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Scuba Diving….

Miss has reached 11 years old and the age old question arises, “What does she want for her birthday?”….

So, I suggested scuba diving….

Diving Mermaid

It went down a treat. She loved it. After getting over the initial nervousness of being in a new environment, she was hooked. I saw her go under at 7pm and she didn’t surface until 7.30pm!

Diving Mermaid...

Diving Mermaid

Diving Mermaid

Next time you’re looking for something to get your kids, or grandkids, or even your friends kids, forget the usual gadgets or crappy item that’ll be forgetten the day after and go for something memorable, that they’re going to remember for life. The lesson cost $50, or 25 quid for UK readers. A DVD is nearly $30 if you get a new one, and books here in Canada are nothing short of extortionate. A trial piano or drum lesson, a painting class, a scuba diving session, or even a flying lesson is not going to break the bank, especially if you all club together, whatever. It doesn’t even need to be something they ever do again, but it’ll be something they remember. It may even be the unlocking of a lifetime hobby or passion, which will always be worth more than a new iPod or cellphone, trust me.

Do it. They’ll thank you for it.

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Wow!!!….

Sitting on the beach, last weekend, in the Okanagan Campsite, just past Peachland….

South Campsite...

There’s 2 parts to this site, a north and a south. Both a great little sites, but the north part is terraced down to the lake, although the beach is beautiful. The south is all flat and the beach ain’t too bad either. Take your pick, the sites in both parts were excellent in my book, all with tables, fire pit/BBQ’s, some secluded, some open allowing you to meet your “neighbours”.

In true Canadian fashion, as we walked round the bay, back to our bench, we got talking to a couple of guys, a pilot and his old man, down on the dog part of the beach, with a couple of labradors. It didn’t take long before we were offered a beer and we stayed chatting for an hour, as the kids joined in keeping the dogs entertained. They were regulars, on this stretch of beach every weekend, hurling huge sticks into the lake for their dogs to fetch, whilst drinking a few cans and chatting, even apparently in the depths of winter.

We walked back along the beach with them and got the campstove crank’d up and fried some organic smokies, that we have discovered at the Farmers Market, homemade by a German couple. (They make a great breakfast roll, which has now become part of the whole Saturday morning market experience, forgoing the usual toast and cereal. A bit of a habit now actually….)

Organic Smokies...

Sam took this one, as I was handed mine….

Wow!

…. they were bloody tasty though! Wrapped up with tomatos, lettuce and cucumber, a definite hit.

And as we ate them, we had this view, from the camp table, as the sun went down behind us….

South Campsite Beach...

With sites like this, the tent is great, but I’m considering a caravan. Nothing fancy, just with 4 beds is enough. All we need is somewhere to sleep and store the food. Just being able to pull in to sites like this one, for $12 a night, (6 quid, in the UK, roughly….) is tempting. Think about it, a lakefront property for $12! All summer holiday long. Some of these sites even have wifi now, which means I can get some work done as well, whilst the kids play on the beach….

…. I’m off up the caravan showroom tomorrow.

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The Sunshine….

Couldn’t resist another shot of the view…

Lake Okanagan...

This one is from the deck of the house opposite us, so same view, just a different angle.

Much as the winter is good and my favourite season being fall in Canada, when it gets warm and the sunshine comes out, this is not a bad place to be. Can’t wait for the lake to warm up so we can go swimming again….

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Of flat tyres and Oyama….

A couple of Sundays back, we tookĀ  trip up to a new beach in Coldstream, just outside Vernon….

Jade Bay....

Just before you get to Vernon, is a turn off to Coldstream. You drop down to the lake, where there is a lovely sandy beach on Kalamalka Lake. (“Kalamalka” meaning “many coloured, and from the photo, you can see why.) A great little general store appears as you get down to “lake level”, where they stock many things, as well as their own home made bread and rolls. We managed to pick up some organic cherries and peaches for a couple of bucks.

So, onto the lake, and Jade Bay. Silver sand, crystal clear water, a little chilly, a little walk down to the actual beach, but well worth it. We got the cooler box down there and stayed put for the afternoon.

Chillaxin....

As we left, we got talking to the “Smoothie Man”, a tanned Buddhist, we think, who we have seen many times at the Farmers Market, but never managed to get talking to. He’s always too busy. Anyway, he was packing up his wares after an afternoon lugging trays of various flavoured smoothies along the beach and getting ready to be picked up and dropped off back in Kelowna, to carry on selling. And this was at 5pm! He’s flat out through July and August it seems, making 300+ of these smoothies a night, hawking them round the markets, festivals and beaches of the Okanagan. Where he finds time to make meals for the homeless in Kelowna, running a yoga session for them whilst renovating his house, I have no idea. Great man, a real nice guy. As we were getting in the car, he came over, “I’m giving you guys a smoothie each.” Tasty. A strawberry one, a pina colada one and a pineapple one, all in bio degradable cups. We’re gonna have to buy a couple next time we see him now. We’re hooked.

We left Smoothie Man and headed for the mountain and home, an adventure, see somewhere new. We started well, a little unsure of where we were going, maps and signposts, not being the best in Canada…..

And then, on the way up the mountain, (I say, “up the mountain, we were on the mountain, deep in unknown territory……), Leigh and the kids heard a weird noise, which on investigation, was a flat tyre. A sodding flat! The first one and it had to be in the mountains, miles from anywhere, with no cellphone. And then, as I was figuring out how to attach the jack to the Jeep, Bob turned up…. who helped me jack the Jeep up and get us going again, so many thanks. His questioning about English swear words was hilarious! You meet some real nice people in the middle of nowhere. It’s not always like those “horror films”!

After changing the tyre, in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains, kids panicking about bears and cougars, whilst I lay on the floor, getting eating alive by the mozzies, we finally got back underway, nearly an hour later, Bob following us as far as King Edward Lake, to make sure the tyre was OK. He was camping there doing a little fishing and said it was a great place to come camping, he did regularly with his nephews. You can see why….

King Edward Lake....

And then as we started our descent, we found a layby, with a breathtaking view, north to Vernon, and down to Oyama….

Oyama....

Trees everywhere to our right, in a large valley, water north and south, mountains all around, no sounds other than nature, a couple of bald headed eagles doing there screeching calls and not another person in sight. As the sun went down in front of us as we came off the mountain, dropping into Oyama, we all thought, “What a fantastic day!”, even with the flat tyre and the mosquito bites.

JB on the Mountain....

I’ve just noticed the length of this post. By far the longest in the history of the No Going Back blog. With the temperature at 32 degrees as I sit in the shade,think I’ll call it a day. I’m off for a smoothie….

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