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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Take two...!

Today started out with an ongoing toothache for me. UGH!! I started with a dull ache in my tooth last evening and this morning the ache continued. Richard quickly got on the phone and was able to make an appointment for me today in Comox, at the dentist I had briefly seen for TMJ in December. Now that we had the 4:20 dentist appointment lined up, we knew our day would be oriented around the Courtenay/Comox/Cumberland area.

We left Newman around 10:15am this morning on a lovely sunny +4C day. It felt so good to see the sun and as I’ve said before, +4C here feels warmer somehow than back home. The snow had all melted in Fanny Bay and we were going to go to Cumberland for a hike.

As we were driving up the Coastal Hwy I saw that the sun was shining beautifully off the Coastal Mountain ranges over on the mainland of B.C. I asked Richard to please pull into my favourite little spot to take photos in Union Bay, where I know I can access stairs to get down on the beach, close to the water.

Just as I was going to take some photos, a kayaker comes out of no where and goes right in front of me. The water was like glass and I thought, these will make great photos! But we have a problem! My camera has gone into some weird, funky, black and white shooting mode and I’m not sure how to get out of it! I take a few shots and think to myself “these look pretty good actually!” I quickly figure out how to get back to shooting in colour, and keep shooting. The camera is great. The user is not so great with the new camera.

As we continued to drive up the Coastal Hwy I said to Richard, ”There is that yellow Coast Guard plane again and he’s really low. Let’s pull into the beach at Royston and I can get out and shoot him with my zoom lens.”

As I get out to shoot the plane flying low over the water, I see a ’fuzzy’ in my lens. I think a ‘fuzzy‘ from my cowichan sweater is on the lens. I take the lens off, I try wiping the lens with a cleaning cloth, I try a different lens, nothing works! Then I realize the ‘fuzzy’ from my sweater is on my sensor in my camera. Shoot! The air blower is back in Newman that I need to get the fuzzy off the sensor. So we head back down the Coastal Hwy, 15 minutes to get the blower and fix the camera sensor.

Fuzzy on my lens. You can see next to the boat this squiggly line. That means something is on my sensor.

Good thing I know how to use Photoshop.

Take fuzzy! I just cropped the fuzzy out of the photo.

Black and white image from the camera. I used ’spot’ healing in Photoshop to get rid of the fuzzy in this image. I kind of liked how this black and white image turned out! Sometimes you just have dumb luck don’t you?!!

We arrived back at Newman and heard quite a lot of noise coming from the point.

It looks like Cory and his crew are sawing up an old oyster raft and putting the wood in the trailer attached to his truck. We wanted to know what they were up to so after fixing my camera sensor with the blower device, we walked down to the point for a chat.

The base of the old oyster raft. Look at all of the mussels hanging onto the bottom of the raft. This old raft was constructed by taking blocks of styrofoam and covering them with plastic.

Old block of styrofoam, which made up the base of the raft.

Cory told us that newer rafts are made with plastic and the government is clamping down on the use of styrofoam in rafts as it leaches into the water and is not good for the ecosystem. He figured that if he didn’t replace his raft bases, the government would mandate it within the next 3 years. By building his new raft a few weeks ago, he could bring in this old raft, and chop it up for firewood. The styrofoam with go to the dump in Cumberland.

Base of newer rafts. These bases belong to Fanny Bay Oyster Seafood Company.

Mussels from the bottom of the rafts.

A close up of the mussels.

Lots and lots of mussels.

I asked Cory why he didn’t fish for mussels, and he said they were a lot of work, for the price he could fetch for them. Most mussels were grown in baskets, but the silt would come into the mussels, because the waters aren’t always calm in Fanny Bay and he would have to try to rescue the mussels before they died from the silt. He still enjoys eating mussels, but prefers to just harvest them from his own rafts - the ones that are the appropriate size - and not bother with growing them for sale to his seafood suppliers.

A Fanny Bay Oysters Seafood Company raft that has been destroyed by sea lions. The sea lions are 700-1000 pounds in weight and they jump on the rafts and the weight of them breaks the wooden raft. Cory put up railings on his new raft to try and stop the sea lions from jumping onto the raft and destroying it.

We asked if they had a chance to read our blog and Christie said she had. She said “you guys really get around!”. We said we were thinking of hiking in Cumberland today and Christie said we should go to the Cumberland Potholes. We had never seen the Cumberland Potholes advertised anywhere in our travels, so I googled it to see where we needed to go, and we started on “TAKE TWO....Cumberland!”

We love learning from Cory and his team. They are so friendly and we really feel like we are starting to understand what it is like to be making a living from fishing in B.C.! I really didn’t mind that my camera had a ‘fuzzy’ and we had to drive the 15 minutes home to fix it. Coming back to Newman gave us a chance to learn a bit more about life on the sea!

We found the trail in Cumberland quite easily. We had been up the same trail early on in our stay here on the Island. What we didn’t realize was that the Cumberland Potholes were at the end of the trail, where we turned around last time. If only we had known!

This trail is actually a logging road too. The trail is very, very uphill!

Fat tire bike passing us on the trail. We also saw a girl biking in shorts! We were bundled up, and we quickly got too warm as we exerted a lot of energy going up the steep hill!

I found a walking stick and decided to use if for a bit. The road/trail was pretty sloppy in parts as Cumberland is at a higher elevation than Fanny Bay, and there was still lots of snow on the road/trail.

Walking over the bridge to get to the Cumberland Potholes. We had to go down beside the bridge, in the snow and off the trail, to get close enough to the water to see the potholes.

Photographing the Cumberland Potholes.

The rocks have been carved into smooth potholes over time with the flow of water.

Cumberland Potholes or Perseverance Potholes (because they are located in Perseverance Creek).

Each pothole is fed from a mini waterfall, as the creek flows from one area to the next.

In the summertime I imagine the Cumberland Potholes are overrun with hikers looking to cool down after the 2km uphill hike to the potholes. Today we were the only people visiting the potholes.

It was beautiful, albeit a bit treacherous too, with the wet snow underfoot, off the trail, trying to photograph the potholes. Hanging onto a tree branch was very effective for me at times!

I took a longer video that I will post on Facebook to help with the full visual on the potholes.

We had a deadline to get back down to Jerry! I had a call with my former work at 2pm, so we had to quickly make our way back down the hill. Good thing its faster going downhill!

Richard was holding onto me as we went down the hill, for fear I slipped on the snowy road/trail.

As we started our descent down the road/trail we could see the sun shining off the Coastal Mountain ranges on the B.C. Mainland. If you look closely between the two trees near the middle of the picture, you can see the snow on the mountains in the distance.

We drove into Cumberland for my Teams call and Richard lined up for the Cumberland Bakery. We cannot resist the best bakery on the Island (in our opinion!) and Richard came back with freshly made donuts and shortbread. Oh my...I think we need to do that hike all over again!

After my call we headed down the road to Courtenay where Richard had to pick up his UPS delivery for his Trip Directing job tomorrow.

We then headed over to Comox to wait until it was time for my dental appointment.

The good news is NO CAVITY! I’m good! Some gum/plaque issues though, so I’ve booked a cleaning with the hygienist in a few weeks time and we will take care of my teeth, so I’m not having any more sore tooth issues while we are here on the Island.

I said to Richard today “I’m really going to miss the Island when we go home to Fort Erie!” I think that being on the Island for the months we have been here, with my first real taste of freedom from the working world, has been such an adventure, that going home might feel a bit routine. We’ll see I guess, but I’m really enjoying our time here and its nice to be in a place that embraces hiking and the outdoors as much as we are enjoying being outside in the fresh air...with limited amounts of snow and cold! I’m also learning patience too and even though we had to have “two takes” at getting going today, it was definitely worth it to see Cory and his crew again. I guess things don’t always work out as they were planned, but sometimes that is for the better!

Tomorrow is a big adventure day for us! We will be leaving early tomorrow morning to drive down to Victoria with a few stops along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing my son Josh & his girlfriend Alicia for lunch outside somewhere, before we take the ferry to Saltspring Island for the weekend. We’ve got our bags packed and we are all ready to go!

Heading into the weekend with a firm game plan! This is going to be fun!

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