, because it’s basically just making giant friendship bracelets?? I was awesome at those back in the day.
I made a wall hat holder. Rosemarie said it’s ugly AF. Thanks sis.
I still made her a headband. It’s knitted in English rib and it’s super squishy.
We went to a potluck high tea at Bis’s house. Scott and I brought sandwiches… egg, chicken, and ham and cheese. We still have a big tupperware in the freezer filled with crusts. I didn’t take any pictures but it was fun!!
Crammed in 85 appointments before we left for Canada. Good news, my ears are fine, my teeth are fine, my hands are slightly less shakey, my allergy shots are ordered, etc. Feels good to get all sorts of stuff like that sorted out.
We caught up on three #SMAJ activities this month.
Our April #SMAJ was go karting at Le Mans. I have been suggesting this for ages!! We each invited a few friends and it was very fun. Actually way more extreme than I expected.. the karts went very fast and I was skidding and screeching around the corners. Afterwards my hands were shaking so bad I couldn’t even check the results on my phone. I felt like I could clean and jerk 150kg. SO MUCH ADRENALINE.
May #SMAJ was the Kings Birthday footy game. Melbourne v Collingwood with 80k+ spectators. I expected Melbourne to lose, but we didn’t! And Scott brought hotdogs in a thermos so we had a hot snack.
And June #SMAJ was a steak dinner. I had eye fillet and Scott had beef ribs. A good fueling comp week meal.
I competed at the Alby Dutton comp. It had been a long time since I last competed and I have gotten a bit stronger since then so I was feeling pretty confident. It started off really well, I snatched 46, 49 and 51kg. I’ve never even tried 51kg in training so that was a fun surprise! A 3kg comp PB. Then I clean and jerked 56, and attempted 60kg twice but didn’t make the jerks. Overall it was a good day, but I do with I made another clean and jerk because that would have been a very very good day. It’s hard to put it all together at the same time though I guess.
I took everything out of my craft station, reorganised it, and put it all back nice and tidy. A satisfying project.
More footy! Scott got given a few tickets to the Brisbane v St Kilda game at Marvel so we took Charlie. I brought my knitting. The seats had cushions and we were very close to the St Kilda coaches box, which Charlie enjoyed.
We finished painting the bedrooms and the kitchen cupboard. The house was a real disaster area for a couple weekends. It wasn’t very fun… those two rooms felt like equal as much work as the whole rest of the house. It was very cold so the paint didn’t dry quickly and the closets have soooo many different surfaces. However it is all done now and I even managed to sell some of the extra Aquanamel on marketplace. Everything is back in place now and we have no plans to touch anything else in this house for a long time. Hopefully.
Again lots of pickleball and knitting club.
I sold my broken down e-bike and bought a new secondhand e-bike off marketplace. The lady who was selling it was delightful. She used to do comedy in Melbourne, Scott recognized her from TV! Now she makes sourdough and she gave us three delicious loaves of bread with the bike, haha. Having an e-bike has really helped us get away with only having one car for so long.
Jess came for a visit and we went to see Spiderman with Brett as well. That movie seemed like it was really fun to make. Made me want to draw.
I am vowing to make the second half of the year more exciting. We’re off to Canada in a few days, which will be great. And now that we’re done all the house stuff we should be able to do more fun stuff again when we get back. Looking forward to it.
We did a lil weekend away on Phillip Island to see the penguins.
We had a traditional bakery lunch of pies and vanilla slices in Cowes. Then we went for a stroll on a short boardwalk in Rhyll to kill time before checking into our Airbnb. We saw wallabies and birds and interesting fish, all within one kilometer!
Then we drove out to the Nobbies. As usual it was very windy. We saw one penguin hiding underneath the stairs. Then it started to rain so we ran back to the car.
We took an alternate route from the Nobbies back to the Penguin Parade that was actually great. A winding dirt road along the coast with sweeping vistas and tons and tons of Cape Barren Geese.
You’re not allowed to take pictures at the Penguin Parade so I don’t have any of my own to share from that part. But it was so cool!!
Paul picked for us to do the Guided Ranger Tour option. When we arrived we got taken to a special room where we got headsets and binoculars, and the ranger started giving us information. Then we slowly walked out to a special viewing area where we watched the penguins come in out of the water, and then we walked back along the Penguin Highway where you can see them up close, all while getting even more information.
I think only 20% of the penguins come out of the water near the general viewing area, and 5% came up right to us, and the other 75% came out near the Penguins Plus grandstand that was near where we were.
I thought we were going to see maybe like 200 penguins but we saw 2000!!! (1999 on the beach plus the one under the stairs at The Nobbies.) There were penguins everywhere. They were very cute. We especially liked watching and listening to them slap slap slap across puddles. They also make lots of weird noises.
If you think we look over-dressed… it was forecasted to rain a lot!! And it was freezing. So we wore a lot of layers. But we got super lucky and it didn’t rain at all! #blessed
Then we had Vietnamese food for dinner in Cowes, watched a bit of footy on TV, and went to bed. The next morning we had a lovely breakfast in Rhyll and then headed back to Melbourne so we could make it back in time for pickleball.