Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Victoria to Comox to Qualicum Beach B.C.

It was a journey of several hours to drive from Victoria B.C. up to Comox to visit fellow blogger, Tammy ( and see the place where my dad spent the last months of WWII playing semi-pro baseball.

The journey was made longer by my stops at various lookout points along the way. Like Tammy said, you can't NOT stop at these very scenic spots can you? Below is Mt. Malahat - how beautiful is that!?!

 Below are some random photos of other spots along the way where I pulled over to take a photo or three :) Several times I couldn't stop quickly enough so I would drive to the next turn around spot and go back. I am a dedicated photographer!

Finally I arrived in Comox. Not really knowing my way around I contacted Tammy who led me to a place I could park my car. She took me down to the beach where she hangs out frequently with her dog, Buddy. I drank in the views, seeing them from my dad's memories of his time in Comox.

As you can see the tide was out.

My dad mentioned Goose Spit many times in his memoirs.

Here's a selfie of Tammy and I - I'm glad she is including more personal photos on her blog now so I can share this one with you :)

I love these next photos - the lone kayaker on the calm water, mountains in the distance. Quintessential B.C.

It was a special time - I love meeting my fellow bloggers in person. You get a certain feeling about a person by the way they write and the things they write about and Tammy and I have bonded over a common interest in thrifting and travelling:) And yes, she is just as lovely in person as she is on her blog!

 And standing on the shore connected me to a time in my dad's past long before I was born. Good thing he made it safely back to Canada near the end of the war or I wouldn't be here now writing this!

Here's a little of what my dad had to say about Comox:
"In 1944 I was stationed in barracks on a piece of land called "The Spit" at Comox on Vancouver Island, B.C. Fishing for salmon was great there. I myself never fished; I ended up on the business end of a pair of oars in the Captain's dinghy while someone else sat in the stern and trawled, using filleted herring as bait which acted as a shiny spinner. Some Fridays we were able to supply the noon meal with freshly caught salmon. We didn't have meat (on Fridays) because of the R.C.'s. (Roman Catholics)
In order to catch herring for bait we used an old Indian custom. We acquired a thin piece of wood, similar to house trim about 6' long. At one end we pounded in about 18 inches of finishing nails about an inch apart. The heads were snipped off the nails and it looked like a long comb. When we saw the seagulls diving for fish near the jetty we rushed down with our long comb, and when a school of herring swam past we just poled them up onto the jetty. What we didn't require we threw back in. The natives had a rule: if the gulls are in, the herring are in, and if the herring are in, the salmon are, and away we went fishing.

A few miles west of Comox was the small town of Courtenay, and I have stood amazed on the bridge over the river in spawning season and watched the salmon. Bank to bank salmon--it didn't seem possible. 

I was on the navy softball and hardball teams and we played as many as six games a week. For a diversion when we had liberty on weekends a bunch of us sailors would go into Courtenay for a show, beer, or dancing at the Sons of Freedom Hall. One man went in advance if possible and booked room 14 at the Riverside Hotel. There was a good reason for getting room 14. It had a low window which faced on an alley, and late Saturday night and early Sunday morning after a long night on the town, many sailors retreated through the window to sleep wherever space was available, piled like cordwood, as many as twelve in a room for two. 

In the morning when we had to sign out of room 14 it would have made some sense if a few had again retreated out the window, but oh no! Everyone had to file out past the desk clerk whose head moved back and forth like someone watching a tennis match. The management of the Riverside remained nice to us however, and in due time we quit taking advantage of their good nature--that was enough of a good thing.

L.S. (Leading Seaman) Doug Harrison

Next up - Qualicum Beach and Spiritual Spheres:

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