Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lazy Sunday 14/11

Today is a lazy Sunday.  Slept on the pullout bed last night so was awoken at 0700 by the chirping of Alice's Love Birds.  I put away the bed and make a cup of tea, the birds are going mental so I retreat upstairs to get a bit of peace.  PT is up and about so we hang and catch up.  He is asking about Whakatane so we google it and I show him a few pics.  Patty joins us soon after, then PT is off on the morning run to Tim Ho's for coffee and a breakfast sandwich for Pat.  Al and Alice pull up in the driveway so I head down to see whats happening.  I walk in at the right time and Alice kindly makes me a tomato and egg muffin, yum.  It is another good day, just a slight breeze.  We decide to drive into town to check out the farmers market.  It is a pretty sweet set up, they have a huge warehouse type building filled with stalls.  Not so busy today as it is only the second Sunday it has been on but is still good for a look.  I end up taking some organic soap to take home.  Hope it is ok goig through customs.  Al and Alice get some smoked cheese and bread which is mmmmmmmmmm good.  We wonder around the waterfront and end up at a pub for a quick drink.  Then it is back to the car via the rooftop of the farmers market as Al notices some people up there.  There is a sweet balcony set up and some windmills which are fair cranking and sound like they are about to take off.

On the drive back we stop at Alice's Dads place to help stack some firewood but Alice notices her mums bike there so isn't keen to go in anymore so we head back to the cove to chill out for a bit.  Then it is back to Alices Dads house.  Looks like mum has gone now so we head in.  The wood has been stacked by now so Alice rakes up some leaves so she doesn't feel so guilty.  I meet Robert (Alices Dad) and Reuban, Krista's crazy dag.  He is all paws as he leaps around the house.  Robert shows me his 3D camera, only one on the market which is pretty cool.  After a cup of tea we head up to the park for some frizbee.

There are some crazy dog people there trying to teach their dogs to do an obstacle course.  None of them are very good.  Back to the house to make a plan.  We are all pretty vague but end rushing to the LC and supermarket as they close at 1700 and 1800 on Sunday which I find a bit weird.  Then back to Herring Cove for some beers and nachos followed by some veiwing of the tv, all good.  Slowly people disappear off to bed and eventually I do the same.  Over and Out.

Cape Split 13/11

Arise the sun is out and it is another beautiful day.  Downstairs to check out the haps for the day.  Alice has to work today, bummer for her.  Al is keen for a mission as it is such a nice day.  So after we take Beau for a walk at the redoubt we head off in the car towards the Annapolis Valley on the other side of the province.  The valley is super fertile and this is where a lot of the local produce is grown.  A quick stop at Tim Ho's to grab a snack then it is up a hill where we stop at a look out to check the map and look at the view, pretty awesome.  Looking down over the valley and my first glimpse of the Bay of Fundy.  Home to the biggest tides in the world.  This was evident as we drove across the valley,  seeing the huge tidal flats.  After checking the map it is confirmed that we are on the right track so we get back on the road and head for Cape Split.  As we drive around the bay it is a beautiful sight, not a breath of wind on the water and not a cloud in the sky.  Al mentions that sailing here is not an option due to the high tidal flow.

After about a 2 - 3 hour drive we arrive at the carpark to see a flock of cars, must be a popular spot.  We grab our gear and consist of much.  I am not exactly dressed for hiking.  Jeans, my new dc's and a hoodie.  Didn't take any outdoor clothes to the cove but I think I will survive.  Down the track we go with me munching on my Tim Ho's sandwich, yum.  There is a sign at the beginning of the trail saying that we should be wearing hunting orange so we can be seen as it is hunting season.  Of course we don't have any but hopefully we wont get shot.  The trail soon turns into nothing, it is not very well sign posted but Alex comes across the trail so we are looking good.  the lower section of the trail is very wet, pretty much has a stream running down it.  We both do our best to hop over the wet spots using logs and side tracks where possible.  When we get to the beginning of the ridge which would lead us up to the cape thankfully the track dries out as we get onto higher ground.  "Shouldn't be too long from here," Al remarks.  If he remembers correctly it should be about 40 minutes each way, he doesn't remember correctly.  The walk along the ridge seems to go forever but finally we breal out of the bush to find a steep rockface overlooking the bay.  Sweet we have arrived, continuing on a short way we arrive at the end of the cape to an amazing sight.  An open grass field, surronded by cliffs, overlooking the bay.  We estimate it took nearly two hours, so much for the 40 mintue estimate but I am not complaining it is well worth the hike.

We passed maybe 20 people on the trail so we thought we might have the place to ourselves, but no.  There is at least another 20 people hanging out on the grass.  Most of them have dogs.  A popular spot.  So we take a look around being careful not to fall off the cliffs.  There is a couple of grass topped pillars further out.  We wonder if anyone has been up there as it looks like there is a firepit on one of them.  As we sit we hear some rocks falling and promtly move away from that spot.  Looking down to the water we can see the tide working.  Looks like a decent current pushing around the point.  Water is bubbling and we can see standing waves.  I notice a jacket and a plastic bag on the grass with no one around.  Bit of an ominous sign, hope they haven't fallen off the cliff or anything.  Walking around is someone with one of those disgusting little dogs wearing a jacket that looks more like a rat.  "I fucken hate those rat dogs," I whisper to Al.  Later he told me that it wasn't really a whisper and is pretty sure they heard me.  Oh well they shouldn't have such a stupid looking dog.

After relaxing and taking in the view we make our move back down the trail.  I take note of the time to determine the length of the walk.  So back we walk along the ridge and back down into the bog.  Al comments on the trees which have bark stripped from them in certain places.  Apparently the Porcupines climb trees and eat the bark, so watch out if you see one in a tree, you don't want it falling on your head!!  We stick to what we think is the trail but after walking past what is familiar ground we start getting into some serious swamp.  It is starting to get dark now, we can see the sun setting through the trees.  We come across a path that leads towards the coast so we head down there.  We are led down past a cabin and then luckily come out back into the carpark, another half an hour and it would not have been so much fun.  Checking the time it has taken about 1.5 hours.  Back in the car and we hit the rode back to Halifax.  Al doesn't like these single lane highways.  I tell him to look forward to driving in NZ because we have plenty of those.  Another pit stop at Tim Ho's then back to the cove, via the NSLC to grab some beers.

We are stuffed.  It is hockey night so we put the game on and order a donair pizza, yum.  Then we both proceed to pass out.  Goodnight.

Back to Halifax 12/11

Awake again, another good sleep, think I am ready to head back to Halifax for some action.  It was a bit cooler overnight due to the clear skies.  Today is another beautiful day, the best i have had here so far, but I have got my bags packed and am headed for the bus.  I am glad to report that with the aid of the rope I found yesterday the walk to the bus is a lot easier with my suitcase in tow rather than having to be carried.  I stay awake this time so that I can check out the confederation bridge.  It certainly is a big one!!  it was opened in 1997 and for a while was the longest.  I wonder if the Sweeden - Denmark bridge now holds that title.  Before crossing the bridge I notice a sign 'All trucks carrying potatoesmust report to the potato inspection office', funny.  Potatoes are big bussiness out here, guess they want to keep them at a high standard.  Then it is through the toll gate and across the bridge.  Like I said, it is a big one.  The rest of the trip is pretty standard and we arrive back in Halifax just before 1pm, about a 4 hour flight.

I decided on the bus that I should be able to find my way back to Jans on foot, so with my suitcase in tow I head off up the hill towards the Citadel.  Easy enough, I continue past the skate park and through the commons to the corner of Robie and Cunnard Street.  This was my undoing.  I would later find that it is a quick stroll up Cunnard St, left onto Windsor St then right onto Ducan and home.  however in my wisdom I walked down Robie for a few blocks and then turned left and continued to get lost.  I crossed Windsor St but by now it was all over.  I did see a church which i recognized so I thought I was doing ok, must have been on Windsor St.  I arrive at a Sobeys supermarket, ok now I am lost.  What to do, ask someone for directions maybe.  I was about to head into a shop when i decided to back track to Robie St, familiar ground.  I got back to where I had gone a stray, there is a gas station here which is usually a good place to ask for directions so in I walk with my suitcase in tow.  I asked a girl behind the counter, she doesn't know where Duncan St is but the customer next to me pipes up and trys to work it out in her head.  Thankfully they pull out a map and tell me where to go.  So I head back to Cunnard and Robie St and well, you know the rest.

Strolling down Duncan St, suitcase trailing behind me, clank, clank, clank.  One of the wheels has taken a hit so it has a flat spot now.  The golf is parked on the road so Jan and Sarah must be home. "Honey, I'm home".  Arriving back I find Jan and Sarah napping.  I find out that Sarah has just arrived back from Ottawa, visiting her friend and godson.  Jan ended up staying in Halifax and getting some work done, so together they are heading off this afternoon down the coast to stay at a cottage they are renting near Peggy's Cove.  If I remember correctly we were at a cottage near Peggy's Cove last weekend which was free..........  Maybe this one has a hot tub or something awesome.  So we catch up about each others weeks and soon they are out the door.  I called Jan's brother Alex before they left as i have run out of credit and he is coming to pick me up after work and taking me out to stay at the cove, very nice.

Before long Alex arrives and we are off.  Going to pick up one of Alex's mates Neil before swinging past the shops for some supplies and then out to the cove.  Al is abit confused trying to get to Neils.  He lives in an apartment building and they all look the same around here.  We get there in the end and continue on.  back at the cove we start getting into some drinks and food.  Alice and a few of her friends are here aswell.  Pt and Patty are chilling upstairs, we make a pitstop upstairs to say hello.  Soon it is down to Pete's Retreat to cut some wood for the fire, soon realising that we didn't bring any drinks down (rookie mistake) so Neil and I head up to the house for supplies while Krista and Al get the fire going. 

The fire is cranking now and we have our drinks, time for some darts.  A game of around the world.  They have these sweet cups with little blackboards on them which you scratch your name into, awesome.  Before long we are all on our way to happy town and are joined by Alice and her friends.  We fry up some chicken on the fire top which Neil / D-Bag nearly spills all over himself when the handle on the fry pan braks.  Al and I jump up to save the chicken and push Neil aside.  At the end of the night Neil has been obducted by his girlfriend who appraently is not very social.  We call Jan to see what is happening out at the cottage.  Not much by the sound of it and there isn't even a hot tub!!

Al and I head over to the shore for a mission and end up walking to the Joe Cracker monument, a pile of rocks on a high spot along the shore.  Joe Cracker rescued a bunch of sailors from a sinking ship in stormy seas many moons ago in his little row boat.  Now it is back home, the night is done.  I sneak upstairs and into the spare room, goodnight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembrance Day 11/11

No alarm this morning.  The family has left on their vacation.  A mammoth drive across the US to visit family and see some sights, so no breakfast this morning.  I am wide awake at 0900 though due to going to sleep so early the night before.  I head out to check what is on tv and write some of my journal.  I have almost caught up again, was getting a bit behind there.  Nothing of value on tv.  There is not really many channels as most of them seem to be showing the same thing, stupid tv.  I manage to find something mildly entertaining and semi watch as I write.  Yes I have caught up to today now I am feeling hungry so I get my gear on and head out the door.  It is the nicest day so far.  There is some sun coming through the clouds, enough for me to put my sunglasses on.  However there is still a cool breeze.  My plan was to go to the supermarket to grab some stuff for breakfast / lunch but I realized this morning that there may not be much open today as it is remembrance day (like ANZAC day).  Surprise, surprise the supermarket is closed.  So I head across the road to Tim Hortons for a breakfast sandwich combo.  I get my cup of tea and wait, then I am told there's no hash browns, would I like a muffin or doughnut instead? I take a muffin.  As I head out and start eating my sandwich I decide to bag the muffin, that can be a snack for later, oh yea.

So today I am going to walk along the Bayside Coastal Walk, which is a nice board walked path along the shoreline leading away from the town.  The sign says that it is 6.5km long.  As I make my way away from the town I see a kayak rental shop which looks like it is well closed up for the season.  A little further around I spot a random exercise machine so I jump on to do some reps.  I set up my camera for a self portrait, when I look back the camera has fallen onto the concrete, uh oh.  Seems to be working fine, lucky it is a tough cam!!  Further along there is another machine, must be some kind of fitness course which is a pretty cool set up.  After a bit more walking the path comes to an end.  I don't think it has been 6.5km.  Looks like they haven't finished building the path.  Oh well I am not going to let that stop me so I walk into the bush.  About 100m in I look down to the beach and it looks like I should be able to walk there, sweet.  I start hoping my way along the rocks.  The soil, sand and rocks here are a rich red colour.  The water has even got a murky red tinge to it.  I weave my way through the fallen trees and soon come across a long rope which looks quite new, attached to a couple of floats.  It must have washed up during a storm or something.  This could be just what I need for a lead on my suitcase, sweet.  So I cut off a few meters and throw the rest up into the tree to keep it out of the water.

I continue along and start seeing more floats which have washed up, all different colours.  Eventually after rock hoping my way along I come to a clearing.  OH SHIT, I've startled something that was sleeping in rocks.  I turn to protect my face and it flys away with a loud squawk!!  Phew it was just a canada goose and was more startled then me, all good.  Now I come to a paddock and then an empty campground (another sign that this is very much a summer place).  Something smells foul here.  I can't tell where it is coming from but it smells like something died.  It could be blowing across from the woods or maybe is a smelly toilet in the campground.  Oh well, I am hungry so time for my muffin and a drink.  As I sit and enjoy the sunshine another lone walker passes by. It is 0615 in New Zealand now so I try to send a text to Rosa but it wont go through.  I have got a signal, maybe i have run out of credit.  I ring rogers and as I expected I have 7 cents left, great.  Texting in this country is a joke!  Not only do you have to pay to send a text but you have to pay to receive them as well.  Crazy upside down land!!  So now I probably wont be able to receive texts until I top up, bullshit!!  Oh well, time to make a move.

I keep heading away from Summerside but before long I find my path along the shore is washed out so I decide to turn around.  Good thing to as when I start walking back I soon find that the tide is coming in so my easy walk along the beach turns into a scramble over trees and a race against the tide.  A couple of times I try to go into the bush but it is not any easier.  These crazy pine trees have small branches pointing in every direction that are just begging to poke my eyes out, so its back to the waterline.  Eventually I am past the worst of the tree obstacles and the high water, phew.  Along a little way further and I am back to the end of the boardwalk, sweet.  I cruise along the boardwalk and back into town.

A quick stop at Circle K to check what time the bus leaves.  Either 0840 or 1500, but if I get the afternoon bus there is a three hour wait in Moncton. 0840 it is, which is good for me as I will be able to do some stuff when I get back to Halifax.  Time for my daily stop at Wendys, YUM!  Back to the house to watch another movie on the i pod then I have a bath.  I am pretty much over this bath situation.  It was nice the first couple of times but I am keen for a shower.  Baths are nice for a relaxing soak but they really suck for washing ones self in, especially if you are tall like me.

Hungry again so I wonder back to town and I am not too proud to say back to Wendys.  At least it still tastes good!! Oh well, it is cheap and it the closest place to where I am staying.  Probably wont be much takeaways when I get back to Halifax with my master chef, Jan

Back to the house and there is three girls in the living room.  A passing hello as I disappear into my room.  I head back out to the living room to see what is on tv.  The boy I met this morning (I think he is a boarder) is watching tv.  The girls are sitting around the fire and talking in french I think.  The boy asks me what I am writing about.  Just about my holiday and stuff I tell him.
"Boring day?"
"No, it was was nice," I state.
He proceeds to tell me how boring his day was, no shops open so he ended up driving to somewhere random with a friend.  I feel like telling him that life is what you make of it but I don't feel like proving my point, so I let it slide.  Mind you I don't think I would want to live here, doesn't seem like a hell of a lot to do in the off season.  I would probably have a boat or motorbike or something though so that would be fun.

Bloody hell my pen has run out.  Back to the room to get a spare.  Well that is about the guts of it for today.  I have got my bags packed with my new lead attached to the suitcase.  Alarm is set, ready for the 0840 bus.  Now I guess I will watch another movie on the i pod than have another nice big sleep. Bye for now.

Beginning of the walk (conveniently next to Wendys)

Doing some reps along the trail


The end of the boardwalk, into the bush we go.

Having some fun with a tree

A view along the shore

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Windy and Cloudy 10/11

Beep, Beep, my alarm goes off again.  Must be time for breakfast.  i head out to the dinning room and this morning I have some company.  Two guys from the Czech Republic who are biking the Confederation Trail.  They must be the ones who nearly ran me down last night as I was walking up the driveway back from dinner. We chat and one of them mentions he is going to NZ for a biking trip next February.  I tell him to call in to the Park Cafe in Marahau if he can as there is a lot of Czech's hanging out there.  So after breakfast I retreat back to my room for some more reading and writing.  I am getting to the crux of my book now and it is pretty interesting.  Ant is nearing Milford Sound which sadly turns out to be where is trip is undone.  His upturned kayak is found after a rescue effort was launched upon receiving a distress call from Ant.  Sadly his body is never found.  His wife Vicky talks about how she deals with the grief and I find I am unable to put the book down until I finish it.  WOW, what an inspirational man he was, and women she is!!  Really is and eye opener about life and offers an insight to the drive that he had to complete this journey.  I think he could have done it too if only all the little things that went wrong didn't.

Ok, hungry again so I make my now daily pilgrimage to Wendy's and I'm loving it!!  Weather is a little better today, still cloudy and windy but no rain.  So I decide to take a longer walk down the Confederation Trail.  I head into the bush and it is a nice walk once I find a trail that leads away from the houses etc.  I am looking out for wildlife but all I spot is a Woodpecker working on a tree.  Thanks to my sweet camouflage jacket I can get pretty close to take some pics.

I head back to the house and watch another movie on the i pod and then head out again for some dinner.  I walk a little further tonight as it is not raining and end up at a pub to grab a feed and a beer.  The food isn't anything special but again it fills the gap so I am happy.  Back to the house.  I have finished my book now so I write some more in my journal and then watch a movie.  I am too lazy to run a bath tonight so I flag it.

On a trip to the toilet I hear the tv going and it sounds like an actual tv program, not just music.  Damn, how did they get it working?!  Maybe the christians are not so crazy after all, will have to check it out tomorrow.  For now it is back to the movie.  My i pod runs flat and it is still not very late but I decide to just roll over and drift off to sleep.

I awake during the night as usual for a toilet break and decide to investigate the tv situation.  I find that it does work but there are not a lot of channels and many of them are double ups.  Oh well better than nothing, I can watch something tomorrow.  Now it is back to bed.

Having some fun on the Confederation Trail

Testing out my camouflage jacket.  Where did he go!!

Woody Wood Pecker, looking for some grubs.

A Day in The Rain 09/11

Alarm goes off it is 0845.  I wouldn't usually set an alarm when there is not much going on but I don't want to miss out on breakfast.  Last night when I was in the bath I was a bit down about there not being much to do here, but thanks to the power of positive thinking I have seen the bright side.

A - This is somewhere I have never been before.
B - I can have a nice relaxing few days, read my book and catch up on my journal entries.
C - Because there is not much to do here I wont spend a lot of money and so I should have more cash to go snowboarding!!
D - I got a discount on the accommodation so again less money spent = more snowboarding.

Anyways back to this morning, I walk into the dining room where there is not much happening yet.  I say hello to a lady (who I think is one of the sisters) and child, they give me a wry smile.  Ok then, back to my room.  Play a quick game of roller coaster on my phone and then check the dining room again.  This time I see a place set for me. "We are ready when you are," the hostess informs me.
"Sweet as," I reply.
I am unsure of her name as I don't recall her giving it to me.  I think it might be Laura as that is what is printed on some business cards I have seen lying around the house.  Anyways I take a seat and start on the fruit bowl, she brings out tea and oj then asks if I would like cereal. "Yes please," I reply.  I want to get my moneys worth out of this breakfast.
"We are making boiled eggs this morning, would you like one or two?" she asks.
"Two please," Gotta get my moneys worth.  Has been years since I have had boiled eggs, should be nice (and it is).  Nice soft centers and homemade bread on the side, yum!  So as I eat my eggs the hostess chats with me.  From the conversation I find out that the kids are not hers, she just babysits.  Sounds like they get pretty busy during summer time and get some other useless information like where they are going on vacation.  " Thanks for breakfast, it was great," I stated.
"You are welcome," the customary reply.

I disappear back to my room.  The weather is pretty crappy today, windy and raining.  I am quietly happy about this as it makes me feel ok about not doing much today.  So I fill in some of my journal and read some of my book.  I am actually surprised at how quickly I seem to be getting through it.  Guess that is what happens when you find a book you like.  After a while I start feeling a bit sleepy again so I roll over and take a nap.  Pretty stressful day so far, haha. 

So after about an hour I arise and am feeling hungry so I make my move into town in the still pouring rain, Wendy's again and it is mmmmmm good.  I need some cash so I swing by an atm before heading back to the farm.  I find the beginning of the confederation trail.  This is the old railway line that was taken out of commission in the 50's or 60's and turned into a biking / walking trail.  It stretches across the island and is about 400km long.  Similar to the  rail trail in central Otago.  I walk along the trail until the rain starts to bug me where I pull out and find my b and b.  Later I realize a private entrance I went past was actually the b and b.  Good to know for future reference.  Back at the b and b I decide to see whats on tv.  There is satellite tv here but I can't get any channels working, just music, music, music.  Crazy christians, oh well good thing I have got my i pod.  So I retreat to my room and watch a movie on my i pod and have a couple of beers.  Then it is dinner time.

I head down the road in the rain again to find some food.  All you can eat chinesse buffet sounds good.  Nothing special but it fills the gap.  Back to the b and b for a bath, then into bed. Movie and sleep.

Willowgreen Farm B and B

The beginning of the Confederation Trail in Summerside in the rain

Walking along the Confederation Trail.

Away to Prince Edward Island 08/11

Beep, Beep.  Its 0500 when the alarm goes off this morning, early start today.  I am catching a bus to Prince Edward Island at 0715 and Jan and Sarah need to be at a tyre shop at 0700 so they can hopefully get winter tyres fitted a.s.a.p and hit the road to, somewhere.  Not sure where they are going, not even sure if they know yet.  I reluctantly get up and pack my stuff away, boil some water for tea and eat some cereal.  Jan and Sarah arise, they get packed and we throw some stuff in the car and head into town.  The mood is a bit calmer again this morning but still not quite back to normal.  A quick stop at the boat club so I can print out my ticket and then they drop me off at the bus station. 
"Bye guys I hope you have a good week."

I board the bus, traveling with Acadian Bus Services today.  As I take my seat i notice how much nicer it is than the Greyhound buses.  More leg room, comfier chair (which tilts back further) and even power outlets you can plug into.  Bus driver takes our tickets and we hit the road.  Its not long before I drift off to sleep, still pretty tired.  After a while I pull my laundry bag out to use as a pillow.  Good heavens it stinks!!  Must be the damp, sweaty clothes from paddling on the weekend.  Oh well it will have to do.  I turn my nose away from the bag and fall back to sleep.  When we arrive in Amherst where I have to change buses, I notice that there is someone sitting behind me.  Hope the bag didn't stink too bad for her.  This time I get the three seats at the back of the bus and decide to use my sleeping bag as a pillow which smells ten million times better and then its back to sleep.  I awake to find that we have crossed the confederation bridge and are now on the island, perhaps I will pay attention now.  Not a whole lot to see, pretty flat with a lot of farms etc.

We arrive in Summerside and I jump off the bus.  I was kind of hoping there  might be an info center or something nearby but I can't see anything so I wander into the gas station and ask where Bishop St is.  They look at me funny, "Bushop St."
They can't understand my crazy accent.  "Bishop St, B-I-S-H-O-P."
They don't know so the nice man looks at a map with me and points it out.  Great I have gone past it about 1km back. "Thank you."  So I start hauling my gear back down the street.  My salvation army suitcase has wheels but no lead, I will have to sort that out.  Finally I make it to Bishop St and see the sign for Willowgreen Farm B and B, Success!!  It is a nice looking homestead set back from the road and on a small block of land.  I make my way to the door, ring the bell and am eventually greeted by the hostess.
"So the dog wasn't barking at shadows, sorry we king of ignore him sometimes. Come on it."  She gives me the run down on the place and explains that they are actually leaving for vacation early on Thursday morning.  She had arranged for a friend to look after the place but she pulled out at the last minute.  So her grandma will be minding the house.  Grandma lives next door.  This means that there will not be a full breakfast on thursday / friday morning so I will be getting a discount on the room, fine by me.
"Please make yourself at home, there is satellite tv in here," she mentions.
 She shows me my room and then takes my money.  Time to settle in.  The room is nice with a double bed and my own bathroom.  Will have to watch my head going into the bathroom though, the door is a little low.  The decor in the room is particularly nice, pink ceiling and joinery with blue / pink wallpaper, lovely.  As I look around I notice an abundance of christian type literature on the walls and an open bible on my bedside table, think they might be christians or something, I better be on my best behaviour.  I organize my junk and then gear up for a walk into town to see what is on offer.

The answer is not much.  There are plenty of fast food outlets but nothing really in the way of tourism.  Nothing that is open anyway.  The only info center I see is boarded up, guess they are closed for the season.  No bike rental, not even a sports shop, bummer.  Guess I am gonna be stuck on foot for this trip.  I do find a boarded walkway which goes along the shoreline so I plan to walk that one day.  Well then guess I will head back and read my book or something.  I swing past the liquor store and grab an 8 pack of Keiths, weird they do 8 packs in Canada not 6 packs.  Then I stop in at Wendy's to grab some dinner.  I have not eaten any junk food since being in Halifax with master chef Jan so it is actually pretty good.  Then it is back to Willowgreen.

I am feeling pretty dirty so it is time for a wash.  There is no shower in the bathroom so I run a bath.  All good, can't remember the last time I had a bath (probably years ago).  Of course the bath is not big enough to fit my whole body in so I take turns of altering my body position.  There is a couple of candles in here so being a typical male I start playing with them, spilling wax all over the place.  Once I have turned sufficiently into a prune I wash myself down and exit into the bedroom.  Write some journal, read some book and then drift off to sleep.

Acadian Bus Services, YOU ROCK!!

Checking out the scene on Prince Edward Island


A house with a lighthouse, convenient.


Watch you head!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Mystery at Peggy's Cove 07/11

I was awoken this morning by cluttering in the kitchen but then there was silence so I drift back off to sleep.  I got a much longer, nicer sleep tonight.  When I get up I find Jan watching tv.
"Morning, where is Sarah?" I ask.
"She has gone with her father to get their new puppy, she wont be back till 3 or 4," Jan replies.
"Fair enough," I respond.
 We watch tv, drink some tea and eat a bagel then get motivated to do something with the day. 

First stop is into Herring Cove for a catch up.  We chat with PT, Patty and Al about life, give the dogs a quick pat and then head off towards Peggy's Cove.  It is supposed to be a nice spot with a cool old lighthouse etc, but we are stopped at the turn off by the police.  Looks like they are not letting anyone in due to the search operation which is in progress.  Still trying to find the man who was washed off the rocks, very sad.  So we head back up the coast a little ways and walk out to a lookout that Jan knows of. 
"This is where Gregg and Courtney got married," he mentions.
What an awesome spot for a wedding.  We stand and look out along the coast, we can see the village and lighthouse at Peggy's Cove.  The sea has calmed slightly but the wind is up again today.  Can't help but think about the poor guy who was swept out to sea.  Doesn't seem like you would last long in the water out there, not good.  We walk back to the car and start heading back to the cottage.

On the way we stop and check out a tidal flow that we noticed was pumping on the way through.  Pumping alright!!  It is only a tidal estuary but with all the rain we have been having and the tide being out it would be totally runable.  There is a standing wave maybe 2m high and a wave train about 100m long. 
"I have never seen it like this before," Jan states.
"There is a good run a bit higher up that will be going off!!, Where can we get some boats?"
Back in the car and around the bay to call in at Gregg's place.

After a couple of minutes of banging on the door he pokes his head out.
"Dude, check this out."  I show him the pictures I have just taken.
"Probably only last another hour until the tide comes in," Jan says.
"Yea you are right but I bet the upper section is going off!!" Gregg confirms.
But sadly we don't really have time to run it, have to get back and start making dinner.We go inside for a chat and meet his crazy dogs again.  One of them is pretty full on and jumps up at you pretty hard.  Last visit I was told to give her the knee.  She comes at me so I give her a solid knee which puts her on the floor.  She doesn't bother me again.  So we have a chat and nibble on some left overs.  Gregg does up a little number so we head out to the gear shed.  But alas the padlock is old and shit so he can not get it open.  Luckily only half the roof has been put on so he grabs a ladder and we climb in.  Climbing out was a bit more challenging but I made it.  My shoulder id certainly not at full strength yet.  We check out Greggs chicken coop (very cool) and he gives us an egg to take home.
"Can't get any better than that, straight from the chicken's bum," Gregg laughs.
We wave him off and head back to the cottage.

Sarah arrives a short time after and she is not happy.
"I need to get out of here! I am going crazy, I feel like I have just wasted four days of my vacation," She states.
Jan and I think that is pretty harsh.  She got her tooth pulled one day which is a good thing and hanging out here is really nice we thought.  I could happily chill here for a week and I am sure Jan could too. Maybe it is because she has just been in a car for 8 hours to go pick up a dog (which no one forced her to do).  So sadly the mood was quite tense tonight, not a lot was said.  I helped Jan with dinner, Surf n Turf salad with prawns, chicken and bacon bits plus chicken nibbles on the side.  Then watched some tv to pass the time until bed.

An ominous sign at the turn off to Peggy's Cove

Jan hitting the trail

Looking out over the Atlantic

A Day on The Water 06/11

After a few hours sleep I am awoken by movement in the cottage.  Alice and Alex are making their move off to the Farmers Market I believe and Sarah is off to yoga.  Alex is trying to bludge some dry pants off Jan but no such luck, his only pair are wet too.  Once they leave I make my move from the couch and onto the air bed and proceed to pass out again.  After about an hour I am up again and told that the boys will here soon to go paddling.  Sweet as I better get my shit together.  Once Gregg and Cliff arrive I throw on the dry suit again and we hit the water.  A lot nicer for paddling today, still a good swell pushing through but little to no wind.

On the water and after a quick safety briefing we begin to paddle.  First stop is near the shoal I almost ran into last night and there is a bit of a wave breaking.  The other 3 have a wee surf session but I decide against it as I'm still getting used to being back in a kayak.  As I am floating around a seal pops his head up from the water to check us out.  From here we cruise out to check out a channel marker with the ominous dong if the bell attached.  It is quite a foggy day and I am waiting for something to appear out of the mist.  Gregg suggests that I climb up and jump off, he will take a photo.  I laugh to myself and think HELL NO! That kind of thing creeps me out.  So we paddle on around the outside of another island to find another rocky shoal where a pretty heavy wave is breaking., no surfing here.

We make our way to the inside of the island where it is a lot calmer and I get a chance to practice my technique a bit and get used to the boat, finally.  By now I have loosened my peddles as I was loosing the circulation in my feet again.  My feet feel better but it makes me a bit looser in the boat.  Think I will have to start doing yoga or something when I get back to NZ.  Greg and Cliff try to beach themselves on a surge but it doesn't work so well and Cliff ends up going over, luckily Gregg is there to help as he misses his roll.  Around the corner to a decent looking rock where Jan and Gregg jump onto the rocks and off into the water.  Got a cool pic of Gregg going head first off the rock.

We continue on to find what appears to be the only beach on this island and stop for a break and a Keiths.  After standing around for 15 minutes Jan is starting to get a chill as he is only in a wetsuit, poor guy. Probably have to start heading back he remarks, after checking the time.  So we start heading back towards the cottage when we find a nice clean looking wave.  We all get into it and start surfing. Everyone gets some nice rides including me.  i got rolled twice, first time I missed my roll and my spray skirt popped off so Jan had to help me away from the break and back into my boat.  Second time Gregg and I both rolled on the same wave and happy days this time I came back up.

Then I got a little cocky and caught a wave too far on the inside.  It was probably my best ride but it pulled me to the right and towards the rocks.  I tried to pull off the wave but couldn't so ended up side surfing the wave straight into a rock, BANG! Shit I hope the kayak is ok, I try to pull myself out from the maze of rocks but the next wave is on me and carries me closer to the shore and dumps me on some more rocks.  So I wait for the water to drop and jump out of my boat to walk it into the shore so I can inspect any damage and empty the water.  Jan is watching over me and asks if I am ok.  All good, i give him the signal.  The boat seems fine so I get back out there for another couple of waves (making sure I stay well left) before we start heading back.We have all had our share of knocks, it has been a fun day.

Gregg and Cliff head home while Jan and our grab a shower and get into some dry clothes.  Jan says his armpits are pretty raw from paddling all day in a wet suit.  I thank him again for letting me wear the dry suit.

Jeremy and Amy arrive to pick us up a short time later.  Tonight we are going for dinner at Sarahs aunt and uncle's house, John and Deb.  Should be interesting.  So we drive into town and arrive at their place, an apartment building.  It is quite fancy but definitely not my style.  There is about 16 people present for dinner and it is a nice evening.  I chat to some of the family and after a few hours and a few wines everyone is leaving so we head back to Prospect.  On our way back to the cottage we hear a plane or a helicopter flying around.  "Maybe they are looking for someone," Jan remarks.  The next morning we hear on national news that a 27 year old male was washed off the rocks at Peggy's Cove.  It is a bit spooky as that could have been us the night before, glad we came back when we did.

It is a quiet evening from here.  Jan and Sarah are spooning while I catch up on updating my blog.  I try to load some pics but it is taking ages and I am impatient so I give up.  Mum is online so we have a quick chat but she has to go as they are watching the rowing champs at Karapiro and a race is about to start. so we say goodbye.  Jan and Sarah have snuck off to bed by now ao I finish updating my blog, start watching a movie and then drift off to sleep.





Dong, Dong, goes the bell.

The attempted beaching didn't work out so well for Cliff (on the right)


Head first off the rock.


Good times in the surf.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving To Prospoect 05/11

Good morning, it is moving day! We are off to the cottage.  After breakfast and packing my bags, Jan and I do a run out to the cottage with some gear.  Sarah is staying back to do what some might call an excessive amount of cleaning, but she wants to be a good hostess.  Her 2 and a half year old nephew is coming to stay with his parents of course.  Hope she does not spray too many toxic cleaners around for the little guy.

We swing past the trail shop which turns into the minimum half hour visit and grab a kayak for Jan, strap it on to the Golf and we are off.  Another stop at the passport office, this time when it is open and Jan a new one.  Some damn kids stole his stuff out of the golf in broad daylight while he was parked at a school while working.

30 minutes south of Halifax we arrive at Prospect Bay.  Off with the kayaks, a quick safety briefing and a look around and then it is back in to town.  It is a bit stormy here today but it is nice to see it in a different mood (it was sunny the day before last).  So back into town to check on and collect Sarah and the rest of the gear.  Throw it all in and then back to prospect.  This time via the mall so Jan and Sarah can check out the flight center to try and organize a vacation for them next week.  Sarah is keen on an all inclusive trip to somewhere warm for the week.  I was thinking of joining them but am now thinking it will be cheaper and more logical to go somewhere in Canada, I'm think of Prince Edward Island.  They had hoped it was possible to get a last minute cheap deal somewhere but alas not anymore.  Last week means two weeks away not tomorrow.  The best they can get is more than they can really afford and cheaper than that has only one seat available on flights (maybe I could just go by myself).  But it is not to be so it is back to the drawing board.  We depart and head to the cottage.

We arrive before dark so Jan and I decide to squeeze in a quick paddle in the storm.  My first time in a kayak since busting my AC joint, I hope it doesn't blow out on me.  The water is not warm but Jan being the ever wonderful host lets me use his dry suit while he throws on a wet suit and paddle jacket.  Conditions are not ideal, it is pretty much storming, 20 knots + and 3 - 4m swells on a confused sea, lets do it!! 

We are not going far, just around Redmans Island but it is a slow hard slog into the wind and around the point.  I can't get my rudder into the water, maybe I will ask Jan to flip it for me, but I never get the chance.  Also I have set my peddles to close so my feet are loosing circulation but I do not dare pulling my spray skirt to adjust them.  Makes me think how vulnerable you would be in conditions like this out in the Tasman by yourself, that guy was hard core!!  We make it around the point and begin to head around the island.  Feeling a bit wobbly out here and have to throw out a couple of low braces, I really do not want to tip over out here.  Jan is on my inside now and I soon see why.  I am headed straight for a shoal with waves crashing over it!!  Better change my course, and thankfully get inside before being pounded onto the rock. 

YES, the hard part is now over.  Now we can run with the wind and the waves back to the safer water.  Jan surfs a couple of waves that are curling around the inside of the island, but I am not feeling very comfy in my boat (Necky Elaho) so I try to take a couple of photos.  Too wet and dark, all that comes out is rain drops on the lens and darkness.  Good test for my new camera though.  By now it is starting to get dark so we head back in to the cottage where Sarah is starting to get worried.  But no worries we are back safe and sound.  These dry suits are awesome!! I am not at all cold and am very dry (apart from a little sweat).  I want one!!

After we change it is off to Sarah's brothers house for dinner.  He lives just up the road with his long term partner Amy, there two cats and the recently acquired dog 'Sport'.  So we sit, talk, drink and eat.  They have a nice house overlooking the bay.  I make friends with Sport and Socks (one of the cats).  I try to get a pat with Egg Roll (the other cat) but he is a bit aggressive which I am told is in his nature so we have a play fight instead.

Alex and Alice arrive so we finish our drinks and head back to the cottage, Jeremy and Sport join us too.  More drinks and we start a game of Risk.  It is a military style board game where you try to conquer the world!!  Pretty fun but after a while I pull out so that I can sykpe with Rosa.  It is nice to hear her voice and see her face.  Sadly she has been having a bit of bad luck with having the flu, my van dying on her and getting a ticket when using Zan's car as the registration is a month overdue, bummer.  So it is hard for her to hear about me traveling and having a good time which I can totally understand.  She would rather be here with me and I wish she could be with me too.  So we sign off.

Jeremy has left with Sport and the girls are off to bed so Jan, Alex and I decide to go for a mission, even it is pouring rain outside.  So we wonder down the road, playing drunken fools along the way.  Jan leading the charge as usual with myself close behind.  A quick stop at the wharf where Jan nearly breaks his neck running down a set of slimy steps, but he is ok.  Lets keep going.

Eventually we make it out onto the rocks and down by the water at a place called 'High Head'.  There is some pretty big waves breaking against the rocks and one nearly washes right up to where we are standing.  it is like watching a train wreck or staring into a fire, very hard to look away.  Alex suggests that maybe it is time to head back which is probably a good idea.  So we find our way back to the road and then to the cottage.  We are all soaked, but I am glad to say that my Ronin jacket kept my upper half dry, my jeans however did not preform as well.

Alex and Jan are off to bed but I am not quite ready so I sit up for a while on the computer, eventually putting it down and drifting off to sleep, its 0430. Over and out.

Jan and I about to head out on our adventure.

My attempt at taking a photo on the water.

Too Much Cheese 04/11

It is our last day staying in town before we head out to the cottage.  Sarah has an appointment to get her tooth pulled out which is good. After she leaves for her dentist appointment we get ourselves together and head out on a mission.  First stop is the bank for Jan so he can sort out his debit card which doesn't seem to be working.  He talks to the teller and then gives it a test.  Happy days the machine pushes out some dollars for him.  Now it is off to the Dalplex ( the recreation center for the local universities).  Here we meet Heather who runs the outdoor program here.  Jan does some work here sometimes and needs to give Heather his details so that he can get paid!!  After a quick chat about life we continue on and make our way to Pleasant Point for a walk through the park.

On the way Jan gets a phone call about the interview he had on Monday.  Unfortunately it is not good news, he missed out on the contract.  The job went to a girl who has just moved here from New Brunswick who had the same job out there.  Later he hears that it was kind of treated as an interdepartmental transfer.  This is a bit annoying as he time a lot of time and energy into the interview process but never really stood a chance, shit house.  So after a bit of stewing we talk about it for a while.  It sounds like they have him in mind for some other upcoming projects so that is positive,  and he also has all his other bits going on so it is chin up, regroup and move forward from here.


By now we are making our way through the park which is very nice.  On the other side we find the beginning of the port and a barge which appears to be dredging the area.  So we walk back up through the park and into town.  Now we stop at Henry's House for a celebratory drink (for not getting the job).  It is time for another taste of Canada, 'The Caesar'.  Clam flavoured tomato juice with vodka and spices.  Tastes ok, very spicy, similar to a Bloody Mary.  We are feeling the hunger as well so we get a plate of nachos which are also very spicy and covered in cheese.  By the end of this endeavor I struggle through the last of my caesar then we head off.  Walking down the street we are both feeling the affects from all those spices and our stomachs are churning.  I start burping and get a taste of caesear every time, not the best coming back up.

We stop at the passport office for Jan but alas we are ten minutes too late.  Back on the waewae and we head through the public gardens and check out the grumpy geese.  Then cut through a graveyard to visit Alexander Keith's (from the beer) grave site.  Looks like he was a popular man and did a lot for the city, not just make beer.  Jan says that there is usually empty beers cans here from people paying tribute, but sadly we don't have any to offer.  A short walk from here and we are back home to find Sarah with one less tooth and sounding much happier.

Time for a bit of relaxation then we head into town 4 a drink and dinner at The Loose Cannon Pub. Chicken wings are on special, sounds good but then we are told that they have run out.  Not even 9pm, useless.  So I get a plate of potato skins which are covered in cheese.  Sarah gets the same and Jan just regular fries.  This was not a good move, this is way too much cheese.  Can not finish it, none of us can.  Stomach is still churning, feeling hungry but not for this crap. 

Time to head home, no one wants to drive so I take charge.  After a couple of semi dodgy moves we make it home safely.  I grab an apple to eat and it taste like heaven after all that melted cheese.  We watch some Flight Of The Concords, Sarah heads to bed, Jan falls asleep on the couch and eventually makes his move to bed and not too long after I do the same.  Sweet dreams.

Some Photos





This is the Hostel I stayed at in Fernie looking towards the mountain

Some crazy Totem poles in Stanley Park Vancouver
Swimming in Keji Nat Park

Autumn colours in Keji

The view from Sarahs family cottage in Prospect

The best beer in Nova Scotia. Alexander Keiths, originally made right here in Halifax.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cleaning at St Mary's

Another day in Halifax.  Sarah is off to work, last day before her vacation begins so she is pretty happy about that.  Jan and I are off to the boat club to help out with pre winter cleaning.  Mainly bringing the zodiac and its mooring off the water as well as cleaning them.  It is a nice day here, the clouds are breaking and the sun is starting to shine through but it is still very fresh.

So I lend a hand where needed but try not to get too dirty or sold.  We find some pretty crazy creatures living on the mooring line and in the boat plus a shit tonne of muscles.  Sweet we have done our part so we head off on a wee mission to retrieve a couple of kayaks from Gregs place at Shad Bay.  This is yet another beautiful spot about 30km's south of Halifax.  Gregg is away but we grab the kayaks and get to meet his wife Courtney and the three dogs who are very happy to met us and get some attention.  On the move again to drop off the kayaks at Prospect Bay and have a look around.  This is where Sarahs family cottage is, beautiful spot of course.  We will be back here this weekend as Jan and Sarah are kindly loaning their house in town to Sarahs cousins who are coming to town to visit family.

The tide is super low and I start collecting some old pottery that is lying in the pools, part of an old clay pipe and some blue glass from the old milk bottles.  Will take this stuff home for Rosa, I think she will dig it.  Back to town now and we are feeling the hunger, but first we need some gas.  Jan has left his debit card in his other jacket again, classic.  All good buddy I got you covered.  Back to the house for a Jan special lunch, mmmmmmmmmmm good.

Jan has to head back out for a bit so I decide to chill and eventually fall asleep, nap time!!  This evening we are off to Herring Cove for a feed.  patty is cooking roast beef.  We are a bit late arriving, they have already eaten but we hoe in to it and it tastes great!!  I ate some ice cream earlier though which was a rookie mistake, it is not settling right but I still manage to fit another meal in, now I am stuffed!!  Bit of a chat and then back to town and off to bed.  Another day done, time to sleep.

Checking out Downtown Halifax

Arise it is morning again, only 1000, Jan is still asleep, best I go back to bed.  Arise, now I have had too much sleep and am feeling overtired.  Oh well.  Had some crazy dreams.  One where I was going snowboarding in Japan but I could not walk properly then another where I was at some crazy music festival.  So what to do today.  Jan tells me that he has been up earlier and done most of the work he needs to do today, then dropped off Sarah at work and went back to bed.  What a champion!!

So what should we do?  We have a few errands to run so that is probably a good place to start.  First we are off to Isley to cash in the petrol receipts from last week.  We arrive just as they are about to break for lunch so we wonder around a bit while Kevin finishes his class.  Walked in to the canteen and saw one of the boys from the camping trip so I went and said hello.  Walked out of the canteen and then was confronted by a staff member.
"Can I help you?"
"No, I am just waiting to speak to Kevin when he finished his class."
"Does he know you are here?"
"He will once he finishes his class, I was on the camp with him last week."
"Ok."
I walked off and saw Jan again then we went and talked to Kevin, then bailed.  Later I realized that the teacher who confronted me had probably thought I was trying to sell drugs to the kids or something, funny. 

So from here we hit The Trail Shop.  This is an outdoor shop in town and is one of Jans places of work.  They have some sweet gear in here and Malcolm says he can hook me up with some sweet deals on the Extra Sport branded gear if I am interested. Yes I am, I think to myself.  So I am eying up a sweet paddle jacket and maybe a PFD.  Jan just got a call from Sarah, she has a dental appointment in one hour so we have to make a move and go pick her up.  All good lets get moving.  Sarah has a wisdom tooth coming through which is causing her some pain so she needs to get it sorted.  We get dropped off at the house and gear up for a mission downtown.

So we head off, through the commons and around the Citadel (old historic fort).  We stop on the hill for a look and Jan tells me there is a by-law stating that the view of the harbour from this hill can not be blocked by any buildings, never know when you will need to fire off one of those cannons. That is sweet.  We head down around the waterfront, towards the Nautical Museum.  on the way we see Thomas Tugboat.  This is a working tugboat which is designed after a childrens television show here in Halifax Harbour.  It has the cartoon face, basball cap and all, awesome.

Into the museum to find that it is free if we come back at 1730.  Sounds like a plan, maybe Sarah will want to come too.  So we head home via the supermarket, bacon wrapped scallops are on the menu.  I am not a huge fan of shellfish but it sounds good, and it was!!  At the checkout and Jan has left his debit card in his other jacket, all good I got this covered.  Back home for another wicked feed and then we are off to the museum for free.  Sadly Sarah doesn't join us as she has too much work to do after leaving early to go to the dentist.

The museum was very cool.  They had a lot of cool models and artifacts, even a beautiful Rainbow Macaw named Merlin.  Merlin even says 'hello' to us.  There was also a talk happening about the Panama Canal but we skip it to try and see as much of the museum as we can.  Still we do not have enough time and get kicked out before we get all the way through.  Oh well it was free after all.

Now back home again, Jans playing the guitar, Sarah is looking for an all inclusive trip for them to go on next week as she has vacation and I am writing in here.  Well that is all he wrote.

Over and out.

Off To The Mall

So Sarah arrived home last night.  Unfortunately it was a late pick up as she missed her connecting flight.  Today she is off to work and Jan has to prepare  for an important interview.  Me, I'm off to the mall to get a canadian sim card so I can text people back home and have a lifeline incase I get lost or something.  My phone wont work on the Aliant network which apparently is the better one, damn.  Oh well to the Rogers shop I go and happy days we have lift off.  Ok I'm back on the grid, probably shouldn't text home yet as it is like 0500 tomorrow morning.  Time for some eats.  Better try one of these Tim Hortons sandwiches.  So I count out my change in an attempt to get rid of some of it but alas once I order I realize of course they don't include tax in the advertised price, pretty annoying, so I have to pull out a note.  But it works out well in the end as I use some of the change to buy a poppy from the war vets and the rest to get on the bus back to Jans place.

So the sandwich is good, now I understand why they are so popular.  I send a text message to Rosa and I get a reply.  Hurrah mission accomplished.  A quick look around the mall and then on the bus back to Jans.  I remembered where to get off the bus but then manage to walk in the wrong direction.  Good thing I got a sim card as I might have to text Jan for directions.  Back to where I got off the bus and I stroll in the other direction to quickly find that this is the right way and I am home in no time.  Jan arrives home shortly after me, says the interview went well, lets go on a misson!!

We head out to the York Redoubt for a look but find the caretaker is locking the gates.
"We are on winter hours now." He says.
But when we get back in the car and look at the time we see he is about 15 minutes early locking up, it is only 1645.  Guess he wants to get home for a cup of tea, it is pretty mild out.  So off to another spot to scope it out (an old church) then we head up to Pt and Patty's place who we find still leaning on the counter with drink in hand.
"Setting a fine example for the next generation." He states.
A quick chat here and then they are off to the club so we head off as well and go to check out a beach nearby.

On arrival we find that the road is blocked by some big boulders and it is quite a long walk to the beach from here and it is too cold for that.  So we head to the Secret Beach a little further up the road and is a much shorter walk to this one.  Another beautiful spot.  Back to town and we spot Pt and Patty heading back from the club.

Home for dinner, left overs with a twist are one the menu and it is mmmmmmmm good.  Now time to relax.  Early night is on the cards.  I arrange a skype session with mum and dad, nice to talk to them and then it is more or less off to bed.

Happy days.

Surfng in Halifax

Woke up early this morning to find Bo on the floor next to my bed, went to the toilet and then he jumped on to the bed with me, all good.  Got up at 0900, head downstairs and hello to all.  After a cup of tea we head of towards town. 

On the way we stop at the 'York Redoubt' for a look around.  It is one of the old war forts that you will find around the area.  There has been military stationed here through many battles.  WW1 and 11 I guess being the biggest.  German U Boats used to come in to the area to stir up some shit so the allies so these huge spotlights to see them and some sweet arse cannons to blow them out of the water whenever possible.  Apparently some kids had a rave down here last year so the council has put up fences, bricked in some holes and put up signs to cover themselves if anything falls down on someone.  But we hop easily around the fence for a look.  Pretty cool spot history and scenery wise.  It is right at the harbour entrance with a huge lighthouse on the opposite point.  We see some gannets working but alas no whales are spotted.  So we head back to the car via this sweet old bunker.  Back at the car we find some lady scoping out Jans ride.  She explains it was her friends and that she was a bit worried as she had not seen her friend on the track and thought perhaps she may have been hurt.  So Jan sparks a conversation about being safe and talk of people who have injured themselves on the track.  Jan is good like that always happy to chat to anyone along the way.

So back into town for some breakfast.  'The Greek Diner', eggs, bacon, toast, home fries and tea, just what the doctor ordered.  Apparently there is a strong Greek community in the area and they throw a festival which is the under age drinking event of the year.  Good times. 

After breakfast we had back the the apartment for some relaxation so I start to write, but before long there is a knock at the door, enter Graham a surfing buddy of Jans who is keen to go look for some waves.  Jan takes a bit of convincing but soon enough we are on the mission again.  Not sure if I am too keen to get in the surf but I will put on a smile and see what happens.  I am certainly keen for a mission.  Down to St Mary's Boat Club to jump in the zodiac and we are off, out of the harbour in search of surf.

There is a few breaks around but nothing is exactly pumping.  We eventually find a spot that looks surfable so the boys are in there.  I decide to pike on getting in the water and just man the boat which kinda works out well as there is not really anywhere to park the zodiac.  They get some good rides with me cheering them on and a couple of seals floating around pout the back.  Jan had mentioned to watch out for sharks so when the seals disappear I do wonder if something has spooked them.  Back in the boat and we cruise back around the islands to the boat club with me at the wheel (can't wait to get my own boat).  Back at the boat club and I shake the petrol can, probably lucky we did not go much further as we were pretty much running on fumes.

We load up Grahams Buick Roadmaster which has a sweet wooden side strip and it is back to the apartment, via the supermarket.  We need supplies, dinner for us and candy for the trick or treaters.  Pork is on the menu and you know with Jan that it is going to be amazing.  No surprise, it tastes like heaven. Roast Kumura (sweet potato), mushrooms and onions on the side.  Neither of us can finish our plate.  Prolly all the junk we ate prior to dinner.

Now it is time to carve the pumpkins, bit of a rush job but it is fun and they look pretty cool, they go out on the front step.  Now we wait, Jan is having a nap and I am catching up on this stuff.  Sarah was due back this evening at 1930 but she missed her connecting flight so is stuck in Montreal and wont arrive home until 2310.  So poor Jan can not prep for his interview tomorrow (she has the computer) and he has to wait up to go and collect her from the airport.  Stink buzz.

So I am in charge of handing out the candy to any kids who knock at the door while Jan catches some z's.  Have not seen any killer costumes yet.  I have just been told by some kids to watch out as the pumpkins we carved may get stolen.  Why would you want to steal carved pumpkins?  To smash them I guess.  Oh well so long as they do not smash them on the front step then it is all good.

Over and Out.

A Relaxing Day at Last

Good morning its almost 0800 and Jan has to go to work.  Poor guy.I had thought of going with him this morning but it is cold and windy so I use this as a convenient excuse to stay home and catch up on some much needed sleep.

Jan returned home from work and I am still in bed, guess I needed that sleep. He has got a couple of hours to relax and then he is off to another job.  Meanwhile I stay back and do some long overdue washing, have a shower and then proceed to fall asleep again while watching tv, it has been a good day.

Now for the evening.  There is a couple of options but first stop is back to Herring Cove to scope out the scene there.  Alex and Alice are all dressed up and off to a party.  But the party is in Dartmouth and who wants to go there (so they say) so we decide to flag that one and end up having pizza and my first taste from the Donair empire - Donair Egg Rolls.  Basically they are deep friend rolls made from an egg batter filled with meat and onion.  Kind of like a curry roll and they soon fill the gap (prehaps not in a good way). 

So after dinner and a few more drinks we make our move to a more local party in our make shift costumes.  Jan is wearing a sweet denim jacket with the Las Vegas Strip airbrushed on the back and rhinestone lettering. I have got this crazy bird looking mask that Alice had made.  On the skateboards and we are off.  There are some sweet roads around here to bomb.  Nothing too crazy but good rolling hills.  After a stop at the Government Wharf (the gov) we make our way towards the party where we meet a couple of boys (who we had just been on the camp with) wandering the streets.
"Hey, what's happening? Small world aye."
We are informed they had just left a party because a girl had spewed everywhere, nice.  Had a chat and continued on, past where the party is at and to the top of the hill and we are off.  Biggest hill of the night so far, getting some speed up now and I've got the bag on, OH SHIT!  No worries, I draw on my snowboarding skills and cruise past Jan.  Glad i am on the long board though.  Alright good times and no gravel rash.

We walk in to the party, it is a Halloween party of course so we are greeted by Wolverine, Cron and a super lady of some kind.  We stay here for a while but I soon find I have drunken too much beer so my stomach is in knots.  No one wants to join us for a safety briefing and I don't know that Jan is really feeling the vibe that much so we bail, back down another sweet hill and back to the gov for that safety brief.  Then it is back to the house.  One last mission for the night over to the ocean.  Down the secret path (very dark) and out onto the rocks where we find that the moon is dressed up for Halloween too.  It is a brilliant orange colour with the shape of a cats eye, it slowly drifts behind the clouds after I snap a picture.  We sit on the rocks and pass it to the left then it is back to the house and it is time to lay my head.

Over and out.

Last Day In Keji

Arise, its Friday, heading back to Halifax today.  This morning I helped set up a course for the kids to use GPS and compasses to find the gear to make their breakfast, a good idea I thought.  My group completed the task first, was it too easy I prefer to think they were just awesome!! So pancakes and bacon for breakfast.  Still not to keen on these crazy cake like pancakes, much prefer how my beautiful Miss Rosa lakes them, more like crepes.

Packed up and head back to town.  Oh yea I saw a Woodpecker getting into a tree this morning, pretty cool.  Son once we got back to town we picked up some Keiths for the evening, then went back to the school and dumped all the gear and made our way to Herring Cove.

This is where Jans family home is.  Currently residing here is Peter (Jans Dad), Patty (Peters partner), Alex (Jans youngest brother), Alice (Alexs High School sweetheart), Body and Bailey (the family dogs).  I had heard many storied of PT and the boat shed so was looking forward to the encounter.  When we walked up the driveway we found Bo sleeping.  He took a bit of waking as he is going deaf but once he was up and going he was very happy to see Jan and to meet me.  So up the stairs and in to the house where we find Pt at the breakfast bar.  He greets us with open arms and offers us a beer.  Seems like a nice guy.  Patty joins us after her shower, they seem like a really nice couple.  A quick trip to drop off the U Haul and then back to the house.

Herring Cove is set in an amazing area.  The Atlantic Ocean is a short stroll up the hill and across the road.  But the section itself runs down the lake front where you will find Pete's Retreat (The Boat Shed).  Halifax has many of these lakes dotted around the city limits, most of which are connected by river systems.  They are not huge but big enough to have some fun on.  We could hear the rapids were running on the other side of the lake so we canoed across for a look.  Jan has a nice little wave over there, only a grade 2 - 3 but says there has been some good times on kayaks, canoes and inner tubes (particularly with beers in hand).  Maybe we'll get on it one day.  Back to the boat shed while looking for any logs we can burn on the fire tonight. 

The yard is a bit wet at the moment due to high amounts of rain.  Apparently the summer was very dry, but not anymore.  Back up to the house and we farewell Pt and Patty for now as we are heading back in to town for a shower and change of clothes.  A quick trip in to a pub so Jan can show his face at a colleagues retirement part.  Sink a beer and then its back to Herring Cove.

Now I get to meet Jans brothers, Alex 25 and Christian 32.  Also there is Alice and her sister Krista. 
"Nice to meet you are you hungry? There's a steak over there for you."
"Yes please I am starving."
After a feed we head down to the shed for some beers and tunes.  Gregg, a friend of Jans has also joined us.  So we drink and talk the night away with a few safety briefings in between.  Before long Christian is passed out with beer in hand and a crazy head nod going on.  Looks like he'll have a sore neck in the morning.  Apparently this is known as "Shed Buddha", and he does seem to be meditating in his own special way.  Jan drops a fresh track about Shed Buddha, funny stuff.  After some fried peperoni we head back to the house.  By now Jan and myself too are in a state of meditation.

Arise in Nature

What a great sleep, out in nature!!  Didn't think I would be camping in Canada but here I am.  Awoke to Kevin (the teacher) serenading us with a song, lovely.  Breakfast, pack for the day and we are off.  Mountain Biking first for me which is really nice.  Was a blessing in disguise that I was here as the groups were uneven so it would have meant taking a bike in the canoe or something.  We ride through the bush and along the river bank.  No big hills just a nice winding trail.  About half way through some of the kids are talking about wanting to go to the mall and getting back to cellphone reception, what are you crazy!! This place is awesome, give me the great outdoors any day.  Met the other group (who had been canoeing) for lunch.  Then we switched activities so it was time to hit the water!!

Paddled up stream a little way and practiced some moves across the river before heading back down stream and then into a marsh land.  Seemed like we were paddling over land which was pretty cool.  Also tried some bush cranberries, a bit sour but nice.  Turned around and headed down river again towards camp.  This is exactly how I pictured the great outdoors in Canada.  After a gentle drift downstream and hearing "how much further to camp?" every two minutes we broke into the lake and back into the beach.  A challenge was made by one boat with 3 girls in it to get to the beach first, but Kevin and i soon took care of that with some technically sound paddling and powered into the beach first.  So canoes are fun, bit more practice and I'll be all over it!!

So back to camp and we are going for a swim. The sun has been out today, beautiful weather so better make the most of it.  Swimming in Canada in late October, this trip is full of surprises.  Water was a bit cold but was able to hang out in there for a minute or so.  Feeling clean and fresh now  with a swim and some cleaner clothes on.

Just started writing this when I hear my name being called out. "Bruce there is a Porcupine out here!!" Another first, good times!!

That evening the weather stayed nice so after dinner most of us went out for a short paddle in the moonlight.  It was really beautiful, the stars were out in force and we watched as shooting stars screamed across the night sky.  The only problem was it is hard to get high school kids to shut up and just enjoy the moment, but never mind.  Kevin told us a sweet story about Slap Foot.

Basically many years ago there was a native man who was accused of killing a white man, the penalty for which is death.  So he disappeared in to the bush around where we were camping and could not be caught.  However there was one persistent mounty who continued to track the native man.  One night after returning from town for supplies the native man knew that he was being tracked and was sick of it.  So he doubled round on the mounty, snuck upbehind him and cut both of his archillies tendons so that he could not run after the native man anymore.  So they say that the ghost of this mounty wonders Slap Foot Beach still looking for the native man.  At night you will here the sound of him dragging his feet along the shore.  Cool story and has a lot of true history behind it.  Good way to freak some of the kids out.

So back to camp for more stories, songs and snacks tonight outside and then hit the sack.  As I lay in bed I realize I have only been in Canada for one week.  What a long week it has been, I sure have covered some ground.

Over and out.

On the road again

Awoke the next morning to Jan touching my foot.  Its way to early but we have to hit the road as I was to join him on a 3 day high school camp that he is helping out with.  So after a quick shower and throwing some clothes in a bag (I seriously need to do some washing).  We hit the roas and met up with the group and we are off to Kejimkujuk National Park (Keji for short) for canoeing and mountain biking.

So after another couple of hours in the U haul cube truck we have arrived.  What a beautiful place.  Just what I imagined the outdoors of Canada to look like.  Plus Autumn colours are out, very picturesque.  Actually reminds me of Norway, little fishing villages  dotted around Halifax and houses look similar too.  Weathers not great though, fog, rain and thunder are in the forecast but who cares!!  I'm hanging with my buddy Jan and loving it.

So a few activities for the kids after lunch and some organization of camp.  Dinner was cooked for me.  I'm loving this.  Great dinner, maybe the best I've had in Canada.  Very simple but it is a welcome change after basically a week of eating crap (besides the spag I made in Fernie).  Oh yea had my first taste of TIm Hortons this morning on he way to the park.  A very popular chain store who makes sandwiches, bakery stuff etc, very nice.  So now we are just chilling, looking forward to a longer sleep and hopefully get out, in the canoes tomorrow.  Bring it on!!  That evening the kids had a couple of initiative exercises, veryinteresting to watch the dynamics of a high school group.  They can get pretty personal when they want too.  Then some music and its off to bed.

Goodnight Jan

Leaving For Halifax

Left Fernie very early this morning at 0130 and headed for Calgary.  This is the only bus once a day.  But strange but it kinda works out ok as it means I can get on a flight to Halifax the same day.  Paid a crazy amount of money for the flight but I am super stoked to see some friendly faces when I arrive.

The bus driver was grumpy asking for tickets when I had been told on the phone that I would just have to pay the driver as there is no outlet in Fernie, just the bus stop.  Greyhound doesn't seem to have good operating systems in place.  Have been told one nightmare story from a girl.  They lost her bags and were very unhelpful in tracking them down.

Oh yea think we just hit an elk so now we are parked on the side of the road waiting for the driver to find it.  He just got back on the bus and was unable to find the beast.  Apparently now he has to fill out some paper work.  Guess they really like their elk over here.

So back to the girl, she got a ride back to Calgary from Fernie as her bags had her passports and everything in them (bit silly i thought to not have that stuff on you, I have my trusty pelican case).   When she got there and still couldn't find them her friend went to the nearest bus station to Fernie and luckily there they were.  So she got back on a bus to Fernie to get them.  Now she's one the bus again headed back to Calgary and then to Sunshine Village as she's decided to take a job there.  Poor girl.

Well I have arrived safely at the airport.  Driving through the city was a bit of a mind trip at 0700 after getting off the bus from the country.  Full on concrete jungle, seems a lot bigger and busier than Vancouver.  Makes me like Vancouver a bit more now.  So now I have five hours to kill before my flight leaves. What to do..................

Well what I did was not much, watched Notorius on my ipod, then checked in, then waited some more, had a little nap and finally got on the plane.  Flight was sweet, had a spare seat next to me and also had individual screens with tv channels which was pretty cool  o T and had to move to get to connecting flight.  Got there just as they were boarding so all good.  A short sharp visit to Toronto and I was in the air again.  Another spare seat and tv so pretty happy with Westjet.  Though it is kinda drawn out when they have to announce things in English and then French.  Oh well. 


So I arrived in Halifax at approx 2300 local time so after nearly 24 hours on the move I had arrived.  Jan walked in as I was waiting for my bags, SO good to see a friendly face!!  Headed back to his place where Sarah was waiting with some lovely cold Keiths (local beer) very nice.  Sat and talked, Jan made me a sweet Bagel and before long it was time for bed.  Time for a long sleep!!