Sunday, 20 August 2017

Testing the Aqua Quest Aquaroo Money Belt



By Keith and Heather Nicol
Daughter Kristie testing the Aquaroo money belt while tubing the Puntledge
     Most of our blog posts deal with places to visit and things to do in the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island.  But we came recently came across some wet weather gear that we have been testing and we want readers to know what we think of it. We have been getting alot of use this summer from the Aqua Quest Aquaroo money belt since we have been doing alot of tubing down the Puntledge River. This presents a potential problem since how do you get your car keys , driver’s licence and perhaps some cash etc down the river in some sort of dry bag. Since you want something that is light and easy to carry the Aqua Quest waist belt fits the bill perfectly as far as we are concerned. It is not bulky and since you wear it around your waist this keeps your hands free. It has a multi layer bagging system and we have used 8 times this summer and everything has  been bone dry when we finished despite getting soaked by waves several times on each trip down the river.  Note that you have to seal each successive layer to get the waterproof result you are looking for. 

Heather on a sea kayak trip to Tree Island taking a phone call
Hiking Mt Washington
    We have also used it on many sea kayak trips this summer and we find it a great spot to hold a cell phone, car keys etc. Although you can stow phone, car keys and driver’s license in a dry bag and put it in a hatch the fact that this is around your waist means it is ready at all times should you need to make an emergency phone call.  
      Obviously you can use this waist belt for lots of other uses even when you don’t plan on getting wet. I now use it cycling to house keys, my phone and some cash and it makes an easy to carry way to carry some same things when hiking. If you get caught in a downpour then it doesn’t matter since your phone and keys will stay dry. This is a great little item and is worth checking out for these types of applications. We are testing some other Aqua Quest products and will report back on those in future blogs. Another great thing is that Aqua Quest is headquartered in the Comox  Valley. For more information see: https://www.aquaquest.ca/

       
The Aquaroo Money Belt can be used biking as well.




   

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Mulligan’s Golf Course still the best golfing deal around



by Keith and Heather Nicol
Keith on the practice green with outdoor patio behind
   Mulligan’s Golf Course in Courtenay, B.C. is still an amazing deal when it comes to golf. When we first moved here 2.5 years ago we couldn’t believe that you could play a round of golf for under $10. Mind you it is an executive par 3 with a total distance of around 1750 yards for nine holes.  Two years later it is still just $8 if you play before 8:00 am or after 4:00 pm and they charge a very reasonable $11 for nine holes between  those times. Mulligan’s also has a driving range where you can pick up a bucket of balls for $2.00 and they have a clubhouse, outdoor patio and putting green.  The short distance for the course makes it an ideal course for walking .And although it is relatively flat there are plenty of sand traps and water hazards to challenge even the experienced golfer. 


Heather tees off on the first hole with the scenic Beaufort Mountains behind
   We were interested in seeing the condition of the course given the dry warm summer and the fairways indeed , are showing the lack of rain. We were told that Mulligan’s is on a well and only have enough water to cover the greens and the tee boxes. But since 6 of the 9 holes are par 3’s and if you expect to be on or near the green with your tee shot the brown fairways really don’t come into play that much. We found the greens to be in surprisingly good shape and look forward to trying the course again in the fall after the fairways green up a bit with the autumn rains and cooler temperatures. Still we had perfect weather conditions for our round with temperatures a pleasant 22 C with a light NE wind. The course is having a good season and you need to book ahead especially if you want a specific morning tee time.  For more information see: http://www.mulligansgolfcourse.com/   or phone 250-338-2440. 
The greens are in very good shape


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Courtenay's Puntledge River has been ideal for tubing this summer



By Keith and Heather Nicol
Daughter Kristie floating down the river
    With good consistent water levels and some warm temperatures from mid July to mid August, the Puntledge River in Courtenay, B.C. has been very active with tubers this summer. It is very convenient since the river flows through Courtenay and the put in is just on the outskirts of town. There are several places to pull out and previous blogs describe these (http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-puntledge-river-is-ideal-for-tubing.html).  It works best if you can go with another couple or group since then you can leave a car at either end but you can also leave a bike at the take out and cycle back to your car if you have one car. Tubing is alot of fun and a great way to spend time with friends or family. Here are several pictures from the river this summer.  

Dan (right) , Heather and Juliana on a warm summer day

Steve (left) snd Christy tried tubing for the first time this year

Heather finishing a set of rapids

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Parksville Sand Sculptures are well worth visiting



By Keith and Heather Nicol
Participants come from all over Europe and North America
      Parksville, B.C. near Nanaimo is well known for its summer sand sculpting competition and exhibition but since we moved to Courtenay 2.5 years ago we somehow have not been down to check it out. So we decided to see this year’s sculptures while enroute to Nanaimo to drop our daughter off at the ferry. She had enjoyed Filberg Festival in Comox for the last few days and since we had to pass by Parksville we thought this was the ideal opportunity to pop in and have a look. And we certainly recommend it. 
This creation took the best 2 person sand sculpture

   The 24 sculptures are at the community beach in Parksville and although they were built in mid July they have been treated to withstand wind and rain and so still look very good. The sculptors built their masterpieces from July 14-16, 2017 and they use special sand with no impurities. Once they were finished , the sculptures were sprayed with an environmentally friendly glue-water mixture to help keep the sculpture together. We were impressed not only by the detail in the art work but also the size of some of the pieces. The artists have come from all over North America and Europe to compete for the prize money awarded to the top sand creations.  The exhibit is on until August 20 so if you are traveling to or through Parksville this summer pop in and have a look at this impressive display. Visitation has been steadily rising and last year more than 130,000 people saw the sand creations. For more info see:  http://www.parksvillebeachfest.ca
You can also enjoy the huge beach next to the exhibit
 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day 2 of the Filberg Festival featured some great music



Heather (left) and daughter Kristie admire some glass creations

By Keith and Heather Nicol
      Based on our experience on Friday we knew that heading to the Filberg Festival for the 10 am opening was a smart thing to do. First of all the parking is easier to find-we were able to park within 1 block of the festival grounds on Saturday, August 5.Secondly it is cooler so you don’t have to worry about getting overheated and thirdly it is easier to get around since there are fewer people. We had already seen most of the booths on the day before so we knew what ones we wanted to revisit and what we wanted to purchase.  We also wanted to catch some of the music and we weren’t disappointed. It was also fun showing off the festival to our daughter Kristie who was visiting from Vancouver.
Jim Byrnes was a real crowd favourite
  The highlight was Jim Byrnes who played before a full house on the Comox Rotary stage. He played a variety of bluesy-rock music and had some great stories to tell about Ray Charles and other people he has shared the stage with over the years. But we also enjoyed hearing the soulful voice of Claire Coupland from Toronto on the Peninsula Co-op Stage.  Nearby we liked seeing the large driftwood sculpture of an eagle on display. We had seen it being created the day before and on Saturday artist Alex Witcombe put it on a driftwood perch. 
Alex Witcombe created a driftwood eagle at the Festival
Remember there is lots more music to come at the Filberg Festival so if you haven’t come out you still have Sunday, August 6 and Monday, August 7 to come and check it out. Also it is a great place to get that unique or special gift. With over 100 exhibitors there is something for just about everyone. Remember the Filberg Festival is a valuable fundraiser for the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox, B.C. For more information on the complete festival schedule see: filbergfestival.com 
The festival is a fundraiser for the lodge (behind) and grounds at Filberg Park