Category Archives: Travel

Craigdarroch Castle

One of the places we saw mentioned in Victoria when we were staying there for Thanksgiving was Craigdarroch Castle.  It was described as being in the town itself so we decided to swing by as we were heading out of town towards some other locations.  The “castle” is a big house up on the hills.  It has a pretty good view across the town by the looks of it.  I am not usually terribly interested in the insides of buildings like this.  The outside is worth a look but the interiors are usually rather old and musty, so we skipped that and walked around outside in the sun.

The building is in the middle of a residential area so it is a little strange to be surrounded by houses but it was a sunny day and the building is interesting so we had a look around before heading off on our way.

Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach is well known but one of its most famous landmarks is Haystack Rock.  This sits on the shore just a short distance from where we were staying so we walked by it a few times and could see it from our balcony whenever we liked.  It is a sizeable thing!  It sits right at the tide line so, at high tide, it is in the water but, when the tide retreats, you can walk out to it.  However, it is a protected site so no climbing.

On gray and stormy days, it looks pretty bleak.  When the sun is out and illuminating it with that nice low winter light angle, it looks totally different.  I suspect, if I stayed there longer, I would probably photograph it a hundred different ways and still not be satisfied with what I got.  I won’t be alone, of course.  It has been photographed more times than anyone could count.

Victoria Watersports

Victoria residents like to make use of the water for their activities.  While we were there – and despite the weather being far from friendly – there were plenty of people out on the water.  Their choice of activities varied.  We had some stand up paddle boarders, there were kayakers, canoes and what looked like dragon boat teams but maybe that isn’t the right term for this type of boat.  Wherever I was wandering, there was always someone out on the water.  They managed to avoid the ferries and floatplanes without too much trouble!

How To Move Ships Around The Shipyard

The walk from our hotel in Victoria to a favorite breakfast spot took us alongside one of the local shipyards.  This yard had plenty of decent sized vessels out of the water and being worked on.  I was quite taken by their method of moving the boats around.  They have a lift area in the water and then the ships get put on supports on rails.  There is a turntable in the yard which allows each vessel to be moved to a different part of the yard.  I had seen a hint of this on Google Maps before we went so was interested to check it out when we walked by.

Even The Trashcans are Elegant

I have posted a few things about Butchart Gardens but this is a slightly silly one.  Like any public place, they need to have trash cans around the place for the visitors to deposit their detritus.  In their case, they can’t just have a normal trash can.  That would be far too out of keeping with the rest of the venue.  They need to have something more in keeping.  How about these for the best looking trash cans you have come across.

Three Years of Building Progress

One of our earlier visits to Victoria had involved staying close by a building that was being demolished.  They were keeping the façade of the building intact and taking out the interior for rebuilding and development.  Three years has gone by since that visit and I was interested to see how the building was looking.  While some finishing and fit out still appears to be underway, the building appears to be complete.

They have retained the façade as anticipated and constructed a whole new building inside.  In addition, one source of the building had been removed to allow the demolition process to get underway and that now has a new structure grafted on to the building.  Consequently, there is a combination of the old and the modern in the way it is finished off.  I assume by the next time we are in Victoria, it will be open for business.  I don’t know when it was originally scheduled to be done but I assume the pandemic delayed things a little.

Cruise Ship Comparison

The cruise ships are back in Seattle.  A year of cruise travel didn’t happen while COVID was raging and no vaccinations were available.  Now they seem to have found a protocol to make cruises viable.  (Not something I would be trying but each to their own.)  When we were down in the city for a weekend, we got to the hotel shortly before one of the cruise ships sailed.  It belonged to the Norwegian cruise line and was a huge thing.  It was not an elegant looking ship but it clearly had plenty of capacity.

It sailed off on its trip – presumably towards Alaska – and a little while later the other end of the cruise ship spectrum showed up.  The National Geographic Venture is not a traditional cruise ship.  They have small vessels that are able to make more specialized trips into restricted spaces that the large cruise ships could never get to.  We have looked at their cruises to Alaska as something that we might want to do at some point.  The season is over for them now so it was not clear what the boat was up to but it couldn’t have looked more different than the Norwegian ship.

Fort Retrospective

Some memories recently came up on Facebook from a visit we had to Spitbank Fort for my Mum’s birthday eight years ago.  I posted on the blog at the time but, looking back on it, I didn’t really give it much coverage.  These days I can get multiple posts out of an event but in those days I was a bit more brief.  Consequently, I figured a few different shots from the visit would be okay to share.

It was a great trip.  We were on the fort for a little under 24 hours.  A boat took us out in time for lunch, then we could explore the fort in the afternoon.  Drinks and dinner were served and then the evening concluded up on the top where the hot tub and fire pit were located.  Breakfast the following morning concluded things and the boat took us back to shore.

The fort only has a small number of rooms so our group had exclusive use of it for the time we were there and you really did feel like you were somewhere special.  It was not a sunny day but it was still nice enough to be out on the upper levels watching the boat traffic around Spithead.  I understand that they forts are currently up for sale so it will be interesting to see what happens to them next.

HMS Warrior

Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard.  HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship.  See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties.  Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty.  Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.

I have not ever visited her.  I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit.  I have photographed her from a distance though.  Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point.  With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.

What Is Farmed Here?

Eastsound is the main town on Orcas Island.  As you head out of the town center towards the eastern side of the island, you go along the shoreline of a wide bay.  The tide was out as we drove over that way and there were some frames set in to a section of the beach.  Clearly this is an area which would be submerged at high tide so I assume it is used to farm something.  Shellfish of some sort were what I assumed but I don’t know for sure.  If anyone has any suggestions as to what they might be, please let me know in the comments.