So here we are in Penticton - Canada's holiday playground at the holiday weekend - every hotel, motel, campground is full. And it should be scorching hot. But it's decidedly cool and breezy (but we've avoided the snow that hit Calgary this morning, for which we are grateful).
We took a morning stroll along the lakeshore - the ducks were happy, but the sunshine evidenced by the shadows was negated by the breeze. We talked to the guy hiring motor boats, pedal boats, jet skis and the like, but were afraid that we'd turn blue! (Of course, in the UK if you hire a jet ski you get a dry suit to keep you warm)
The stern-wheeler set out on trips up the lake.
We walked into town - there's more of a shopping street here than we've found elsewhere (Rosie later escaped!). On the way back we picked up some excellent sandwiches at the Supa Value food store (and they were super value), and passed some of the older buildings in Penticton. It's hard to imagine that 100 years ago none of the sprawl (about 5 miles from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake) existed.
Sitting on our balcony, overlooking the lake and eating our sandwiches, the sign in the speed boat below beckoned, but the waves didn't!
We had alternative entertainment - a big bird of prey soaring above the hotel and taking fish out of the lake in front of us. Big fish. It's not really worth trying to take pictures of birds in flight with a point and click camera - insufficient zoom and auto exposure just give tiny silhouettes, but I include the picture as a tribute to the entertainment it provided. For the ornithologists, it was mid brown with pale (almost white) under the body and inner wings. And it was a darn good fish catcher.
In the afternoon we took a trip to the other end of town to Skaha Lake (via Wal-Mart to buy a DVD (SPIDER-MAN!!) which won't play on my laptop despite the documentation saying it will ONLY play Region 1 DVDs). Skaha Lake, to the south of the town, was much more sheltered from the breeze, and the beach was quite crowded.
We returned to our hotel to pick Meld up and headed back to Skaha Lake. On the way, we witnessed one of the more unusual pastimes of Penticton: there is a channel that flows from Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake, and loads of people float from one end to the other on anything inflatable. The current is quite quick, and we saw all sorts: dinghies, rubber rings, lilos, inflatable dolphins and sharks, and a man using a golf umbrella as a sail to go even faster. It's a weird and whacky place!!
In case you wondered, it is not necessary to paddle desperately against the current on the return journey, as buses are provided.
We did get to the lake, and got our feet wet, but we couldn't be tempted in further.
Tonight we ate in the "Barking Parrot", or more to the point on the patio next to the lake. We all took warm fleece tops, and of course it was far warmer than last night (but we had a few drops of rain). A great BBQ / salad buffet was enjoyed by all (plus beer from Granville Island in Vancouver).