Lunch in Campbell River

Fabulous sunny day on the island so a drive with the roof open was in order. Took the old highway to Campbell River with the plan of attending Wings & Wheels, a plane and car show at the Campbell River Airport.  

Before the final destination lunch became important so we parked near the big marina and headed for the Rip Tide Pub.  We didn’t quite make as right next to it is a MOXIES and their patio looked inviting. 


The menu looked good and the food going by looked really good. My favourite girl chose Chicken Fingers which were excellent. A large order so I felt compelled to help her out. Huevos Rancheros seemed a good choice for me. They were perfect. Pulled chicken between two tortillas with tiny black beans, rice and avocado topped with two fried eggs and a delicious spiced sauce. Different than I’ve had before but I’d order again in a nanosecond. 

The service was prompt and friendly and the servers and bussers  were well trained and efficient. 

The Rip Tide Pub next door is also very good and we have noshed there several times. 

If you are hungry in Campbell River, you can’t go wrong in either of these eateries. 

Oh, the plane and car show. It was pretty good some great cars but the best part was touching a B25 MITCHELL BOMBER from WWll.  Didn’t get to see her fly but just seeing her up close was pretty cool. There were almost 10,000 built in the US. There are more than 100 still around the world and about 45 are still airworthy. Amazing after more than 70 years. 


By the way it was HOT at the airport. 31C! 

Just saying…


Since I was in a quandary about what to do for lunch, we hopped in the car and headed to Courtenay. Took the old highway as usual. Had heard good things about a joint in Courtenay called the WHITE WHALE PUB so decided  to give it a try. 


It’s a pretty nice place done in standard pub decor, white plaster and dark beams along with dark furniture. Also has a nice deck hanging over the river where you can observe Kayakers paddling by. With all the trees around the rivers edge it feels like a grotto in the bayou. Quite charming. Quite Large and quite EMPTY. 


The servers were friendly and prompt. We decided to order drinks and share an order of  Fish & Chips.  The fish was Ling Cod which was very tasty although the portions were on the small side. Excellent batter and  an interesting tartar sauce.  

The glass of Island Lager was cold and good but pretty small for $4. The cheapest glass of wine was $10 for 5 ounces. A little pricey.  $18 for a Burger?

I guess they figure they can charge more because all their ingredients are locally sourced. Or maybe the prices are the cause of a small crowd on a sunny summer afternoon  


You can check out their story, the menu etc., on the website.

My favourite pub, the CROW & GATE PUB is much better value as is the Lantzville Pub. But it was a nice change and a lovely drive. 

Just saying…


In the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed two books about our West Coast. The first was


 by Adrienne Mason, a Tofino resident. She traces the history of Long Beach covering the people as well as the flora and fauna. I was particularly interested in the history since she mentions my grandparents who lived at the beach in the 1920’s. The author provided some history about them about which I was unaware. She also details the activity during  WWll when a sizeable air base was built between Tofino and Ucluelet. It’s an entertaining  read and if you enjoy Long Beach you will enjoy this book. I downloaded it from Amazon Kindle but you may find it in hard copy at your favourite bookstore. 

Our good friends Phil & Marilyn Clark cane to stay with us a couple of weeks ago and brought me a book written by Marilyn’s sister in law Pat Ardley. 

GRIZZLIES, GALES & GIANT SALMON..Life at a Rivers Inlet Fishing Lodge

It is quite a tale. Pat Ardley and husband George, he from Lake Cowichan, she from Winnipeg built this lodge from scratch starting in their 20’s and ran it for 40 years. This couple were amazing pioneers!  She explains how they built the lodge, all on floats, how it grew to become one of the premier lodges on the coast. The hardships, the challenges, the satisfaction is all there. It’s a wonderful story. 

If you want to inhale another breath of the West Coast, pick it up. 

Finally, Peter Mayle has a new book coming out. Mayle is the author of the famous A YEAR IN PROVENCE , which launched a series of books by him of life in the south of France. His first book inspired us several years ago to rent a small apartment in the little village of St. Thibery, in Languadoc Province.  We stayed for two weeks and absorbed the small town French culture if the area. It was wonderful. 

Peter Mayle’s latest book is 



It will be released on July 26 but you can read a promo for it right now on Amazon. Can’t wait to read it. We have read almost all of his other books and enjoyed them completely. 

If, by chance, you have not read any of his books, well,  Giddy Up. You have missed some fine entertainment.

Just saying…


Expecting guests on the Island this summer?  Need to keep them entertained? Things for kids to do? Maybe you feel like taking a Kayak to Horne Lake?

Well, there is a new store in PARKSVILLE,


Greg & Nancy Chartrand (she is our niece) are the owners and they have quite an array of equipment for rent.

Bikes? yes❗️Paddle Boards? Yes❗️ Beach shoes? Of course❗️ Kayaks? Absolutely❗️

Check them out on Middleton Street right behind Shopper’s in PARKSVILLE .You can call them at 250-586-0093


Just saying..,



It must be the single biggest event every year in Qualicum Beach. The Seaside Cruizers Father’s Day Car Show. It is spectacular, particularly if you are old and can remember when these restored beauties were new. 600 cars angle parked on the streets of downtown Qualicum Beach is quite a sight to see. 

Getting smarter in my old age, my brother and I decided to get there at 0800 when it officially opened. Good plan. Got a parking spot on the street a block from the show. It was still cool and very few spectators had arrived so we enjoyed strolling up and down checking out the cars. Model T Fords from the 1920’s,  Model A Fords from the same era. 32 Fords, quite a few. Fords from the 1940’s and right up to late model Mustangs. 


A 4 Door McLaughlin Buick looking like it just emerged from the showroom. Cadillacs, Corvettes, Shelby Cobras, and lots of Chevys from the  the 40’s 50’s. & 60’s. Some mostly stock. Some highly modified.  An amazing number a Chevelles.  There were even a few VW Bugs and a 1930’s Mercedes convertible that I expected to see Hitler himself in the back seat. 


There were some vintage ‘WOODIE’ station wagons, some sweet Pick Up Trucks and even a rare Auburn Boat Tail Roadster.


There were also quite a number of the category I do not like, the RAT RODS.  Don’t get it at all.  

There was live and recorded Music, Food vendors and more. 

Observation 1.  Almost all these cars are owned by men over aged 60. 

Observation 2.  Some guys have a lot of cash invested in these machines.

Observation 3.  The is show is really well organized. 

Observation 4.   The whole show is FREE!  

If you didn’t go or have never been, do it next Father’s Day. But a tip from me…go early when it is cool and not crowded. We drove by at 1:30 and Second Avenue was jammed with people. 

Great event for Qualicum Beach!  Congratulations to the organizers. 

Just saying…



Its summer, time for some good ice cream!  What better spot to try some than Billy Gruff’s Ice Cream Parlour in Coombs. It’s the big building with the huge patio on your left as you drive into the Coombs multiplex. Definitely worth a visit on a sunny afternoon.

We stopped by today to try their Gelato. They only have 24 flavours. It is available in a cone or in a cup with a spoon. We chose the latter option. She chose Terimisu and white chocolate mint.  Mine was key lime and white chocolate raspberry.  Both choices were delicious.  I know because I had mine and some of hers too.



The Gelato is really good. Maybe not as good as this place in San Gimignano in Tuscany but still good.


If you don’t fancy Gelato, they do have 25 flavours of ice cream too. And about 8 flavours of Sorbetto. Try it out in Coombs. Lovely patio too.

They do an amazing business at the Coombs Ice Cream Parlour. It must be a huge profit centre for them. So head on up there and help out their bottom line!


Just saying…

Drive to Tofino

A sunny day in mid May turned into a drive to Tofino & Ucluelet. Great drive, of course. Surprised to see an amazing display of wild Native Dogwood Trees in full bloom along the highway near Sproat Lake. For about 40 kilometres. I have driven a lot of roads in BC but have never seen such a wonderful show of the White Dogwood blossoms. 

We expected to see road construction alongside Kennedy Lake but it has not begun. Several Emil Anderson Construction pickups around but no machines so far. There is a lot of tree clearing between the turnoff and Tofino. Apparently another Lane is being added to ease the traffic pressure going into Tofino.  

By the time we hit the coast it was a cool 13C and foggy. No worries. We headed right for THE SHELTER Restaurant in Tofino for lunch. Sat outside under a propane heater. Great service, great chowder and excellent fish & Chips. Split the order?…no problem. Split with full tartar sauce and slaw on both plates. I recommend Shelter. 



We had not been in Tofino for a couple of years and noticed a lot of building. The town is growing. New shops, new homes. Went down to the waterfront to see the old Lady Rose. She was a lovely ship built in Scotland in the late 1930’s. I once sailed on her from Vancouver to Port Mellon back in 1952. Her last job was on the Port Alberni to Bamfield run. Alas she was old and was replaced on that run and has been sitting rotting away in Tofino for several years. 


Sad to see her now. She needs a restoration which would be very expensive. 

Continued on to Ucluelet where I gave a copy of my Grandfather’s Diary to the historian at the district hall. A quick stop to see his grave at the Ucluelet Cemetery.



Then we headed for home. 

Lovely drive, lovely day! 

Just saying…

BEACH HUT IN Qualicum Beach

Had not stopped at the Beach Hut for a couple of years so since we were in the area on this beautiful Friday I treated my favourite girl to Fish & Chips sitting in the sun.

The menu is casual, burgers, hot dogs, Fish & Chips, both Cod & Halibut. You order st a window outside and pick up your food inside. You can sit in or out on the patio. The view is fabulous. The place is friendly, efficient and spotless.

The Food was pretty good, though not cheap. 2 piece Cod & Chips was $18. And served in a cardboard box with plastic cutlery and packaged Tartar sauce.

The good news is that they now have a beer & wine licence. We enjoyed a glass of wine in a plastic glass. 97E855DA-3515-46C7-AEE0-9129D0406658.jpeg

Good place but a little pricey considering the lack of refinements.  But it does have location.

Just saying…

Island Wineries

This is a repeat post from 2016 but with summer on the doorstep it seemed worth repeating.

Forget the Okanogan. forget Napa. We have our very own wine valley right here on the island. The Cowichan Valley. We have made a tour of many of the wineries 4 times in the past couple of years and enjoyed it every time. You can easily do it in a day and include a winery lunch too. It’s a great way to entertain visitors too

We start at AVERILL CREEK Vineyard on the north side of Duncan. Take a right off of #1 at Somenos Road and follow it for 2 or 3 kilometres until you see the Averill Creek sign. Our first visit was quite a surprise. We were not expecting such a large facility. A modern building with a spacious tasting room and a delightful picnic area outside. A bonus is the spectacular view of Cowichan Bay. If you wish, you can purchase cheese and crackers, a cold white wine and relax on the patio.

The wines here are really very good.Try the Pinot Gris or the sparkling Charme De L’ile. Friends from Ontario had a case  of Averill Creek wine shipped home they enjoyed it so much. Their wine is available at SaveOn in Parksville.

Nearby is The Deol Estate Winery, a small funky joint. We have had a great tasting here offered by a very enthusiatic lady. Worth a stop if you have time.
There are a couple of lunch options on a day tour. One is Vinoteca Zanatta, the oldest winery in the area. The food here is excellent and weather permitting is served outside on a big wrap around porch of the 1903 Zanatta Farmhouse. The chef is a gal from Mozambique, Fatima DaSilva. Go figure! I guarantee you will enjoy the food here. One of the anomalies here is that while noshing in a vineyard, you may see loaded logging trucks going by.

We Have not done a tasting here as the tasting room is very small and often crowded. Reservations for lunch are recommended. Zanatta is just south of Duncan on Marshall Road.

Another worthwhile stop is Blue Grouse Winery on Lakeside Road not far from Zanatta. A really impressive building that reportedly cost a couple of million dollars contains a very spacious tasting room. No restaurant here but a generous tasting experience of some very drinkable wines. I like the ORTEGA and the PINOT GRIS. You will want to take a bottle home from here.

In Cobble Hill, between Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake are two must visits. The MERRIVALE CIDERY is an impressive facility with a tasting room, gift shop, and a very large restaurant. We have not yet eaten here but the menu looks inviting. There is also a Bakery and Deli.

In addition to a range of Ciders, Cowichan Gin and Cowichan Vodka are produced here. I bought a bottle of the Gin on our last visit. Is it good? Yes it is  our good friend Joan likes gin and pronounced Cowichan Gin as excellent!

Merrivale’s grounds are impressive and special events like weddings are popular here.

Just a skip down the road is UNSWORTH Vineyards. Another must stop. Although quite new, Unsworth is already producing some nice wines. We have slurped their Pinot Gris, Rose, and Pinot Noir. Spend some time in the tasting room, a separate building beside a pond, waterfall and patio. Since they are into marketing there is an assortment of stuff to buy.

Across the parking lot a restored vintage home contains the restaurant. Great food. The Burger is outstanding and the Moules Frittes looks fabulous. Great service inside or on the patio. You don’t want to miss this winery. Reservations for sure.
Just one more. Rocky Creek Winery is a small place with a tasting room in the basement of a home. Excellent tastings every time we visited. We first visited because we had tried their Pinot Gris at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Victoria. The Pinot Gris is good and the Robin’s Rose is perfect on a summer afternoon on the patio. We always take some home from here.

There are several other wineries one can visit, but in one day that’s enough. Most of them are not open in the winter so it’s a summer / early fall event if you want to partake. Weekdays are less busy and most are open Wednesday to Sunday.

Google maps has all the wineries in the area marked.

Just saying…

Busy Ports

Although more than half of BC residents support the new pipeline there is certainly some resistance to it and to the increased tanker traffic in BC waters. My opinion is that the hysteria over Tankers is rather overstated. 

Currently, about 3500 deep sea ships visit Vancouver annually. That includes freighters, container ships, car carriers, bulk carriers, Cruise ships and tankers. That is about 9 ships per day.  The Port of Vancouver estimate that will increase to 12 ships per day by 2026. Of that total are about two oil tankers per week or 100 plus per year. 

In addition ships also stop at Port Melon, Nanaimo, Crofton, Chemainus and Victoria.  At any given time there can be as many as 65 deep sea ships on the southern coast. Today, there are about 60, 2 of which are oil tankers

Total in and out of southern BC waters is about 7000 per year. Almost all theses ships pass through Haro Strait a narrow channel between the Gulf Islands,  Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands in Washington State. The narrowest point is between Turn Point on Stuart Island and South Pender Island just over a mile. 


In my lifetime, I don’t recall there ever has been a collision or a grounding of a deep sea ship in this area. 

The big tankers are now accompanied by large powerful tugs from the terminal in Burnaby to Race Rocks past Victoria. The tankers are required have two pilots on board, two officers on the bridge with at least two crew as well. For a great article on how the tugs assist the tankers go to…

In recent memory there have been only two serious incidents involving deep sea ships in our waters. In 1979 a tanker collided with the Second  Narrows Rail Bridge in dense fog. In 1970 a Russian freighter collided with a BC Ferry in Active Pass. Freighters no longer use that pass and tankers transiting First Narrows have tug escorts. 

While you might think 7000 ship movements is a lot for one port consider that the port of  Singapore has 260,000 ship arrivals and departures per year. Today, April 28, there are 1452 deep sea ships in Singapore Harbour.  Every day 700 or more ships arrive or depart.  Several years ago we enjoyed an afternoon cruise around this harbour. The number of ships is amazing to see. Whereas ships coming into Vancouver are required to use a pilot from the BC Pilotage Authority, a Pilot is not a requirement in Singapore. Of the fleet of ships at least a third are oil tankers. Singapore is the largest ship refuelling port in the world. Below is part of Singapore Harbour today, the red squares are oil tankers. The green are freighters  



 Do they have collisions and oil spills?  Occasionally, but considering the enormous volume of ship movements very few. There was a spill in 1972, 1975, 1987, 1996, 2000, 2010, 2014, 2017. Some of those were caused  ships  running aground  and some the result of collisions. 

Considering the numbers of tankers it is surprising there are not more spills. Singapore seems to have an excellent spill response protocol.

Another busy shipping area is the English Channel where 182,000 ships transit every year with rarely an incident. Of that total about 50,000 are oil tankers. Rarely is there a serious incident in the channel despite rather extraordinary volume of traffic  

Here are some interesting statistics on oil spills world wide.

So considering other much busier ports around the world the traffic in BC waters is rather small. With the safety measures in place, with the use of pilots, with compulsory double hulls for tankers, with the modern navigation aids including radar, GPS, AIS, Chart plotters etc., ship traffic in and out of Vancouver should remain as safe as it has been for decades. 

Just saying…