Nice to wake up to a change in weather when you can see sunlight filtering in, from somewhere. After a couple of days of rain the sun can jump start action directed at “getting things done.” But as soon as we were awake we could hear that old, familiar sound, the huge sea lions are back! They can be heard from two miles or more, away. They’ve been absent from about the end of May, until yesterday, and may hang around until May again, not too sure about that. These are the big ones, the Stellers, which can weigh as much as 800 pounds for males. These are the largest of the six species still living, One previously found near Japan has gone extinct. These are exclusively found in the North Pacific coastal regions of Russia, Alaska and down as far as the coast of California. We see them here in the area of the paper mill’s protected mill pond, once used to store logs before they were milled into lumber, or chipped for pulp, or cut into short lengths that were later fed into the grinders. This mill was once the largest single unit of newsprint production in the world, and one time many years ago, one out of every 25 papers world-wide, were printed on Powell River newsprint. For a time, it boasted that its water usage was greater than the city of New York, as the slurry of pulp that constituted paper before it became dried to about 7% moisture, was over 90% water to begin with. It also generated its own electricity and still does as much or more today, with a dam that has 32 mile Powell Lake as a reservoir behind it. Now the large millpond accepts barges laden with wood chips or other that carry hog fuel, another name for sawdust used for burning in the ultra high temperature steam plant. So hot is the burner that it uses a bed of sand to allow the high temperatures. Steam is used to dry the paper running through the two paper machines still in use. Back in the ex-log pond the sea lions bark almost constantly, day and night. One can surmise that these animals remain quiet most of their lives, as they are swimming most of the time. So when the opportunity arises, as it does each year near our town, they make the most of it.
We had a change in Government during the past week, with a new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau as the 23rd Prime minister. His father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, became the 15th Prime Minister in 1968 and served for eleven or twelve years, with one break in his time in office. The residence for the Prime Minister is a house at 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, a house where the new PM spent much of his childhood years; he has three children himself who will have similar upbringings, I suppose. Justin’s father, Pierre, road a wave of tremendous enthusiasm to his initial victory in 1968; Justin has done almost as well, as the “Heave Steve” (Harper) mantra really resonated with Canadians who had become dissatisfied with his secretive style of governing.
We are now committed to remain north of the Canada – U.S. border until at least after Christmas. It’s been six years since we left it so late to go south. Even so, as the Canadian dollar drops farther nearly, with each day, the U.S. dollar increases it’s value on world markets. This may sway our thoughts into enjoying a Canadian winter instead.