Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The First Weekend and the Pacific Biologial Station

I have three weekends on Vancouver Island before I head up north so the plan is to use them to explore the local area/island as much as possible. So far we aim to spend one weekend in Victoria, the biggest city on the island and another up at a place called Tofino. Justin, who you may remember from the ferry, bigged the place up massively and we hope to possibly go scuba diving, ocean kayaking and maybe even see some orcas (Killer Whales).

For the first weekend (the one we just had) we spent Saturday exploring Sidney the local town which is about a 10 minute bike ride from the house. There is free Wi-Fi so we checked our emails and stuff and I was able to post the last update. Sidney seems to be a very quiet town and it seems that a lot of the people there are either tourists or elderly locals. Even on a Saturday there were very few young people around. I guess most of them must head to Victoria instead. The afternoon was spent doing some food shopping (food prices are very odd out here. Mushrooms are speciality items but 0.5kg of mince is around £1.50!), swimming in bay right outside the house and going for a run. We saw a Bald Eagle as well!!!

On Sunday, Terry picked us up and we drove to the Goldstream National Park to climb a ‘mountain’ called Mount Finlayson. Although only 420m ish tall the view from the top of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic peninsula (USA) were sweet. On the way home, we took a detour into the centre of Victoria so Terry could point out the things we should go and see. In the evening we had been invited to a BBQ at our land ladies house just down the road. Her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were also around and we spent a very nice evening in the sun eating BBQ salmon and chatting all about Canada and where we came from. We even ended up highlight our home towns on their atlas!

Our first proper day at ‘work’ was not in the labs as we instead headed up the east side of the island to Naiamo to visit the Pacific Biological Station. Her we were given tours around numerous departments including genetics, fish histology, aquaculture and fish ageing. We were also shown around the CCGS W.E. Rickker which is a research fishing trawler used for fish surveys and associated CTD work. We left Sophia and Guilia behind as they are spending the next three weeks on the Rickker completeing a sardine survey. Meggie and Kent are also on spending a further three weeks on the Rickker once the others have got back.

We start work properly tomorrow (Tuesday) so hopefully all will go well. In the next couple of days, I will post a detailed summary of the ADCP work I am doing for those who are interested. Hope you are all well.

PS. As an aside, I put in my last post that it seemed that Canada didn’t like paying foreign workers. As it turns out this is not entirely true and is only the case for federal government organisations of which the IOS is one.

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