Orcas

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, we spent a week in a cabin on Denman island, during Christmas break and, more important, our anniversary. On a day when we arrived, a storm started, with some strong winds and big waves. The wind knocked down some tree later so we were without power for about 16 hours. But that was not important. What amazed us was this:

orca

female orca T037A

orcas

orca T037A2 with one of the younger brothers

pod of orcas hunting

pod of orcas hunting

sea lions looking at orcas

sea lions watching nearby orcas

sea lions resting

sea lions resting the next day

We sent these photographs to Ocean Wise organisation and Sandy got a reply today:

Hi Sandra,

I’ll be entering your sighting into our database, which now holds over 114,000 sightings. Sightings data is not only used within our own organization, but is also shared with other government agencies, universities and ENGOs for conservation-based research projects, critical habitat analysis, the establishment of marine protected areas, and more. Our sightings are analyzed to better understand the relative abundance, distribution, and habitat use of BC’s cetaceans. Having coastal citizens like you act as our eyes on the water is shedding a lot of light on various cetacean and sea turtle species in B.C. and adjacent waters. Much of this data would not be recorded without our valuable observers – we really appreciate your participation in the program.

It’s difficult to ID these whales without seeing the full saddle patch, but I’m pretty convinced that they are a family of transient (marine-mammal eating ecotype) killer whales known as the T037As. T037A is the lone female in the picture with the nick in her dorsal fin. She’s 25 years old and the mother to T037A1 (does not travel with the family anymore), T037A2 (born in 2009), T037A3 (born in 2012), and T037A4 (born in 2015). The family usually travels with the other members of the T037s, but will occasionally travel separately. We really appreciate the photos!

Warm regards,

Jessica Torode
Coordinator, BC Cetacean Sightings Network

Jessica.Torode@ocean.org

We didn’t see them again but being transient orcas that is not unusual. Anyway, it was nice seeing them literally under our windows, and having them hunting is always an exciting event 🙂

Some more photos you can see here.

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Anniversary

It is our 8th year anniversary today. We arrived to Denman Island, just in time before the ferries were closed due to severe weather. We are staying in a nice cabin on an isolated part of the island. Sea lions and Orcas are hunting literally under our window, expect photographs later, probably in a week or so.
Sandy made a very nice dinner. It is called zarzuela, spicy Spanish dish made with mussels, clams, prawns and white fish.
Zarzuela

All that with some nice 2014 Merlot and mango cake.
It is 7 pm now, a wind storm is still blasting outside but we expect somewhat nicer weather in a days to come 🙂

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Japan

This is just a short post about a recent big event in my life. Some of you know that I am practicing martial arts for more than 30 years now. Since 2003, I am practicing Nakamura Ryu Battodo, one of the youngest Japanese martial arts, founded by Nakamura Taizaburo sensei in 1953.

Every year, a competition is organized in Yokohama by International Battodo Federation (IBF). After nearly two years of preparation, I managed to go there again, with two of my students and take part in competition and grading. My students got a shodan level (1st DAN) and I received a godan (5th DAN).

This is a small thank you to all my teachers from Serbia and Japan who dedicated their time, patience and efforts to make this happen.

After grading - in Tsurumi Chugakko

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Perfect Day For Fishing

Perfect day for fishing
Eagle:”Mmmmm, a perfect day for fishing… Wait, who’s that?”

Otter
Otter:”Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now….”

Mink
Mink:”That’s all folks!”

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19

One of my friends from Serbia reminded me on her Facebook post about one sad anniversary: today is 19 years since NATO bombed Serbia over Kosovo. Sometime in May of 1999 she and her soon-to-be-husband made a 10 minutes video of how their friends, me among them, reacted to what was going on around us. Bombs dropping, people being killed.

Video is in Serbian so most of people who visit this blog won’t understand a word 🙂 But I can translate what I had said: One day, when all of this is over, our lives will be terribly boring… Scroll to 2:01. I am performing an Iaido kata and then I say the sentence that made me famous 😀 😛

I was asked once to explain what I meant with that. Of course, now after almost two decades, I can’t say that my life – and for that matter, the lives of many of other friends I have – is boring. Far from that. But it reflected a general feeling me and my friends had during bombing. We were angry, sad, annoyed, all at the same time. And we couldn’t change anything.  Years later, during one of my visits to Japan, one old member of martial arts styles that I am practicing, told me to come to Japan if ever again there is a war in my country. Not that I would do that, of course, but it was just a proof that I have friends among Japanese people and I was grateful for that. I had a chance to experience something terrible and lived to tell, so I am grateful for that, as well.

From Hagakure: “Master lttei said, ‘ ‘If one were to say what it is to do good, in a single word it would be to endure suffering. Not enduring is bad without exception.” “

Back then we were all a pawns in a much bigger game. And as every pawn, we were expendable. I was reading news when during 2015 ISIS destroyed ancient monuments, protected by UN laws. And the whole world condemned that. But when in 1999 and 2004 ethnic Albanians did the same to Christian monasteries in Kosovo – some of them as old as 500 years – most of the world applauded. Or, in best, turned the blind eye. The history of Serbian and Albanian enmity is not from yesterday, it lasts for centuries. But I am too lazy to go deeper into the topic at the moment. Everything is on line and in publications, if you are interested it is just a Google away.

These days I just don’t care as much anymore, beyond remembering. Did enemies win? Maybe. I like to think they didn’t. But nowadays, I like to do things that make me happy: martial arts, hiking, travelling, photographing… Life is short.

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Spring, but not yet…

You can feel it in the air. Whenever sun gets away from clouds, and it is not so often in Vancouver, the air got warm, the breeze is calm, the skies are blue. We’ve seen crocuses already. It was 17°C yesterday. But if you go just a bit out of the city limits, everything changes. I mean, the air is still warm (on a cooler side) and the skies are blue. However…

Lynn Headwaters Park

Lynn Headwaters park, just a few kilometers from our place, is still under a blanket of snow. It is melting, of course, but cold nights and rainy weather will prolong it. If it is raining in the city, it is snowing on the mountain. All I need is to remember last year. Snow in June…

We went for a walk, 9-10 km, Lynn Headwaters park and Rice Lake. The later is still partially frozen.

Rice Lake - frozen

But the ice is thin and a couple of fishermen didn’t have much trouble breaking it. Even this eagle was quietly observing. Who knows, maybe it developed a way of fishing through the ice.

Bald Eagle

The ice is cracking somewhere in the middle of the lake. Northern side, more exposed to the sunlight, is free of ice. Southern side usually is in the shadow of a forest, and weak sun rays can’t warm the air fast enough to melt it.

Thawing

We returned the same way and Lynn Creek was rushing on our left. Its clear waters are not as high as they will be in a month.

Lynn Creek

We’ve found a quiet spot to have a snack and enjoy the nature a bit more.

Lynn Creek bank

Moss

My last thought, before we left the place, was: the bears will wake up soon 🙂

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Late “End of the Year” post

I mean, totally late 🙂

I planned to make it some time during last week, but we were away, the weather was snowy and cold, and all the other excuses that I can’t think of at the moment 😀 Well, here it is…

If I can summarize it, in a short sentence, it would be: It was busy! Company I am employed with, had few big contracts that came to realization at once, almost all of them, enough to keep us constantly on the edge. Luckily not too many overtime days for my department, but the rest of my colleagues worked really hard. I mean, it is good to have a job, salary and security, but I wished the tempo was a bit slower. And now we were told it will continue in 2018, as well. Oh well, it is just a job…

Due to a snowy and rainy spring, San and I didn’t have as many opportunities to go for mountain hiking as previous years – at the end of June there was still a lot of snow on mountains and our favorite hikes – and then a dry summer came with forest fires. That meant that our decision to go to kayaking trip in August proved to be a good one. Broken Group Islands, on the west side of Vancouver Island, is in a fog zone, with temperatures rarely going over 17C at that time of year.

Day 1 - the rest on Hand Island

This short video may be enough to help me explain the overall feeling of the 3 days trip:

Really a unique place where we hope to return some time in the future. The rest of the photographs you can find here. I will just add, that I was happy to see starfish again, because a virus that, apparently, killed millions of them during last few years, make them completely disappear along the west coast areas where we were hiking.

It was a nice contrast to a smoky and hot Okanagan Valley where we spent a week before, trying to do some hiking but ended doing wine tours due to a smoke and forest fires 😀 We spent a lot of money buying some excellent wines 🙂

A big thing for me was a premiere of  Blade Runner 2049, a sequel of a cult Blade Runner movie from 1982, that, some of my friends already know, I’ve seen more than 60 times (what can I say, it just blew my mind). Impressions on the sequel are different, depending on the person you are talking with, but I was very satisfied and I can say that Denis Villeneuve, the director, proved to be a new star in a movie industry. If you have seen his movies Arrival and Sicario, you will understand what I’m talking about. I hope I don’t have to mention that I wore a t-shirt that San gave me for birthday and that made the experience complete 😀

What are the plans for 2018? I can’t say much except that we are planning to go to Newfoundland and Labrador some time during summer and that we will have to start planning that trip immediately. Popular hiking spots all over Canada are experiencing a big visitors’ boom, and if you don’t find a spot in certain places at certain times, you might as well spend your holidays at home. It doesn’t make me happy but there is nothing we can do about it except to adapt…

Broken Group Islands foggy mornings

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Blade Runner Theme Presents

It was my birthday the other day. Usually, I would get up early in the morning, make myself a mug of coffee, open some news web site and spend about an hour slowly waking up. This time was a bit different because on top of my laptop there was a small pile of presents, wrapped in some nice paper with origami unicorn on top of it.

Of course, I was intrigued. As some of you know, I’ve watched Blade Runner movie more than 60 times and origami unicorn scene is very familiar to me. So, I unwrapped the pile…

Blade Runner Theme Presents

These are all presents from San and I couldn’t be more surprised and in a better and more pleasant way. Even though I’ve seen… things… you, people, wouldn’t believe…

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Frisky Flickers

Yesterday was a first nice day after what felt like an endless rainy season. It feels like, when it started raining at the end of September, it didn’t stop until yesterday; that it was just switching between rain and snow. This winter was very long.

Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yesterday was gorgeous day, all sun and blue skies. We took a long walk, around North Vancouver, Mosquito creek to Edgemont, Westview and back home. Along a way, on some of electric power poles, we’ve seen some frisky flickers (Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus) doing their love dance.

Frisky Flickers1there were four of them on that pole, one is on the other side

Then one unexpectedly took of…Frisky Flickers2…but then it returned, so they could do their lovey dovey dance…

Frisky Flickers3…right…

Frisky Flickers4…then left…

Frisky Flickers5…and, generally, enjoyed the day 😀

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Anniversary

A small anniversary for me. On this day, December 7, 1986. I started practicing Kendo in Belgrade, Serbia. Thirty years of very interesting and self fulfilling path.

kendo-beograd-1990members of Kendo Club Belgrade, May 13, 1990.

Some people from this photograph are still in Martial Arts. Dejan is teaching Nakamura Ryu Battodo in Belgrade. Nebojsa, Vladan and Dragan are teaching Kendo. Others left Martial Arts (to my knowledge) but will always remain as a part of the history.

For me, Kendo was a beginning that led me further, into Iaido, Aikido and Battodo. Since 2012 I am teaching Nakamura Ryu Battodo in Vancouver, BC.

hidari-gyaku-noto-in-kata_bwfrom Nakamura Ryu Battodo presentation in New Westminster, April 2014.

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