Tuesday, July 10, 2018

An Overnight Cruise to Van Anda on Texada Island

Approaching Westview Fuels in the South Harbour.
We are a little late starting our summer cruising season, but finally got our Bayliner 2452 in the water at the end of June. To make sure everything was shipshape, we decided to take a cruise over to nearby Texada Island.

First we stopped by Westview Fuels in Powell River's South Harbour to gas up. It's an easy spot to reach with gas, diesel, water and other boating supplies available. Next door to the visitor docks it's handy for locals and guests to the Westview Harbour alike.

Looking towards Powell River from the Sturt Bay breakwater.

Texada is about half an hour away from our home port in Powell River. It's a fun place to visit. The Texada Boating Club has a visitor's dock (Dock 4 on the outer edge). It's a private private club dock in Sturt Bay, but welcomes guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. When we were there the cost was $.75 a foot with power available for an extra charge, For more information you can contact the wharfingers Bob and Maggie Timms at 604-414-5897 or VHF 66A.

Our Bayliner on the visitor's dock at the Texada Boating Club marina.

The marina is within walking distance of the village of Van Anda. This island community is the largest on Texada Island. It's rural in nature where gardens abound. Forest rings the town so many deer can be seen walking the streets and nibbling yard plantings that aren't protected with tall fences.

Mary Mary's Cafe in Van Anda on Texada Island.
You will find an elementary school, store, museum and several places to eat. The pub and restaurant at the Texada Island Inn (Gillies Bay Road) have reopened. Rooms for overnight stays may become available by 2019. We walked up the hill for a nice dinner.

The next morning we walked over to the Mary Mary's Cafe (1989 Marble Bay Road) for breakfast with the locals. That made for an easy overnighter without meal preparation.

Historically, Van Anda was a much larger thriving mining community. Today, mining is still a major part of the economy, but the town has become much smaller and relaxed. You can read about it in Heather Harbord's book Texada Tapestry: A History.

Wayne relaxing on the back deck on a warm sunny day.

If you don't have a boat of your own, you can still visit Texada Island. Driving by car you can take the ferry from Powell River and explore the island at your leisure. You can also reach Texada by air using scheduled KD Air flights or your own aircraft. Please note there is no public transportation on Texada once you are there.

You can read more about cruising Coastal BC and the Strait of Georgia in Wayne's nautical themed books Up the Strait, Farther Up the Strait and Up the Inlet

All of the books are available in print and ebook formats at Amazon and other online booksellers.

Thanks for visiting part of my world this week. For more great posts from Our World Tuesday, click here.

And also a meme called Through My Lens by Mersad.

And Tuesdays with a Twist at Stone Cottage Adventures. -- Margy

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Seafood Lasagna with a Veggie Twist

This is a new take on the Mushroom and Crab Casserole that Marg, my good friend in Powell River, makes.

Wayne and I are working on getting healthier and trying to lose some weight. This recipe replaces some of the pasta with a very versatile vegetable, spaghetti squash.



Bake spaghetti squash.
1 spaghetti squash

Seafood Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1/2 red sweet pepper chopped
1/2 bell pepper diced
2 stalks celery with leaves diced
2 cups white mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion crystals
1/2 teaspoon salt
Shred the squash.
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
sprinkle of ground pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dill
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons spreadable cream cheese
2 cups imitation crab (or the real deal)
2 cups medium shrimp whole

Mix the filling.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

4 lasagna noodles
2 quarts boiling water
1 tablespoon oil (optional)
1 teaspoons salt

Saute the sauce ingredients.
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese grated
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Place upside down in 1/2 inch of water is a large baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender. Remove and cool. Shred the squash until it looks like spaghetti (hence the name).

Cook the noodles.
Saute onion, garlic, peppers, celery, and mushrooms with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan until tender and the liquid is evaporated. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, basil, and dill to release flavours.

Add wine. Simmer about 1 minute more until liquid is almost evaporated. Measure flour into small bowl. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Add to vegetable mixture, stirring constantly until boiling and thickened.

Stir in cream cheese until melted.

Add seafood to the sauce.
Cook pasta in boiling water, oil and salt in a large uncovered pot until pliable but slightly firm. Drain.

Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray. Put enough of the sauce mixture to cover the bottom of the dish. Lay the lasagna noodles on top, overlapping the edges.

Add shrimp and crab to the remaining sauce mixture.  Put about one third on top of the lasagna noodles. Mix ricotta and Parmesan cheese with garlic powder and basil.

Layer the ingredients.
Spread the cheese mixture over the top of seafood sauce mixture. Then make a layer of the shredded spaghetti squash.

Put a small portion of the seafood sauce on top of the squash and mix it in to moisten and flavour it.

Top with the remaining seafood sauce. Cover and bake at 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until hot and bubbling. Add the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top and return to the oven uncovered.

Bake until golden brown.
Bake until the cheese melts and gets golden brown.

Okay, I know the seafood sauce and cheese aren't low calorie, but at least the spaghetti squash allows us to eat a normal portion with a little less guilt.

Have you altered any recipes to make them healthier?  I'd love to hear about them.

Hop on over to the Not So Modern Housewife and see some great ideas for homesteading and simple living.

Want more ideas? Try Nancy's Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Head over to Blogghetti for Happiness is Homemade to see more recipes, crafts and DIY projects. -- Margy

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lake Washington Ship Canal

W is for Lake Washington Ship Canal

Between the southeast end of freshwater Lake Washington and the salt water of Puget Sound there's a man enhanced connector called the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Using this waterway boats and other watercraft can make their way from freshwater Lake Washington, through the Montlake Cut to Portage Bay and Lake Union, through the Fremont Cut to Salmon Bay (which is a mix of fresh and salt water), and finally through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to Puget Sound.

A cruiser heading through the Montlake Cut.

Wayne and I visited Seattle to go to the University of Washington for NCAA women's softball regionals and a WNBA Seattle Storm vs Phoenix Mercury basketball game at Key Arena.

Brittany Griner and the Phoenix Mercury vs Seattle Storm.

We walked a lot and enjoyed the Lake Union Ship Canal Trail from the UW campus down to Portage Bay. Rather than following the traditional southern route, we used the northern side to reach the Aqua Verde Mexican food restaurant for dinner one day, and lunch the next. I highly recommend them. There's a great view and I had the best chili rellano ever!

All along the Montlake Cut there are benches and picnic tables. We relaxed after our lunch one day watching kayakers leaving the Aqua Verde Paddle Club and geese and ducks enjoying the fresh grass and flowers.

Two families of Canada Geese enjoying a Portage Bay park.

There was even a beautiful Laburnum tree in full bloom.

Beautiful Laburnum Tree in bloom and I-5 in the background.

On the way back to the UW campus for a game we passed the university's oceanography dock with it's hefty research boats waiting for another expedition.

The UW research vessel dock at the end of the Montlake Cut.

Seattle has many areas to explore, but for us the University District is a favourite. What's yours? Do you have any recommendations for restaurants and places to explore? -- Margy

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"The Golden Spruce" by John Vaillant

One place I want to visit is Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). This island archipelago is 90 km (56 miles) by ferry from Prince Rupert on the northern British Columbia coast.

Speaking of ferries, I get some of my best books about BC in the gift shop on the ferry between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. That's where I found The Golden Spruce (Vintage Canada, 2006) by John Vaillant.

The Golden Spruce was a 300 year-old yellow-coloured Sitka spruce located on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii. It grew from a minute seed that sprouted around 1700 into a massive tree "sixteen storeys tall and more than six metres around." This amazing biological wonder was the result of a rare genetic mutation that thrived along the bank of the Yakoun River in a rich, fertile lowland called a "spruce flat."

Vaillant likens the Golden Spruce to the bumblebee which can miraculously fly despite having less than aerodynamic characteristics. With limited chlorophyll in its needles, the carotenoids (the same substance that makes fall leaves turn red, yellow and orange) shine through. Not surprisingly, this unique tree had special significance to the Haida First Nation. It also made it a prime target for Grant Hadwin, a former logger turned environmentalist. The Golden Spruce is the story of the tree and its demise at Grant Hadwin's hands in 1977 and so much more.

John Vaillant artfully weaves together the history of Haida Gwaii's discovery, Haida inhabitants, logging practices in British Columbia, and the life of Grant Hadwin. The author is a master at blending facts and background information into a story that grabs the reader. I enjoyed it very much even though the event itself was a sad occurrence. If you are looking for a book that gives an unbiased depiction of logging and life in remote areas in British Columbia, I highly recommend The Golden Spruce.

http://www.amazon.com/Gumboot-Girls-Adventure-Survival-Columbias-ebook/dp/B00MOPMJPS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=The story of Grant Hadwin and the Golden Spruce was also made into an award winning film called Hadwin's Judgement in 2015.

Have I piqued your interest in Haida Gwaii? You might also like a book that is a favourite of mine, Gumboot Girls by Jane Wilde and edited by Lou Allison (Caitlan Press, 2014). It's a compilation of memoir vignettes of adventurous women who lived in Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert in the 1960s and 70s. You can find out more about these women on their Facebook page Gumboot Girls.

I was featured on Stone Cottage Adventures for Words on Wednesday for writing tips, stories, book reviews/tours, poetry, blog posts, current events/facts, and publishing books. - Margy

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tofino and Ucluelet, BC

Yvonne on a cliffside trail in Ucluelet.
I took a spring trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island with my friend Yvonne Maximchuk. It was partly for work with lots of time for play.

Yvonne is an author and artist. She needed to drive to several galleries to pick up paintings that were on display and take them to the Filberg Lodge in Comox for a show on Mother's Day weekend.

We stopped in Port Alberni and purchased lunch makings to use for hikes and beach visits.

Our first stop was Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park. It wasn't a sunny day, but still the long hard packed sandy beach was beautiful.

Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

We were surprised to see hundreds of thousands stranded Velella Velellas (By-the-Wind-Sailors). Some were fresh and others had already reduced to their chitonous structure.

A stranded Velella Velella.

Marina view from the dockside pub,
We spent two nights in Tofino at the Tofino Resort and Marina. It's totally remodeled and has a wonderful restaurant and pub down by the marina. I enjoyed the view of floating homes across the bay.

We had a queen suite with two separate rooms, one with a comfortable sofa bed. The large deck was where we spent our evenings with glasses of wine and snacks before and after dinner.

The second day we went to Ucluelet to a gallery to pick up paintings. While there, we walked a portion of the Wild Pacific Trail. There were magnificent views of the rugged coastline.

A trip to Tofino wouldn't be complete without a visit to Chesterman Beach to watch cold water west coast surfers.

Here I am at Chesterman Beach on a misty day.

The trip ended in Courtenay so I could help Yvonne set up for her art show and sale at the Filberg Lodge in Comox the next day.

The historic lodge made their wall available to display her art for visitors throughout the weekend. The lodge was the home of Robert and Florence Filberg. Robert was Superintendent of the Comox Logging and Railway Company and the home is beautifully positioned on the bay.

Yvonne with a painting at the Filberg Lodge.
Here's Yvonne with one of her paintings inside the magnificent lodge.

Outdoors there are gorgeous gardens with lots of flowers, shrubs and trees. The grounds and lodge are open to the public and very popular with locals and visitors alike.

Come visit Vancouver Island and be sure to put Comox, Ucluelet and Tofino on your travel list.

You can learn more about Yvonne, her books and art at her website. She's also on Facebook. -- Margy

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ode to Bro

When Wayne and I came to Powell River in 2001 our first friend was John. You can't be friends with John and not love his dog Bro, Brody if you are being formal.

Bro lived a long, well traveled life. If John went anywhere, Bro was always at his side. That ended sadly this month when Bro left this earthly world to go meet his maker.
As Bro would say...

I was living in a shelter on Vancouver Isle,
When John and his family came to visit awhile.
I used my best Black Lab attitude,
And soon enough they were wooed.
We took a ferry ride to Powell River,
to a loving home that would last forever.

During my eighteen years with John,
I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere.
I've been to...

Last Chance
Powell Lake
Goat Lake
Duck Lake
Princess Louisa
Last Resort
Goat Island
The Head
St. Vincent
Olsen's Landing
The Eldred
Frog Pond
Rupert's Farm
Rainy Day
Hole in the Wall
Our Float Cabin
And Best of all
My Westview home!

And many more, man.
Many, many more.
I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere.

Thanks John for the best life
a Black Lab named Bro could ever imagine.