Posted by: sunnyharvy | October 28, 2014

Completing Our Island Tour

Good thing we stopped at Jason and Sunday’s in Courtenay again as the wind and rain were ferocious for most of the two days and nights we were parked in their driveway. We are so grateful that haRVy provides us a warm and dry living environment even during wild stormy weather. This trip would have otherwise ended long ago…

The skies were fairly clear the second morning of our stay at Jason’s, and we were getting a bit stir-crazy, so we decided to go for a hike in Seal Bay Nature Park that encompasses the woods behind his house. He warned us that the trails can be tricky and to be careful so as not to get lost. We carefully chose our route on the main trail, which seemed like the safest option, and headed off for what we planned to be an hour or so.

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Some seriously tall trees here.

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No idea how this car got so deep into the woods.

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Lots of fungi around due to all the rain.

Well…guess what? We got lost! We came out on a back road that we hadn’t seen on the trail map and had no idea where we were. Luckily, thanks to Jason’s warning, Al had brought his GPS. Unfortunately, it navigates roads, not trails, and it told us it would be a 3.5 mile walk back. And, of course, it had started raining again (ugh)! Al wanted to delve back into the woods, but I took action by flagging down the second car (driver of first one totally ignored me) that came by. Can you believe that his intended destination was within 2 blocks of where we needed to be. What are the chances of that? I was extremely grateful and happy to be back in haRVy a couple of hours later than anticipated.

After restocking our food supplies and a great lunch at Jason’s friend Ben’s cafe (The Hut on Duncan Avenue) we were back on Route 19A heading south along the shore.

We followed a few dead ends that were scenic…

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Could almost be New England, eh?

And finally followed a sign to the marina at French Creek where we paid $5 to park overnight next to the estuary of the creek.

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Breakfast view where we watched all sorts of birds cavorting about.

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Would love to know the story behind this unique place AND its owner.

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Just one of many interesting things strewn around the yard.

The next day we spent the better part of the afternoon walking around the harbor area of Nanaimo, one of the larger cities on the island. We ran across an enthusiastic group of astronomers that were viewing a partial eclipse of the sun in-between breaks in the clouds. They were happy to let anyone look through their telescopes and share their viewing glasses.

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Seaplanes are everywhere on Vancouver Island, but we hadn’t previously seen many luxury yachts.

Our next stop was in the charming little town of Ladysmith (great name, don’t you think?). Here’s a photo of their much more laid-back and picturesque harbor.

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The next day we were headed to our final west coast destination of Port Renfrew. After traversing the island on a beautiful but narrow winding road surrounded by some pretty stunning fall foliage, we were ready for a hike out to Botany Bay.

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We didn’t like the looks of the campground at Port Renfrew so we took a left turn on the coast road and found a fantastic little campground at an active surf spot called Jordan River. The whole scene reminded me of SoCal beaches back in the 60’s, beach shacks and all. Just needs some nice soft sand to cover all those rocks.

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Our last stop of any consequence on Vancouver Island was in the area of Sooke where we took a walk out on the lengthy Whiffin Spit that provides protection to their large beautiful harbor. We also drove up the Sooke River to view a few late season salmon trying to make their way to their spawning grounds. We settled in for the night at “Sunny Shores” where it rained (again) for nearly 24 hours straight.

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Sunny Shores harbor

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No idea what this used to be, but it was covered in slime like I’d never seen before.

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The owner of this fishing vessel didn’t yet know where his boat had been blown in the storm.

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Whiffin Spit from East Sooke Regional Park.

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Yet another hike – with a bit of sun at the end!

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Iron Mine Bay in East Sooke.

We are now “Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the US of A” after a pleasant ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca aboard the COHO. We enjoyed our time in Canada, but it is expensive (over $5 per gallon of diesel, 12% tax on nearly everything, $30 camp sites) and getting cell coverage and Internet access is a bit of a struggle. We do, however, hope to see more of British Columbia and Alberta next year!

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Responses

  1. so, Jim and I are going to join you next year, yes?

    • Sure, you just have to bring your own Westy!

  2. You forgot to leave bread crumbs on your walk……..sounds wet and fun ! Love the socks…………..

    • I actually considered leaving bread crumbs, but figured all the critters would eat them up too quickly anyway. 🙂


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