Monday, February 28, 2011

Tofino Snow Day

The kids haven't been sent home yet, but I suspect that if this snow keeps up they'll be home early and we'll have a truncated Snow Day. I went out and took a few photos before it all melted. (Sorry, they seem fuzzy. Can I blame the camera? Or the Oscars?)

Arnet Boatshed and Meares Island

Opitsat and Meares Island

St. Columba Church, Main Street, Tofino

And then, because it's the west coast, we need to throw in the requisite flowers:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Low Tide in Tofino - 1

If you know me, you'll know that I'm a bit of a pack rat. I usually come home from the beach with pockets full of beach glass, shells, and nice smooth stones that feel good in your hand. I have jars and bowls of beach glass and things like this:

See? I'm a pack rat. (I'll apologize to my children now, while I'm still lucid, for what they'll have to deal with when I'm a crazy cat lady.)

The work of artists that use found "ephemera" has always caught my eye and these two blogger/artists in particular — A Collection A Day and Quercus Design — have great collections to peruse.

I'm no artist, photographer or designer, but I am a writer. And I like local history and I live near the beach. So I thought I'd take all that inspiration and mix it up every once in awhile. I'll take a wander down to one of the local beaches to see what the tide might have uncovered.

So here's my first instalment. I've been working on a walking tour of downtown Tofino, so I went to where it all began about 110 years ago. These bits and bobs are from the beach front in the harbour. Of course it's very hard to tell the era for most of these things, but it's fun to think that they might have come from some of the town's earliest residents.

I also came across this little hideaway, which would be a really nice place to spend some quiet hours, tucked out of sight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tofino Photographer - Sander Jain

I've been wanting to mention and link to the stunning photographs by Tofino-based photographer, Sander Jain. He was kind enough to send a few to post here.

Here is an excerpt from his artist's statement, but the longer statement is worth a read.

Photography enables me to bring moments in which I see a potential to perfection by unhinging them from the real, coherent world context and presenting these extracts out of their context as keys to more intense, more perfect, complying and self-determined realities. I love pictures that answer or express my claim to reality and have some deepness and mystical elements in them. If everything in a picture were revealed, if everything were light and if there were no dark or undefined parts in them, the magic would be gone and the viewer had nothing to do. The best pictures are those that leave room for our imagination, our notions, fears, wishes, hopes, expectations and longings and make us curious.

Sander's work is wide-ranging and includes nature, surfing, portraits, urban landscapes and more. His website is definitely worth spending time on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Katherine Govier in Tofino Tonight

A bit late with this one, but acclaimed Canadian author, Katherine Govier, is reading in Tofino tonight. She will be reading from her latest book, The Ghost Brush. The event is at 8 pm at the Darwin's Cafe.

Lisa Riehl Paints the West Coast

Beach Solitude

I've been sitting on this post for quite awhile now. I thought you might like to see the way that the artist, Lisa Riehl interprets our neck of the woods. (Thanks for your patience, Lisa!) Here is a bit about Lisa, from her website:

Lisa Riehl was raised in BC and has been seriously painting since 2004, when a move to Sooke to a house with a studio in the backyard gave her the space she needed. Inspired by the dramatic landscapes around her, she has translated her passion for hiking, surfing and her love of nature to canvas. Over the years Lisa has perfected her craft, capturing in bold colours her vision of the heart and soul of the West Coast. This is evident in her interpretations of the beaches of Tofino & Sooke, the forests of the West Coast and the mountains of Whistler. The amazing landscapes she portrays will bring you closer to the wild West Coast.

First Peak

Hidden View

Morning Light

Revisiting a Dream

Sunrise at Low Tide

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Belated V-Day

I bit light on the posts this week, but I was on the road watching this. I have a few posts in the works, but for now, check out this belated Valentine's Day photo courtesy Julie Robinson (and the Live To Surf parking lot).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

PSA - Predator Patrol

Time for a Public Service Announcement, for the safety of your pets and local wildlife. There has been a lot of wolf activity on the beaches and trails between Tofino and Ucluelet. If you love your dog, keep it on a leash. Here's more info. from the National Park:

Since Christmas time there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of wolf activity in the Long Beach Unit and area. There is currently a pack of six wolves hunting the area. Two of the pack have been present for over a year. The other four seem to have joined up with these two around Christmas. In the past week we have evidence of their activity from Fletcher's beach area south of the park to Schooner Cove in the NW and inland to Grice Bay and the airport. There have not been any encounters of concern in the park.

How do we know this information?

Our wolf monitoring efforts have focused on hiking our local beaches and trails frequently, the recording of wolf reports and the use of wildlife cameras.

Sightings are still relatively infrequent but tracks, scats and wildlife camera pics tell a different story.

During the monitoring surveys in the park and elsewhere I've noted fresh sign of people running their dogs on every beach I've checked .

People/dog activity seems to be occurring mostly early in the morning and in the evenings after people get off work.

Some risk factors:

-Highest level of wolf activity we've documented in over 10 years

-We are into mating season for wolves

-Mating season means territorial aggression between wolf packs and towards dogs

-Night, dawn and dusk are higher risk periods

-There is a diversity of food on the beaches - small prey, deer, marine mammal carcasses, etc.

-Beaches and dune areas are easy travel corridors and they can scent prey from long distances as the air currents flow through those open areas

human activity is relatively low

What's at stake:

-Having one dog taken does not mean a trend but one dog could start a trend - in the late 90s we saw this happen - 1 dog incident in January 1998 turned into 16 dog attacks over a year and a half preventing even 1 dog being taken is the best way to reduce this risk .

-In the 90s an escalating trend of conflict saw many dogs attacked, the feeding of unafraid wolves, 1 person mauled and many wolves shot

Here is how you can keep your pets, yourself and wolves safe:

-Keep dogs on leash at all times when out for a walk - attacks of dogs in this area have always been on dogs running at large

-Bring dogs and cats in at night

-If you are going surfing, leave your dog at home unless it's OK to stay inside your vehicle - tying a dog up on the beach or letting it run free is putting temptation in the path of a travelling wolf pack

-Even the toughest dog is no match for a pack of wolves

-If you are a regular beach/trail walker, invest in a small pocket airhorn and/or pepper spray

-If you carry pepper spray, know how to use it safely - practice using it

-If wolves are encountered take aggressive action to scare them away immediately - encouraging wolves to be wary of people is best for them and us - helps prevent conflict

-If you don't have a dog with you and you encounter a wolf or wolves, it most likely will not be acting aggressively - the risk to people is very low unless it has been fed by people - it is essential though that wolves be sent a clear message at every opportunity that it is not OK to approach people - complacency around people increases the risk to the wolves themselves

-Secure garbage, pet food, chickens and other attractants so they aren't easily accessible

-I realize all this advice may heighten your anxiety in going to your favourite places but I'd rather send this message out now and have conflict averted rather than being in the position of reacting to it. We're taking advantage of lessons learned in the past in this area. I know that many of you already follow these precautions routinely as part of living in wolf country.

In summary:

-If wolves are kept wild and wary and don't associate people with food rewards, the risk to human safety is very low

-Realize that dogs, cats, pet food, livestock and garbage are wolf attractants - take precautions

-Dogs in particular are targets for territorial wolves

-Keep your distance from carnivores like wolves - scare them away for your sake and theirs - teach them to keep their distance

-The more space between you and them the safer it is - space is safe

Thanks all for helping spread the word. Give a shout if you have any questions.

For any wolf reports outside the park contact: the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 and Bob Hansen at 250-726-7165 ext 227

For any wolf reports inside the park, please contact Bob Hansen at: 250-726-7165 ext 227