More from Vancouver Island

16 Jun

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Its probably about time I caught up and let everyone know what we have been up to – not a lot!

Having explored by road a little way north and west from Salmon Point near Campbell River we were in need of some exercise. A trail to Ripple Rock, a round trip of 5 miles (they say!) looked interesting. The access was 10 miles north of Campbell River and on a damp Tuesday morning we set off.

To say the trail goes to Ripple Rock is slightly misleading as actually the rock was blown up in a massive explosion in 1958. This was the worlds largest non nuclear explosion and one of the first live television broadcasts in Canada.

The rock had been situated in Seymoor Narrows a half mile wide body of water between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island. This is part of the ‘Inside Passage’ a waterway connecting remote and not so remote places from Washington State north to Alaska. Many cruise ships use this route as well as fishing vessels, commercial barges and pleasure craft.

Back to the rock…. which was 3,000ft by 350ft and only 9ft below the surface at low tide. The currents were treacherous with many ships lost in the whirlpools created by the ebb and flow of the tides through the narrow gap. What must have been an amazing explosion increased the depth to 47 feet and improved the passage for navigation. It is still a notorious stretch of water with all craft needing to take care how and when they travel through avoiding the most severe of the currents.



P1280190Our hike took us through old growth forest, across this very wobbly suspension bridge, eventually down to a beach, back into the forest, up a flight of steps – until 2hrs from the beginning we arrived on rocks high above ‘The Narrows’





Looking back at the pictures it impresses me more than it did on the day. Maybe the hike, which turned out longer than we anticipated, dulled the impact of the view. I would have  liked to see one of the big Alaska cruise liners pass through I think that would have put a better scale on it for me. However, we did have opportunity to watch as over a very brief period of time many swirling currents became apparent on the  previously calm surface.

P1280222Wednesday the 6th was my Birthday which has a reputation for being wet. For a change we had a bright sunny day. A coffee and cake treat and a walk in the park just suited me fine!

The day could not pass without living up to it’s reputation however and before dark we had heavy rain!






While having breakfast on Thursday Robert was wondering what some of our neighbours were looking up at. We followed their view and spotted a bald eagle perched about 50ft from our door!

Two days later he had a friend with him too.



We had only intended to stay a week at Salmon Point but we felt so comfortable we opted for an extra three nights. Enjoyed walking the beach and just looking out at the views.


Eventually on Sunday we prised ourselves away from this lovely location. We had been undecided which way to go next but eventually settled on visiting the Sooke area and the south west of the island. To break the journey south we stopped off for one night in Parksville then at Crofton, arriving  back at West Bay Marina in Victoria to spend a few nights before setting off westwards!


Victoria again!

We had enjoyed our stay at West Bay when we first arrived on Vancouver Island as it was so easy for us to get out and about around P1280285the city. Having shunned the water taxi previously this time we opted to take it for a short hop to Fisherman’s Wharf then walk back to West Bay. I felt it was slightly too far to walk both directions in addition to a day of sightseeing.

Apart from the tourist trap stalls we found the wharf to be very similar to West Bay so did not spend too much time here. It was also very cold, the wind blowing into the harbour seemed to particularly catch this corner where as West Bay was a little more sheltered.

We had thought we might tour the BC museum but found an entrance fee of around $24 each more than we were prepared to pay.

The Government Buildings are a well known and much photographed P1280287landmark in Victoria. The totem pole on the lawns outside was carved by members of the Cowichan tribe to commemorate the Commonwealth Games held in Victoria in 1994. Its individual figures represent ‘lessons of the past and hope for the future’ so apt a symbol for us at this point in time.

The buildings are open for the public to take a self guided tour or an accompanied tour every half hour is available – free of charge.





We joined around 20 others to be taken through the building. No security checksP1280315, no restrictions we could take as many photos as we wished and the only place normally open which we could not go into was the chamber as a committee was in session. We were amazed at the ease of access!









After the descriptive tour we returned into the building to be able to P1280305take pictures in our own time. I was most impressed with the coloured glass windows. This one was commissioned in 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. A beautifully ornate window it was removed when the Legislative Library was to be constructed and placed for safe keeping in a cellar. There it remained for 62 years forgotten about. Thankfully it now has a position opposite to the window to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee.








The Golden Jubilee Window













The stair well windows all have quotes on them.

This one very appropriate for a place of government!




P1280316An unusual view of the Empress Hotel, another well known landmark in Victoria, taken from an upper window in the Government building










The day had warmed a little as we left the main city and headed back towards West Bay. Of course we had to make a trip to Spinnakers again and ate there watching the float planes precariously landing in the very breezy conditions.

Our site in West bay this time around overlooked a small inlet from the main harbour area. It proved to be a very busy spot for wild life. We were surrounded by numerous Canada Geese and their little ones. (their ‘deposits’ made walking on the grass interesting and we now know another interpretation for goose stepping!)P1280278

A bald eagle and two young liked to perch on a tree on the opposite bank. We saw deer on the beach when the tide was out grazing on the low branches. Several heron chose spots in the mud to stalk their prey and Robert also spotted something swimming in the water, it had its nose out looking around but disappeared beneath the surface before we were able to decide if it was a seal, sea lion or dolphin.



One Response to “More from Vancouver Island”

  1. Katy :-) June 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Lovely post! I especially liked the bald eagles and the Cowichan area.

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