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Galiano Island

Galiano Island

  • Posted: Aug 31, 2016
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Galiano Island is a place to visit, to be sure!

Galiano Island is one of my favourite Gulf Islands and it can be reached by BC Ferry from Victoria or Vancouver. The island is long and narrow and has some of the most beautiful scenery available. My favourite place to see spectacular views is Bold Bluff Park on the south shore facing Active Pass with views past Victoria to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. Let me suggest you go there late in the afternoon to get the effect of the setting sun. It is amazing to watch the marine traffic that goes through the strait. Most of it is BC Ferries but there is more. The Orca whales often go through the pass in search of seals, sea lions and fish. Another great spot to view the activity in the strait is Bellhouse Park, within walking distance of the Ferry Dock.

Bold Bluff

Bold Bluff

The south end of the island is where most of the commerce is. The island has some good bed and breakfasts, and  a great resort (Galiano Inn and Spa).

One of the coolest things to see on the island is the sandstone caves near Retreat Cove. If you take the road to the Retreat Cove dock, you have just passed the gate that gives you shore access. It is private property, but at last visit by me, no one seemed to care. Or you can kayak there from Retreat Cove.

GalianoShores

GalianoShores

Another special place to visit is Stone World. In addition to the great gallery there, the stonework on the property is like a visit to a “Stonehenge” wannabe”. It is amazing to see. Check it out.

The last time I was there, there was no road access to Dionisio Provincial Park on the north end of the island. Check out boat rentals or local water taxis to see if they can take you there.  It is in Porlier Pass and it is spectacular. Continue reading

Sooke Activities and Restaurant to Eat At

Sooke Activities and Restaurant to Eat At

  • Posted: Feb 26, 2016
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Mom’s Cafe Diner is an institution in Sooke

Today I had reason to be in Sooke. When I first started going out to Sooke In the 1970’s I discovered a restaurant called Mom’s. As Sooke grew other restaurants opened and closed. Mom’s is still operating but under new owners. I had not been in Mom’s for quite a few years, so I decided today was the day.

I spent a lot of time with the menu before deciding on one of my favourite West Coast meals, fish and chips. I have had this meal an incredible number of times and believe me, there is a tremendous range of what people try to pass off as fish and chips.

 

Inside Mom's Diner

Inside Mom’s Diner

 

There were two choices on the menu, beer battered or crispy corn meal battered. I stuck with the traditional beer batter. I also asked if my chips could come crispy. I hear the waitress ask the cook to make them well done. I absolutely hate undercooked, white, anaemic looking fries and have had lots of trouble getting chefs to cook them so they are crispy. My order came perfectly cooked for me.

The servings were more than ample for me with a lot of fries, a good sized piece of fresh halibut and a large portion of cold slaw served on lettuce. I truly could not eat all my lunch. It was delicious. When I first started going to Mom’s the pie was to die for and when I was there just before the change of owners, one waitress told me that they were worried that their pie cook was going to retire.

Right now, they serve what they call mile high pie. The centre of the pie raises up a good 8 inches from the bottom of the plate so when you order pie, you will get quite a chunk. I wish that I had room for pie but since I could not eat my fish and chips, I didn’t even try.

First the start and then the end of my meal. There was  a lot left over as you can see.

First the start and then the end of my meal. There was a lot left over as you can see.

 

The restaurant is decorated like an old fashion diner and the food is typical of the kind of food you would expect in a diner. Every meal that came out while I was there looked very good. They seem to provide free fills for coffee and soft drinks. I was asked several times if I wanted to get a refill. This is a nice touch that has disappeared from many restaurants. The staff wase very polite, friendly, helpful and attentive.

It was not hard to ascertain that “coke” won the soft drink warm and that the “pepsi generation” will have to look elsewhere, as coke advertising appears throughout the diner. Cool, I like coke and never bought in to the Pepsi  Generation.

When I arrived there were not very many people in the restaurant but when I left the place was full. That was good to see as I am sure the tradition and good food will continue for a long time.

Sooke Basin

Spend some time in Sooke. There is lots to see and do. Sooke Basin can be viewed from East Sooke on the east side or from Whiffen Spit in front of Sooke Harbour House on the west side or from many points in between. The scenery and photo ops are amazing. Watch the sun set in the west, throw you crab traps in a Whiffen Spit, or drop in for lunch or dinner at Sooke Harbour House. Better yet, book yourself into Sooke Harbour house for a night or two and find out how to relax and be spoiled at the same time. Or hook up (no pun intended) with one of Sooke’s fishing guides and sneak out of the Basin into Juan de Fuca Strait for some of the best fishing on the West Coast. The salmon and halibut are waiting out there just for you.

Sooke Basin looking towards the Olympic Mountains, then views around the basin.

Sooke Basin looking towards the Olympic Mountains, then views around the basin.

 

 

 

 

One of the most popular spots around Sooke is the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. People love to swim in the river or splash around in the potholes (natural pools created where the river moves through narrow passages). Check out this park on their Web Site. The Galloping Goose Trail crosses the highway to Sooke and the trail north to the potholes crosses over two old train trestles. This is a really nice part of the trail and great for cycling. Check out the Sooke Museum, stop by the seafood store for some fresh fish etc., visit Ed MacGregor Park in Sooke on the Sooke Basin shoreline, visit Sandcut Beach just west of Sooke or any one of the other great rugged beaches of the coast line from Sooke to Port Renfrew (you will be amazed). So get out there and enjoy Sooke!

Sook Potholes, Sooke River, Sooke museum, Fish Store, Ed McGregor Park, Sandcut Beach, and Ron Fishing...top then to right

Sook Potholes, Sooke River, Sooke museum, Fish Store, Ed McGregor Park, Sandcut Beach, and Ron Fishing…top then to right

 

A Night at Nautical Nellies

A Night at Nautical Nellies

  • Posted: Dec 08, 2015
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A Birthday Celebration at Nautical Nellies

Our Granddaughter Madison turned 13 and officially became a teenager, although she was mentally there several years ago. So we decided we would treat her to dinner. We tend to like seafood and out go-to restaurant for this is Nautical Nellies. We find it a good choice because not everyone likes seafood and their menu is so extensive there is always something for everyone. Madison and her mom Rebecca did not choose seafood and their choices look yummy.
The service we got was exceptional. She said her name was Sheila. Now we know that the chef is Australian so when the name Sheila is called out, all the females in the restaurant come running! Sheila had a great sense of humour. She was congenial and attentive and made sure that our subtle menu changes were accommodated. This is the way it is supposed to be and we have always had great service at Nellies.

The birthday girl chose a petite New York steak with fries and local vegetables. I think I might have convinced her to go for the fries because they are so good at Nellies. It looked absolutely yummy!

Her mother started with the pyramid of deviled eggs but was side-swiped by the rest of the party and only got about half of her order. Everyone agreed that the devilled eggs were sensational! They came with capers, prosciutto, and tobiko with a Wasabi dipping sauce. These are highly recommended. She followed that with lobster bisque and a kale and bacon Caesar salad.

Nautical Nellies Steak and Seafood Restaurant

Nautical Nellies Steak and Seafood Restaurant

Linda order one of her favourites, the pan seared Bay Scallops served with roasted corn, asparagus, a mix of wild jasmine rice and served with local vegetables.

Being the traditionalist, I chose the 2 piece halibut and fries served with creamy coleslaw. My conquest is to find the best fish and chip haunts in the world. English style fish and chips are my favourite and Nellies do a fantastic job. There was more than enough halibut and it was crisp and not greasy. It is one of the best you will find in Victoria and always consistent.

Naturally since it was a birthday, desert was in order. Madison chose the Flourless Chocolate Espresso Torte with whip cream. Rebecca and I chose the Triple Chocolate Mousse Parfait layered with chocolate espresso torte and whipped sugar cream topped with raspberry coulis. My goodness it was good! A way to good!

We all left satiated. Thanks again to Nautical Nellies and all the staff that made our evening special. We recommend that if you are looking for a great meal in a great location, this is it!

Video is big! How big is it?

Video is big! How big is it?

  • Posted: Feb 04, 2015
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How big is video when added to a web site? Is it worth the effort? When I add video to my social marketing sites generally it boost the visits about 400 percent. It is very popular as any user of YouTube! I have been making a posting videos, most based on local tourism for several years and many of them are on my YouTube channelThe video below is one of the first that I did and Hemingway’s By the Sea Bed and Breakfast is a large tudor-style house about 6 minutes from downtown and located on a quiet street in Esquimalt. The owner is interested in retiring and would like to sell her business. If you are interested, give her a call at 250-384-0862.  Learn more about Hemingways.

Since I did this video, many of my clients have developed videos highlighting their business. It seems to be working. BK Studios are an official Google Business View business that can really help develop your business using video. The Business View videos show off your business. They can also produce quality videos that you can use on your web site that further sells you business and quality photos that you can use on your web site and in the popular sliders that are now in most web sites.

To give you a little more information about this valuable web site service, here is B-K Studios’ press release about their service.  Continue reading

Commonly Asked Questions Volume 1

Commonly Asked Questions Volume 1

  • Posted: Feb 02, 2015
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Commonly Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

Q1. I have only 2 or 3 days to see Victoria, what should I do?
Well, what kind of activities do you like to do? I will start by explaining the must do’s!
Our number 1 attraction is Butchart Gardens. Don’t miss it. it is world class! This is at least a half day event! Whale Watching is as good as it gets in Victoria. It is a rare day between May and October when whales are not witnessed. Most of the companies are going out year round as the whales seem to be around almost every day. Most trips are 3-3.5 hours. If you get an inclement day, take in our BC Provincial Museum. If you like museums, take it in on a nice day as well. It too is world class. We are one of the top cities in the world for environmental ambiance, so take in a city tour, or rent a car and follow our self-guided tour. If the weather is good, take the double-decker open bus on your tour. If you have children, take them to the Petting Zoo in Beacon Hill Park, the Bug Zoo in downtown, the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney, and the Imax Theatre. Butterfly Gardens is also a world class attraction. Wander through a tropical jungle and amazing butterflies, fish, birds, turtles, and much more! My recommendation is to stay longer. You will be glad you did. Continue reading