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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

How are we going to cook a turkey in that oven?

Merry Christmas to everyone!

We hope that you are enjoying Christmas this year, even if we’re all trying to figure out how to do Christmas differently in 2020. Its our first Christmas in Canada in probably 13 years! We miss our Florida tradition of golfing on Christmas morning and having our neighbours Ray and Gerry over for dinner, but it has been really nice to FaceTime with family and friends over the past two days.

We had a lot of rain overnight and the first thing I thought about when we woke up was the roof and was Newman leaking again? We were very pleased to have NO LEAKS for Christmas! Both of our neighbours were texting Richard this morning to check on us!

Our neighbour Steve knocked on our door and told us there were a couple of baby seals out swimming around by the fishing boats. I quickly got dressed for the rain, and went outside to try and take photos of the seals. Unfortunately the photos didn’t turn out and the seals quickly vanished. How disappointing! Hopefully they will be back another day and my camera will cooperate!

We needed to get some fresh air before starting the turkey dinner preparations so Richard suggested we head up to Royston to hike the Royston Seaside Trail. “All Trails“ calls this an easy trail, 1.9km, out and back trail. The trail is 23 minutes north on the coastal highway.

Since it was pouring rain, we dressed in full goretex, including our golf rain paints for our hike. The first thing that caught our eye was a bunch of old posts in the water, with shipwrecks all around them.

Wooden posts in the water, with Comox in the background.

Shipwreck at Royston Seaside Trail.

Remains of something with shipwreck in Comox Harbour.

We were very curious to understand why so many ships seem to have been wrecked in Comox Harbour. Apparently there are 14 ships sunk in the harbour. In the early 20th century the logging industry was booming around the Comox Harbour. Getting logs to the mill quickly faced a lot of challenges in B.C., including unpredictable weather and rough waters, which took a toil on ships and their crews too. In the 1930’s, someone had a brilliant idea, what they needed was a breakwater to calm the sometimes treacherous waters of the harbour - but they needed one fast. Decommissioned ships could maybe be the solution - and so was sunk the first of many ships that would act as a foundation for a breakwater, eventually leading to a fleet of ships being deliberately sunk - including some historic ships - and the makeshift breakwater seemed to work. Over the course of a few decades, ships which no longer served their sea-faring purpose were towed out into Comox Harbour, drilled full of holes, and strategically sunk. In total there were 3 windjammers, 3 frigates, 2 destroyers, 3 steam tugs, 1 or 2 harpoon boats and 2 barques - a 19th venture workhorse of a sailing ship. These ships acted to calm the waters churned up by the strong east winds, so logging traffic was better able to navigate to the mills on the mainland. Today more than half a century later, the shipwrecks sit, rusting and decaying along the breakwater, eaten away by salt and sea microbes. The shipwrecks have been given protection by the B.C. Heritage Conservation Act declaring them as archaeological sites, making it illegal for scavengers to take any souvenirs from the ships. (Maybe we need to sink a few ships in Lake Erie in our backyard, to calm the November storms!)

We still couldn’t figure out what the posts were, until we saw a historical sign explaining that from 1911 to the early 1950’s steam locomotives hauled logs from logging camps throughout the Comox Valley to the Royston log dump. A mile-long wharf extended out into the harbour and the logs were tipped off the wharf and sorted into booms for storage before being transported to saw mills. So the posts we were seeing in the water, held up the railway ties for the locomotive. The remainder of the railway ‘right of way’ became the Royston Waterfront Trail in 2005, when neighbours living near the trail approached the Ministry of the Environment about making the railway land a trail. In 2012, funding was received for the Province to reconstruct the trail. The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society has been working alongside the Royston Seaside Trail to restore lost eelgrass and saltmarsh habitat which are vital to sustain the “salmon highway” as the migration routes for 5 species of Pacific Salmon goes through this area.

We saw some mallard ducks and non breeding male hooded mergansers on our trail walk. (The mergansers wouldn’t stay still for a photo!)

All kinds of trail critters!

People lurking in the forest.

We saw 8 people out walking on the trail today and everyone here in B.C. is very hardy. It doesn’t matter if its raining...get out and go for a hike!

I don’t think this catamaran was one of the ships that was just seems to be grounded and smashed up.

We stopped at the Union Bay Market which was surprisingly open today. We had drank almost all of our Prosecco last evening and needed more for Kir Royals tonight before dinner! The Market has all manner of baked goods, ciders, beers and wines. Crazy that the Market would be open on Christmas Day. No way we would be buying any alcohol in Ontario on Christmas Day! Richard also took the liberty to pick up a homemade apple crisp for desert go go along with the homemade shortbread and lemon squares I made yesterday.

We made sure we didn’t have a long hike today, so we could get home to start cooking our turkey dinner. With a 3 burner stove, and a combo microwave/convection oven, we have to do things in shifts! Two days ago I made the cranberry sauce, and yesterday we cooked the turnip with maple syrup. Garlic, oregano roasted Parsnips and baked russet potatoes were cooked first this afternoon before we put the turkey in the oven. We are hoping it all works out for dinner at 7:30pm this evening. Fingers crossed!

Green beans with dill butter. Traditional turkey stuffing with craisins and pecans. Carrots in orange juice which will be thickened with cornstarch.

Our very small RV oven but we were able to fit our Le Cruset pot with the turkey breast roast in it.

Ah...the smells and sounds of Christmas! Carols on the Bluetooth speaker, the delicious roasting turkey...while we can’t share it in person with family or friends, it has still been a wonderful day to be alive and healthy!

All the best to our friends and family! A Merry Christmas from Fanny Bay, B.C.!

Fanny Bay on a nice day!

And hopefully next year we’ll be back in Florida for Christmas!

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