Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hands Across the Water: From Tofino to Japan

Okay, things are rolling for the fundraiser. The word is getting out and we're working on a few nice surprises. Please continue to spread the word. If you would like to distribute posters by email (or print), just let me know and I can pass on a pdf of the poster. (Or some hard copies. I'm doing a blitz this afternoon, but if anyone can help, I'd appreciate it!)

Thanks to Marion Syme for whipping the poster together for me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tofino! Let's Send a Tsunami of Support

This can be a tough time in Tough City. The days are still cool and wet, we're surfing down the wave of Whale Fest into quiet times again (good for some, but perhaps not for businesses who are forking out far more cash than is coming in), work can be scarce and there is still rent to pay and groceries to buy. Still, we know we are blessed in comparison to the tragedies that are unfolding elsewhere in the world.

Before we zipped away for Spring Break our family was thinking of ideas for ways we could do something for Japan. We usually donate money, but I felt we needed more of a community effort. We tossed around a few ideas and then I read this post by part-time Tofitian Julie, and she gave me the boost I needed. Don't you think it's time we came together as a community to share a meal and send some support west? Our community has a strong connection to Japan — just check out the pre-WW II school photos in the library — and we also share a similar natural environment. It happened there; we know it could happen here.

So let's do dinner. Here's the plan.

What: A Community Potluck

Where: Tofino Community Hall

When: Sunday, April 3 (Yes, this Sunday)

Why: To raise money* for the Red Cross's relief efforts in Japan.

Time: Please arrive at 5:30 so we can get the food set out. The meal will begin at 6 pm. (We'll try to have a few activities to keep the young ones occupied.)

What can I do? (I'm so glad you asked.)

- Bring a dish to share. (Or two dishes if you're brining a large contingent.)
- Please bring your own plates, cups and utensils.
- Bring cash donations.*
- Volunteer if you can. We'll need help setting up, taking down, making tea, cleaning in the kitchen, etc. I would also love to hear from musicians willing to entertain for a bit or people willing to organize a few quiet activities for children. (Simple origami perhaps? Reading stories based in Japan?) Leave a comment below if you can help, or call me at 5-1288.
- Spread the word. If you work in the food industry, please consider a food contribution if you can. (No pressure. I know it's short notice.)
- Consider bringing someone — an elderly friend perhaps? — who might not otherwise come. Let's get a great cross-section of the community out.

* Just so you feel comfortable that I am not going to go to Mexico with this cash I will have two other people count the donations with me and will have them verify the cheque going to the Red Cross. (They can put it in the mail, too.)

Here is how the Canadian Red Cross is helping:

The Japanese Red Cross has an official role as part of the National Disaster Response Plan in Japan. Their role focuses on supporting emergency medical care, hospital care, psychological support, and distribution of relief supplies such as blankets, food and basic supplies.

The Canadian Red Cross has also been part of a high level support team that recently deployed a disaster response specialist to Japan. The team is assisting the Japanese Red Cross in addressing current critical gaps and in creating a longer term recovery plans.

And here's a message from the Japanese Red Cross:

"The compassion the Canadian people have demonstrated over the past week through their generous support to the Canadian Red Cross is incredibly uplifting at a time when we are dealing with a such an immense humanitarian tragedy. This financial support is very much needed and continues to be welcomed to help the hundreds of thousands of lives that will forever be changed by this disaster."

Satoshi Sugai
Director International Relief Division
Japanese Red Cross Society

Thanks, everyone!

Pretty West Coast Postcards

Postcards of the west coast are hard to find. Well, I should rephrase that. Old (and infinitely more interesting to me) postcards of the west coast are hard to find. So you can imagine the thrill I had last week when I came across an old below-street-level shop in Seattle that sold postcards and other paper ephemera. I only had an hour, but came up with a few gems. (Sadly, nothing of Tofino although I know they're out there!) I'll post a few over the next few weeks. This is the cover of a great "souvenir folder" of west coast images. (Note how much it cost to mail. One cent.)

The photos in this folder were taken by photographer Leonard Frank, who lived in Port Alberni for awhile. I have a fabulous photo he took of Long Beach, but I am going to save that until Spring 2012, when a book I've been working on for too long finally comes out.

Here is another one of George Fraser's garden in Ucluelet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Lady (Rose) Comes to Tofino

The Lady Rose is on her way to Tofino. She is currently docked in Ucluelet Harbour and I have a spy ready to alert me when she finally pulls away and begins the last leg of the journey to Tofino and the dock at Jamie's Whaling Station. I was out in the garden on the weekend, digging up my strawberry bed when I heard an unfamiliar whistle. I thought it might be she and zipped down to the harbour, but to no avail. I would love to get some pictures as she pulls around Felice Island.

Until I get that photo, you can have a look at these (click on the link for Tofino) for now. Some wonderful photos of the Brewster cannery that was once at "KenFalls," as well as some fishing boats and one of the Princess Maquinna in Tofino.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Koreski's Cover

A big congratulations to Tofino local, Jeremy Koreski, whose photograph of Peter Devries is on the May, 2011 cover of Surfer magazine. You can see it here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Feast!, Tofino

The Whale Fest is winding down this weekend. We skipped town for most of it, although I am participating in two events today (a history walk at 10 am - meet at the church in Tofino) and a panel discussion on the state of the ocean (2 pm at the Ucluelet Community Hall).

We do love our festivals though, so here are a few more to mark. Feast! is a series of foodie events from May 8 to June 4. And, of course, there is the Shorebird Festival, an event that is near and dear to my heart. More on both of these festivals soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tofino Photographer - Marnie Recker

In an age where digital photography has made "everyone a photographer" I am happily reminded that it is just not so. Take these stunners from Tofino photographer, Marnie Recker. Sorry, there's no way I could pull this off with my little snappy digital camera (as you'll see by the photos of mine I post here!).

Check out Marnie's blog here. And you can read more about Marnie and her work, here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rick Mercer Surfs Tofino

Tofino was looking mighty fine the day Rick Mercer came to call. I won't blether on too much, but you've got to watch this video.

West Coast Whale Fest

I think I have just survived one of the busiest work week's of my life. Today it looking a bit crazy too, but then we're taking off on a little break. Wow, do I need it. We always seem to be away for this big event — the annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival — and this year is no different. We will be getting home a bit early though, as I have to do a history walk on Saturday (meet at St. Columba's Church at 10) and also sit on a panel that afternoon ("25 Years of Sea Change). Both events are listed here.

Sadly, there are also some literary events I'm going to be missing as well. On Saturday morning, Gurjinder Basran, author of Everything Was Good-bye,will be at Tofino Sea Kayaking from 9 to 10:30 am.


On Saturday night, Grant Lawrence will be reading from Adventures in Solitude. His wife, musician Jill Barber, will also perform during the evening. The event is at the Clayoquot Community Theatre.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tofino Tsunami Shake Down

So, things have calmed down after Friday's excitement. We watch the horrifying images from Japan however, both with compassion and concern, but also with a bit of "phew." It is somewhat stunning to see what could happen in a country that is possibly the most prepared in the world when it comes to earthquakes and tsunamis. You can be prepared, but nothing will actually stop them. (Or predict their precise arrival, especially in the case of earthquakes.)

Geoff Johnson of Long Beach Radio has done a good overview of the event as it played out here - and he was most helpful during the entire event - so take a look at his post. I especially appreciate and agree with this:

I have mixed feelings as a result of this experience though... There were some disappointments. Many large media outlets reported with headlines referring to "Tsunami Warnings" for British Columbia. The term "Tsunami Warning" in emergency preparedness terms carries with it a message of evacuation and imminent large scale inundation. There was never a true warning for British Columbia and that was a difficult message to share with concerned locals when some national media was reporting them. There were also flaws in the social media coverage with stories being misquoted, and premature messages of the advisory being canceled. It seems, while a variety of news sources are an essential component of free speech and help us to maintain our "freedom" and "democracy" a chorus of shouts, eager to get the story FIRST in stead of RIGHT could have to capacity to cause great harm in a lot of situations. And please, don't report the body count every ten minutes for a disaster that has obviously killed tens of thousands. Seeing images like we have of Japan and reporting "at least 39 dead" is just stupid.

Hopefully, with each event we will learn something to make us as well-prepared. Certainly all of the earthquakes in recent months - Chile, New Zealand and now Japan - will finally bring it home to people.

The Globe and Mail had this to say about the event.

Friday, March 11, 2011

West Coast Web Cams

We are on a tsunami advisory at the moment. There was an earthquake and tsunami in Japan yesterday and emergency measures kicked into gear about midnight last night. (We are on the front lines of that around my house; FH has been out all night dealing with the warning, closing beaches, etc.) School is closed, but that seems to be the only "damage" done. (Daughters A and P are not feeling this damage. Poor babies. Go back to bed.) The resulting wave has hit the monitoring buoy off the north end of Langara Island in Haida Gwaii and it seems as if the effects will be negligible here. Still, it's good to know people are out there trying to keep us safe.

We know earthquakes and tsunamis can, will, and have happened here. Some people choose to be goofs and take their lawn chairs and a case of Lucky to the beach to watch it all. And, I know, I know, most of these warning and alerts amount to nothing, but I don't think it's something you want to fool around with. Personally, this is how I will watch my tsunami. From local web cams in Tofino and Ucluelet Harbour.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thanks, Keven Drews

Thanks for Keven Drews and his team for all they did. Sadly, Keven has had to made the tough decision to shut down The Westcoaster, which was a great alternate news source for the west coast. Here is more. I wish you all the best, Keven!

And here's a nice article from the Globe & Mail written by Tim Hawthorn,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Moving Sand, Changing Beaches

There has been a lot of angst and discussion over local beaches lately, mostly spurred by all of the rock retaining walls that have been built over the past five years or so. One thing we often forget — or have never thought about, perhaps? — is that beaches are dynamic. They are constantly changing and what the ocean takes away during storms and winter tides, it eventually delivers back. I've been doing a lot of research about Long Beach in the last few years and came across this observation from the late Pete Hillier of Ucluelet, who spent a great deal of time on Long Beach in the 1920s.

"We used to go into the Long Beach area frequently and pack deer back to the village. Thought nothing of it, but I wouldn't do it now."

It was on one of these trapping and hunting expeditions that Hillier recalls seeing "about three miles of Long Beach completely without sand. It was in 1929, all that was left on the beach was boulders and clay and then a little while later the sand was back on the beach, just like it had been before and after."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tofino Monday Movies for March

Thanks to Sandy Rideout, we have a great theatre in Tofino. She's been working hard for years, bringing us classics, documentaries and, often, new releases. Here's the great line-up for this month. Every Monday at the Clayoquot Community Theatre, 8 pm. See you there.

Tofino Mudflats - An International Haven for Shorebirds

Here's more on the nomination of the mudflats as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve. And mark your calendars for the annual shorebird festival, May 6 to 8. There is a great round-up of events planned.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mudflat Meeting Tonight

We have a national and international treasure on our doorstep — the mudflats. There is a meeting tonight regarding the possible designation of the mudflats as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve. Here are the details:

Tofino Mudflats Open House about WHSRN (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network) Status

Tuesday March 1, 2011
7 pm to 9 pm, with short presentations at 7:30 pm
Darwin's Cafe, Tofino Botanical Gardens

The Raincoast Education Society, together with our partners, invite you to an Open House to learn more about the the Tofino Mudflats and the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

The Raincoast Education Society is leading a local effort to have the Tofino Mudflats designated as part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Network Reserve, a conservation strategy that raises awareness about key habitats across South and North America for these highly migratory birds. The Tofino Mudflats are one of Western Canada's top ten most important areas for shorebirds and waterfowl and a prime candidate for WHSRN status. Being a part of WHSRN (pronounced 'wissern') will not change the legal status of the Tofino Mudflats, however it will increase the international profile of the area and link us to international researchers and supporters of shorebird conservation. Learn more here.

Please come out to this public Open House to learn more about the Raincoast Education Society, the Tofino Mudflats and the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Representatives from the Raincoast Education Society, the Canadian Wildlife Service, BC Parks, Parks Canada, the Ministry of Environment, the Nature Trust and more will be on hand to answer your questions.

Mark your calendars! The 14th Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival takes place May 6-9, 2011!

Where Do Your Spot Prawns Come From?

West coast waters, I hope! Check out this great video staring west coast resident Laura Neufeld, skipper of the Polara, and "Professional Food Lover," Bobby Lax to see how local prawns are caught and flash frozen at sea. I know what I'm having for dinner.