Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Orcas Came Calling and I Wasn't Home!

Our friend and neighbour, Graeme Ellis, a senior marine mammal technician with Department of Fisheries and Oceans, sent us this picture of Orca whales immediately in front of our home on Friday. Of course I wasn't home and so missed them! That's our grey-blue house in the background, our kayaks lying on the terrace right there, and this is the water we swam in a few months ago! Pretty dramatic, eh? Graeme says these were part of a group of transients (it's a technical term which refers to their social organization) which passed by our place three times before heading north. By the time we got this fabulous photo from Graeme, I knew the orcas had been by, 'cause our island listserv had been shouting out to anyone at home to get down to the beach for a look. Another islander even sent a link to his lovely photos on Flickr: Check this if you'd like a broader view -- the boat you'll see in them is the one Graeme took this photo from.

While the whales were visiting, I was heading to Vancouver for a family dinner, a send-off for my daughter who's going to work in the deep interior of BC through heli-skiing season. Lots to tell you about that gathering, which was great fun, but I'll wait 'til I've sorted through the photos. Meanwhile, I'll just say that I had another great run around the Stanley Park Seawall on Saturday morning just as it started snowing -- by the end of my 80-minute run, there was enough for a little girl to lie down in the road and make a snow angel, grinning with delight (girl, not angel!). It kept snowing steadily all day, slowing down our arriving offspring and their friends and partners, but everyone made it and the winter scene was very pretty viewed from the comforts of a warm apartment. I'm sure Megan was tickled 'cause she'd billed the gathering as an early Christmas and the snow did make us feel festive.

By today, when I caught the bus from Vancouver to the ferry, the snow was horridly mushy downtown and more slush was falling, but at least the bus was able to get to the ferry (altho' via that lower, slower route). Nanaimo has much more snow right now, and taxis were hard to come by, but I finally grabbed one and got to our little ferry with mere seconds to spare, trudged home through the snow noting that although some trees were down, the power is still on. It gets better: I've just checked and found that campus is closed tomorrow so I can tootle around here, marking at my own pace, maybe even managing tea with a good island friend or two. Hope winter's offering you a cozy moment or two as well.

And fun to note that way over on the other coast, Jodi at BloomingWriter is playing in the snow as well!


  1. The colour GREEN will feature heavily in this comment.
    Your house = green
    Whales that swim past your house = green
    You have snow = green
    Your School is shut = green
    Still I will get to see those Parisien shop im still green!

  2. Well, Alison, the snow's all gone now, rained away, leaving behind the muddiest mess a green-with-envy Londoner could wish on someone! And the whales are long gone, and I'm not in Paris! But yes, campus was closed all day -- so lovely! Your comment really made me chuckle, altho' it took me a second to get the "green" (I was thinking environmental righteousness but couldn't make it work, duh!). The grass is always greener, no? (When do you get to see the Parisien windows, you lucky thing?

  3. New Year, yeah, after Christmas in Prague, yeah, and the icky bit in between, Berlin, Boo. well Its Emins favourite place and his birthday so I had to please him a little. All this by train for the other green side of me.

  4. Never been to Prague or Berlin, but have heard good things about both. And train travel, green and kinda romantic, no? We're going to be in Paris in May, then train to Portugal, but for now I'm green about you having Christmas in Prague and New Year's in Paris!


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