Icluelet Campground

It is a rainy, chilly morning, perfect for staying inside in our awesome 24 ft Icon RV. It is so roomy and spacious and perfect for camping, that Michael, Callie and I are delighted with it. We bought it used in Huntsville, Alabama 8 months ago and have already put 10,000 miles on it.

Icluelet Campground in BC, is an older Campground and the sites are close together but the view couldn't be more gorgeous. The Marina is home to serious fishing boats, bald eagles, gulls and the town has fabulous little restaurants and 2 beaches, Terrace and Little Beach. Long Beach is on the outskirts of town and has wolf warnings posted all over.

Today it is suppose to increase in rain density and I am happy that the skies will be washed of smoke. It has been very smokey here all week because of all the forest fires. I am hoping this will help extinguish most or all of them.

Callie the Cat Ambassador of Goodwill

I have noticed that wherever we go, whenever I take Callie out for a walk, she makes friends wherever we go. If people see her on the dash of the RV when we are fueling up, I can hear them talk about a cat on the dash, laughing with delight and amazement. When we are out walking, she draws a crowd of people interested to know how I taught her to walk on a leash. Children can't help themselves and need to run over to pet her glossy, soft coat, always asking first if it is OK? Callie takes it all in stride and will hunker down and stay still while she is being admired.

Today was no different. A lovely young family from Holland couldn't resist sitting down with us and sharing their story as they petted Callie. The dad works for IKEA and is concerned about Amazon taking over, and when the second child was born, they gave up their cat because it acted out by pooping and peeing all over the place. Both boys love cats and because of Callie, they are going to adopt another kitten when they return from their holiday.

Callie is an ambassador of good will for all cat lovers out there. As soon as they pet her and see how well she does on a leash, they want to try it out for themselves! As far as I am concerned, being the dog lover that I am…. Callie has far surpassed my wildest hopes for having a good traveling companion while going on this road trip with Michael.

The Salmon are Running

Icluelet, BC is a major fishing community, and fisherman have descended from all over the world to benefit from the salmon that are running. I met a fisherman named Dave who was just coming off of his boat after having been at sea for 3 weeks. He said that the times are changing and the fish are smaller and there are fewer of them. This is a concern for all environmentalists and the truth has been understood by the men and women who make a living off of the sea for quite some time now. He was very friendly, good natured and seemed starved to talk to another human being. Both Michael and I listened to his tales with genuine interest and concern. We talked of the fires inland where he lived, and of the catches out at sea which are becoming less and less profitable.

When we were finished talking to Dave, we walked around the Marina and marveled at all the fishing boats- real fishing boats that look like they had been through some pretty rough seas. These aren't charter boats taking tourists out for an afternoon of fun and games, these boats are the real deal and they look it. The fisherman that fish these waters do it for a living. They are a hardy international group that understand the tides and the dangers of being out on the ocean. A Finnish man came up to Michael and me with 3 other characters that were so open and friendly and in need of a new person to share stories with, that it gave me pause to consider the world that is made up of countries and borders and walls to keep out others!"

Looking around, I realized that the marine layer had come in and the temperature dropped down into the middle 50's. Quite a difference from the 80's in Genoa Bay, with its acrid smoke being exchanged for soothing fog. Canada has over 100 fires burning out of control as I write. It has been the worst fire season in recorded history. The visibility was greatly reduced from Victoria almost to where we pulled into the campground. But here up-island, the fog is very dense and misty, which helps to contribute to the sense that you are in another biosphere, one that is governed by nature and water, land, the sun and the moon.

The fisherman know this side of nature much more then the person who buys the fish in a package, precut and on a shelf. Dave knew that the salmon were running and were headed toward the Columbia Gorge. These fish all have predestined routes and are compelled to follow them home to where they were born. Returning to the place that they were born is paramount to completing their purpose on this beautiful planet. I looked up and was startled by the raucous sound of several seagulls harassing a bald eagle who had landed on one of the boat masts. Even though he was much larger and had a magnificent wingspan, he was being forced to vacate his coveted fishing perch by the smaller but much more tenacious gulls. Such is the way of nature!

We then decided to walk toward another, much smaller dock off to the side that was jutting out into open waters. I was saddened to read that this other dock had once been used by 60 Japanese families who were forced to leave everything behind after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were given 3-4 days notice and I didn't realize that Canada too had turned on Japanese families living in their country. Pearl Harbor was a horrible act of terrorism and
it was the catalyst to starting WWII. But innocent families lost everything they had worked so hard for and history has shown that these forced removals were not necessary to the safety of its Canadian and American neighbors. Canada seems to have learned her lesson…..

Life can be so difficult for immigrants that are just trying to eek out a living for themselves and their families. I hope that American people continue to stand up to the racist attitude of the Trump administration and embrace what America once stood for. Open up your arms and welcome people fleeing from persecution, poverty, war and climate change. We can do better and should keep fighting for justice for all people who are willing to work hard and contribute to society. We are evolved beings and as such, should behave worthy of the intelligence that has been bestowed upon us. Let us be sentinels to this planet and respect Mother Nature in order to contribute to the sustainable survival of all.

I also must mention my awareness of the native people displaced by Europeans…. I can't bring up every slight in this article and this topic will have to wait for another day.

Farewell to Genoa Bay

What an incredible time we have had in Genoa Bay with my brother and sister in law and David and JoAnne. Tom, an artist and salty sailor, is captain of his domain. Frances is a quiet and unassuming artist herself, having descended from a long line of Dutch Master Portrait artists. David, our selfless host, has a heart of gold with vast knowledge of audiophile components and JoAnne, a competent, compassionate nurse, loves to dance to Dave Matthews and can turn a dinner into a party!

We had a celebration together last night which was joyous, filled with conversation and good food, wine, dancing and music. The horrific "T" word wasn't mentioned once! Most Canadians, as do most Americans, feel a great deal of horror and anger at the Donald. Callie was able to crash the party for a bit… Elenor and Rigby, their two beautiful cats who are brother and sister, only got to participate from a distance.

I can't begin to share all that I am grateful for and for the appreciation that I feel toward family and host and hostess. We have decided to head up Island at the request of Tom and our hosts though, instead of heading to Seattle. You can't come to Vancouver Island without experiencing Long Beach. So Long Beach, here we come!

Waiting for the Party to Start

David and JoAnne, our wonderful hosts, are throwing a party for us before we head out tomorrow morning. Their house looks over Genoa Bay and is an interesting 3 story home that reminds me of a Chapel or a monastery.

Callie and I are hanging out in the RV watching David prepare for the festivities. He has Joni Mitchell playing in the background and Callie and I are participating with words of encouragement only. David has refused any help and Michael and Tom will be here soon laden with groceries.

Callie loves to dangle her head and neck over the table to stretch out her spine. I have never had a cat that does this, and it cracks me up when she gets in this position.

May the festivities start soon and the work be done. David and JoAnne have been incredible. We have felt so welcome, I hope to some day return the favor.

Callie has a New Tree to Climb

Callie has missed her beloved olive trees, but this morning she discovered an arbutus tree that is growing in front of David and JoAnne's house. It has a wood carving of an eagle with the word "ocean" carved on it. The bark of the arbutus is gold and reddish brown, and the underbelly has pinks and green with yellow ochre much like our eucalyptus in California. The bark curls up and peels off in shredded pieces and Callie took great delight in climbing and sharpening her claws on it this morning. When she rakes her claws into the bark, it spills away in sheets and smells much like cedar shavings. Callie would like one of these trees growing in her yard in Anza Borrego please!

One Version of a Story

Apparently two brothers inherited Genoa Bay Marina from their father maybe 10 or 15 years ago, maybe longer, who knows? But most of the old timers have left in outrage and disgust for raising moorage rates so high and not appreciating the value and wisdom of the locals that have lived here the longest. It was so frustrating to my brother, that he can't even talk about it to this day.

He had lived here for years and many of his sculptures decorated the dock. Like a marriage gone horribly wrong and a bitter divorce that follows, Tom and Frances moved their float-house away from the Marina and out into the bay. Most of Tom's friends also feel anger and disappointment toward the new management, so Tom is not alone with his bad feelings.

It is still an adorably picturesque place though, and I walked around and shot photographs of the local scenery in spite of my brother's difficult past experiences. David and JoAnne, the wonderful couple who are allowing us to park our RV at their place, don't like the new owners either, and they are forced to look out at this idyllic scene every day.

In spite of all of this, the neighbors have been so kind and friendly, that I can't walk Callie around without half of them coming out to say hello and to pet her. You would never know of the negative feelings around here if you hadn't been told. Every battle has another side to the story, but because I am Tom's sister, I will go with the story told to me by him. He actually doesn't even want to talk about it, so the details are sketchy, but the reaction has been strong!

Michael, Callie and I will be here until Thursday and then we are taking the ferry back from Victoria to Port Angeles. We will spend one more night there and then head to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my favorite nieces, Sarice. We had wanted to continue traveling through Canada and over to Banff and Jasper, but the fires and smoke are turning us back.

David and JoAnne are throwing a going away party for us tomorrow night and they have been extraordinary hosts. David plays Bob Dylan for us in the gazebo during the day, while JoAnne, who is a nurse, is away at work. Tonight they brought me dinner because Michael and Tom are visiting another good friend, Chuck and his wife, Angel that live in Victoria. Callie and I are so tired, that a night alone in the RV sounds like heaven.

What a fabulous time I have had with Tom, Frances and all the wonderful people they know. The hospitality has been first rate and Michael has finally gotten to sail again with Tom. It has been 10 years or so since the last time they have sailed together.

Callie spent the day relaxing in the RV and recovering from her big adventure as a sea cat out at sea! She and I are going to go to bed early and rise at the break of dawn, to start another day with our travelswithcallie adventure!


Tom and Frances's catamaran- Alfresco, is a work of art. She is 38 ft long and 18 ft wide. When the wind is harnessed by the sail, she glides over the surface of the water with surge and power. The two hulls on each side of the boat keep her balanced and level so that they don't heel from side to side. The mast is taller than the catamaran is long, and when you look up, the sail seems to billow out forever. Tom built her 41 years ago when he was only in his 20s. The lines of Alfresco are so streamlined and contemporary, you feel like you are looking at a vessel that is sailing across a vast ocean far off into the future.

We spent 3 days and 2 nights at Burgoyne Bay and walked along Saltspring Island in the morning to stretch out our stiff and achy sea legs. Callie did wonderful and handled herself as a sea cat with grace, curiosity and charm. This was her maiden voyage across the salty sea and I was a little nervous about her going over board! It only takes one false move and over the rail she would go. Michael and Tom saw her slip just once, but she landed on the deck and walked away with dignity as if it had all been planned and done on purpose! Every morning when Callie woke up, she investigated the boat with curiosity, checking out every nook and cranny in hopes that there was something new for her to discover.

After the third day, we headed back to Genoa Bay where Tom and Frances live. When we finished dropping Alfresco off at the dock alongside the float house, Tom took us back to the RV by dingy. This time, Callie even sat up and peaked out over the water on our way back to the marina!

This is a gouache painting I did of Alfresco in 1985 when I was working on my BFA in drawing and painting at Cal State, Fullerton.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

With a heavy heart, we must pack up today and head back to the RV. We still have a couple more days or so on the island, but sailing with Tom and Frances has come to and end. What an extraordinary time we have had with my brother and sister in law. Tom designed and built Alfresco 41 years ago, and it is an incredible sailing vessel. She is 18 ft wide and 38 ft long. Because it is a catamaran, they don't pitch side to side, but only speeds up when the wind increases. Both of the hulls are sleeping quarters, as is the cabin area. It is a magnificent creation and the first of many sculptures Tom has created.

Frances played the ukulele for us in the evening and sang beautiful, old Nova Scotia songs with her soft, innocent voice ringing out across the calm waters. Callie behaved herself while she enjoyed the sailing experience, and her curiosity didn't get the best of her. She wanted to jump over to the dinghy that is tied up to the side of Alfresco but had to be reminded with a slap on Alfresco's side, that it wasn't a good idea…

Burgoyne Bay & Saltspring Island

It is another smoke filled day on Vancouver Island. There are 126 fires burning last time I checked- down from 200 earlier in the week. The temperature is warm and muggy and there is very little breeze blowing. Callie is doing exceptionally well and has taken to the catamaran as if she has done it all her life. I was somewhat worried about her going over board last night, but she stayed close to my side and was here in the morning to tell the tale….