Crossing to Vancouver Island and Campbell River

Mileage today: 53    Total mileage: 5810

Our journey today

Another bright day, even warmer than yesterday.  Hope this weather lasts.  We had a lovely breakfast in the cafe of the Old Courthouse.   Both chose Eggs Benedict which was yum.  A very nice breakfast included in the room rate.

We had a couple of jobs to do in Powell River before going to the ferry terminal.  First we needed to put a bit of petrol in the car.   We were down to 20 miles on the tank!!! Powell River is quite remote so the price there was a lot more than we’d encountered elsewhere.   We looked on our petro app and could see that along our route on Vancouver Island there were cheaper options.  So we just put in enough to be comfortable.  Then we got some cash out at the atm.

The ferry terminal was right in the centre of town.  I’d made a reservation on the 1150 crossing and paid 10CAD as a deposit.  So we paid the remaining 72 when we checked in at the booth.  It was a nice big ferry and on time.  We got a seat right at the front of the sun deck.  It was boiling in the sun.  I wished I’d put on a cami top instead of a long sleeved t shirt.

Of course once we got underway, there was quite a lot of apparent wind so I ended up with my coat on.  Such a lovely day.  Within 2 minutes of setting off from the dock we spotted a pod of orca whales in front of us.  I managed to get some shots of them blowing but sadly none of them were obliging enough to leap in the air!!! I have got some good pix than this on my camera but I am still constrained by having to use the phone for the blog. So bear with me.

We could see Vancouver Island ahead… A low bit near the shore with a huge spine of snow capped mountains in the middle.  I hadn’t expected that.  I had somehow got the quite erroneous impression it was pretty flat. I wish you could see how beautiful it is. Roll on Tuesday night and fingers crossed.

The crossing took about an hour and 20 minutes and just before we came into Comox, there was another pod of orcas.  Hopefully we may get to see them much closer tomorrow but this was exciting.

We were soon ashore and heading north on highway 19a.  Our first stop was in Black Creek to fill up with petrol.  Then we continued on to Campbell River.   The surprises continued.

The first part of the journey was very pretty, autumn trees, farm stalls. Homesteads.  Campbell River is very much more of a holiday resort than I’d expected. Don’t get me wrong. Its really nice, marina, apartments, lots of restaurants and a lovely shoreline. Just unexpected. We saw maybe 5 herons as well as a load of seabirds.

Our first stop in town was the Museum at Campbell River. It was absolutely superb and I would strongly advise a visit if you are in town. There are rooms centred on logging, on salmon fishing and on First Nation Culture. All of them were highly interactive and fascinating. The First Nation rooms were full of the most incredible carvings which were lit in a very theatrical manner. In fact there was a Mask Theatre where a story of legend was told using spotlit carved and painted masks. It was fantastic. No photographs allowed inside. The aboriginal people clearly had a beautiful and advanced way of life before European settlers arrived in the mid 1800s. Unfortunately in a familiar tale those settlers brought disease and 9 out of 10 native people died in a devastating wave of disease.

We also watched a short film on how a massive rock that blocked navigation down the channel was blown up in the largest non nuclear explosion ever. In all the rooms you walked around recreations of the context and environment. Just a great museum. Thoroughly enjoyable.

We left there about 430 and had a quick run to Walmart for shopping then checked into our studio at Herons Landing.

Tomorrow we have a very exciting day when we cross back to a wilderness area of the mainland in a small boat with a guide from the Homalco Nation to see and learn about Grizzly Bears who at this time of year are preparing for hibernation by feasting on salmon trying to get upstream in the rivers. So excited!