Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boat "Camping"

It had to come.  Our days on Vancouver Island are quickly drawing to a close.  While the weather has been uncooperative here, I am somewhat comforted to know that most places across the country are experiencing similar inclement weather. Please God, we'll be good.  Let us have a summer ...

When we arrived on the island we had hoped to take the boat for an extended tour up island.  With the weather being so miserable at the start of our stay, this kept getting pushed further and further down the road.  The crunch soon came, and we realized we had better take what little time we had and take the boat out for a couple of days.  The weather was even going to cooperate for us.

So, we dropped the three cats off at my sister's house for safekeeping, packed up the boat and headed out on Thursday afternoon.  

Here's a couple of shots of the marina where the boat is housed.  There are a few spectacular boats kept here amongst the more modest.

And our boat, the River.

We putted out in search of adventure and to take in the amazing West Coast scenery.  Spot the eagle?

How about the ubiquitous seals on the rocks?

The houses along the waterfront in Sidney are stunning.  The sad truth is that we couldn't even afford this little "fixer-upper" situated on the water!

Our destination for the night was Pender Island.  Along the way we passed the aptly-named Piers Island.

As we neared Salt Spring Island, we noticed a cluster of whale watching tour boats nearby.  Bonus!  We spied the killer whales and moved in closer.  As we approached, a small craft met us.  It turned out to be a Sound Watch boat.  Their role is to monitor the whale watching (both formal and informal) boats, and to educate them on protocol around this marine life.

He informed us that we had come upon three transient killer whales; an adult female and two young whales.  The transient whales do not feed on salmon, which is the food of choice for the whale pods indigenous to that area, but instead prefer to snack on seals.  We were advised on how close we could get to the whales.

It was a rare treat to see whales.  We spent a bit of time watching them and snapping many pictures before both we and the whales left the area and went our separate ways.

We arrived at Bedwell Harbour around 4:00 that afternoon, and checked into our boat slip at the Poet's Cove Resort & Spa Marina.  What a fabulous spot!  World class facility with a great restaurant, pub, pool, hot tub, spa, hotel and guest cottages. 

We tied up and promptly wandered the resort taking in the view.  Feeling peckish, we enjoyed a pitcher of beer on the sunny patio and ordered an early supper.

Noting that the pool and hot tub were amazingly free of any guests, we took advantage of the momentary lull and enjoyed a hot tub and beverage.

This was followed by a spectacular sunset.  

We raised our wine glasses and saluted the day.

Day two - off to Victoria Harbour.  After a picture-perfect cruise the day before, we were quite surprised to find that the swells were much rougher than what we were used to.  Items on the counter and stored on the bed were rapidly and unceremoniously making their way to the floor.  Panic on my part, and much scrambling to get everything secured while Terry captained the boat.  I did not particularly care for this part of the journey.

As we neared Victoria Harbour, we came upon the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race participants.  This is a sailboat race around Vancouver Island.  Quite an impressive sight.

We docked at the Coast Victoria Hotel.  Nice dock, and we had access to all of their amenities, including the pool and hot tub.

We  hosted a happy hour for Tammy and Tom, who drove in from Sooke, and then strolled down to downtown Victoria for supper at the Bard and Banker.

Up the next morning for a quick hot tub, and then a relaxing trip back to Sidney.  What a great trip!  Next year we'll plan on a longer excursion.

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