WOLFE ISLAND, ONTARIO

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Wolfe Island is an island at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ontario. It is the largest of the Thousand Islands.

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Wolfe Island can be accessed by ferry from both Canada and the United States. The ferry from Kingston (Wolfe Islander III) is operated by the Ministry of Transportation and is free of charge. Just walk or drive right on, and away she goes!

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The island was part of the traditional hunting lands of the Tyendinaga Mohawk people and the original name of the island is Ganounkouesnot (“Long Island Standing up”). It was called “Grand Ile “by the French, but was later named after British General James Wolfe by British settlers.

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A feature of Wolfe Island is the Wolfe Island Wind Project, a wind farm developed by Canadian Hydro Developers and now owned and operated by TransAlta. The 197.8 MW wind plant consists of 86 wind turbines, which have been in commercial operation since June 26, 2009.This is currently the second largest turbine project in Canada.

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The power produced from Wolfe Island is sold under a 20-year Renewable Energy Supply II Contract with the Ontario Power Authority. TransAlta owns and operates the Wolfe Island facility through its wholly owned subsidiary Canadian Hydro Developers.

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Wolfe Island is designated an Important Bird Area and is an important stopover location for migrating waterfowl including swans. The island has a large population of wild turkeys, deer, and other wildlife. The Big Sandy Bay Management Area is classified as a provincially significant life science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest which includes sand dunes, wetlands, rare plants, trees, and birds.

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Credit: M. Sarko

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The billion-year old rocks of Ontario’s Precambrian Shield form the nucleus of Wolfe Island under its limestone cover.

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Glacial striations are etched in the flat rock which line the shores of Wolfe Island.

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Wolfe Island’s limestone dates back over 450 million years into the Palaeozoic Era.

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Make Wolfe Island one of the many stops on your next Ontario road trip!

A River Runs Through It – Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec, Canada

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I tell you this with hesitation. And I tell it happily, too. It is about a place I know well; one that is full of curious equivocations; somewhere half serene, half rugged, on the lip of a body of water that is half river, half sea. I think everyone should know about it for it holds so much beauty, so much Canadian history, but then again, another part of me wishes people might stay away, so it will remain a secret.

And yet it’s a secret only to the modern world, because in an older one, it was well known; famous, even. It was where many in the 19th and early 20th centuries went to find their recreation and traditions of summer, partly because the river – in this case, the St. Lawrence River – was nature’s easy, wide-open highway that took passengers to hundreds of special places along its shores. I often think of the St. Lawrence as a deep incision into the body of the land, exposing its innards, all its idiosyncrasies and unexpected treasures. But that description is only half-right – true geographically, but not in its suggestion of violence. In this part of the province of Quebec, bounded by the St. Lawrence, where it is wide like the sea, there is only tranquility.

– Sarah Hampson in The Globe and Mail

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The Gaspe Peninsula has an extraordinary mountain environment. The Chic-Chocs and McGerrigle Mountains cross the region. Among them, Mont Jacques Cartier is the second highest peak in Québec. The altitude of these mountains deeply influences the climate that moulds the landscape and creates a diversity of species unique to Québec, and even the world. Arctic-alpine plants and tundra landscapes form a habitat for a herd of woodland caribou, the last representatives of this species south of the St. Lawrence.

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“Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration.”

– Isaac Walton

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“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.”

– Hal Boyle

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“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers- the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and he Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees-must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.”

– Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

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“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world´s great floods and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”

– Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It 1976

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“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”

― Laura Gilpin

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“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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“Fly fishing is the most fun you can have standing up.”

– Arnold Gingrich, 1969

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“For the supreme test of a fisherman is not how many fish he caught, nor even how he has caught them, but what he has caught when he has caught no fish!”

– John H. Bradley, “Farewell Thou Busy World”, 1935

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“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”

– Steven Wright

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“Some act and talk as though casting were the entire art of fly fishing, and grade an angler solely by the distance he can cover with his flies. This is a great mistake and pernicious in it´s influence. Casting is but a method of placing a fly before the trout without alarming it and within it´s reach. It is merely placing food before a guest. The selection of such food as will suit, and so serving it as to pleasure a fastidious and fickle taste, still remain indispensably necessary to induce it´s acceptance.”

– Henry P Wells “Fly-Rods and Fly Tackle” 1885

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“A bad day’s fishing is better than a good day at work.”

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“Fly-fishers are usually brain-workers in society. Along the banks of purling streams, beneath the shadows of umbrageous trees, or in the secluded nooks of charming lakes, they have ever been found, drinking deep of the invigorating forces of nature – giving rest and tone to over-taxed brains and wearied nerves – while gracefully wielding the supple rod, the invisible leader, and the fairy-like fly.”

– James A. Hensall, MD, 1855

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“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.“

– Marcus Aurelius

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“There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process.”

– Paul O’Neil, 1965

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Sit by a river. Find peace and meaning in the rhythm of the lifeblood of the Earth.

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“There is certainly something in fishing that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of mind.”

– Washington Irvin

New Zealand – Aoraki/Mount Cook

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I’m from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island.

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Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense – with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky.

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Mountaineers regard the area to be the best climbing region in Australasia, while less skilled adventurers find plenty of satisfaction with the mountain walks that lead to alpine tarns, herb fields and spectacular glacier views.

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Lake Tekapo is the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand. We got our first distant glimpse of Mount Cook from across Tekapo.
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Aoraki Bound!

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The scenic drive from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki follows State Highway 8 through the heart of the Mackenzie Basin. There is much to see along this stretch of road including several mountain ranges, Lake Tekapo in Tekapo, and Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook once you reach Lake Pukaki. And you’ll see lupins alongside the road if you do this scenic drive in late spring or early summer.

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Lake Pukaki is a glacial lake that has become famous for its milky-blue colour and as the foreground to Mount Cook. I can promise you that Lake Pukaki looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in any photograph or video. You have to catch the lake on a sunny day, though, to get to see its mesmerizing blue colour.

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Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3724m, having earlier been measured at 3754m . It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.
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Aoraki/Mount Cook’s mile-long summit crest towers over 8,000 feet above a vast network of glacier-filled valleys, and three main peaks rise from the crest. Its isolated location near the west coast makes it vulnerable for sudden storms, which are often long and severe. Violent weather, crevasses, and avalanches have all taken lives on the mountain.

There have been more than 230 fatalities in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park recorded since then, including 78 from climbing Aoraki, a long, blocky mountain at more than 3700 metres tall, with three peaks. Hypothermia, avalanches, lightning, rockfalls, heart attacks and plane crashes are all listed as contributing to the tally.

Australia – The Sunshine Coast

Balina SunriseThe Sunshine Coast stretches along the Coral Sea in Australia’s Queensland state., starting roughly 50 miles north of Brisbane. The area is famous for its unbelievably gorgeous beaches, surfing culture, eco-parks and nature reserves. We found a virtual treasure trove of sculpted sand dunes, mangrove forests and rivers, magnificent coastal scenery, rare birds, critters, and quaint towns and villages to explore and photograph.

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Local Wildlife.

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Heading to Noosa!

Heading to Noosa!

More Sunshine Coast on the next post.

 

 

Australia – The Rainforests

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The tropical rainforest is home to the most diverse range of plants and animals on earth. The Daintree Cape Tribulation region supports species of plants and animals that have existed for millions of years and are integral to the ecosystem not just of the Daintree Rainforest, but of other areas around the world too. As difficult as it may be to imagine, what happens in the Daintree Rainforest affects what happens on the other side of the planet.

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The Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest in North Queensland Australia is one of the most diverse and beautiful examples of Mother Natures work in the world. This ecologically unique rainforest is home to the most extensive range of rare plants and animals on earth, and all are found within an area of approximately 1200 square kilometres – the largest chunk of protected tropical rainforest in Australia.

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The Daintree Cape Tribulation rainforest is a World Heritage Listed area and contains the highest number of plant and animal species that are rare, or threatened with near extinction, anywhere in the world. The Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest is a unique area, precariously balanced between the advances of development and the warnings of environmentalists.

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The beaches of the Cape Tribulation Daintree Rainforest region are rated among the most spectacular in the world. The tropical warmth combined with dazzling sunshine and crystal clear calm water makes you wonder if this is what heaven could be like. One of the most wonderful features of Daintree beaches is the lack of people. Stretching for miles, you can cast your eyes along the golden sand and not see a single soul, just the trees waving at you in the breeze.

Australia – The Great Barrier Reef

83 GBR 1The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It’s home to countless species of colourful fish, molluscs and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks.

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The breathtaking array of marine creatures includes 600 types of soft and hard corals, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.

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Healthy coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth, providing valuable and vital ecosystem services. Coral ecosystems are a source of food for millions; protect coastlines from storms and erosion; provide habitat, spawning and nursery grounds for economically important fish species; provide jobs and income to local economies from fishing, recreation, and tourism; are a source of new medicines, and are hotspots of marine biodiversity.

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Australia – The Outback

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We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.

 – Australian Aboriginal Proverb

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There are about 750,000 roaming wild in the outback and they cause a host of problems. Camels were imported to Australia in the 19th century from Arabia, India and Afghanistan for transport and heavy work in the outback.

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I'm too sexy for my love Too sexy for my love Love's going to leave me I'm too sexy for my shirt Too sexy for my shirt So sexy it hurts

I’m too sexy for my love
Too sexy for my love
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So sexy it hurts

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58 Outback 6AAlice Springs is a remote town in Australia’s Northern Territory, situated some 1,500km from the nearest major city. It’s a popular gateway for exploring the Red Centre, the country’s interior desert region.

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Australia is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures – the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish – are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. … If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.
 – Bill Bryson

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63 Outback 11 64 Outback 12 67 Outback 14Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s Red Centre desert, 450km from the nearest large town, Alice Springs. It’s sacred to indigenous Australians and believed to be about 700 million years old. It’s within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also encompasses the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta, colloquially known as “The Olgas” formation.

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The Olgas

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Kings Canyon is part of the Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. Sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, it is 323 km southwest of Alice Springs. We hiked it on a rainy day, which afforded us the opportunity to experience the spontaneous rushing rivers and waterfalls activated by the natural drainage system handling the rainfall.

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It brought me a new understanding of how, unless you’re connected with the land, you’re not really connected with yourself or the nation. And Australians, I think, are slowly beginning to realise that the land owns us, we don’t own the land. It’s taken climate change to achieve that. And you get this sense of forces which are outside your control.”
– Joan Kirner, on the Immensity of Outback Australia
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