BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Let's go back to the coast

As the long days of summer come to a close, and Nikolai is (finally) going back to preschool, I have decided to touch on the highlight of summer in Victoria, the beaches.  And finding a beach of some sort is a very easy task, since we are on a peninsula of an island.

Obviously our most frequented beach is the one that is four blocks away called Fondo beach.  It is basically a beach of pebbles and washed up logs.  Though it is not a great beach for swimming, it does offer plenty of opportunities for Nikolai to pursue his favorite activity... putting the rocks (kelp & sticks) back into the ocean.  It also has a great view of the Olympic mountains, and all of the boat traffic going through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 
Just a little further along the coast (across from Beacon Hill Park) are rocky cliffs that open up into granite plateaus.  These little coves all have the same views as Fondo beach, but they leave you with the feeling of being a castaway.  Mainly populated by people in bikini's sunning themselves and pot smokers with guitars, we enjoy the challenge of climbing around on the rocky surfaces and exploring all the sea life in the tidal pools.  (Though I admit that this pregnant lady maybe pushed it a bit far on Monday when I tried to scale around the rock face to "take a shortcut" to Fondo beach.  As the intertidal area got narrower and steeper, I was eventually forced to give up and turn back.  My hips and back thoroughly punished me for my excesses.)

There are many, many rocky beaches in Victoria.  And there are two notable sandy beaches, both just a short bike ride away.  Gonzales bay is a smaller sand beach that isn't really car friendly, so it is a good place to go to escape the crowds.  By comparison, Willows Beach is THE beach in the city.  It has a Tea house (mainly selling hotdogs and ice cream, though I guess you could get tea there... but I probably wouldn't recommend drinking it!)  It has bathrooms, parking, a playground, and a huge amount of waterfront real estate.  There is plenty of space for everyone. 

As for inland beaches, we didn't managed to get to any of those popular locations this summer.  All of them are a longer bike ride away, and I just was not up to the challenge.  Thetis Lake and the Sooke Potholes are both good swimming places, and Elk Lake is best known for rowing (though you can swim there too).

This past weekend, we took Dylan and Nancy for a bike ride to Willows Beach and had, what will likely be, our last sand castle making day of the year.  We also took Dylan and Nancy to see a very accessible version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, performed in a tent on the cliffs overlooking Fondo Beach.  It was the first year that the Victoria Shakespeare Society used this venue, and I imagine they will do things differently next year. The back of the stage was open to the mountain views, which was pretty great to look at... until the sunset and temperatures dropped.  Luckily, I had been warned when I bought my tickets so we were well dressed and had some wool blankets with us.  Even so, more blankets were gratefully accepted when they were handed out during the intermission. 

Above is a photo from Fondo Beach (from a flash back to March).  That little rocky ledge is what I tried to cross around with Nikolai in tow.  He could have made it, but my belly wasn't co-operating with me. The photos below are from Willow's Beach this weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment