Pender Island – May long weekend Trip (May 15-18, 2015)

For all pictures from our Pender Island Trip, click Pender Island.

Friday, May 15 – Arrive Pender Island

Alas! The weekend we were eagerly anticipating for! We arrived Pender Island late Friday evening around 10:00pm due to the ferry being late. The cottage that we booked was conveniently located in a secluded area on South Pender Island next to the National Park Reserve trail to Mt. Norman. We were ecstatic on the place that we were going to stay for the weekend. It was clean, spacious, and was equipped with everything that we needed. It even has a hot tub! It was a bit hard to sleep due to all the excitement but we all managed to get some shut-eye.

Saturday, May 16 – The Lost Watermelon

Since we arrived late last night, we had no idea what kind of ocean views our place had but when we woke up that morning, we were amazed! We each took turns making meals for the weekend. It was my turn to make the breakfast meal and so I decided to make waffles, bacon, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, and assorted fruit. A good way to start the weekend!

After breakfast, we went to the Farmer’s Market at the Community Hall and then took a stroll around Hope Bay where we spotted a bald eagle. We went back to our cottage for lunch where Phebe made delicious ground beef wraps with all the fixings and a black bean and quinoa salad. I ate so much that I almost passed out. It was that good. After lunch we just lounged around and relaxed.

As Patrick was trying to gather his ingredients for tonight’s dinner, he asked if anyone had seen the watermelon that he had brought to Pender as it was nowhere to be found. Patrick thought that his wife and the rest of us were playing a prank on him by hiding the watermelon but that was not the case. Patrick desperately rummaged around the cottage trying to see if the watermelon was even there as he remembered packing it and putting in the car. I know this is silly but he even looked inside the washer and dryer! He must’ve have felt pretty foolish that he even looked there! He finally recalled that as he was unpacking all the items and bags from the trunk of his car that he heard a little ‘thud’ but didn’t think nothing of it and thought maybe there was something moving in the bushes. The car was parked on a unpaved driveway on a slight hill. So it was possible that the watermelon somehow dropped while unpacking and rolled down the hill! Our first thought was that even if it did drop that it would just splatter on the ground. However, if it did drop, it wouldn’t have rolled too far. So we begin looking around the bushes around the car. We found nothing. We went back into the cottage a second time to look but no luck. The last option was that it might have rolled all the way to the entrance of the driveway, in which case it would’ve made a slight left turn around the bend! We thought that there was no way a watermelon would roll down the hill and make a sharp bend to the left. But it was worth a try! The watermelon was in a white plastic bag so that was what I was looking for. We looked around the bend but still could not see anything. However, a few metres further, out of the corner of my eye I spot something white! Could it be? Yes it could! Deep in the bushes was a white plastic bag! Patrick verified that there was a watermelon inside by poking the bag with a stick. We couldn’t believe it! The prodigal watermelon has been found! We were laughing so hard that our stomachs almost burst open. We couldn’t believe that we found the watermelon around the bend of the driveway deep into the bushes. That was one magic watermelon!

After the watermelon fiasco, Shalom, Phebe, and I decided to hike Mt. Norman. The trail head was literally right next to our place so it was not too hard to find the trailhead. The hike up took us only 30 minutes and we were rewarded with great views of Bedwell Harbour and the surrounding islands.

It was Patrick’s turn to make dinner that night and on the menu was baked steelhead fish stuffed with fennel and liquorice, brussel spouts/zucchini/onion skewers, grilled Portobello mushrooms and pineapples, and baked potato nuggets. And for dessert, we had the infamous watermelon. It was a meal to die for!

After a hearty dinner, we all relaxed in the hot tub gazing at the stars, occasionally seeing the odd shooting star that Shalom boisterously pointed out.

Sunday, May 17 – Kayaking adventure

This morning’s breakfast was made by Sarah. She made Swedish crepes with delicious savory and sweet toppings. My favorite was the mashed apples and walnut topping.

After a wholesome breakfast, we headed out and drove all the way to the end of South Pender Island to Gowlland Point to relax at the beach. I managed to get some good photos of sea otters. We wish we could’ve stayed longer but we had kayaking that afternoon.

For lunch, we decided to eat out at the Port Browning Marina restaurant since we had a kayaking rental booked at 2:00pm. Although we got there early, we waited almost an hour for our food to come out. The service was really slow, probably due to the long weekend and the restaurant being short staffed. The food eventually arrived and we gobbled up our food very quickly so we didn’t miss our kayak appointment. Sarah and Patrick ordered a “small” plate of nachos but when it came out it almost filled half the table. I would like to see what a “large” order looked liked!

Rumour has it that the double kayaks are also known as “divorce boats”. So the group decided to split up the couples for our kayak adventure. The pairings were Shalom and I, Roberto and Sarah, and Patrick and Phebe. During our two-hour kayak, we saw many sea creatures including starfish, crabs, and even a jellyfish! It was a nice, relaxing time out in the ocean.

After the kayaking trip, we ended the long afternoon by hanging out and relaxing at Mortimer Spit. Patrick and I managed to skip some decent rocks that we found on the beach.

For dinner, Shalom made a wonderful BBQ sausage, asparagus, corn, and baked potato dinner. She also brought some fresh greens from her garden for the salad. It was another awesome dinner.

We relaxed in the hot tub again which ended another successful day.

Monday, May 18 – Return Home

It was Roberto’s turn for breakfast and he made his favorite Colombian breakfast of boiled plantains with his special homemade tomato/onion sauce. There were also sausages, eggs, fresh avocado, and smoothies served. It was delicious and I hope Roberto will make this again in the future.

That morning was spent cleaning up and packing as our check out time was 12noon. In the afternoon, we went to the south end tip of North Pender Island and decided to have lunch near Peter’s Cove for a beach picnic.

After a late lunch, we headed to Sea Star Winery for some wine tasting. The art show at the winery was disappointing but at least the wine was exceptional. It was so good that we bought a bottle of wine to take home.

We had extra time to kill before our ferry departure so we hung out near Port Washington and relaxed at the beach.

When it was time to leave, we got to the ferry terminal pretty early. Near the dock we could see lots of orcas swimming in the ocean which drew a huge crowd of people.

It was a successful long weekend trip to Pender and I look forward to coming back soon!

BMO Half-Marathon 2015

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and support these past few months! All the training and hard work has paid off! My official results for my first ever half-marathon is 1:38:41. A personal best! I’m still a bit sore from the race so I’ll need a few days to recover:)

I joined the half-marathon with World Vision to help raise money to fight against child trafficking around the world. As a team, World Vision has raised over $50,000 to help fight against child trafficking! Thank-you for being a part of my journey and for all your support. I could not have done it without you.

Here is a link to some of the photos taken during the race: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5o12tuxheqq4evq/AADzQJhe9QyFrfQQsW6lHjR0a?dl=0

Vancouver Sun Run 2015

In my first year of running the Sun Run, I ran it in 47:41. I’ll never forget my first experience. The actual race started at 9am but I arrived there a bit “late” around 8:45am. There were so many people crowded around that I couldn’t make it to my designed color area. I was supposed to be starting in the yellow section but I ended up starting near the back of green, one color below. During the race I remember passing so many people that it got a bit tiring.
In my second time around, I wanted to make sure I did not make the same mistake like last time. I got to my designated yellow color area about 45 minutes early. This made a huge difference. There were fewer crowds of people and you had your own space to run! In the end, I had a personal best time of 43:43! I couldn’t believe it. I never would’ve thought I’d run under 45 minutes!

 

Urban Grind

Last week I went to climb the stairs at the Harbour Centre, known as the Urban Grind. This was an alternative to the Grouse Grind since it was closed momentarily until May for trail maintenance. The Harbour Centre is a 28 storey building (equivalent to 40 flights of stairs) and is 593 steps to the top. The cost is $5.00 but that gets you a free voucher to the Harbour Centre’s food court and also a free beer when you get to the top of the observation deck. From there, you are also rewarded with great views of the city of Vancouver.

I went with a few people from my work place. When we got there, we were surprised that there was a huge line-up. We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes. I decided to time myself to see how long it would take to climb the stairs from bottom to top. It took me 5 minutes and 45 seconds! To get down, you can either take the elevator or take the stairs. I decided to do it a second time so I walked down the stairs and did it again. The second time around it took me 5 minutes and 52 seconds. People were saying that to climb the equivalent of the Grouse Grind, you will have to do the Urban Grind five times.

IMG_3317

IMG_3321IMG_3322

Happy Canadian Citizenship Day

My friend Roberto recently got his Canadian citizenship. We celebrated by having dinner at Cazba’s restaurant in downtown Vancouver. He thought it was going to be just him and his wife for dinner so it was a bit of a surprise for him to see his group of friends all at the restaurant! When he entered the restaurant, I draped him with a Canadian Flag and we all sang “Happy Canadian Citizenship day” to him (with the tune of Happy Birthday). Good times!

IMG_3265 IMG_3267

No Chips for One Year!

It has now been officially ONE YEAR since my no chip eating contest! I started this contest with my co-worker and we both agreed that we would both not eat any chips for one year, or until someone caved in. It was based out of the honour system. So if one of us accidently ate a chip, as a consequence, we would have to buy the other person a family-sized bag of chips. Some people have different definitions of what a chip is so we had to lay some ground rules. Basically, we couldn’t have any potato chips (lays, kettle, mrs. vickies, doritos, cheezies, pringles, etc). However, we were allowed to eat kale or banana chips, etc. Not sure how much longer I can keep this up but at least I’m not craving as much salty snacks as before!