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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

I pulled the trigger finally!

Or should that be pushed the trigger? I did it! After doing a ton of research last night and for the past few weeks, I finally decided on the new camera.

A Fuji XT-4 mirror less camera. I read so many articles and watched way too many YOU TUBE videos last night and this new camera was rated the best mirror less camera on the market. And less than half the price of the Canon I had originally set my eyes on. For my retirement gift I was generously given an Amazon gift certificate, which I was able to use to pay for half the new camera. Of course I had to order a couple of lens, battery charger and extra batteries, but that’s to be expected. The camera is coming on December 29th and I‘m so excited, but a little nervous since I’ve been using an entry level Canon Rebel 7 for the last year, and now I have to learn all about the Fuji operating system. As I said to Richard today, ”what else will I have to do? I’ll be retired so I have all the time in the world for discovery!

After a conference call with my office today, which somehow got set up for 5:30am my time (I slept through that time) and got rescheduled for 9am PST time, and spending the time ordering the camera and accessories, we finally got on the road to the golf course around 11:15am. We had a 12:30pm tee time today at Fairwinds Golf Club in Nanoose Bay, a 40 minute drive south, down the main Hwy 19.

We really loved the drive into this golf course community. The homes were stunning and the landscaping and pride of ownership was very evident everywhere. I was most impressed with how they keep the rock faces and built the houses around the rocks. Really impressive!

We were curious when we saw this sign as we walked to the first tee which mentioned that Fairwinds Golf Club was a stop on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail. After looking into it, we figured out that if you are a Vancouver Island resident you can buy a card for $329 that lets you play 1 round of golf at 13 golf courses in the year. That’s only $25.30 a round to play some of the nicest golf courses on the island. The cards sell out very quickly and the 2021 card is already sold out. What a great deal! Some of the other courses that participate in the Vancouver Island Golf Trail are: Bear Mountain, Storey Creek, Olympic View, Crown Isle, Campbell River, Quadra Island and of course the one we were playing today - Fairwinds Golf Club.

We decided that since we were teeing off at 12:30pm we would only play 9 holes. With less sunlight than we are used to back home (the sun went down at 4:19pm), we would not get 18 holes in, if we tried to play 18. The cost was reasonable at $20 each for 9 holes, and complementary ricksha pull/push carts!

Richard had to hit off a mat on the first tee which wasn’t the best start to a round!

The course had a very nice layout and while there were quite a few hills to walk, I managed to walk the 9 holes without slipping or sliding away! We are loving our Foot Joy golf boots and think they were the investment of the season out here to play in wet conditions!

2nd hole - a beautiful downhill par 3 with water behind the green and the ocean behind the houses. Really stunning!

Frog mascot on the 2nd tee. I wonder if this is similar to the gnome that Eagle Ridge has on #4?

2nd tee...

Amphitheatre green on the par 5, 3rd hole.

We really enjoyed the golf course, wished it was a bit dryer and we could have played all 18 holes. Another has to get dryer eventually!

We inquired what the cost of membership was and we found it strange that there was an initiation fee of $20,000, with couple members paying $5,700 for a full year, or $4,700 April to October, and the course is only semi private. Kind of a steep initiation fee for not being a private golf course.

I’ve been using rain gloves on both hands as we play golf, but when the temperature is a bit cooler, I found my hands are still cold - but they have a perfect solution for cool weather golf! Winter golf gloves! I can’t wait to try these out!

After golf we stopped in for a socially distanced lunch in the Fairwinds Clubhouse.

Check out that sweater Richard is wearing! The “Royal and Ancient” Club de Golf De Buckingham where Richard grew up playing golf and where his father was the President of the Golf Club.

We are finding the food is outstanding at the golf courses we’ve visited. Today Richard had the Rock Fish Tacos made with Cajun snapper, coleslaw, pea shoots with chipotle salsa, while I had the chicken quesadillas with pumpkin seeds and sweet potatoes. Both of us had the amazing soup of the day - potato, cheddar, bacon! YUMMMY!!! Our server told us that they freeze all of their homemade soups for the members to purchase to take home. What a great idea! Soup is always yummy on a cold, wet day!

Rock Fish Tacos

Chicken Quesadillas with potato, bacon, cheddar soup.

We were quickly losing our daylight and trying to find a nice spot to take a photo on the ocean. We arrived in Neck Point Park in Nanaimo just at golden hour to be able to shoot some amazing photos....and all the while Jerry the Jeep, was registering EMPTY on the gas gauge! YIKES! I left Richard with the GPS to try and find our closest gas station, while I set off to try and grab these photos before we completely lost our daylight.

Great Blue Heron hanging out in Neck Point, Nanaimo.

Love pink glow from the sun setting over Mount Baker in Washington State.

Shack Island between Neck Point Park and Piper’s Lagoon. Shack island has a really interesting history.

Up close shot of Shack Island in Hammond Bay. They really do look like shacks but people live in them! The cabins have their roots in the 1930’s as people struggled with the Great Depression. The area around Shack Island became a key fishing spot for those willing to take their catch back to town to sell. With property taxes becoming harder to pay as the economy struggled to rebuild, fishermen began building shelters and lean-tos on the small spit of land. In 1955 though the land that Shack Island resided on was sold. Residents were told to tear down or abandon the shacks and thus began the “Battle of the Stakes”. The residents of the island banded together to fight the development, backed by the Nanaimo Fish & Game Association and they applied to purchase the land back in a co-operative ownership, only to be told that the BC Land Act would not allow it. Finally in 1974 Duanne Finlayson sold the land the government to create Piper’s Lagoon Park, which is now federally monitored and the residents of Shack Island were allowed to keep their homes. Ownership of the cabins are passed down to family members and cannot be sold and new homes cannot be built on the island. If one is lost to fire, weather or rain it is the end of that cabin’s story. This story of Shack Island reminds me of the challenges that the residents of Toronto Island faced many years ago to keep their homes on the Island with the City of Toronto finally agreeing to 99 year land leases for the current owners.

After losing our daylight, and gassing up Jerry, we made our quick drive home in under 50 minutes. Another great day of exploring Vancouver Island!

And while driving to Fairwinds today we were able to book a choice 9 hole tee time for tomorrow! Don’t you just love it when you can plan a day in advance instead of weeks in advance?!!


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