wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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West Coast Travels

At the end of the fishing season this past summer, the Captain was ready to head home.  A new phase of the adventure begins with the rising sun.

Along the way home, he stops to check out this little building. You would never guess that inside this shack is a pleasant surprise.  A cemented enclosure fills with warm water through a  pipe from hotsprings behind the cabin. Step inside and have a soak to take the ache out of your bones.

The falls at the head of Lowe Inlet splash relentlessly. Except for the odd raven chuckling in the treetops, the rush and gurgle of the water are the only sounds. If you think you might want to try casting a dry fly towards a coho, be sure to take your bear spray with you – just in case.

 Need a warm cabin for drying out those wet clothes? This Fisheries cabin at Lowe Inlet, aptly named the Lowe Budget Hotel,  is very cozy after the Captain has spent some time trying his luck fishing in the cold mist of the falls. 

He remembers to follow the rules about the woodstove, posted on the wall. Don’t want to risk burning the cabin down.

Almost there. Running the boat down Grenville Channel.  Beautiful trip but there’s no place like home.

Meanwhile at home, I’ve been writing, and thinking about my fictitious character, Andrea, who has had an experience that seems bizarre at first. But in truth, this has happened to other women who have ventured out to the coast.

How did a city girl like her became trapped in an isolated cabin on this remote coast? Will she ever escape this lonely place where she must live with a man who is mentally deranged?

You can download The Wind Weeps (FREE), and then you can find out the conclusion in a sequel, Reckoning Tide, that is only $2.99. When did you last get so much enjoyment and entertainment for such a small price?

Why not get them both today at amazon.com or amazon.ca and smashwords.com?

You can find them all with supporting reviews at my website www.anneli-purchase.com


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The River Sportsman

***Please note that the comment section in this theme layout is at the top rather than at the bottom as it used to be. Click on the “Replies” button. I look forward to your comment.

In the town of Campbell River, above the banks of the Campbell River, is a wonderful sports shop called The River Sportsman. In one corner of the store you can sit almost on the river while you have a coffee and decide which fly rod you want to mortgage the house for.

Oi veh! My tongue is in my cheek as I notice the camo gear on the right. You may remember my post about camo gear. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/03/09/camo/

Inside the store are many samples of wildlife that have been mounted (taxidermed) – (stuffed animals). The lighting is very bright and the glass cases in which some of the mounts are kept reflect the light, making it difficult to get a good photo.

The first is a grizzly, which is not USUALLY found on Vancouver Island, although several instances are recorded of grizzlies who have obviously swum across from the mainland, most likely island hopping and making short swims to finally reach Vancouver Island.

This is not a particularly large grizzly, but I wouldn’t want to meet him just the same. Intimidating teeth and claws, in spite of his pretty smile.

Another bear we don’t have here is the polar bear. Of all the bears, I think he is the most dangerous and close to the size of the Kodiak (which, like grizzlies, are a subspecies of the brown bear). The largest polar bear on record weighed 2209 lbs. and stood 11 ft. 1 in. on his hind legs. The bear on this photo is nowhere near that record, but I wouldn’t want to get a bear hug from him.

Another animal we don’t have on the island is the Rocky Mountain goat. It makes a handsome addition to the zoo in the sports shop.

Now we come to the animals that are prolific on Vancouver Island. Cougars are all over the island. I can’t imagine why I worry about black bears  when I’m mushroom picking, when I really should be worrying about these cats instead. They are much more likely to attack a person than a black bear is, especially if that person is walking alone or with a small pet.

The sports shop is full of birds and mammals on the walls and in glass cages. One of the walls has a wolf mount, but I didn’t feel inclined to take its picture. Now that I’m writing about the prolific cougar, I’m wishing I had a wolf picture to place with  the cats. Wolves are also plentiful, especially on the northern part of the island. I have no illusions about what a wolf can do to a deer or a lamb on a sheep farm.

The visit to The River Sportsman was entertaining for me while my friend shopped till she dropped. Maybe they put these animals in the shops on purpose to keep customers in the stores. It seems to be working.


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Beach Fishing, Anyone?

I would feel safe enough fishing from a little skiff. I wouldn’t mind the mystic, misty fog that will burn off later in the day.

But going ashore to fish from the beach has given me pause. All sorts of dangers lurk there, right next to those horse clams that squirt water through their siphons like a mini fire brigade.

Remember them, squirting water into the air? Well, just look what is going on behind their backs.What if I’d been standing on the beach fishing, and it turned out to be the bruin’s favourite fishing spot? I think I’d stay in the skiff, thank you.

But worse yet, what if you heard wolves howling the night before, you go to the beach to fish in the morning and a friend calls over to tell you he just saw a wolf running away. You go to explore, and find that wolves have taken down a good-sized deer.

A pack of wolves would tear at the hide, pulling it right off the hind quarters to get at the meat under it. I apologize to the squeamish readers, but this is real life and death–the kind of thing we Disney fans deny ever happens, when in fact it is going on all the time. It must go on. Wolves have to eat too. But you’ll excuse me if I’m not overly in love with wolves or want to transplant them to every part of the country.

Next time I’ll post something sweet and not too real. I know that for many of you this is hard to look at. I didn’t like it myself, but it’s real, it’s true, and it’s happening out there in the real world.

No, I wasn’t there that day, but the Captain was. He took these pictures.


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Comic Relief

Comic relief, as I understand it, is when you crack a joke or laugh at something to take the intensity out of a serious or frightening situation. So maybe it doesn’t quite fit because I didn’t laugh until much later when I had stopped shaking. You may remember that we had a bear in the woods next door about a month ago. My knee still hurts from the sprawling tumble I took in a dash to get my camera. But I did get a shot of the bear that time as it slowly moved on through the neighbouring properties.

The Captain saw him again a day or two later, but since then, although there have been reported sightings by other neighbours, the bear hasn’t been back to ponder how a spaniel would taste for lunch. Until today! I was hanging up laundry wondering what 2-yr.-old Emma was doing in the backyard. (She gets into more mischief than 9-yr.-old Ruby.)

I heard her running around behind the workshop. Lots of squirrel and raccoon smells there. But then I heard twigs cracking in the bushes coming right from the area where the bear was last month. My imagination went into overdrive, but I rationalized, “It’s probably just the neighbours clearing some brush off their path. I’ll take look and say hello if that’s what the noise was.”

No neighbours in sight. Just the black shape you see in the center of the photo below. My heart was trying to leap out of my throat. What to do? Run for the camera and try to break the other knee? What if the bear leaves before I get back? What if it doesn’t!? Priorities!! Get the dogs into the house. I called for the dogs and tried not to sound scared in case the bear thought, “Aha! I’ve got her on the run. Good time to give chase.”  Luckily Emma came when she was called (this time), and Ruby was already waiting by the door.

I rushed into the house and got the camera. Now what? Do I just saunter up to the fence and say, “Smile! … Say Cheese?” At least it wasn’t rushing me. But it wasn’t running away either. I used the zoom. “Hmm…. The head seems to be up too high…. Oh …. Whew! It’s a deer! But it’s so dark!”  I tried to get a different angle but without going right up to the fence, I couldn’t get a clear look. “It sure is getting brazen. Doesn’t care that I’m here at all and it’s looking right at me.”

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I zoomed right in with the camera and got this picture of it. Then, feeling braver, I inched my way over to the fence and saw the stumps of two pin cherry trees.  I felt stupid, but very relieved as I went back into the house chuckling nervously. It took a while for my hands to stop shaking.

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Guard Dogs

The sun is out this morning. I was helping load things in the truck when the backyard supervisors sprang to life, barking and running around in circles, looking for the Captain or me.

“Probably a raccoon,” the Captain said, but we headed in the direction of the fuss anyway.

“I should get the camera … but … nahhhh … I’ve got enough raccoon pictures.”
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The supervisors barked more bravely now and stuck their noses through the fence towards the intruder.

I followed their line of sight and yelled to the Captain, “It’s a bear!”

Then I ran for my camera. I think the Captain probably thought I was running away from the bruin but I didn’t have time to worry about that. I had to get that camera, and fast. I know these visiting bears don’t hang around long once they’ve been discovered. But first, I had to do add some inadvertent drama to the show. My shoe caught a vine as I ran for the house. It was a vicious tangler and didn’t let go when I shook my foot as I kept running. That ended in a face plant. Thankfully that part of the yard, somewhere in behind that big tree in the top photo, has soft mossy ground, but it still hurt and I couldn’t get up right away. My knee and my neck felt broken, but it turned out to be nothing but old age.

Somewhere in the back of my mind images formed of bears chasing those who run (even if it’s to get the camera).

By the time I got back with the camera, the bear was already thinking it was time to leave. The supervisors, tasty morsels though they might have been, had been sent into the house, so why hang around?

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One last-ditch, hurried effort to try for a picture only caught a dark blurry shape(front and center) with two small round ears perched on the top.

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The supervisors are continuing their naps in the house for the morning. They always stir up too much trouble when we let them out.


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Great Blue Heron

Wouldn’t it be nice if all birds could be friends? But that’s not how it is in nature. Crows rob the nests of songbirds, cowbirds lay eggs in the nests of other birds and then fly off, knowing the surrogate mother will bring up the cowbird baby that will crowd out the original nestlings. Owls and hawks will kill other smaller birds. “World bird peace” is pretty much hopeless.

Two of the larger birds, great blue herons and bald eagles, live side by side on the west coast of British Columbia. You rarely see bald eagles killing a heron, but it does happen. Turkey vultures, crows, ravens, black bears, and raccoons are all nest robbers that will clean out a heron’s nest. Eagles will do the same but they also predate on great blue herons in every stage of the heron’s life. The eagle has great grasping talons and a beak made for tearing flesh, so what chance does a heron have?

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Photo, courtesy of Ken Thorne.

Many years ago, I saw how herons escape from eagles. While living on the Queen Charlotte Islands, I was standing in my backyard one day when I heard the croaking call of a heron in a tall tree nearby. An eagle flew in and the heron lifted off. I thought the heron would fly away as the eagle went after him, but instead, the heron reached up with both of his wide-spread wings and pumped air downwards. He flew higher and higher in a tight circle going almost straight up.

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The eagle also pumped his wings and pursued the heron, circling higher and higher after him. The heron went so high that he was a mere speck in the sky. Many meters below him, the eagle soared in circles but was no longer gaining in altitude. I think he had gone as high as he was able. The two birds circled at their respective heights for several minutes, and at last the eagle gave up and flew away. The heron came down after a while, to go about his business for another day.

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The great blue heron is the ultimate stalker. He is patient beyond belief, and will stand absolutely still for so long that you might wonder if he is alive. Then he moves one leg up out of the water and hesitates. After a moment he puts the leg down, just a little closer to the fish or frog he is stalking. His folded up neck reminds me of a boxer holding his fist close to his chest, ready to fling out his arm to throw a punch at the right second. The heron’s sharp grabbing beak is his weapon for securing his dinner. His patience usually pays off and he scores a snack for his dinner.

I saw this fellow today at the shore below my house. I also took the picture of the eagle soaring over the trees beside my house today.  I sure hope these two can keep out of each other’s way and both settle for a meal of fish instead.


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Big and Black

In the spring of the year, I’m always a bit nervous of letting my dogs, Emma and Ruby, out into the backyard in the early hours of dawn. I like to wait a little longer until more of the neighbours are up and around. Why? Because this is the time of year when we sometimes have visitors in the yard. Black bears have wandered through here several times over the years, and two weeks ago a raccoon was wrestling with my birdfeeder at 1:30 a.m. Cougar sightings are also the topic of conversation from time to time. Although I’ve never seen one in our yard, I’ve heard reports of them being very close by.

So this morning when my usually quiet Emma barked, I ran to see what was up. She seemed afraid to go near the fence and as she backed up,  she did her “I’m not afraid of you” bark. But her tail told the tale. She was afraid.

She was barking at something in the same place where, a few years ago, I had called one of our previous spaniels away from a black bear who was sitting just on the other side of the fence.

I hurried to call both dogs into the house and then went out to investigate.

Later, I made her pose for this picture, but she still kept her eye on the fence.

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I scanned the woods on the other side of the fenceline, looking for raccoons, cougars, or black bears, and then I saw it. Sure enough it was a big black….

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At first I thought it was a tent, but on looking more closely, I assumed it must be a load of firewood, covered with a black tarp.

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Emma still isn’t convinced that it won’t do her harm.