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Baynes Sound and the Reeking Wall of Stench! (+6 insets!)
(+6 insets!) (please enlarge for an immersive feeling! :D) NOTE! PLEASE BE ADVISED--War & Peace Door Stop Ahead! Today post is really, really long, and what's more, most of what I’m talking about doesn't even have pictures to illustrate! I wanted to write about the wonderful experience of this day, even though there are only a few images to share. Please scroll down to Today's PIctures to learn more about the main image and insets. Trip Talk: A Day of Adventures, Starting with an Art Fair! For nearly a month before Steve and I left on our Vancouver Island trip, I spent time poring over every area that we'd be staying; as I looked, I built an itinerary of activities and highlights. The point was to have a nice selection of choices so each day we had a number of options. Both of us enjoy going to festivals, markets, craft fairs and any type of parade or other event that looks like fun. The 100-mile (160km) radius around Nanaimo and Parksville was overflowing with endless possibilities to be had and it was really hard to pare it down to a reasonable group, but I did my best! The fact of the matter is that this area would be a perfect place to stay for a solid six months—there really are that many wonderful things to do and experience! While looking around the 'net, I learned about a fantastic art show called the Filberg Festival. This show is held every year in a town that turned out to be just an hour's drive north of Parksville. The event attracts some of the best artisans on Vancouver Island--and abroad as well--and is a Must Not Miss for anyone who loves this sort of thing. In other words, we couldn't wait! We got up early that day and enjoyed the scenic drive to Comox, finally arriving to park conveniently nearby. It wasn't hard to know which way to go—just follow the stream of people flowing down the upscale shop-filled streets towards the festival! The gradually increasing sound of upbeat world-style music also told us we were getting close and made us even more giddy. Held on the grounds of a historic park and ringed by high, ivy-covered fencing, we entered the vast estate grounds with wide eyes and huge smiles. Steve led the way with jovial conversation as we got our tickets and hand stamps. Minutes later we were moving towards the tantalizing artwork just visible at booths at the edge of the festival. The Amazing Filberg Festival SO MANY BOOTHS! Stretching out in long rows in a fairly haphazard fashion, the seemingly countless kiosks were filled with every kind of artwork and high-end crafts that you could imagine. Paintings, woodworking items, jewelry and murals. Big and small clockworks, tiny electric art-doo-hickies, gorgeous ceramics and even food-as-decadent artwork to eat! Glass-blowing marvels, metal artwork, intricately sown quilts and one-of-a-kind clothing. Racks brimming with beautiful hats of all kinds, incredible gameboards made from exotic woods, dazzling windchimes that filled our ears with nature's music...it went on and on. The variety and exquisite quality of nearly everything presented was simply boggling! A key reason of this show's exceptional quality was the fact that every vendor was juried and only the best artisans were given the nod to be there. It was, without question, the very best art and craft-type show we'd ever visited. WOW! Many happy, awe-struck hours were spent there as we soaked up this delicious and amazing show. The reverberating sound of music and deep drum beats immersed us even more as we walked around and we had an absolutely fabulous time. In fact, we couldn't help repeating how totally blown away by all that was offered. You may think it's odd but we didn't buy a single thing! The fact is, we aren't souvenir collectors like we once were. And in any event, we expected the prices would be inflated and beyond our means. However, though the asking prices were often jaw-dropping and laughably ludicrous, we were also surprised by the number of reasonable prices too. We did keep our eyes open in case something screamed at us to bring it home, but in the end we were happy to just look, and that was fine with us. I know what you're thinking: where are the pictures?!! Well, guess what? We didn't take any! Over the years we've learned that vendors don't often like their wares photographed. Some are fine with it—they even encourage photography—but a great many are less than enthusiastic and some will bounce up and down with fury that you would dare to photograph their goods. That adds up to a great big NOPE! in our books. Much better to just enjoy the day and remember the fun we had. And that's exactly what we did! (If you're interested in seeing pictures of some of the superior craftsmanship offered at the Filberg Festival, here are some images of the festival crowds, the grounds and musicians (click) . I also found a page which shows some artwork exhibited by one artist...it's amazing!! Wanda Designs: Painted Teapots Finally, there is a very interesting video about the history of the festival and also shows the quality of the art found at this event (click). ) Royston Ship Wrecks After we were completely satisfied, we left the show and headed back towards Parksville. On the other side of the large bay where the festival was held, there was a place we didn't want to miss. Often missed by travelers, Royston is the home of 14 scuttled ships that were intentionally sunk to make a breakwater for calmer waters in the area. Unfortunately we arrived at high-tide and that meant that most of the wrecks were below water. BUMMER! We weren't able to see much but we still had a great time taking pictures and enjoying the incredible beauty of the area. To make matters worse, I found out after we got back that I'd forgotten to replace the memory card in my Sony camera—so all of the pictures I took that day were merely vaporware. BUMMER SQUARED! However, I did have a few shots from my phone so at least I can share a couple. Researching the Royston Wrecks turned up some very interesting history. Royston was once the home to many busy lumber mills (closed now) which floated logs down the coast from Comox Harbor to the mills in Royston. The area's rough waters and unpredictable seas could be very dangerous, so a host of decommissioned ships were strategically positioned and then sunk to create calm waters in the bay. (In case you're interested,... I found a video which shows some of these ships when they were in their hey-day . I was unexpectedly moved nearly to the point of tears to see what they used to look like and now, just rusted skeletons. The video is fascinating and somewhat heartbreaking to see! Our First Eagle Sighting! After our visit to Royston, we continued our drive down the lovely coast—when suddenly Steve gasped and pulled over, yelling, "IT'S A BALD EAGLE!!!" He rolled down his window so we could get a good look. Sitting at the very edge of some rocks leading into the bay was indeed, a real, live Bald Eagle! It was so far away that our hasty phone pictures merely show a dark blob with a white head but we were beside ourselves with joy! We've only seen one in the United States—and we weren't even positive the white-headed raptor flying away from us was a Bald Eagle. However, the bird we were goggling at right then was absolutely and without a doubt, a Bald Eagle! HOORAY!!! We hopped out of the truck with the hopes of slowly approaching just a bit closer, but as we were crossing the highway, the regal bird leaped into the air, flapped his wings and took off over the water and out of our lives forever. Oh the sad, mournful tears of defeat! :D (Of course, I wouldn't have been so bummed had I known that just a few days later I'd get a Bucket List picture that makes me beam every time I see it!) We Found a Local Seafood Shop! Once again heading south, Steve and I jabbered happily about our first Bald Eagle sighting while we enjoyed the lovely coastal route along the many named bays from Comox to Parksville. Then Steve saw a run-down seafood shop and said the name, "Baynes Sound Oyster Co." With a grin, he pulled into the parking area and added, "Let's get some!" You must understand something about Steve. He loves seafood. Fish, octopus, shrimp, crabs…you name it, he loves it! In fact, his enthusiasm and stellar ability to coax me with the right fish was so good that he was even successful at turning me into a sushi fiend, when I wouldn't even consider it in the past! I didn't have a problem with cooked fish. But raw fish? Who was he kidding?! But I have to laugh because it's true--sushi is my favorite food, and it's all because of Steve! We'd been trying to find a seafood store that wasn't priced for tourists and this place was exactly what we were looking for! The place was basically a wreck. Baynes Sound Oyster Company operated its retail business out of a run down, dingy white building in dire need of a paint job. The cringe-worthy sight was complete with a sign that was nearly impossible to read. We could tell it was obviously a place where locals bought their seafood. Where's the fish?! We're all in! Opening the classic, creaky, old-time door with a jangling bell on a string to alert the keeper, we stepped in and I wrinkled my nose at the smell. Quickly recovering my manners, I repaired my expression to a pleasantly smiling one and looked around at the meager attempt to create a shop. A long, low, glass-lined freezer stared back at us. Next to it was a worn counter and an old cash register. Cobwebs hung in the corners of the dingy walls, flickering fluorescent tubes offering the only light in the otherwise dim cave. A crusty old man, roused from whatever he'd been doing beyond our view, stood and shuffled over with a rather crabby look on his face. I don't think he was very happy to be interrupted but resigned himself to waiting on us. Steve struck up a lively conversation to break the silence and soon they were jabbering away. We picked out some lovely-looking red snapper for our dinner and Steve picked out a large tub of shucked oysters. The oysters, I might add, would be ALLLLLL for him. The only way I'll eat oysters or clams is in a chip dip. Otherwise, no way, Jose! I've tried them over and over again, and they're either nasty chewing gum or a glob of the most horrendous er, sorry, phlegm I've had to choke down. No can do honey, they're all for you! "MORE FOR ME!!" is always Steve's delighted answer, though to be honest, he really wishes that I enjoyed them so we could share the goodies when he buys them. Braving Hell's Wall of Stench! I spotted something on the side of the building as we approached the shop so I told Steve I was stepping outside for some pictures before we left. Thanking the owner, I left and headed towards the side of the building. That's when it hit me. A wall of stench so foul that I felt all of my hair begin to curl. And fall out. I couldn't help myself from exclaiming, "OMG…THE SMELL!!!" It was so horrible and strong that the air felt thick and difficult to walk through. I rounded the corner. There was the source of this unbelievable, putrid cloud of doom. Multiple enormous piles of oyster shells glowered down at me from a staggering height of six feet or more. Next to the piles was an entire MOUNTAIN of fuming shells which blocked the view of the bay beyond. The hill of stink breathed its wafting, foul breath at me and I imagined this is what Jabba the Hut must smell like. Seriously gross. With watering eyes and a rigid determination, I took pictures of the fetid mounds. I wondered mockingly…could I possibly be losing years of my life as I stood here trying not to vomit?! Chuckling to myself, I couldn't deny how cool those piles of shells looked. Smelly or not, I loved the shapes of these cast-off piles! Then I noticed the bay beyond the shop and boats moored there. SO PRETTY! What a contrast, eh?! With all the pictures I wanted to take, I did an about-face and got out of there as fast as I could. Still, I had to literally fan my body before I got into the truck and even after I did that, Steve wrinkled his nose and stared at me. "WHAT is that SMELL!!!" LOL! What a wonderful last stop on our adventurous day! Today's Pictures My main picture today is the boat-filled bay out behind the Baynes Sound Oyster Company. I am surprised how peaceful it turned out looking. Especially with such horrendous smells so close by! In fact, I believe every one of those vessels used for gathering oysters, so the stink is everywhere! RUN AWAY!! :D Insets include my itty bitty eagle pictures, two from the Royston Wrecks site and two images of the mounds of reeking oyster shells! Pam, what you think about seafood? I know you love it but what's your favorite? And what do you hate? Along with oysters and clams, I won't eat octopus or squid (rubbery and awful--and even cooked well I hate it), any sea urchin-type stuff, nor will I eat strong "fishy" tasting fish like mackerel or anchovies…EWWWW!!! I love trout, salmon, steelhead, bass, and all sorts of other fish like sole, flatfish, snapper, tuna, and plenty of others…as long as it's not strong-flavored, I'm all over it! And of course, sushi is my favorite! #1: Hamachi sashimi! What about you? I know you love fish--I don't remember if you told me your favorites or least favorites though! :) *HUGS FROM SOUTHERN OREGON* :) Explored on 2/17/20; highest placement #4.