Jun 19, 2011

Hey Everybody

Ya ya, I know, I post almost every day when I'm in Bermuda and when I return I go silent for 2 solid week.   I beg your forgiveness!!

It's been a very busy 2 weeks as you can well image.  We returned from Bermuda on a Saturday night as we literally hit the ground running.   Between opening up two houses and work it pretty much slammed us.    Around mid last week I finally started to feel like I'd gotten a handle on things again.    In the meantime Jen and I have been searching the ads looking for a place to live.  2 weeks in Bermuda and we didn't kill each other so we figure it's worth a try hahahaha.  Seriously though, we're both looking forward to it, as is her daughter, and it's time to move onwards.  This 2 household foolishness and living out of a suitcase is just becoming a pain.  We want to be together every day, not 3 or 4 nights a week.    Last week we found a house that looks very promising and we're in the final paperwork stages.  Hope to know early this week if it's a done deal.   It is a rental and needless to say they'd be crazy not to take us for tenants.  When the paperwork is done we expect to be moving around 1 Sept.   Going to be seriously busy packing up 2 households and putting them into one.  We have both given notice to our landlords so the ball is rolling.

The house is nice.  Located in Greely (south of Ottawa) on about a 1/2 acre lot it's a side split with 2 baths, 3 beds, rec room , deck, double car garage, natural gas, geo heat recovery, A/C, tons of storage etc etc.   The commute is only about 15 minutes so that works nicely for us both.

We dug the canoe and kayak out this weekend and took a short trip out to Long Island Locks on the Rideau for a canoe run.   A bit windy but a nice little trip.   We had planned to go out on Monday to the Rideau in downtown Ottawa but not looking very good tonight.   While we were out yesterday I started to feel a tickle in my throat.  Sure enough, within a few hours a cold slammed me.   It was a rough night without much sleep so I packed up and came back to the farm this morning to suffer on my own.  I hope I didn't infect Jen and Erin, fingers crossed they escape it.   Today has been spent feeling like shit.  Head, chest, throat, fever the whole 9 yards.   Feel like I got hit by a truck.  So much for fathers day - pft!  Spent the day watching episodes of True Blood to try and get caught up.  Finished season 2 and starting 3 now.   I'll probably have vampire nightmares all night given that the meds have made me all loopy.    

I had taken tomorrow off as vacation but looks like I'll be switching it to a sick day instead.   Unfortunately I'm hosting a small BBQ tomorrow night as a good friend of ours is back in town after retiring last year.   I hope I feel well enough to get through the evening, will be good to see Kyle and the gang again.

That's the news from this end.  I need to get out with the camera and now that the canoe is out we should have some soon.   Doubtful about tomorrow but would like to get out next weekend. 

Hope everyone has a great week and we'll try and be around a bit more ;-)   later all.

Jun 3, 2011

Reef Explorer - Snorkling, Glass Bottom and CFS Bermuda

Our last full day on the island before heading back to Canada :-(    Today will be some final shopping, take the bike back and an evening out with friends.

Yesterday was yet another great day.  A quiet morning hanging around the pool and then off for the afternoon on one of the local reef exploring boats called the Reef Explorer.  The trip was recommended by a friend here on the island - Glen (who comments occasionally) and the trip did not disappoint.  Captain Michael Gladwin is a very friendly guy, has wonderful knowledge of the island and a great love of the environment.  I've lived and visited the island for over 20 years now and he definitely taught me a thing or 2 on the trip.  3 wonderful hours traveling from Hamilton Harbour, out through Paradise Lake, through the Great Sound, around Mangrove Bay, out to the Vixen and then to the islands in Mangrove Bay for snorkeling.   A simple boat but very clean and effective.  A WONDERFUL way to check out the island and worth every penny.  His rum swizzle is pretty good as well ;-)   If your visiting the island I highly recommend taking a trip on the Reef Explorer.   His website and contact info can be found at - http://www.bermudareefexplorer.com/index.asp

The day was followed by supper at the Hog Penny again and then a lovely walk along Front St and up Pitts Bay Road and back.  A wonderful day.

Enjoy the pictures (lots of them) and the stories underneath.  Click for bigger versions.

Our boat, the Reef Explorer
A good size boat - 70' long, 20' wide
Captain Michael Gladwin entertaining everyone
Boaz Island where I used to live.  Very very run down now and slummy.
Pink Bus going over Watford Bridge
Watford Bridge
Outside the islands of Mangrove Bay

One of the numerous sea turtles pointed out by our Captain.  The population has been making a great comeback and most of the turtles are very near the old CFS Bermuda
One of the turtles surfaces for air

The old CFS Bermuda and 9 Beaches.  Both which are now closed.  The main structures are part of the old base and the huts are part of the eco friendly 9 Beaches which was just crazy construction for a place with dampness and hurricanes.   Many of the old CFS buildings are gone now (Canex, JR mess, SR mess) but many still remain (Ops, HQ, Observation tower, Rec Center, Gym, Sail Boat storage, CO's house).  It looks much better from the ocean then it does on land.  Jen and I drove past last week and the place is in very rough shape.  Squatters have taken up living in the huts, grounds have not been kept up and the buildings are crumbling.  9 Beaches claims they will reopen in 2012, I seriously have my doubts and the property will probably have to be re-examined.  What a waste!

The huts/cottages of 9 Beaches on the old antenna pad

Over top of the wreck of the Vixen looking through the glass bottom of the boat.

The wreck of the Vixen blocking the channel off the west coast to keep U-Boat from transiting during WW1 and 2
Looking towards Daniel's Head Island, note all the fish in the water waiting for food.  They know the boats and know what's coming.
Feeding Frenzy
The Vixen, a cast iron freighter that was later covered in Teak.  She was a coastal defense vessel for the island and had a ramming spreed of 7mph.

Someone took a decent picture of me ;-)
She'll kill me for this picture, but it'll be worth it!  ;-)

Anchored off Mangrove Bay for some snorkling
A strange fish?
We borrowed an underwater camera (thanks Heather!).  The water was a bit murky but some interesting pictures.  Underwater photography is HARD!

Definitely a MERMAID!!!!!   ;-)

Time to load up and go home :-(

Jun 2, 2011

Horseshoe Bay and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse

Good morning everyone!

What a fantastic day we had yesterday and today is looking great as well.  We're finishing this trip off with a bang!   Yesterday we took off for Horseshoe Bay, which is one of the prettiest beaches on the island.  The downside is that it's normally covered in tourists, which it was.  But as you'll see in the photos we had wonderful cloud formations which tied in lovely with the light, surf and sand.  We escaped the tourist covered beach just as a pile more tourists were heading in.  Meanwhile over on Warwick Long Bay, just a km away, the beach was empty as people just don't know about the other great beaches.  

Next stop was Gibbs Hill Lighthouse where we climbed to the top.  Took some lovely panorama shots from up there as you can see well over half the island.  A few of them are posted below, but you really need to see the full size versions to appreciate them.  Blogger and FB just don't do them justice.  One is so big that my poor old laptop can't handle the processing, so will have to wait until I'm home.

Next we were off to the Swizzle Inn (South Shore) for lunch where Jen had the famous Nacho's and her first taste of Rum Swizzle.  Both she enjoyed!  One a little more then the other hehehe.  Back to the house where we lazed by the pool through the late afternoon and then into town for Harbour Nights.  Harbour Nights is each Wednesday in Hamilton.  They shut down the main street (Front Street) and local artists and vendors set up shop.  There are also dancers and other entertainment to see.  Jen finished up a bit of shopping and then we were off to a friends place where we sat out on the patio overlooking the ocean while having a glass of wine and enjoying great company.

A very long day indeed but one that was wonderful.   Today we're off on a snorkling trip this afternoon back out by the old Canadian Forces Station and then if we're not to tired off to a lovely supper at one of the excellent resturants. 

Most of the pictures below have had NO or VERY LITTLE modification.  This was how the day looked.  Very bright, sunny and amazing.   I have been very happy with my Tamron 17-50mm, this little lens has been a workhorse this trip.

Remember to click the image for the fullsize version and hope everyone has a great day!

Horseshoe Bay
Horseshoe Bay - but trying to capture the crack in the rock face that appeared over the winter.  I used to stand up there and take photos, glad it didn't fall during one of my trips!
Horseshoe Bay

This is a Bermuda Longtail.  They are currently nesting in the rocks.  Lots of them around, which is very nice to see!
Bermuda Longtail
Bermuda Longtail
The dramatic skies

My pretty girlfriend and bestest bud!  ;-)

Looking down from Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
The weather vane that used to sit at the top of the Lighthouse before being replaced by radar.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse with colours flying.
I love this shot!
One of the panorama's, looking east
Another panorama looking east
A panorama looking west, these are so much better in fullsize.  But blogger doesn't do them justice.
Ooops, how did that get in here?   ;-)  My love!

Nacho's and Rum Swizzle at the Swizzle Inn (South Shore)