Vancouver Island

We took the ferry from Port Angeles over to Victoria on June 3rd -  to spend some time on Vancouver Island.  The sea was almost calm and the ferry wasn’t crowded on the 8:20 run.    Efffie loved the ride.

Effie on watch

Effie on watch

 Looking back on the Olympics, it is easy to visualize another visit.

Effie and the Olympics

Effie and the Olympics

 Found a full service campsite with laundry, wifi, and showers.  Then we had a beer at the oldest Pub in BC - Six Mile Pub,  We think it’s 6 miles from the Navy docks, a big nice place.      Beer there was $6.50 Canadian for a 20 oz draft.  Mary Anne had a yummy double chocolate porter.  Phillips Longboat, a local brew. http://phillipsbeer.com/lobby  We got a couple of duty free bottles on the ferry at a much better price than usual.   Beer from here and Europe seems reasonable  - US beer and whisky seems expensive in the package stores.

We went up to the Butchart Gardens, this is a famous place and rightly so.  It is very big - and has a big staff that is constantly planting and moving stuff and keeping the whole place clean and nice.  They even allow dogs.   Since there are so many paths and so many kinds of gardens, we ran into some of the same people several times and heard several “Hi Effie’s”.   If you think about it, there aren’t too many dogs that originated in Canada.  The Labrador Retriever, the Newfoundland and maybe some husky types.  Canadians seem to love Newfies.

Anyway, back to the park.   One of my favorites is the Japanese Garden, full of water and bridges, and little cool nooks to sit. 

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

 The boar scarer was very cool.

Boar Scarer

Boar Scarer

The bamboo loads up with water until it is full then it tips and dumps the water.

Unloading

Unloading

 Then it bouunces down on the rock scaring the boars  - only to repeat.

Some of the flowers had amazing colors.

Cool Rhododendron

Cool Rhododendron

 I met a guy that didn’t talk much.

New Buddy

New Buddy

 This is real landscaping.

Landscaping

Landscaping

 

6/5

Headed north on the island - had enough of the urban area, even though Victoria seems like a great town. Our theory is that we can come by plane to explore cities like Vancouver, Victoria, and Santa Fe, etc, Heard that Cowichan Bay had a Maritime center and we drove down and found it easily.

Marine Center

Marine Center

Neat place - had some wood boats and did classes there.

Boats

Boats

 

 One thing I really liked was that with a membership, you could use some serious power tools in their shop, and even a small marine railway. They had some nice dinghys for sale and some old engines and boats displayed. A nice young lady showed us around,

The town had a good bakery and cheese place. We talked to a couple that came there in their boat –Effie made friends with them right away. There were all types of boats in the harbor and on display,

Needs Work

Needs Work

 

Harbor

Harbor

On the way north, I stopped in a sporting goods store and I got a season freshwater license for BC – they are $80 - and if you want a salmon stamp, that is $60 more. A tidal (saltwater) license is another $107. I figured that I would be mostly inland and fishing for trout and just got the first one. We don’t have saltwater licenses in Mass – yet. Then I studied the regulation book for freshwater - seems like every body of water has special rules - one of the standards is barbless hooks in streams..The regulations book is 90 pages. I am wondering if I will be able to identify what I catch – several kinds of trout and 5 kinds of salmon. The saltwater regulation book has some help there – another 100 pages of rules.

 We carried on to a provincial campground called Englishman’s River Falls. It is pretty rustic - pit toilets and a water source - and still $19. They have a half price senior rates – but only for BC seniors Of course the US National Park senior pass is only for US seniors. Not crowded - there are other camper here - but I can’t see any right now. We were used to paying less for more at the US National parks. The private parks may be appealing, since they don’t charge that much more. The falls were great - both the upper and lower ones -

Englishman River Falls

Englishman River Falls

Had a nice little hike to both. A guy was swimming in the pool below the lower falls, it was pretty cold water.

 

Swimmer

Swimmer

 

Water

Water

The guy in charge of the campground was very helpful and enthusiastic. He said we would find some good fishing - the further north the better. We talked to several campers - nice bunch and seem friendlier than the people in the urban parks - many of whom seem to be semi-permanent residents.

They did sell firewood there - softwood – and he said the fire danger was high. We passed and used the single burner Coleman stove to cook some prok we picked up in the morning. We have almost used up our first gallon of gas on the trip – have to pick up a few liters more - $1.06/liter seems to be the going price here.

 Decided to head for the west coast in the morning – Tofino and Ucluelet. We bought a map of Vancouver Island, the BC map is to big to show much detail of the island, it is a big province.

 6/6

Drove over to the west side of the island - The Pacific Rim National Park. There are 2 main towns at the ends of the park Ucluelet on the south end and Tofino on the north. We found a private campground in Ucluelet that was overlooking the harbor.

Ucluelet Harbor from the Campsite

Ucluelet Harbor from the Campsite

The National Park campsite was full. Then we drove up along the park and stopped at the interpretive center. There are many surfers in the town and many of them were surfing today - no big waves though. Went to check out Tofino in the north and it is similar to Ucluelet in some ways - a lot of tourists, many young surfers.

Surfing

Surfing

Much cooler over here – in the 60’s. We passed some big lakes and many good rivers and streams on the way over – and talked to a guy in a fishing shop about fishing the island - gave us some tips - but still said to go north for better fishing. Picked up a couple of spinners with barbless hooks - required in streams, He said a lot of the places have steelhead - which would be an extra $60 added to my license. Asked the guy how to tell them from rainbow trout - he said you really can’t, except steelhead are usually bigger.

Backat the campsite, we had some mujle deer visitors, Getting racks  - now covereed in velvet.

Velvet

Velvet

Went down and talked to 2 charter guys and they said the salmon fishing is real good just offshore (4 miles) using down-riggers. One guy had some kings and silvers - nice fillets – about a meal for 4 in each fillet.

Ucluelet seems to have been caught in a downturn - many new empty buildings and new lots for sale. Tofino is probably about the same. There are some big hotels that are pretty empty and some charter boats are tied up too much. Right on the harbor, there is a big hotel, a large boat that has rooms for people in front of the hotel, and 8 fishing charter boats fishing that is owned by the same company. Apparently the big boat and the charter boats have not been used for a while. They were all idle on a nice weekend in early June.

Boats

Boats

 

Bald Eagle and mule deer in the campsite and best of all - a big male Newfoundland - first one we have seen on the trip - Fudge. He and Effie played around and jumped at each other. They both have a little white on their chest and a little on some back toes. He weighs about 170. They are from Naniamo.

Fudge and Effie

Fudge and Effie

Actually Fudge was the second Newfoundlander we met today – the other was a Air Helicopter Rescue guy with the Canadian Armed Forces - he was with his wife and toddler and they were going for a walk by the lighthouse. Effie attracted their attention immediately and the toddler got a big kick out of her. The father knew of Bob Bartlett and the Effie Morrissey and was happy to hear she was still sailing under the name of Ernestina. They go back to Newfoundland every year.

 6/7

Headed back to the East Coast of he island  - passed many lakes and streams. Passed Sproatt Lake  - home of tthe MARS WArer Bombers.  These are guys that take up a bunchof water and drop it on fires  - they aren’t open to tours until July.   Here is the sign.

Water Bombers

Water Bombers

We got a photo of one of the big planes.

 

Plane

Plane

 

Took a ride up to Stamp Falls - another nice river tthat comes down from Great Central Lake.  The falls has a fish ladder for the salmon run - here is a shot of the sign.

Salmon sign

Salmon sign

Click on that to read it carefully—- 40 million !?!!!

The fish ladder is just out of the picture.   It is under grates so it is hard to see  - and hard for the bears.

Stamp River Falls

Stamp River Falls

Of course it goes without saying - the run hadn’t started yet  ..  The guy at the campsite said that no one is cattching anything right now..   so we went on to the coast - Courtennay. 

Got a nice campsite on the water - Straights of Georgia.  Can look across 20 miles to see the mainland and snow covered mountains in the backgrouund.       Big ship passage  -  Cruise ships going to and from  Alaska and everything else.

Oceanfront

Oceanfront