Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wow it's a Blog Update!

Weellllll, it's been a while since I've updated. To the regular readers I apologize! I'll still try and get some more Borneo pics up at some point as there are still some good stories to convey. A little hard to get motivated this far removed. Oh well. Since then I returned to Canada, led a birding tour to Ontario, worked in Revelstoke and the North Rockies all summer, spent time with my lovely lady Lisa, and came out with a new BOOK!

In September I moved to Nanaimo where I have embarked on a different kind of journey--my quest to become a high-school teacher (at Vancouver Island University--formerly Malaspina College). So far Island--life has been great, with some fun new birding areas to patrol, decent weather, and a fantastic cohort of fellow wannabe-teachers. My practicum is in Port Alberni--a place I have only ever "passed through." I see this as a wonderful chance to explore yet another corner of BC and experience a host of challenges that might face a new teacher in a new town.

There is only one other person from my cohort that is assigned to the high-school in Port Alberni--Gerry Budda, an awesome dude originally from the Island but has lived in East Asia for the last ~10 years. Nice to have someone to share the ups and downs of lesson-planning, classroom management, and all that stuff with! Thanks to the kindness of a fellow classmate (Jen Fink), we have been set-up with a billet-type situation at her parents place on the shores of Sproat Lake--about a 15 minutes drive east of Port Alberni. On our second day, Jen's father Hardy offered to take us out on the lake for a cruise in his boat. Below are a few highlights:

The Hawaii Mars (front), and Phillipine Mars (Blue in rear)--Only 7 of these were built for the transport of goods during the WWII era. They were the largest float-planes every built by the allies. In 1959 the Mars planes were scrapped but a Canadian Forestry company bought these two and converted them to waterbombers. The scoops on these babies can take on 30 tons of water in 22 seconds. Today, only the Hawaii Mars sees active duty but probably not for much longer. The Phillipine Mars is set to be sold to an American Aviation museum and as you can see it has been re-painted in it's original "NAVY Blue." For most of their waterbombing career, they have been stationed here at Sproat Lake--right across from Hardy & Cynthia's place--where we're staying! 
Our trusty skipper out on Sproat Lake--Hardy is the former coach of the Canadian National Gymnastics Team. He still coached internationally and the day before this photo was taken he was "on business" in Antwerp.
Gerry Budda (Mr. Budda is a fantastic teacher name!) taking in the top-notch weather on a lazy afternoon.
Here's where we're staying--the Fink residence. Not bad!
More posts to come--hopefully in less than a couple months this time!


  1. Russell, one of my past VIU Horticulture students has told me that his dad was a pilot for the Hawaii Mars when it was used as a water bomber.

    Anne Kivari

  2. What a cool job that would have been--unless you had to paint the plane!