Spring in Nanaimo (Mar/Apr 2008)
thumbnail One of the first signs of Spring is the lowly skunk cabbage, popping up in its spectacularly weird immature form. I have read that this is the only plant species to be exothermic -- it generates a heat signature! Later in the early summer its large green leaves will appear, but for now it looks even weirder than calla lilies.

thumbnail In Santa Cruz we had bright yellow banana slugs; up here North of 50 we have leopard-spotted, pale yellow banana slugs. Both are rainforest critters. It's oddly nostalgic, if a little odd, to see the familiar slug in such different costume.

thumbnail Along the waterfront the decorative trees are in bud.

thumbnail Where direct sunlight hits, the trees bloom earlier. Along the waterfront walk one or two of them are breath-taking.

thumbnail The city of Nanaimo is gung-ho on public planters (at least in the turista quarter, along the waterfront and in the olde-towne kitsch shopping area. The planters are well-kept and -- since bulbs do very well in this climate -- very showy in Spring with a wide variety of plantings; these daffs are just one of several impressive displays. I'll try to get better photos in 2009.

thumbnail In the park, flowering trees line the paths and overhang the benches.

thumbnail From April through May it is a parade of heart-stopping beauty.

In Spring, low tides occur during daylight hours -- much inconveniencing the marina operators, whose Travelifts may stand idle while the water's too shallow for boats to approach the ways.

thumbnail Looking over the side of the dock one easily sees starfish and crabs on the bottom, as in a tidepool.

thumbnail The local purple stars (very common in shoal water) stubbornly cling to their pilings despite the falling water.

thumbnail Critters that cling to the pilings, normally several feet below the surface...

thumbnail ... are exposed the the air and hang drooping like saltwater taffy.

thumbnail The muddy foreshore is exposed, and the ramp down to the floating docks becomes very steep.

thumbnail The racing dragonboat next door at "Bluenose" Marina isn't going anywhere until the tide turns.

thumbnail Across the channel, on the island, sandy beaches are exposed by the low water -- a great time to land a dinghy and poke about the foreshore.

thumbnail Spring is also the time for spectacle in the skies: masses of fast-moving clouds, fickle and playful weather. Warmish, still afternoons, dead calm despite all kinds of dynamics going on in the upper atmosphere.

thumbnail The waterfront is merely a backdrop for the far more impressive structures in the sky.

thumbnail Almost like the South Pacific... but a lot cooler!

A calm afternoon in late Spring is a perfect time to go rowing; here I look back at "the Gap" (between Newcastle and Protection Islands) from my dinghy...

... and here I look out across the Strait of Georgia towards Gibsons Bay. Happy memories of exploring my new back yard by dinghy; of picnics ashore and aboard, boats hailed and met, old friends encountered afloat, micro-adventures on a fractal coast, rowing through a vast reflected sky.