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The Best Job in the World

January 17th, 2009  · stk

I've been so busy with my application for "The Best Job in the World" that I never posted my original article on it. Well ... now that my application video is submitted, I finally got around to finishing the article. Good background information, but old-hat to anyone already following along

"Caretaker" of the Australian Great Barrier Reef Islands

Tourism Queensland, in Australia, has hit a gold mine with their recent "Best Job in the World" campaign.

Timing for the campaign, which aims to promote Queensland's Great Barrier Reef Islands, couldn't be better. It was launched on Jan 12th, in the dead of winter for the northern hemisphere and on the heels of a tremendous downturn in the global economy.

If you haven't heard about it on your local news (weather segment, most likely), Tourism Queensland is looking to hire someone to be "caretaker" of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. It's billed as "The Best Job in the World". The successful candidate will live on Hamilton Island for six-months and must be willing to explore the other Great Barrier Reef Islands. The only catch: you must report back on your adventures to a global audience (via weekly blog updates, photo diaries and video snippets).

"They'll also have to talk to the media from time to time about what they're doing," says Anthony Hayes, CEO of Tourism Queensland.

Upping the ante even more, the successful job applicant is paid $150k for their six-month job and is provided a 3-bedroom, ocean-view home (which comes with some other perks, such as a golf cart, computer and video equipment).

(Ewe ... sounds rough, doesn't it?)

If you think you're up to the task, just head to www.islandreefjob.com and submit your application. They must include a 60-second video (saying why your the best candidate), photo and contact details. The application deadline is currently February 22, 2009, but Tourism Queensland reserves the right to move it forward, once 30,000 applications have been received.

That may happen, as the promotional campaign has been very successful. Interest in the job overwhelmed the site's servers, shortly after the job was announced and Tourism Queensland had to scramble and add additional equipment to handle the web traffic.

I estimate that about 3,500 applications have been received, thus far.

Of course, this begs the question: "Will Scott or Rachel throw their name into the hat?"

Chucking a Canadian Snowball into the Australian Sun

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Kayaking to DeCourcy Island

November 18th, 2008  · stk

On an unseasonably warm & sunny November day, Rachel & Scott paddled their new sea kayaks to DeCourcy Island, 6-kilometer offshore Vancouver Island. DeCourcy Island is home to Pirates Cove Marine Park and has a rich history, including buried treasure! (DeCourcy Island maps, photos and tales "Brother Twelve", Canada's notorious cult leader)

Blue Heron Park to Pirate's Cove Marine Park, on DeCourcy Island

After two years of living in Yellow Point, we finally bit the bullet and bought two ocean-touring kayaks. They are both used kayaks, obtained from a 2008 rental fleet sale at local outfitter (Alberni Outpost). They're both bomb-proof, made of tough, durable roto-molded plastic. We haven't acquired all the accompanying gear (we still need spray-skirts, for example), but were eager to plunk them in the water for a test paddle.

A week ago, the stars and planets aligned, so we took a 12-kilometer round-trip paddle from Yellow Point (putting in at Blue Heron Park), paddling 6 kilometers across the Stuart Channel, to explore Pirate's Cove Marine Park, on DeCourcy Island. Alex was in day-care and kindergarten for the day. Rachel was scheduled to attend a B.C. Nurses Union meeting, but it was canceled at the last minute. Even the weather cooperated; after four days of rain, the skies cleared and it was a sunny, unseasonably warm November day. Wow! We just had to get out of the house before the November rain and drizzle returned.

It took us a while to get organized, tossing Rachel's blue Necky "Elaho HV" Necky "Elaho HV" Kayak Profile Picture of Rachel's Necky Elaho HV kayak Rachel's Necky "Elaho HV" kayak. The "HV" means "High Volume". Necky added 3 inches to the length and width of the cockpit of a regular "Elaho", making entering and exiting easier. This roto-molded plastic touring kayak is made by Necky (in Washington State). It offers outstanding turn response, good leaning & solid edging. It's narrower than most touring boats, which lowers its initial stability, but increases handling and performance. (Necky no longer manufactures the Elaho line). The Elaho HV is 17-feet long, 22.5-inches wide, weighs 63 pounds and can carry 325 pounds. The metal rudder is standard.  kayak and Scott's mango Current Designs "Storm" Current Designs "Storm" Kayak Profile Picture of Scotts's Current Designs Storm kayak Scott's Current Designs "Storm" kayak. The "Storm" is a lively, rugged & affordable touring kayak. It's designed to handle tremendous abuse. Built by Current Designs, the Storm is a roto-molded polyethylene kayak. The model underwent a major design fine-tuning in 2004 and sports a new hatch system & rudder controls. The deck fittings are recessed and have full perimeter deck lines. It's a very stable and rugged performing touring kayak. The Storm is 17-feet long, 24-inches wide, weighs 63 pounds and can carry up to 400 pounds. Click the link for the Current Designs website & more about the Storm kayak.  kayak onto the roof rack of the Honda Accord. We packed a lunch and drove three or four kilometers, from our house, along Yellow Point Road, to Blue Heron Park, where we dunked the boats in the water and began our paddle over to DeCourcy Island and Pirates Cove Marine Park.

To find out more about DeCourcy Island, our kayak trip and Pirates Cove Park (with maps) .... carry on ...

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Bowron Lakes Canoe Trip

August 28th, 2008  · stk

Bowron Lakes Canoe Trip: Listed as one of the World's top 10 best wilderness canoe trips, we thought we'd give it a whirl. We dropped Alex off with grandparents in Vancouver and made the 9-hour drive to get to the renown park in central British Columbia. Follow along by reading the journal of our 6-day wilderness experience! (Pics, maps, video, a slide-show and resource section all - eventually - included).

A 6-Day Canoe Adventure in the wild Cariboo Mountains

The Bowron Lake Provincial Park, in central British Columbia, is a wilderness park that encompasses over three hundred thousand acres and contains a world-famous canoe circuit. The circuit includes six major lakes (Indianpoint, Isaac, Lanezi, Sandy, Spectacle and Bowron) and together with several other smaller lakes, streams, rivers and portages, makes up a unique, circular wilderness wetlands route. The circuit is 116 kilometers long (72 mi) and includes a total of 10 kilometers of portages. Most visitors take six or seven days to complete the circuit, though many linger - fishing, relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking beauty of this unique wilderness.

Bowron Lakes - one of the ten best wilderness canoe trips in the World.

- Outside Magazine

The area was classified as a game reserve in 1926, by the British Columbia government, thanks to efforts by Frank Kibbee and Thomas & Eleanor McCabe. In 1961, it was reclassified as a Provincial Park and named after John Bowron, a gold rush pioneer who later became the Commissioner at nearby Barkerville About Barkerville Barkerville is the largest historic site in British Columbia. Founded in 1862, Barkervilles was the "gold capital of BC". Burned down, it was rebuilt, but became a ghost town. It was restored in 1958 for the Provincial centennial and today, remains a town of discovery - a unique streetscape with over 125 heritage buildings, Royal Theater shows, exhibits, stage coach rides, street theater in the summer and unique shops, filled with Victorian-era merchandise. Open all year, the town springs to life in the summer months. Thousands of visitors come from all over the world to travel to this unique attraction. There are mining demonstrations, street interpreters, restaurants, gold panning and other displays. Click the green-shaded word to visit the Barkerville website (should open in a new window).  B.C.'s famous restored gold-rush town.

Both are located in the Cariboo Mountains in central British Columbia and accessed via Highway 26 from Quesnel, to Wells (90 km, or 55.8 mi, via a paved road). The Park can be reached by a secondary road (at this writing, a dirt road) that is another 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). Bowron Lake Provincial Park is - quite literally - at the end of the road.

Join us on our 6-day adventure. The journal is rich in detail and includes many photographs and a short video of a moose grazing. If you're planning your own trip, the slideshow will whet your appetite and the journal will provide some insight about what to expect. We've also included a useful "Resources" section at the end, which may aid in your planning. It includes a detailed contour map, which you can download and use.

For us, the Bowron Lake Canoe adventure is our first canoeing trip, though hardly our first adventure trip. It is also our only adventure trip of the year, without our four-year-old daughter - thanks Gran & Grandpa, for hosting Alex! - and we had an excellent time! Wildlife, scenery, people, paddling and the weather were all outstanding.

Enough preamble ... on with the adventure.

Note: Getting the journal online is a huge effort and will require a bit of time to complete. Here's the status:

Everything is complete, except the resource section.

-stk
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On Deck - Bowron Lakes

August 9th, 2008  · stk

Guess who's heading out on a wilderness adventure?! Yep ... Scott & Rachel are going to be sleeping in the dirt again. This time we're embarking on a 100-kilometer wilderness canoe trip. The trip is right around the corner and we're buzzing with anticipation.

Bowron Lakes Canoe Adventure

The food dehydrator has been running for five days straight, as we prepare six or seven back-country suppers. We're starting to get excited, because we're fobbing Alex off on grandparent's in Vancouver, and taking some "grown-up time" - heading off on another wilderness adventure!

Like most people, with gas prices so high, we're setting our sights on a "local" destination. We're also doing a trip that's a bit different than anything we've done together - we're embarking on a multi-day canoeing trip. The place we're headed is about a nine-hour drive from Vancouver, into the interior of British Columbia - Bowron Lake Provincial Park.

According to Outside magazine, the Bowron Lakes canoe circuit ranks among one of the World's 10-best canoe trips. It's a different way of traveling for Scott, that's for sure! (Rachel has done the trip before, when she was quite young, with her family. Still she remembers little, so it's as if we're both going for the first time ever).

To learn more about Bowron Lakes, get a detailed topographic map of the Bowron Lakes Provincial Park and view a video, which will whet your appetite for adventure ... read on.

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Updated: 9-Sep-2008
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First Floating Cabin Visitors

July 31st, 2008  · stk

Yesterday, we returned from hosting our first visitors at the floating cabin. It was a success! The weather (for the most part) cooperated, the boat didn't break down and we even remembered to bring the cabin key this time! We did encounter a few SNAFU's however

Bruce & Michelle / Langley, B.C.

This summer season seems to be all about the floating cabin, as we're trying to find the best way to get there and work out some kinks and make sure that the boat, "Blue Yonder" is reliable and seaworthy. We were eager to share our love for the outdoors and the unique wilderness experience at the floating cabin, but we were a bit nervous about having our first visitors.

It's fitting that they were Bruce and Michelle, because they were also our first guests in Edmonton, showing up within a couple of weeks after we'd moved. They also like the out-of-doors and have recently gotten into kayaking. They were visiting Vancouver Island for an anniversary vacation and when we found out, we invited them to the floating cabin for a few days.

We had a great time, even though there were a few mishaps: an overloaded boat; a swarm of vicious, stinging bees; and the loss of eight crabs to determined seals. It seems that every trip to the cabin brings up 'interesting challenges' that turn into humorous and memorable events!

To read about the adventure of our first floating cabin guests .... carry on (the narrative is in their own words, as transcribed from the cabin guest journal) ...

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Updated: 1-Mar-2009
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