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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

World Oceans Day

Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean - Click for larger

In 2008 the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8 as World Oceans Day. It's a day to celebrate oceans, those massive bodies of water that generate the air we breathe, control our climate, help to feed and entertain us, and support a rich biodiversity of life.
Capelin FishingKayaking in the Atlantic
Sea Stars and AnemonesSeals
 Minke WhaleAtlantic Puffin

Our very own Canadian Government first proposed the international day in recognition of oceans at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Canada is lucky in that it has shores on three of the world's five designated oceanic divisions:

The Pacific: Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean - Click for larger

Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean - Click for larger

The Arctic: Hudson Bay/Arctic Ocean
Hudson Bay/Arctic Ocean - Click for larger

Hudson Bay/Arctic Ocean
Hudson Bay/Arctic Ocean - Click for larger

The Atlantic: Orby Head, PEI
Orby Head, PEI - Click for larger

Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy - Click for larger

Gulf of St. Lawrence
Gulf of St. Lawrence - Click for larger

Kellys beach, Kouchibouguac
Kellys beach, Kouchibouguac - Click for larger

Iceberg Alley, NL
Iceberg Alley, NL - Click for larger

I think the recent BP Oil Rig disaster off the coast of Louisiana gives this World Oceans Day even more importance. After all there may be five ocean divisions but really there is only one world ocean. Oil from this disaster may not ever show up on beaches in Canada. But still it will affect Canada and the rest of the world.
Migrating Shorebirds, NB
Migrating Shorebirds, NB - Click for larger

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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Poor Man's RV

I haven't been sleeping well lately. Maybe it was the recent full moon. Or maybe I have simply been overwhelmed with the preparations for our upcoming photo journey - after all it is going to be a long one. Mostly while lying awake in the comfort of our own bed my mind has been wandering back to this sign in the Yukon:Bear Warning Sign
Bear Warning Sign - Click for larger

It is haunting me.

We tent camped near that sign and indeed the soapberries were ripe and plentiful on our campsite. The few other campers were all in some sort of hard-sided accommodation like truck campers and RVs. If a bear wanted a little protein to accompany his fruit we were the obvious choice - we were just behind a thin nylon wall. Yet come morning we never saw any indications that bears had been around our tent - no droppings or scratchings and even the ripe berries were still waiting to be eaten.

But still that sign haunts me.

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear - Click for larger

I'll admit it - I'm afraid of bears. I'm tired of being bear bait. This time on the road I don't want to wake up in the tent and wonder if the rustling noises I'm hearing outside are made by the little chipmunk we saw earlier or something bigger, much bigger!

Chipmunk
Chipmunk - Click for larger

Why is it little rodents can make so much noise anyway?

No this time I wanted options on how, or more correctly where, we sleep. Especially if a bear has been spotted nearby.Black Bear
Black Bear - Click for larger

Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep - Click for larger

So these past couple of weeks when I've been unable to sleep, instead of counting sheep I've been thinking about options, wondering just how to sleep on the road with something a little more solid than a tent between us and the bears. In spite of my last posting/shameful plea seeking sponsorship from RV Manufacturers or dealers, I came to the conclusion that we would have to take the matter into our own hands. We would build a platform to sleep on in our van.

It took me awhile to convince Ron that it could work. We stood outside and stared into the open van and measured and "discussed". Gradually I turned those sign haunted nights into planning and design sessions. Eventually we were ready to try building something. See Ron's recent blog posting for the results.

There will be no inside plumbing so I'll still have to get dressed and go outside to find the nearest outhouse when nature calls at night. (I'll make Ron walk me so don't worry Mom!) And I'll still have to dress while lying down. It may not be the luxurious accommodation I've been lusting over. No it's rather more like a Poor Man's RV. But the walls are not only harder than tent nylon there are plenty of tinted windows. The windows just might offer scenic lakeside views. We'll be able to stargaze from bed through the tailgate window and possibly even watch bears munch on soapberries. Maybe, just maybe, this time while on the road instead of being spooked by outside noises I can finally get some sleep!

Kluane Lake, YT
Kluane Lake, YT - Click for larger

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