Salt Fall/Winter 2014 - page 18

Stellar and
California Sea Lions
They are big and they are surprisingly
vocal at times — sea lions are around
all year but are mainly seen in the fall
and winter and tend to hang out in
groups on rocks and sometimes log
booms. Race Rocks near Victoria is a
popular spot, and also up the east side
of the Island, where they follow the
herring. Weighing as much as a ton,
the males are quite a lot bigger than
females — up to three times the size in
the case of the Stellars. And they are
pretty cute — especially the little ones.
Wildlife tour companies are available to
take you out for a closer look.
On the go
Island Culture
Paddle Happy
Kayaking is a hard habit to break, even as the days get
shorter. With warm gear, including good gloves, you can be
exploring the wilderness like, well, an explorer! Or you can
take in more urban views paddling in the harbours.
Classes and guided tours are always the best way to
go until you are beyond beginner level. Check out Wild
Heart Adventures in Nanaimo, Ocean River Sports in
Victoria, Wilderness Kayaking in Duncan, and Batstar
Adventure Tours out of Port Alberni to name just a few of
many companies.
Fido-Friendly
Parks and Beaches
We love our pets and it shows
when you consider how many
specialty pet shops, doggie day
cares, and grooming “spas”
there are scattered around the
Island.
Most public parks allow
dogs on leashes and a few
have off-leash areas (signs are
posted). But there are a few
exceptions where dogs are
prohibited year-round, mainly
because of sensitive wildlife or
garden areas. For example, in
Victoria, Turkey Head Walkway,
Windsor Park Rose Garden,
Oak Bay’s Native Plant Park,
and Swan Lake Christmas Hill
Nature Sanctuary in Saanich
are always off-bounds to pets,
even on a leash.
Willows Beach and
Gyro Beach in Victoria and
Buttertubs Marsh and Piper’s
Lagoon in Nanaimo are no-pet
zones in the summer, but come
autumn, leashed pets are
welcome.
Dogs are always welcome
at French Beach, Dallas Road
Park, and MaCaulay Point
Park in the South Island.
Nanaimo has 12 off-leash park
areas including Beban Park
and Colliery Dam Park. Also
mid-Island, bring the pup to
Top Bridge Trail and the park
behind the Civic Centre in
Qualicum Beach. The Air Park
in Courtenay
is notable for
being popular with
dog walkers.
Be dog smart: If you
venture into wilderness, leave
your pooch at home — there
are wild animals out there, like
cougars and black bears. Stay
on the pathways to protect
fragile ecosystems. Of course,
cleaning up after your pet is
expected everywhere.
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