Category Archives: Canada

Kayak tour

Looking through an arbutus to a still ocean (stillahavet, in fact)
Looking through an arbutus to a still ocean (stillahavet, in fact)

Here are the scenery photos from the Desolation Sound trip. Lots of variety in weather and conditions, landscape and flora: dry little islands with lichen, rainforest, deep coves and (felt like) open ocean.

A starfish with a view at low tide. There were other more involved star fish parties with dozens on them, as well as some starfish-on-starfish action  :o
A starfish with a view at low tide. There were other more involved star fish parties with dozens on them, as well as some starfish-on-starfish action ūüėģ
Dry as one could wish for.  The Copeland and Curme Islands have wooden platforms for tents so you don't sleep in a puddle.  It is awesome! We were almost never dry getting into the tent, but our bags and stuff stayed pretty dry inside.  We kept all food well away from the tent, so hopefully it will be ready for a bear-infested adventure next time.
Dry as one could wish for. The Copeland and Curme Islands have wooden platforms for tents so you don’t sleep in a puddle. It is awesome! We were almost never dry getting into the tent, but our bags and stuff stayed pretty dry inside. We kept all food well away from the tent, so hopefully it will be ready for a bear-infested adventure next time.
Erica looking back from a sparkling sunset.  This is very close to mermaid cove.
Erica looking back from a sparkling sunset. This is very close to mermaid cove.

Erica has some awesome photos too, and I think hers are more likely to have me in them. I’ll post some if I get a hold of them.

The long pebble beach in Sechelt. It was nice to see this area again after visiting there so often during the UBC Back Study.
The long pebble beach in Sechelt. It was nice to see this area again after visiting there so often during the UBC Back Study.

Desolation Sound

Arty shot of kayaks on the beach

Erica and I talked for a long time about going on a paddling trip in Haida Gwaii.  Our preliminary research showed really high costs, kind of sketchy water conditions that require some chart reading skills, and guiding options that require advance booking.  So, we decided for our first kayak camping trip we should try something a bit less tricky: desolation sound on the sunshine coast.

Over 200 km from Vancouver to Lund.  Thanks for driving, Erica!
Over 200 km from Vancouver to Lund. Thanks for driving, Erica!

 

It had been such a lovely warm summer in BC that we felt assured of a week of swimming, suntans, and busy boat traffic up the inlets. We ended up getting the most precipitation of the summer, but it meant we had our own private islands for some of the time (and we still got to go swimming).

All packed up and ready to go!
All packed up and ready to go!

Even for a shorter, less-involved trip, there was quite a lot of preparation that went into it. We divided to conquer: I took care of food and Erica took care of maps and wayfinding (and driving). I was so happy to see ocean and mountains that I didn’t care specifically where we went, and Erica is so easygoing that she was willing to eat whatever I made.

It takes two ferries to get there, but what lovely scenery!
It takes two ferries to get there, but what lovely scenery!
If you want it to stay dry, it needs to be in a drybag
If you want it to stay dry, it needs to be in a drybag

I needed some new equipment (bigger drybag, compass, egg holder, condiment bottles, water treatment), but Erica had quite a lot already: a stove, pots, awesome tent, and a ton of tarps. We rented kayaks for the week from MEC (so reasonable!) and that included boats, paddles, paddle floats, lifejackets, sprayskirts, pump bailers and throw ropes. We also brought water and water treatment (and TP!) with us, since we were doing the kind of wilderness camping where there are no electrical plugins or showers or taps. Each of us carried more than 15 L since we were prepared for hot weather – freakin’ heavy! We ended up not needing it all, and fortunately we also did not need the bear spray that Erica bought (no carnivores bigger than seals on this trip). However, our first night spent on the mainland was a bit less restful than the ones on small islands, since I was listening.

Our first camp kitchen
Our first camp kitchen

Meals went pretty well, and certainly conserved on fuel since most was the home-dehydrated add-boiling-water-and-wait kind. Although vegetarian it was certainly flavourful and spicy, and I think maybe just as well we were on small bear-free islands. Here are some menu items:

  1. Falafel and Moroccan Couscous with chick peas and apricots
  2. Black bean chili
  3. Curried lentils with roti
  4. Thai coconut curry
  5. Bipimbap: Korean spicy cabbage and egg with rice
  6. Just-add-water walnut and cherry museli (it has powdered milk mixed in)

I think most of these things would work well as traveling-athlete meals too since most hotels have a kettle, but you’d want to make sure your body was used to eating them. ¬†T&T superstore was a surprise venue for a lot of ingredients: coconut milk powder, miso soup powder, and kim chi (which doesn’t really need refrigeration in the short term like they say).

A later camp kitchen, clearly we are getting better at this
A later camp kitchen, clearly we are getting better at this

There were a few lessons learned I think we can apply to the next trip (Haida? Broken Islands?), including our updated packing list. Thing we brought that was unexpectedly useful: bailing sponge. Thing I most wish I bought: thermos (everything cools down quick in the coastal winds). For next time:

  1. Thermos
  2. Stove
  3. Pots
  4. Waterproof matches
  5. Face Cloth
  6. Fibre towel
  7. Bear Spray
  8. Water jug
  9. Sleeping pad
  10. Sleeping bag
  11. Small pillow
  12. Scrubber
  13. Hatchet
  14. Dish Soap
  15. Tarps
  16. Straps/rope
  17. Tent
  18. Sponge
  19. TP
  20. Tin Foil wind block
  21. BBQ lighter
  22. Deet
  23. Sunscreen
  24. Flashlight
  25. Map
  26. Map bag (ziplock)
  27. Chopping board
  28. Utensils/bowls
  29. Metal Whisking Fork/flipper
  30. Water bottle
  31. Garbage bag
  32. Dry bags
  33. Waterproof camera
  34. Toque
  35. Flare
  36. Radar Reflector
  37. Tide Charts
  38. Marine GPS
  39. Life Jacket
  40. Reading material

Scenery shots and wildlife report are coming soon!

The view of Erica from my boat
The view of Erica from my boat

Canada Research Chair

Heifers weather a snowstorm on the ides of March.  Only in Saskatchewan
Heifers weather a snowstorm on the ides of March. Only in Saskatchewan!

 

Today I made a Shackleton-expedition-worthy trek to the U of S dairy barn on campus for a¬†field¬†trip¬†with the Environmental Public Health class. Simultaneously, the U of S media relations office made a public¬†announcement¬†and press release about my Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health. ¬†It’s official! ¬†The gang in Ottawa made their own set of¬†announcements¬†here¬†and¬†here.

By the time I got back to my office, there were 3 phone messages and 4 emails worth of media requests.  I never expected farm ergonomics would seem so interesting to folks, but in Saskatchewan interest in agriculture is VERY high.  I did a Friday afternoon radio interview that will be aired on the Agri-program on Wednesday, and scheduled two television interviews on Monday morning: one in studio downtown (I guess the Saskatoon equivalent of Kathie-Lee and Hoda will be there?), and one on campus in the dairy barn (the cows all know me now).  I have responded to email requests form the print media folks but have not spoken to them yet.  Hopefully I can get a hold of the end results and link them here.

There is always a mortifying aspect to seeing oneself quoted saying something not QUITE right or looking goofy on TV, but overall it is a small price to pay. ¬†Canadian taxpayers have invested quite a lot of money in this research, so they deserve to hear about it, goofiness and all. ¬†Also, I’m sure the attention will be pretty short-lived so I won’t have a chance for the novelty to wear off and get blase about it. ¬† ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

Snowy BC

Arrived to unusual snow in Vancouver which melted in a few days, but LOTS was left in the mountains.  :)
Arrived to unusual snow in Vancouver which melted in a few days, but LOTS was left in the mountains. ūüôā
Kiran, Erica and me at Seymour.  It was not a great view, but a fun hike nonetheless.  I was tough enough not to need a jacket, but big thanks to Erica for loaning me her gaitors (I was wearing racing flats).
Kiran, Erica and me at Seymour. It was not a great view, but a fun hike nonetheless. I was tough enough not to need a jacket, but big thanks to Erica for loaning me her gaitors (I was wearing racing flats).
There were several of these awesome nautilus trees.
There were several of these awesome nautilus trees.

Halifax and Pier 21

I left Saskatoon on August 13 for a long conference-filled ‘work’ tour. ¬†I say ‘work’ because it was all pretty fun, visintg people I lik eand seeing new places (a respite from Saskatoon is a real plus). ¬†The first stop was a visit to Halifax for the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) conference, where I presented on some preliminary development work for an occupational knee sensor. ¬†I wanted to present something new even though I have not been at U of S a whole year yet, and this fit the bill. ¬† The conference was alright, and it was nice to see everyone and do a social evening at a brewery tour.

Halifax was hot and humid, culminating in a massive hot-lantic downpour that added 2 kilos to my suitcase ¬†just in time to go to the airport and check in for a transatlantic flight. I have been to Halifax lots of times for racing, and I am used to 15 degrees and drizzle in august. ¬†The only rain was in the hours before I left, so I can’t complain.

The real highlight of the trip was going to the pier 21 museum.  Pier 21 was the major immigration port in Eastern Canada for more than 100 years, and is the same one at which mom and nana came through during WWII to escape the bombs in London.  They made this trip before the official war brides program started in 1946, so it was very hard to get any information or copies of their documents.  The museum was fantastic, with guided tours from immigrants who came through; my guide was George B. who came from the Nederlands in 1952. What a gem!  He had great stories and a good sense of humour.  There was also a historic reenactment-type movie with neat holographic images projected onto a real set with chairs and gang planks made to look like the imigration room.

Canada Day

Working on our space monster costumes

Canada Day started out with a kayak paddle around Granville Island (sorry, no waterproof cameras means no pictures!), a visit to a local cafe, and some craft shopping for the ‘space monster’ theme party at Celebrities.

Space monster crafts

We made our alien costumes and had butter chicken dinner with David, his girlfriend Kinoi, and our cousin Anita.

David and Kinoi

Then we headed out for a night of dancing. Pretty fun!

Elizabeth had an outstanding space monster costume!
Is that an imperial storm trooper behind me? These aren’t the droids you’re looking for!

More Westcoast nature

Hasse took these photos…

Looking up a giant 450-year cedar (thuja plicata)
The view from Mt Finlayson – not sure what type of bird this is.
Hippy-Hasse hugging a big cedar tree
The whole waterfall
A dry stream bed in Goldstream park
Looking up a giant 450-year cedar (thuja plicata)