Sooke Potholes

Ever since moving to the Island I have heard people rave out the amazing Sooke Potholes. We decided to check it out when my sister was in town. I am told that the Sooke potholes have an amazing geological feature that resemble potholes in the river bed. We never got to see them (if you have kids, you know what it is like and sometimes any beach is better than walking another 100m).

We arrived early, got a parking spot and walked up the road. There were a number of beaches a long the way, but the cool pothole feature was a long ways up the trail, so we settled at this location on the Sooke river.

The water was refreshing, and everyone had a great time. I want to go back to see the actual potholes, but that will take a bit more effort.

Heading out for the day at the beach

We are blessed to live in Victoria. Within a short drive there are so many beaches and fun things to do in the summer. My sister was in town a couple of weeks ago and she loves the beach. Oliver also loves the beach. It is a no brainer way to spend the weekend at the beach.

This is us as we head out for the day. We have everything. We need, swim gear, food, the carrier (called an ergo) and Oliver. Oliver also brought this pool noodle, which never made to the beach.

Camping on Sidney Island

Sidney Island is an amazing place to visit, with many beaches and a spit, the island is definitely worth a visit. The northern part of the island is protected by the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Walking around Sidney Spit

Getting there

From the boat on the way to the island. It looks like it is going to be a good weekend.

The Apline group runs a water taxi that takes passengers to the island. There are no roads or cars but there is a well developed network of hard packed pathways. There are a lot of sandy beaches, a day use area with picnic tables, a campground with pit toilets and a forested section. The water taxi is about $20 per person for a return trip. Since there are no cars on the island, you can only what you can carry. I would imagine the lack of car access and the cost of ferry limits the number of visitors that are willing to make the trip.The low numbers makes for a very enjoyable, chilled out experience, especially if you are camping.

I was glad to see these wheel barrow here. I was expecting smaller one with one wheel.

Luckily, there are a few large wheel barrows to help move your gear from the dock to the campsite. You can pack a lot of stuff into these wheel barrows and I wish I knew that before we left Sidney. We packed light thinking that the transportation situation would be worse on Sidney Island, you could easily bring a cooler.

Oliver loves things with wheels, cars, bikes, trucks and wheel barrows.

The beaches

There are many beaches on Sidney island. We did go to every beach, but the beaches that we did go were covered in sand and were really enjoyable. Oliver had fun with buckets and shovels and we enjoyed watching him play.

What happens if I cover mom with sand?

The spit itself is nothing short of amazing. During low tide you can walk the full length of the spit, which is longer than a kilometre. The weather was great and we enjoyed walking down the spit.

Walking down the spit at low tide, feels like you go walk forever.

Peaceful Evenings, beautiful mornings

The evenings at the campground were very quiet. There are about 10 campsites and everyone that was camping there was quiet. After Oliver was asleep, Tanya and I enjoyed the peacefulness and watched the sun going down.

The boats moored in the distance.

In the morning we did our usual camping routine and then we headed to a nearby beach to eat breakfast and enjoy our coffee in the morning sun while Oliver played in the sand.

Oliver doing his thing.

Great place to camp

We enjoyed camping on Sidney Island. The close proximity to beaches and the beauty of the island make this a wonderful place to camp.

Another view of the spit and the algae that grows on parts of the beach.

Posted from Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
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Tanya at Rathtrevor

Hanging out at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park enjoying some sunshine and the beach.

Posted from Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
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Hoi An

No cars are permitted in the centre, it was great

Hoi An is charming riverside town (I copied that description from the Lonely Planet) in the middle of Vietnam. There is a distinctive French influence…in the old town buildings, architecture, and the food (baguettes and pastries). Once again, Vietnam is tops on the awesome value accommodation and we found a great hotel with an even greater indoor-outdoor pool and our 3 days here went like this:  Wake up and eat all the fresh fruit we want at the free breakfast by the pool, rent bicycles and ride for 1-2 hours along a beautiful road on the ocean that is basically free of any traffic, come back sweating hot and jump in the cold pool, lounge in the sun, go for lunch, type up a post like this in the afternoon because it’s way to hot to be outside, then once it starts to cool down we hop back on the bikes to explore the streets and alleys of Old Town (which is closed to vehicle traffic – although it allows motorcycles).

Two spoons were needed to finish this dessert

The beach, and no one was on it

Looking down the river

Plenty of shoes to go along with all the clothes

Night Time in Hoi An, old buildings, great food

Lanterns on the side of the road

Clothing shops everywhere (every 2nd or 3rd shop)

Besides the historic old buildings, Hoi An is famous for Tailor-made clothing.  I’d say about every second or third shop is a tailor shop with enticing looking apparel…suits, jackets, tops, skirts, and dresses.  You can either a) choose from their samples b) you can bring in absolutely anything and they will copy it, or c) you can look through their stacks of photo albums full of magazine tear-outs of designer clothes they will make you for a fraction of the cost…in one day or less.

I couldn’t bear to spend money on something without knowing what it will look like in the end, however Kelly decided to take the plunge.  He brought in his favorite pair of shorts, picked out the material and color of the copy and that’s it…come back later that day!  We came back and overall they looked very similar to the original pair of shorts, though the sides of the sorts looked a little funny…too much material maybe…no problem though, the tailor comes right over and knows exactly how to fix it.  The next morning we go back and Kelly’s got himself a perfect copy of his favorite shorts.

In the centre of the city

A bright blue window, drab yellow decaying walls

Good to be back on bikes

Posted from Hội An, Quang Nam province, Vietnam
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Champaign Taste – Beer Budget

While we might claim to be budget travelers, and certainly we have stayed in more than our share of accommodation complete with cockroaches, moldy walls, suspicious sheets, and rats…any chance we find a place to stay or restaurant to eat at that is really good value and still within budget (or…well…almost within budget) we go for it.

Pool side

This is exactly what we’ve done for the last few days we’ve spent in Mui Ne. We met a couple in Dalat who just came from Mui Ne and said we would never stay in a place so nice for so cheap, and this turned out to be true. For a price (basically) within our budget , our hotel has a swimming pool literally right out our door, the ocean and beach about 10 steps away, and includes things like free breakfast, free laundry, free wi-fi, free water, a DVD library, and an in-room kitchen and computer. It’s going to be hard to leave!

Computer geeks, the room came with a computer and we have our own, you would not believe how productive we are in this set up

Wifi breakfast, here we have free wifi and free breakfast

Since we’ve been in SE Asia we’ve made the great discovery of the benefits of low-season travel and the great deals to be had!! While you do have to put up with 40 degree weather and the occasional downpour of rain, you get hotels for way cheaper and happy hour specials galore.

We have taken a vacation…from our vacation!

Posted from Phan Thiết, Binh Thuan, Vietnam
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Swimming with Sharks

Two long bus journeys, one taxi ride, and a slightly terrifying “fast ferry” we arrived at Pulau Perhentian (the small island). I have never been to a tropical beach island before and this one has set the standard very high.

There are two main beaches on either side of the island and no roads at all, you have to walk through the interior jungle of the island to get to the other beach (the path is complete with massive spider webs home to gigantic spiders and lizards that are like mini-dinosaurs). The island was amazing, perfectly clear blue water, sandy beaches, and great weather. However, since we did just finish a permaculture course, we were able to see a few flaws, like how un-environmental and un-sustainable it actually was (generators are the only source of power, the only drinking water is bottled and brought in on boats thus very expensive, burning garbage, etc.), but we did talk a lot about how easy it would be to make the place way better in this regard, so much opportunity, I think the next Malaysian permaculture course should be here! However, we met several people there who came from Thailand and they said the Perhentians were much better!

Our days basically went like this…sleep in, go have breakfast, sit on our porch, finally get around to going to the beach, swim in the fantastic water, go have lunch, relax, go have dinner, sit on the porch some more, then bed! One day we went snorkelling, the first time for both of us! We really enjoyed it, we joined a group with a guide and we went to 6 differents snokelling sites and saw lots of coral, various fish, sting rays, and sharks..yes, several sharks (don’t worry we still have all of our limbs!). I was afraid of the fish at first but they basically leave you alone. We met some great people here and really enjoyed our time. We always say we’re not “beach people” but after this experience, I think we are!

Posted from Ketengah Jaya, Terengganu, Malaysia
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