September 6th: In Victoria

Being lighthouse fans, we headed for the Fisgard Lighthouse on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, just outside Victoria. We got there early, so hardly anyone else in the area – excellent for photography – and bright sunshine, what more could we want?
Back in town, we hit the shops, particularly the outdoor and book ones! Finally, yet another delicious dinner, in Rebar, a place that while it wasn’t entirely veggie, it leant that way. We thought we’d better test out the poutine – as they had a version made with miso gravy. Again, a delicious dinner.

September 5th: Happy Birthday Janine!

Breakfast with a view … again! Then we hit the road. This was always going to be the longest drive of the trip; “Flo” the satnav (go with the flow ..) predicted a journey of just over 4 hours, though she’d not allowed for construction work, coffee stops etc. Talking of the construction work, we were both impressed to see there were quite a few women working on the roads, though possibly all only allowed to hold the stop slow signs. It was harder to tell the sex of those driving the diggers.
It was a beautiful sunny day, so rather frustrating to have to drive past various provincial parks etc., and feel that we didn’t have time to get out and explore.
But, it did mean we arrived in Victoria with time to settle into a very nice hotel, just minutes from the centre of town, a short walk to everything.
Dinner that night was in a highly recommended restaurant, Ulla – one our restaurant review friend from the previous night had fully approved of.

September 4th: Canoeing and rainforests.

A day in Tofino! The mist had set in overnight, we’d planned to go canoeing in the afternoon, so headed for the rainforest in the morning – had another stroll round old growth rainforest, this time right on the ocean.
Then to the canoeing! There were 6 of us in the group, we all had double kayaks. The weather was just perfect, sunny, still, and warm, but not baking. After the obligatory “My name is and I have done … paddling before”, and the safety stuff, we headed for the boats. It was a paddle in the reasonably protected waters of the harbour, which was so clear, we could see right down to the bottom. No-one capsized, and we only went wrong once, requiring a quick circle. The views were stunning!
That evening, we headed for a restaurant called Wolf in the Fog, recommended by an American Couple we’d met on the canoeing trip. We ended up sitting next to a restaurant reviewer from Vancouver – and chatting to her.

September 3rd: West to Tofino.

A stunning start to the day – no books for breakfast, it was back to the bird, this time a heron. Then set off for Tofino. We found the first road that let us (legitimately!) do 120kmph. Then headed inland, across the island, stopping at Cathedral Grove, one of the sites of old growth rain forest. The trees were huge!
The road then got ever windier, (er, more bendy!); before we finally got to the West Coast, and Pacific Rim National Park, which, as the name suggests, runs along the Pacific coast. After a short paddle, we arrived at our hotel, yet another with a stunning sea view, this time west, so we arrived in plenty of time for sunset, having seen the early sun (if not rise) over breakfast.

September 2nd: To Campbell River

Not too long a drive; we started out having breakfast in a bookshop / cafe, one of several we’d found. On the way out of town passed several teachers who were on a picket line, looking very damp, then another look at yet more bald eagles.
As it was a generally damp start to the day, we just headed for Campbell River and its Museum, which had both First Nations art, items about their treatment in the early days, and then moved into more of an overview of the earliest European settlers, with plenty of things to play with.
By the time we’d got to our hotel, the sun was out, and we had an ocean view. Fabulous!

September 1st: Bald eagles and a bit of history

We’d had a late start, and as it was Labour day the restaurant wasn’t exactly overstaffed (actually, we discovered later, it was more a case of over guested, as several others nearby weren’t open). It did, however, give us a chance to watch Bald Eagles in the harbour – and to discover the view from the hotel, which we’d missed at midnight.
As the weather wasn’t ideal, we went to Telegraph Cove – which, like others of a similar name, marked the location that the telegraph wires arrived at/left the Island. They’d done it up nicely, with many restored 1940s buildings and a whale museum.
Dinner that evening was in a local sports bar … more of a local hangout than high class dining.

August 31st: The Inside Passage

The Inside Passage was something I’d enjoyed the first time I’d come to Canada, though that time I’d either caught or eaten something, so didn’t see too much of the scenery. This time, though my insides were fine, the weather didn’t cooperate as much as it could have. We’d been so lucky with the weather, to have the first really ‘rains all day’ day when we were on a ferry, wasn’t really too bad. Whales, after all, don’t care much about the rain; though I didn’t get to see them, Janine did. (We decided it was quicker to send one runner out, while the other stayed with the clobber).

The ferry wasn’t that full, we’d got a cabin (handy for naps, as it was a 16 hour journey, one we’d had to get up at pre-dawn to be there for), and we also got seats in the lounge with a good view. It actually didn’t seem like 16 hours, by the time we’d had some meals, wandered round the deck (in the rain), snoozed, and read! The first time either of us had really had time to read this holiday.

Luckily, as we’d got to the terminal well ahead of the 5:30 checkin, we were right at the front of the ferry and , so got off smartly, so to the hotel before all the others … so no queuing for us. 🙂

August 30th: To Prince Rupert.

A 3rd fairly long drive, this time from Smithers to Prince Rupert. After breakfast in a rather nice German (Austrian?} bakery in the “downtown”, we headed down the Yellowhead highway again, this time aiming for The Hazeltons as our first stop. This is an area with a lot of First Nations people, and the ‘Ksan museum, which has replica long houses, and is used as a place for local youngsters to learn all the traditions, so they have lots of different artefacts, some old, some new. The guide was very enthusiastic, and demonstrated several of the dances etc. No photos in the huts (would have been pretty dark anyway, flash wouldn’t have worked really), but some outside, when rain could be avoided.

Prince Rupert wasn’t the most exciting place, but we managed to get a table with a view for dinner.