A Crabsgiving to be thankful for!

This year, we wanted to try something different–a trip to Port Angeles to take part in their annual Crab Fest on Thanksgiving weekend!

14570567_10100637118008426_8084824533408843130_o

Crab Fest weekend!

(that was why I was in such a panic to find my passport a few weeks ago)

We headed out to the ferry in the pouring rain. It was just hammering down this past Saturday and because a lot of people go to Crab Fest, we ended up in line outdoors for over an hour waiting to clear customs. We got pretty soaked, even with an umbrella…

The ferry itself (Black Ball line) was absolutely packed. People didn’t have seats! It was kind of a hassel and a long way to Port Angeles. Once we got to Port Angeles, it is very easy to get around; everything is within walking distance (ferry, town, hotel/motels, shopping, Crab Fest, the pier, the aquarium!!!).

14525151_10100637117823796_7554801412908012154_o

A ride on the ferry

We first grabbed lunch at Crab Fest and we had southwestern chili and dungeness mac’n’ cheese- it was GOOD! I could eat a vat of it! Then we headed out to the Feiro Marine Life Centre to grab at some touch pools and check out their octopus. She was really interesting, huge, white and sleepy. The volunteers assured us that the octopus was just resting, and when they opened her tank, she changed red instantly. Neat eh?

14615766_10100637118282876_6276989061080843533_o

Ian and the ‘rocktopus’

Our motel was nothing to write home about, zero-frills and too $$ for what you get, but ehhh it was clean at least? No hot water in the showers though, and it was CHILLY in Port Angeles for the whole time we were there. I did pick up some pumpkin-spiced hard ciders at their natural food market and boy those are good. Canada we are missing out!

14566208_10100637118357726_5846467976447052614_o

A huge paella- my dream!!

We then went back to Crab Fest to enjoy our crab dinners- we each got a whole crab, a cob of corn and coleslaw. I tossed the coleslaw (yuck) but the crab was great and so was the corn. Yum! It was sooooo busy- in fact my one issue with Crab Fest was how packed it was, made it hard to enjoy browsing the tent because it was just one huge mass of people, all day.

We visited a local brewpub after and grabbed a drink there, and then called it a night.

14570687_10100637118173096_4468778822268362785_o

Intense concentration while crab fishing.

The next day, we ate at a local breakfast joint and wow–sooooo good. My breakfast was carmelized bananas with cream cheese and orange – cinnamon syrup and I can 100% recommend it. I was full the whole day!

We then went back to Crab Fest and I took part in the Crab Derby- you pay $5, and fish for 10 minutes in the tanks for crabs. If you hook them, they cost $15 each if you want to keep it. I got one and they were tricky to catch actually!

14570612_10100637118432576_2593041237589637932_o

Weekend= success (even if it was coooollddd).

Then it was home on the ferry with my cooked & cleaned crab and away we go. We also had with us doughnuts from Cock-a-Doodle-Doughnuts (sooooo good) and flamin’ hot Funyuns to round out the weekend of gluttony!

As soon as we got home, we zipped off to my in-laws farm for Thanksgiving, and then on Monday to my parents on Thanksgiving. Crazy weekend eh? Barely enough time to ride ol’ Oats (with my saddle fixed up!!! yes!!) on Monday! He was great though, silly old guy.

Advertisements

Brazil Journey Phase 2: Sao Paulo de Morro!

After landing in Salvador, we hopped the ferry boat to Sao Paulo de Morro (St. Paul’s Hill) a super touristy little island that is for people-only, no cars!

14068494_10100602680052366_6203565638748293352_o

Way out in the tidal flats

Well that was the plan, except it is winter and the Atlantic was so rough we had to cut sideways to a closer island, hop into vans and drive for two hours, to get into another boat to get to the island. It took closer to 3.5 hours than 2 on the open ocean! Argh!

13962794_10100602682462536_5281227167538905643_o

Boat ride #2

Once we were on the island, everything was so close. We walked to our hotel, and it was super nice, a boutique hotel. Things on the island are NOT cheap- quite pricey compared with Salvador. It was much quieter than we anticipated, apparently the island as  reputation for being quite wild, a real party town in tourist months. We had our pick of restaurants- there are like a zillion, and they seem to offer a lot of Italian food for some reason hahah. We had lobster two days in a row! Can’t complain about that!

13975304_10100602680546376_1783161298744931230_o

View from our hotel…Amazing.

The draw there is the beach- it is enormous, there are three of them and we had the beach right outside our room. There is also a big zipline, which I didn’t do because I am quite frankly afraid of heights!

Swimming was fun- because it is winter, the rainy season also happened and it was hot and sunny, then pouring rain, then hot and sunny, then pouring rain. Made for an interesting day!

13962847_10100602680830806_2665187758720883804_o

The town square.

We ate acai (yum!!) frozen gelato, chips and bought beers and generally just had a fabulous time. It’s very easy to like the island Sao Paulo de Morro, I can say that! We even waded out to a tide pool that has a ton of very friendly fish- it’s like snorkeling except you don’t even have to snorkel, haha.

14067983_10100602681883696_3319966216796982682_o

I loved the breakfast our hotel had- it was AMAZING. Best spread of the stay I think! I would definitely recommend visiting the island- the trip out can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but you it’s worth it.

13879347_10100594933266986_9147935450302378398_n

Tranquil.

Making it at the MANE EVENT!!

Finally, it was the weekend. We left fairly early on Friday to catch the Jim Wofford clinic at Chilliwack’s Mane Event and boy, he did not disappoint!

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Fresh off my lesson Thurs- quick recap, I can’t quite remember exactly what we did, but we did have a 2’3” oxer and it kind of scared me, we jumped it very nicely once, then I under-rode to a gentle stop by Oats, and then rode it well again…And a small bounce exercise, a green box skinny, and an x-rail on a circle that rode very nicely – historically a struggle point for me and Oats. Overall, quite nice, but I did have some nerves…

So, I was primed to learn something from the famous Jim Wofford himself. And what did I learn, from his gymnastic exercises with the upper-level group?

Rubbing shoulders with Jim Wofford- the man has a great sense of humour!

Rubbing shoulders with Jim Wofford- the man has a great sense of humour!

  • Look at the top rail of the fence until it disappears under you. This includes parallel oxers too!
  • For bounce exercises, ignore the placing rail. Focus on the top rail of the first jump.
  • Don’t start looking ‘through’ the exercises. One jump at a time! Riders and horses get into trouble when they start ignoring the first jump and stare through the exercises.
  • Let the horse make the mistake, you don’t need to make it for them.
  • Hitting a rail generally punishes the horse, you don’t need to punish. Reward them for a good effort on the next go-around, you will find they have fixed it! (sidenote- I’m bad for rewarding in the moment, need to get better about this).
  • He had a lot of riders riding with fairly loose contact, some with driving rein hands to correct hand use/placement. Let the horse be independent, thinking.
  • For drifters- take off your left leg if he drifts right. Then make your right leg stronger. Doesn’t work? You can add in guide poles.
  • The key is usually less is more. Ie- don’t use a martingale at home, fix what is wrong at home first. Don’t be the first to rush to more aids, artificial aids.
  • Only the elbows move for bounces.
  • Shoulders back, sitting up, no ‘posting’ at the canter.
  • Hands lower.

We watched a lot of his sessions, and I came away slightly intimidated – these were seriously good riders- and inspired as well. I want to try some of those exercises with Oats, the corner jump (we have done this before and he was fine with it), the ‘squeeze’ jump- now that looks interesting, and maybe a mini triple-bar or hogsback? So many good options to make jumping exciting and challenging.

I also took the opportunity to do some shopping…Too much shopping! Highlights included getting Grand Prix Vegas breeches for $50, Spooks stretch jacket for $150, Tailored Sportsman ‘Anaconda’ belt for $5, and a Toggi Equestrian long-sleeved t-shirt for $5 too. A steal!

I also got a lot of samples for Oats for treats- nutritional supplements, alfalfa cubes, treats, and some hay for Buster Bunny in a freezer ziploc bag. Score!

We also enjoyed a dressage session taught by Kristen Wysocki, and the Trainer’s Challenge featuring Sonny Gargulio, David Simons, and Glen Stewart. Glen Stewart in particular was a real class act, lovely to watch and a true horseman. Not sure who ended up winning- we were at the Jim Wofford Q&A session- but it was a real treat to watch.

The ‘equine experience’ at night was stunning as always, with fabulous performances by the Coastal Cowgirls on Vancouver Island – maybe I am a bit biased but I think their drill team performances were the slickest! They even had spins, and everything! One accident happened- not like last year when horses collided, but this time a horse spooked, the rider fell off and dislodged the flag she was carrying. It got caught in the horse’s breastplate! We  all gasped and held our breath…But it was ok, it got removed and the horse/rider were fine to mount and continue.

Guess it’s not the genuine experience if there isn’t at least one hair-raising moment! On that note there were these young girls- the ‘Young Gunz’ and their performances were genuinely terrifying but very well done. My heart was in my throat!

As always, Mane Event is something we look forward to every year. I’m inspired to go try some new fun things with Oats and I can’t wait to show off my new awesome riding gear!

An Island getaway- Quadra Island!

We did something a bit unique this year for Easter. You may recall that in past Easter’s, we went to Ucluelet or Tofino for a getaway (and it always RAINED!).

This year, we booked a ‘fancy camping’ cabin on Quadra Island. The island is across from Campbell River, a 10-minute ferry ride and voila! You’re there! Although, it was HAMMERING down rain the entire drive from Victoria (3+ hours) and literally lashing the car on the ferry, it slowly calmed down to a drizzle and then cleared up. It was still cold though, as we’ve had an unusually cold and unpleasant spring so far.

A view from the cabin

A view from the cabin

The cabin itself was super quaint and rustic. A woodstove, a huge bunk bed, table, chairs and propane stove. There was an outhouse (yeah I know what you’re thinking! That’s why it is still considered camping) no shower, and you washed the dishes outside in buckets. The fridge was also outside. This is rustic, people!

Bunkbeds!

Bunkbeds!

We ate at the Herriot Bay Pub and had the hilarious fortune to encounter the WORST people I have seen in a long time. They took up two tables so they could plug in their laptops separately (rolls eyes here…) and it was busy there! They had two annoying children who pestered the already fairly harried server endlessly about the stupidest things. “What’s in the hamburgers?” The server: “Well, meat?”

GAH

I know where they got it from though. The parents were just as bad. They were complaining about ethically-sourced palm oil, asked the server if she was SURE they didn’t serve any salmon? And if there was no salmon, could she not take the cod, of the fish and chips meal, and grill it and serve it as a burger instead? (newsflash: no.).

They banged on about cooking bacon in olive oil on the Greek islands for some disgusting reason, and then ordered a Cesar salad with no croutons and no dressing (so, lettuce and ??).

We left after we finished our meal, but not before these lovely people were up to the front desk complaining about not being able to access the WiFi….

Some people DESERVE to live on an island, because nobody else wants them! These people were from Cortez, which is even further than Quadra. Anyways, the weather cleared up, though was windy as hell, and we walked out to Rebecca Spit, which was quite beautiful and very relaxing.

The next day the weather continued to hold steady, so we hiked up the Chinese Mountains, only doing the North peak. It was rated as ‘moderate’ but we did find it quite strenuous, lots of scrambling over what appeared to be a creek bed that still had water running through it, and lots of loose rocks. I was tired by the end!

Chinese Mtns

Chinese Mtns

We had lunch that we packed, and ate it and had a drink or two on the beach later. A great time to unwind after the hike, and Gidget decided to run around like a psycho and get overtired, haha.

A chilly beach

A chilly beach

We heated up the cabin a bit too hot later in the evening, and boy 1-rooms can really swelter! We left the doors open for a bit so we didn’t cook! The next morning, I set out on a jog by myself, which was actually quite invigorating. We packed up and left for the main island, and now I’m back at work and kind of feeling bummed that I’m back in the hurry-scurry of normal life…

The Good Times are Killing Me

Literally!

When I last blogged, I was off to a wedding in Whistler, and then today, of course, is my birthday! Yay!

The wedding was really nice, a lot of kids were there, but no matter. It was a really cool venue- actually chilly- but super unique. Food was good, booze was flowing and we were feeling nooooo pain! Got some super cute photos with my friend the bride, and we danced, and then helped pack up. I even did some shots with the groom, I have a sneaking suspicion that caused some of my wilder behaviour (or maybe it was my total lack of control in general, not pointing fingers!!).

Well, tried to pack up. We were all feeling the effects of a fun day- booze- and started getting ridiculous…I got in a mild food fight with another friend, who was throwing chips I think. I tossed a watermelon chunk at him, missed him, and it hit the wall and slid down…A slimy trail of pink. Oops!

Husband came to my rescue and threw blueberries. Hah. My other friend came down to help pack up and saw us hooligans causing a riot! Whoops!

We cabbed home, safety first people, and hopped into our tub in the room. Yeah, the room was literally some sort of swinger’s paradise, with a huge four-person tub next to the second bed. ???? Well, we filled that sucker up with hot water and hopped in to play cards.

I had to casually go throw up first, and then hopped in. And then threw up afterwards…Yiiiiikes yeah it was going to be one of those *those* nights 😦

Passed out at around 3am and then woke up VERY gingerly at 9am or so. And proceed to throw up. Constantly. 

This was not going to be a fun car ride. I thought drinking water would help- it didn’t. Neither did coconut water (I took one sniff and puked) uh oh.

We made it to the car, and I was ok for a minute until I realized I was ‘ok’ when the car wasn’t moving…Once it started moving, I had to get husband to pull the car over so I could throw up on the side of the road. ARGHHH

I had the bright idea to take a Gravol, which seems like a good thought…Until I took it and puked immediately. Shoot!

So, that’s how the ride went…Drive for 20 minutes, pull over to throw up. Until the highway was shut down due to a major car accident. So, our ride went from driving = throwing up, to crawling/stopped on the highway= throwing up.

It was the LONGEST car ride ever. And the worst, for me, my friends and husband. I still feel sooooo sorry for those horrible retching noises.

Oh, and did I mention that we couldn’t stop on any shoulders for a lot of the traffic shutdowns, so I had to puke in tupperwares? And I emptied one of them out the window, to the HORRIFIED stares of nearby motorists, also crawling by at 5km/hr…Eeek

Things got better on the ferry, even though I had the shakes pretty bad. Poor husband had to empty my puke tupperwares at the ferry terminal.

I slowly felt ‘not worse’ (can’t even use the term better, ugh.) and we made it to the husband’s parents farm to pick up our critters, raid the garden, and drag ourselves back to the city! 

I didn’t eat a single thing yesterday, was pretty dehydrated too. This morning it felt like my taste buds died somehow, because breakfast didn’t taste like anything and I didn’t finish it. Coffee also tasted weird. Lunch was better, ate all of it.

Stomach is still kind of angry at me…

I can’t even look at photos of alcohol/wine without cringing.

That’s it, I am NOT drinking again. And it’s my birthday! boo hoo hahaha.