22 augustus 2010

Jamie and the big octopus

Unaware of the great danger that lurked in the clear waters of Corfu's Limni Beach, Jamie was playing with a small plastic bottle only a meter away from the shore. Jamie filled his bottle with water, added some rocks and then emptied it again.. Lots of fun... until.........

a long arm with suckers(zuignappen) appeared out of the deep. They started tugging on the small plastic bottle. Jamie started to pull a bit harder as well, until he looked to his rights and looked straight into the eyes of a giant.... octopus!!!


He let out a big cry and ran out of the water, he had never seen an octopus before, especially this close. Thinking he had seen a small jelly fish close to him I walked over and saw the octopus with the bottle. My shawdow spooked it and it took of to some rock for cover. Some people sitting very close had seen as well, and tried to get the octopus out of the water using the pole of sunshade (the white stick i n the photo. Have a look thru the Flickr set (http://www.flickr.com/photos/brijn/sets/72157624692745762/) for some more pics. Some other people joined the search, but it seemed they where very much hoping to make it their dinner for that night.. Fortunately the octopus managed to escape from the hunters and returned to the deep.

Posted by Brijn at 11:33 pm | Comments (0)

16 augustus 2009

Summer Vacation 2009 - Oregon

This vacation started the best possible way. The day before our planned departure date I (Bas) started getting an increasingly painful toothache. Fortunately our dentist had time for me at 8am the next day.

Three hours later (!) I was as good as new and we where on our way....

We had planned a round trip of just over two weeks starting in Vancouver, down to Oregon and then visit the coast, vulcanic area in the center and hells canyon in the east. The initial plan was to start in Hells Canyon and work our way to the coast.

But with a heat wave in Oregon we decided it would be better to start at the coast hoping it would cool down before heading inland (or just delay going inland).

First day brought us close to the Oregon border so we would get to Cannon Beach early next day. Cannon Beach is probably the most photographed/visited location on the Oregon coast and since we did not reserve any campsites, we thought it would be a good idea to arrive early. Worked out OK and we found a nice commercial campground close to Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach is a typical "badplaats", quite nice but very busy.. The good thing is that the beach is massive, so on the beach it's not as crowded as in Europe. We obviously had to see the famous landmark "Haystack Rock", a pointy rock (a remnant of the basalt flows of ~ 300k years ago) maybe 50 meters out in the water.



We explored some of the other beaches (there are many!), hardly anybody around and some neat things. Kids had a lot of fun (what a surprise):



After two day we drove down to Florence (OR) to see it's famous sand dunes. We camped at a very nice State Park in the actual Dunes area. A short hike away we climbed one of the higher dunes:



It was still a few days until Robin's birthday, but we got him a kite that he put to good use on the dunes :)

After Florence we headed east for the Newberry National Vulcanic Monument a large area with vulcanic remnants. Some of lava flows where relatively recent (~1300 years old) with very little vegatation on them. Most impressive was the "obsidian flow" where an amazing amount of obsidian was deposited in a fairly large area. Obsidian is an absolutely amazing material that we took a lot of photo's off. The obsidian was interspersed with pumis ("puimsteen"), Robin had a lot of fun finding piece that were super light.



Just before closing time we also visited an impressively long lava tunnel (1588 meter)

This tunnel has no electric lighting, you can either rent a gas lantern or bring you own light. This was very, very cool. Jamie was not entirely happy, but we (and Robin) loved it. We where turned around just before the end because it was closing time. I really wanted to take some nice pictures, so we decided to come back the next morning exactly at opening time.

We where the firsts ones in that morning:

The last 200 meters required crawling to get to the real end. Jamie refused to go any further the last 10 meters. Ge-an and Robin made it to the end (Robin would tell everybody we saw on the way back out we where the first ones in, and made it to the end ;)

Getting a good picture was tricky:

Sometimes it's not much fun being our children, for example when we take them into a very cold cave in shorts and sandals and cary them so they get even colder, and only realize this after we get out from the cave. The picture below shows how happy Jamie was:


We went for hot chocolate afterwards (did we mention the heatwave had disappeared between us leaving Vancouver and arriving in Oregon).

We drove thru a desert where we planned to see some fossils (John Day fossil bed). But we had so much rain (!!!) that we decided to move on:

(Picture not from desert area, but same crappy weather. As you can obviously see this was a viewpoint along the route :)

Our last stop in Oregon was the Hells Canyon region. The Hells Canyon was less impressive then expected, but the campsite in Joseph was really nice (in retrospect we should have stayed, because the weather was great as well).

Since this was Robin's real birthday he also got another present:


Jamie was so disappointed that he decided to beat Robin up with a big stick (beating each other up is actually a favorite pass time of them)


On the way back Ge-an really wanted to see Mount Saint Helens:

I guess we will have to go back (it's not that far from Vancouver).

We stayed another two nights on a nice Forest Services campground in Snowqualmy county about 4 hrs drive from Vancouver:


If you wonder why we have the clothes over the fire... Jamie had not been cold for a while so we threw him in the river (or maybe he just fell in trying to catch a fish):


The next day we had some fun following a hike where the river had taken out the bridge that provided access to the trailhead:


The tree in the background was used as a bridge to cross the main river.

And now back to work tomorrow

Posted by Brijn at 09:30 pm | Comments (0)

01 mei 2006

Greetings from Shanghai

Two months since our last update.. That's not good :-) I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in Shanghai, so have some time to spare...

Our first winter has officially ended. Temperatures in the past week have reached 20 degrees in Vancouver. Not to good for the snow. I have one day left on a Whistler pass. So after I get back I will have to use that one quickly :)

And whas it a nice winter?? Yes it was, record snowfall, so we will not complain about that :-) Have we done what we wanted to do.. Not all of it, mostly because ski days passes are pretty expensive, so you don't go skiing for a few hours. For next season we will probably get a year pass on Cypress. Expensive as well, but then you can at least go for a few hours after work if you feel like it.

Next winter I also want to see if I can get some touring time.. Some people were friendly enough to take me up Mount Seymour a few times. But we never made the step to go out by ourselves.. Will see next year.

This summer I want to do a climbing course. It's been several years since I did some real Alpine Climbing. My knowledge needs a decent refresher. I'll probably do an entry level course at Canada West Mountain School.

The perfect combination for me would be to use ski's with skins to get to a nice snowy mountain, and then climb it.. There is many possibilities for that in the Vancouver area.. Let's see if we can do that next year :)

As I said in the introduction, I'm currently in Shanghai. A business trip. We are doing an upgrade of an important piece of software, the installation has to be done on all the ships as well. As a result I went to Hong Kong for about a week (strange that I get back to that place so often), Manila for a day, and now Shanghai for another week.

Shanghai is like Rotterdam, but then with 18.000.000 people :-) So not very interesting. Some interesing observations:

- Volkswagen made a smart choice a while ago. Most seen car in Shanghai is the Volkswagen Passat. Apparently Volkswagen opened a production line here a few years ago. Second place Audi, third place Buick (production somewhere else in China). I was expecting something similar as in South Korea, where I did not see one single non-Korean car.

- Altough all signs are also available in English, many people still speek little English. I went hunting for an English book. The lady in the bookshop in the hotel did not understand "Novel", but fortunately here translator helped out. Unfortunately see didn't have any. The hotel concierge showed me on the map where to find a big book shop (Time Square).. It was quite a long way from the hotel (about 20 km and a bridge further). On a short walk from the hotel (2km and no bridge crossing) I suddenly noticed a big Times Square sign, and a big bookshop... Duhhhhh, the concierges map reading skills need some work :-)

After some looking around in the shop I asked for English books. The first person went looking for some colleagues with better english language skills. This colleague helped me by showing me the english lessons books :-) Euhhh, no, not really.. I'm looking for an english novel.. Same blank stare as in the hotel.. But fortunately the bookstore also sold translators :-) I did get my book in the end...

- Shanghai has all the Western chains: Pizza Hut, Starbucks, KFC, McDonalds.. The shop with the longest lineup: Haagen Dazs... It could have something to do with the fact that it's 29dgr and they started a week long holiday (Labour week).

Hopefully I'll be going home in a few days.. Spending this much time alone in a hotel is not to much fun..

By the time I get home we should also have sold our house!!! Almost two years after we put it on the market.. No we can forget about it and move on....

Next update hopefully a bit quicker



Posted by Brijn at 12:31 am | Comments (0)

23 juli 2005

Our first day....

YES!!! We finally made it to Cananda! After a very long day with 3 different planes (Robin kept yelling "vliegtuig, vliegtuig" all day) we are here. Not even a very sour german ticket controll lady could keep us from coming....

[Don't mind the spelling errors, we blame the jetlag and fix it tomorrow]

In the plane Robin kept the other passengers awake by running laps in the rear end. He enjoys runnning. He has so much energy. We too enjoy his running, it makes him tired in the end, without getting us completly tired too.

Th last thing about flying to Vancouver.... If ever you do have to switch planes in the US, don't change in Chigaco. Lasts year we changes in Chigaco, this year it was Portland. What a difference!! So much more friendly in Portland...

And so we entered Canada, or as Robin says "Kanana". Without much delay, the immigrtion service only took 15 minutes or so. We rented a car and drove "home". It doesn't feel like home yet.... It's a very empty appartement. Besides the 80 kg of things we brought with us in the plane it is empty here. In about 5 weeks all other items we shipped here will arrive. Untill then we will have to camp in our appartement. Robin is the onlyt one of us who has his own bed. Bas and I are sleeeping on our thermarest matresses on the floor. Happy to have a roof over our heads and and soft carpet under our feet and matresses.

And then our first day after our first night. Getting to know the place just a little... Shopping, the mall is just across the street. It seems to have all basic shops we need, how convenient. We only saw one problem.... How do you get the things you buy back to your appartement. Simpel things like baking oil comes in cans upto 5 liter. Icecream comes in 5 liter packs aswell.... not to mention diapers, peanutbutter or milk. What we did find in normal size was real "de Ruijter hagelslag", strangely enough (for us) in the baking section :)

And apart form getting the both of us a cell phone (in a short while we probably need to get a third one for Robin), getting Robin to take a nap, and walking around near Lonsdale (nothing wrong with that name here)and the waterfront we hardly did a thing.

Tomorrow we will have a whole new day exploring North Vancouver. On our lists for tommorow "buying a car".......


Posted by Brijn at 06:22 am | Comments (5)

04 maart 2005

We will be famous :-)

Buysse gets regular requests from newspapers and other media to bring them (the media) in contact with immigrants.
We are asked for:
- An interview by Het Parool
- An interview by the Globe and Mail, one of the largest Canadian newspapers
- A TV interview (details unknown) by the BBC

If they ever get published/broadcasted, we will post the result here!


Posted by Brijn at 10:22 am | Comments (0)

17 mei 2004

Hiking in and around Vancouver

While looking for pictures of the Golden Ears National Park, I found a link to Club Tread and Wanderungen! Both sites with a forum where people plan/announce hikes. This will be very helpful for us to find the really nice places around Vancouver. Let's see if there are people with small children..

Posted by Brijn at 09:47 am | Comments (0)

12 mei 2004

Heli skiing

Ohhhhhh, somebody on Mowi mentioned that he went Heli skiing the last two years. It doesn't look to bad :-)

Have a look at their web site: http://www.rkheliski.com

Remind me to get a cheap house and a well paid job, so that we can spent loads of money on trips like this.


Wauw: another link http://www.wiegele.com/
Watch that intro!!!

Posted by Brijn at 01:51 pm | Comments (0)

28 april 2004

Rent a house

We ran into a nice site for house rentals: http://canadianresidentialrentals.com/bc.html
There is quite a large number of houses available for a very reasonable price. We now have the strong feeling that we should rent for the first 6-12 months, we can then find a nice job (and switch if it isn't) without worrying to much about having to pay for a house.
And it will give us the time to look around for a really nice place to live. We estimate that we should be able to live without to much problems for almost year without having a job at all! This is ofcourse a very save feeling, we can just go there, find a rental house and find a job without to much presure.

Anyway, in June we will have a good look for possible living areas anyway :-)

Posted by Brijn at 09:13 am | Comments (0)

17 maart 2004

Future neighbours

As seen on Mowi:

"On the sixth day God turned to Archangel Gabriel and said: "Today I am going to create a land called Canada, it will be a land of outstanding natural beauty. It shall have tall majestic mountains full of mountain goats and eagles, beautiful sparkling lakes bountiful with bass and trout, forests full of elk and moose, high cliffs over-looking sandy beaches with an abundance of sea life, and rivers stocked with salmon."

God continued, "I shall make the land rich in oil so as to make the inhabitants prosper, I shall call these inhabitants Canadians, and they shall be known as the most friendly people on the earth."

"But Lord," asked Gabriel, "don't you think you are being too generous to these Canadians?"

"Not really," replied God, "just wait and see the neighbours I am going to give them."

Posted by Brijn at 05:31 pm | Comments (0)

28 december 2003

Summer and Winter climbing in BC

With many nice mountain ranges in the Vancouver area I started looking for climbing courses in Britisch Columbia.

And after a bit of Googling I found the Canada West Mountain School

A short Wishlist:

1) Recreational Avalanche Safety Weekend for Backcountry Travellers
Avalanche awareness is a necessity for anyone traveling in the mountains during winter months. Our classic avalanche awareness course includes 6 hours of theory over two evenings, and two separate 8-hour field sessions. The emphasis of this course is on teaching practical methods of understanding, recognizing and avoiding avalanche hazards

2) Winter Snow Camping
This is an excellent introduction to overnight winter trips. You will learn the skills needed to safely go beyond day trips and begin to explore the backcountry.

A pre-trip session covers equipment needs, navigation and food preparation. Two days in the mountains are spent learning - and applying - snow shelter construction, winter camping skills, route finding and hazard recognition (including avalanche basics.)

Skis or snowshoes can be used on this course.

And many other things, ice climbing, ski touring. Lots of fun

Posted by Brijn at 04:45 pm | Comments (0)

21 december 2003

Nice slideshow of Vancouver

I don't know exactly where I found the link. But it's a beautiful slideshow of Vancouver scenes. Even at my broadband connection it took a while to load the chapters, so it might be a bit slow over a modem:

Tomorrow (Monday) to Buysse

Posted by Brijn at 09:31 pm | Comments (0)