Day 2 – Vancouver Monday August 20 British Columbia (BC)

British Columbia (BC; French: Colombie-Britannique) is the western most province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. 

We had a leisurely breakfast with a squirrel running around the deck.  

What a great day 32 degrees and we are off whale watching at White Rock.

There is a large, white rock on the beach and figures prominently in narratives of the local Coast Salish peoples. One legend holds that the white rock marks the landing spot of a stone that was hurled across the Strait of Georgia by a young chief and it  was said that he and his bride would move from Vancouver Island to wherever the rock landed to make a home together. It was their descendants who became the Semiahmoo First Nation.  The Semiahmoo people also constructed forts as lookouts for raiders from the northern First Nations.

 

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Whale watching trip on a zodiac that took 11 of us out.  We had 5-hour journey through the San Juan and Gulf Islands.  We saw Seals and a pod of 7 killer whales or Orca whales.  There were 3 about 200 yards from the boat which was great.  Very hard to get photos.  We were watching them for over an hour.  

 

Tomorrow is golf at Capilano and some other sites.

 

 

 

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Day 31 – VanDusen Gardens, Vancouver Tuesday 18 September 2018

Today is sunny and about 18. A crisp autumn morning.  

France the cat.  One of the bridges we cross (I’ve forgotten it’s name), our house and at the end of the court they out a green child and dog to warn drivers and emergency vehicles that this is a children playing zone.

Our second last day here – so not to be wasted we head off to the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. 

The gardens are named after a  local lumberman and philanthropist  Whitford VanDusen.  We’ve probably just missed by a couple of weeks a magnificent Autumn color display. But the gardens are lovely and tranquil.  They’ve only been opened since the seventies and were once park of a golf course. 

This is the secret site where the ‘Diner en Blanc’ was held (mentioned in an earlier blog) and it must have been so magical dining here. 

And so ends another day here and tomorrow we fly home.  

Some little facts

These totem poles are made from western redcedar. Both artists are members of the Gitsan (also spelled Gitxan or Gitksan) First Nation from K’san. This village is located near the ancient village of Gitanmaax in the community of Hazelton, British Columbia.

Mosquito (left) – This pole tells the origin of mosquitoes, coming from the ashes of the funeral pyre of Baboudina, Chief of the blood sucking mosquito peoples (top). Below him is the young woman (middle) who killed the chief and saved her husband (bottom) and baby.

Al of the Gispuwada (right) – This pole describes the origin of the black bear crest that is used by the Orca clan.

Day 30 – Tofino to Surrey Monday 17 September 2018

Well up early rise and shine.  We are out of the house and on the road at 8:02am.  There are lots of road works on the long and windy road back to the ferry and we don’t want any delays. No problems it’s a breeze and no hold ups.   Last nights sunset.

 

We have enough time to  stop at one of the most popular tourist spots, Cathederal Trail.  MacMillan Provincial Park is a 301-hectare provincial park   Trails are on either side of the highway lead visitors through this coastal forest. … MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove) is located on central Vancouver Island. 

Wow it is quite eerie. A wind storm went through here in 1997 and just uprooted some of these magnificent trees.  This is a Douglas Fir Forrest.   There is also Western Cedar, Western Hemlock and big leaf maple.   Apparently there are woodpeckers, owls, Black Bear, Elk and cougars in the Forrest, but they stayed well away from us.

We are a couple of hours early for our booked 3:15 ferry and the early ones are full or.  Very organized here, they have overhead notices informing you the status and availability of spots on all  the ferry’s.   

So, to kill time; we go shopping- well we go to this Outdoor store. OMG 😮 first sign is to book your firearms in at the desk. Then Pete & Paul go and check out the guns. I am gob smacked at the stuffed animals (a taxidermist dream this place).   Yes those animals were once alive!!!   It’s basically BCF and Anaconda on steroids. 

Our ferry ride back is uneventful our last days are now fast approaching. We fly home on Wednesday evening.   A little island we sail past and the slice is a Nanaimo bar, another Canadian sweet.  I’ve had peanut butter cookies, brownies and now this.  It is very rich. 

We get back and the lovely Kelsy and Ryan have a scrumptious meal of baked salmon and veggie salad for the 5 of us. 

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Day 29 – Tofino, Vancouver Island Sunday 16 September 2018

It rained all last night and it as so cozy in bed listening to it they we all just drifted off into dreaming.

Top of 14 and the sun is shining. We have a late start today. 

We head off to South beach Trail and Nuu-Chah-Nulth Trail.  The Trail is one of the most scenic hikes in the area. It follows along the Pacific Ocean. 

Note the Totem below has from the bottom going up. A bear with a Salmon, a Whale and then a Eagle at the top.

 

We walk through a dense rainforest on a wooden board walk.   The purple berries are the ones the bears like. 

We see several fresh Bear Poo on the trail.  There are warnings of the bears. 

And we arrive at a small cove with rugged rock formations. And lots of logs and drift wood on all the beaches.  The snaky picture is Bull Kelp which is huge seaweed that can grow up to 36m long and form underwater ‘forrests’.  Wouldn’t want to go swimming and get caught up in that stuff. 

We then continue down the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Trail.  

We stop on the way back for coffee and chose our restaurant for our last night.  Go to the liquor store for some refreshments.  They have some interesting beers and the way some of the bottles are packed.  If you like different ales and craft beers, then this place could be a Mecca for you.

Early start tomorrow as it s a long drive to the ferry. 

 

 

Day 28 – Tofino, Vancouver Island Saturday 15 September 2018

Well we awake to some rain and an overcast day. But typical the sun shines through and off we go for a walk along Chesterman Beach to the point where there are some surfers only small waves.  

Then we just walk through the town/village. There is a local craft market which is very crowded.  Then n the afternoon we just stroll around Tonquin Beach which is at our backyard.  It really is a chilling out quirky place here.  Some of the photos are taken from the vicariously on my iPhone which I why they may be cropped or crooked 😳😳signs everywhere and sculptures.

Pete and Paul swear the saw a dolphin or porpoise from our balcony.  I’ve no photographic evidence only their word. 

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Across the strait from the above island, daily we see a solo canoeist paddling from the island past us to the town and at night he returns.  Fascinating – he or she must be very fit.   Not sure what they would do if there was a tsunami!  Yes I said Tsunami.  We have a 72 hour survival kit in the house in case we have to evacuate in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.  The kit has enough food (not yummy) and water for 6 people for 3 days.  And a first aid kit inside as well.  Apparently Paul’s son Ryan was staying here not so long ago and the siren went and they had to evacuate to the meeting point.  Thankfully it was a false alarm. 

Vancouver, is near the edge of two plates: the massive North American plate, and the smaller Juan de Fuca plate.  The last earthquake over here to register magnitude 9.0 or larger happened in 1700. So, it’s just a matter of time until the next one occurs, so everyone tells me.  

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Day 27 – Tofino, Vancouver Island Friday 14 September 2018

This morning we are going to walk some of the trails around here.  We first do the Tonquin Trail which starts basically at our front door.   Canada has almost the DoNot Do as Australia!

 

There are numerous Hiking Trails; with stunning beaches, rainforests and wildlife viewing (The only wildlife we see is a Raven and some slugs) here in Tofino.  Paul tells me that Slugs play an important role in the ecosystem by eating decaying plant material and fungi.

 

This is the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, formerly referred to as the Nootka, Nutka.  The term Nuu-chah-nulth is used to describe fifteen related tribes whose traditional home is on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  There were other tribes but smallpox and other introduced diseases resulted in their disappearance.  

Sucas – Is the Tio-o-qui-aht name for a Tree, meaning land holder – without trees landslides may occur. 

I believe that we are in the heart of the Pacific Rim National Park as we are on the western coast of Vancouver Island.   We walk through thick moss covered trees. There are Western red Cedars, silver fir trees and western hemlock with ferns and moss delicately hanging from the branches.  

We do a walk around some of the town and have a coffee before heading back for lunch in the drizzling rain; just enough to be annoying.

Back at the house, Paul was hoping we get a big storm so we can do some “storm watching” from our lounge.  It’s raining but no lightning. We see a zodiac going out to the whales, glad it’s not me. Then it clears up and the sea becomes calm again. 

No storm, so after lunch and a little nap –  we went for another walk – my choice and I chose the Schooner Cove trail. 2k with 336 stairs.  It’s a relatively easy trail with a board walk meandering through the rain Forrest before arriving at the beach.  The Forrest floor is covered with moss and the trail continues on a series of stairs and boardwalks over some little creeks.  We see a little squirrel who is chomping on a nut, unaware of us, but we can’t quite get a good photo.  

 

After our walk we go to a very up market hotel and have a martini at Wickanninish on Chersterman beach.  Then home to a yummy pork curry. 

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Day 26 – Tofino, Vancouver Island Thursday 13 September 2018

 

10:15 ferry – We get on the ferry and 90 mins later we are on the road to Tofino which is a 4 hour drive. “We don’t need a map!” Says  Paul.  🤔45 mins later and a scenic drive through some suburbs we finally get the Map out and Judie navigates. 😂😁 we have a 4 hour drive. Vancouver Island is 500k long and 100k wide. 

 

Today is 14 and when we start out it is overcast with light showers.  But then the sun is shining through.  Once again the stars are aligned for us. 

Tofino is a small town on Vancouver Island on a peninsula within Clayoquat Sound.  To quote my map – “Where  the Rainforest meets the Sea.” With year round surfing, hiking and whale watching.

Apparently in winter storm watching is also popular here.

Judie has cooked up a storm –  we have so much food. Including Apple pie, which Judie says is delicious with hunk of cheddar cheese !! 

We drive through a lovely rainforest with very tall trees for nearly 5 hours.

We stop for lunch at Boston Pizza 

Well 5pm and we arrive – well what a wonderful little place. It reminds me of Torquay (Australia) 45 years ago.  Our house is hidden down a battle axe block and look over the sea and surrounding islands.  The layout design of the house is wonderful.  It’s a great seaside retreat.  There are 4 bedrooms (2 with ensuite) and 2 bathrooms.  And it is so private.  The perfect way to chill out and to complete our holiday.  Paul has certainly left one of the best to last. 

our lounge and decking and chilling out

Watching the sun going down

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