Tag: Water

VanLife - Port Colborne Ontario

Port Colborne – Explore Canal Side

Once again this weekend Michelle and I were able to get away and explore some of the areas we love.  Port Colborne is certainly one of those places!  There is a little stretch from the last bridge on the canal to Lake Erie that is simply adorable.  It reminds me of Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia minus the salt water.  Turn left as you cross over the Clarence Street bridge onto West Street.  There are these quaint little shops with this atmosphere of a small seaside village.  I think if we were to come off the road early, it would be for one the little apartments above the various businesses on this street.

Canal Side – Port Colborne

Port Colborne – Canalside Restaurant

If you have been to Port Colborne before you will know the dual meaning in the header above.  Yes, you are certainly canal side, but there is this small Restaraunt/Pub about three doors down from the corner perfectly named for this adventure, “Canal Side“.  It was late when we arrived, but the barkeep was very pleasant and helpful  Michelle was looking for something to eat, and I a new experience in Beer.  I am ever hopeful I will find a place that knows what beer is all about!  Craft beer, something with body and flavour.  I have been surrounded by stock beer since returning to Canada and having lived in some of the places I have…I long for a good beer!  The barkeep knew his stuff, he had experience working in Banff and boy did he know his beer!

After our stop at the restaurant, we headed out to Freddy and for what we hoped would be a good sleep.  Having been in the Navy for 20 years, I love the sounds of the water of boats and birds.   Throughout the night, I could hear the screams of seagulls and the sounds of boats on the canal.  I was brought back to another time in my life, a time filled with many wonderful memories!

Port Colborne – Freedom Freddy

I knew Michelle would want to sleep in, so my original plan was to wake up around 4:30 am, and head out to shoot some sunrise images with the canal as my background.  As my alarm sounded its cry to wake, I just could not bring myself to get out of my bed.  With the good early morning light behind me, I decided to make a cup of coffee and venture out.  I was hoping to capture a couple of good images and I think things worked out wonderfully!

Deep Sea Bearing Down

It was not long after setting up my tripod and camera that I rewarded with a subject worthy of shooting.  I love shooting images of water, there needs to be some kind of water in the capture.  As I stood on the edge of the canal, I saw the pilot boat return to the dock, and sure enough, the “Federal Rideau” entered the mouth of the canal.

Port Colborne - Canal Side
Port Colborne – Canal Side

I had everything set up, I just needed to have the patience to wait for his approach so he filled the whole frame.  I hoped he would be a worthy subject and I an equally worthy photographer.  Once he passed under the bridge I returned to Freddy so I could make Michelle breakfast as I try to do for her every weekend.  With the weather being perfect this morning we decided to venture out on our “deck” and enough our meal outside.

Let us know what you think of our post.  Let us know of any of your cool or not so cool boondocking experiences!  We just finished shooting out Van Tour Video so keep an eye out for that on our YouTube Channel.




Adventures to Tobermory

Tobermory, Ontario

Adventures to Tobermory - Lighthouse
Adventures to Tobermory – Lighthouse

This weekend I had some Adventures to Tobermory, Ontario which is located in the Northern Bruce Peninsula. With its turquoise-blue waters and breath-taking views, you can imagine it can get quite busy during the summer season. My Uncle Ken and I started our journey by taking the QEW towards Hamilton then following the 403 to highway 6. During our 4.5-hour drive, we passed through places like Guelph, Fergus, and Owen Sound, thus confirming how far of a drive we were up against. While driving, I also noticed the lack of any Walmart or Starbucks once we got past Owen Sound! Once we got to our destination, we visited the info center to get the layout of the area, grab some maps and ask some questions before starting our adventure.

Crowsnest Pub

Adventures toTobermory - Sunset
Adventures to Tobermory – Sunset

We happened to come across a pub in the main shopping district called Crowsnest. It is surrounded by other little shops, a couple other restaurants, a dive shop, and a grocery store. We decided to give the place a try since we were starving, so we headed on in and found that the place has a very inviting atmosphere, friendly staff and a nice view of the water. They happened to have a great variety of food on the menu as well as a large selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Naturally, we decided to go with the nacho platter to share, fried pickles, and a dish of jalapeno poppers. To say in the least, everything was very delicious and we were quite satisfied with our meal and the service that we were provided with. I would definitely recommend the Crowsnest Pub to anyone passing through or going up to visit.

The Grotto

Adventures to Tobermory - Grotto
Adventures to Tobermory – Grotto

Being in Tobermory, there are all kinds of places to explore. I found that there were a number of hiking trails, a few water-front beaches, an assortment of lakes, and some great swimming opportunities. Although I did not swim during my brief adventure, I was able to see some of these areas and was able to admire the beauty of them. I did happen to visit The Grotto, which is mostly known for its clear, turquoise waters and the caves you can swim into. There are two
different parking lots to park in and the hiking time differs as well. We found out parking lot 1 is a 30-minute hike whereas parking lot 2 is a 50-minute hike. Getting up at 4am was a bit of a challenge, but the stars were gorgeous and it allowed us to drive down to the hiking trails. It was about 5am by the time we parked and got our gear together to hike down to the grotto in the pitch dark. We made good timing and were able to set up our gear for the sunrise in order to get some good shots; however, on our way back we did notice quite a few people already heading that way (7:30am) so it is best to get there early since it tends to fill with people fast. Even though the town is quite small, Tobermory has some great places for photography opportunities and it is a nice place to be one with nature.

The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines - Cere's Terminal
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines – Cere’s Terminal

So the gang got together this month in Bacolod City and dediced we should head down to The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines, and boy was it an adventure as always.  The countryside on Negros Occidental Negros Oriental always is picturesque, to say the least.   With all the beautiful Rice Paddies and the fields of Sugar Cane, to the Mountainous regions and back down to the Ocean, I could travel around forever as my eyes are always hungry for the beauty of the Philippines.

As with any trip, we seem to take, it begins at the Cere’s Bus Terminal and for this trip we headed to the South Terminal, which is pretty rugged compared to the Northern Terminal so, do come prepared.  The cost of the “Aircon bus” was 377 Peso’s which is very reasonable for the distance we need to travel.  Be sure to come early as at this point you are not able to purchase your tickets before hand, so it comes down to first come first serve, and you purchase your tickets from the Conductor on your bus, he arrives maybe 1 hour prior to your departure time.  Michelle, my wife is very wise, and she was able to find out which bus we were taking, and got on board with the kids, and got seats while I waited in line to purchase tickets.  Smart cookie eh!

En route to The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

The bus trip was advertised as a 6-hour trip but we were able to do it in less than 5 hours and I figure that was due to the fact we were on the Night bus and there was very little traffic which is very unusual here in the Philippines.  We arrived in Dumaguete at about 4 am, wich was 3 hours early from the time we said we would be there, so it was a need to wait once again.  Being use to this kind of travel it was simple for us, but I know Becca was getting a little tired of the waiting.  In a world of instant everything, it can get very trying for those who are not used to it.

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines - Beach Front
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines – Beach Front

We had the option of taking a second bus that would let us off near the road we needed to get to the Resort, and there would be a need of taking a Tricycle or Moto to the Resort which would be very exciting for those who are not used to this form of travel, but with a group of 5, two younger children, I figured we would pay the extra for a pick up at the bus terminal and boy was it worth the amount it cost us.  We were in a van, and it took us easily `1 hour to reach the road that Nest was on, and then another 40 minutes down a road filled with construction.  Our driver was fantastic navigating all the obstacles and got us there safe and sound around 8 :30 am, about 3 hours before we could get into our rooms, but we were able to get breakfast and the girls were quick to head down to the ocean.

The Resort

I have to say the resort was beautiful!  Rustic, clean with plenty of things to do.  Everyone headed off into the ocean for some swimming, and snorkelling though this happened to be the first time for the girls to go into the ocean, and Michelle was so very

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

excited to introduce the girls to joys of snorkelling, and seeing all the wonderful critters in the sea.  Me being a former PADI Course Director, it was like finally coming home to the water where life for me makes sense.   I had an opportunity to speak with Jamie and Nikki Ingram the owners of the resort.  Both people are very friendly and they go out of their way to make sure your stay at the Resort is a pleasurable one.  They offer Snorkelling rental sets, scuba diving if you are certified as well as Diving courses, which would be amazing to learn in such a beautiful place compared to where I learned how to dive.  There are also a couple of Kayaks so if you would like to tour the beach front and coast, plus some pretty cool nature walks.  Plus for me, some spectacular areas for shooting pictures and some amazing sunsets for sure!!

The Driftwood Cottage

Michelle and I decided on the Driftwood Cottage mostly for the space and the number of beds.  We had three adults and two

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

children and needless to say the number of beds was very important.  The cost of the Cottage was $1,500 peso’s, which I felt was very reasonable.  Our view was the ocean and we were just feet away.  There are no words that can describe how beautiful the area was!

Every evening we were treated to a huge congregation of Hermit Crabs coming into the Restaurant Area, as well the various walkways and walls.  All you could here was the little clicking sounds of them walking around catching up with all the other crabs.  I know I should have taken a few minutes to shoot some macro pictures of the little guys, after all, I had off camera flash with me, but as is the case on some occasions, I just never did.  Speaking of the restaurant, the menu was had many different selections, some local, some Thai food, and a selection of western food, which was a godsend since Becca was having problems with the local foods.  I found the costs were really quite reasonable, and the dishes were a good size but not so big that you could not eat them.

The Kookoo's Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines
The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines

As with any trip we seem to take, it’s always difficult to leave.  We wanted to stay for a couple of more days if it was possible, however, the kids started school on Monday so we had no choice but to gather everything up and head back to Bacolod City.  The Kookoo’s Nest Resort Zamboanguita Philippines will be on the top of our list for a return visit.  Definitely another opportunity to enjoy more photography, and maybe the next trip will have some diving it in for me.  If you are interested in visiting The Kookoo’s Nest you can reach James and Nikki through this link or by calling +63 919 695 8085.  Also if you are interested in seeing more pictures be sure to visit the gallery found here.

 

 

Thanks to Ken Dunlop Photography for the use of their images!