Susan was a great hostess - keeping us well fed, letting us stay at her home (better than any B & B :) and taking us to see the interesting sights around Qualicum Beach.
We visited the estuary at low tide, walked in town to do a bit of shopping for gifts to take home, toured Milner Gardens (the Queen once stayed there) where I saw a mimosa. My grandmother (Momah) had a huge mimosa in her front yard. Hummingbirds and butterflies would flock inside it when it bloomed. It was so beautiful. You don't see them much anymore around here.
We also saw the Butterfly Gardens with their enclosed garden full of butterflies all over, flitting and landing and even posing on your fingers. The Gardens also had a lovely orchid garden section where Jerry and I took dozens of orchids. They were everywhere and each one more interesting than the last. If you want to see some photos, I'll send you some after I get the best resized and ready but I won't post all of them here - it would take a whole post just to show them.
Then we toured the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center in Errington (a raptor rehab center but also had bears - all animals who have been injured and will either be released into the wild or will be kept there). That included the beautiful but sad bald eagle who had been shot in the head, causing the loss of the upper part of his beak. In order to make sure he could feed himself, the center contacted someone who makes the eagle a prosthetic beak every now and then. The first ones came off when he used them and they have to be refitted and resized every now and then. The photo here is from a postcard showing the beauty of the thing - doesn't it look befitting a grand bald eagle?
I'm afraid he just looked a bit sad without the prosthetic. He didn't have it on when we visited and we got several photos - it looked like the whole top part was off so it was skinny and curved.
Who could shoot one of these wonderful creatures? But then, a lot of the owls, hawks, eagles, ravens, crows, and other birds - and the bear cubs - were there because someone had shot them for sport.
Each evening we came home tired, had a wonderful meal, and went to bed early (our body clocks were still on KY time so 10 pm Qualicum Beach felt like 1 am KY time). It was so dark (no street lights) and so quiet (no airplanes going over, no car sounds, no barking dogs) that we slept like babies and woke refreshed and ready for the next day's adventure.