BC Trip 2012

"Sea to Sky"



An 8 day trip starting with the southern portion of Vancouver Island including Tofino and Ucluelet then over the Nanaimo ferry to Horseshoe Bay where we traveled up the "Sea to Sky" Highway to Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet. From there we traveled south through the Fraser River Valley to Hope then westward to Abbotsford. The final leg of our travels found us back on the ferry heading out of Vancouver city to Langdale and the Sunshine Coast. We explored the 66 miles of coastline from our base B&B in Pender Harbour then completed our travel back across the ferry to Vancouver city heading south out of Alder Grove. We were then into our home state of Washington and back to Anacortes.

The Anacortes ferry terminal to Canada is only ten minutes from our house so the trip really started for us after boarding the ferry. The  weather forecast was for continued sunshine until the weekend, although there was a low overcast most of the 2 hour ferry trip. We checked through customs with our passports and Cosmo's paperwork without any problems. Our first leg of the trip was a visit with friends from Comox who have a cabin on  Shawnigan Lake,  north of Sidney, which is where we landed in Canada.
We drove from Sidney out to Brentwood Bay and caught our first ferry of many. There was a line forming when we arrived so we parked and walked up to an open air cafe for onion soup, truffle fries and a feast of bayside scenery.

Sitting in the sun along the water in a foreign country...
it hit us!!! WE are on VACATION!

The ferry was small and crowded, an open air 40 minute transport vessel. The scenery was rich with deep blue water and fishing vessels. An eclectic group of patrons discussed travel plans and made new acquaintances as we sat in the noon day sun.
We took a walk up into the village of Brentwood Bay where we were able to exchange some of our American dollars for loonies and toonies. I was able to buy a map of the general area for Brentwood Bay to Shawnigan Lake.

I have become very dependant on having the information stream at my finger tips. International travel data plans are prohibitive in cost so we chose to rely on WIFI for the occasional usage. That proved to be very difficult to do. I found myself consently digging for my iPhone to glean this or that about directions, food, lodging etc...
After only an hour or so, we were making the turn into Shawnigan Lake area. The GPS we had brought along was easy to convert over to Canadian kilometers and locations, so finding Ian and Jan's cabin was not difficult. Down the steep driveway with a panoramic view of the lake. I regret that I didn't get any photos while at the cabin. And surely at least one of Shawna Belle, the mannequin piloting a retired dinghy in the front yard. That would have been a conversation piece at the least!

Ian and Jan are excellent hosts and have an awesome cabin. A wood fire took the night chill off and was a welcome companion with the morning coffee. Jan took special care to fix low calorie meals so I could stay on my diet and Ian, who is famous for his cooking over wood fire, made  us some wonderful steaks over alder wood. His ship's coffee was a treat and I enjoyed learning about the process that goes into making it "just right". I can't imagine doing all this cooking on the charter fishing boat that he has operated for several years.

While at the cabin we took a walk out to the Kinsol Trestle where we saw the renovation of the old railroad trestle. This was originally built in the early 1900's.

Thanks to Ian and Nancy, I was able to walk the distance down to the trestle and back. I didn't realize it was a mile trek to the trestle and I had packed my camera bag with three large heavy lenses.

As you can see it was quite an engineering feat in the early 1900s and the 2011 renovation cost several million dollars to complete.

More info on this project here.

Ian and I took a ride to find some derelict trawlers early the first morning in Cowichan Bay. I love painting the old trawlers and dock scenes which I had hopes of capturing on this trip. Although we didn't find any beached boats we did find a museum/boat building school where Ian struck up a conversation with the man in charge. Before I knew it we were invited in for a cup of joe and a guided tour through the school and museum.
Ian (left) and the steward of the school talked over boat building and the fact that this craft is a dying art. Ian is a master craftsman and boat building is one of his interests and expertise. I listened as the two verbally sparred back and forth with terminology that was totally foreign to me...
It was a fascinating visit and I'm so glad that someone is passing along their gift to the younger people who have an interest. 
Later that day Jan and Nancy joined us for a trip up to Chemainus where the town opened their business building walls to artists to paint murals. Many of these are of course enormous and quite detailed. We took both a driving and walking self guided tour to see all the murals.

Here are some short videos I shot while there. Some murals were impossible to get into one photograph and retain the detail of the work.





This one is in the second video
5.00 Dollar Foot longs! Yea! unfortunately this is the only Subway we found with this deal!
The murals have a nice depth perspective. There were a few that felt like you could walk into the scene. The Third video has a piece that I don't have a still for. I hope the videos don't take too long to load, they are HD from my 7D Canon camera.
Below: Someone's companion watched the vehicle as the owner went inside for supplies. I am a sucker for any doggie!
We pulled out of Shawnigan Lake on Thursday morning and headed for Port Alberni and on to the west coast towns of Ucluelet and Tofino. The drive is very curvy and surrounded by lakes, rivers and high elevation coastal mountains.  By the time we got to the T where we either go into Ucluelet of Tofino, we were pretty tuckered out. This is a tourist area so the prices for lodging were going to be a bit steep. We looked around and decided to stay at the least expensive, but clean and comfortable cabins at Tofino. Ocean Village Cabins with 500 feet of beach front and WIFI.
We stayed the one night and enjoyed it so much we decided to stay another night. The cost was 119.00 a night and 20. bucks for Cosmo. The second night (Friday) was 129.00 and 20. for Cosmo. It was relaxing, Quiet, dark and NO TV!
The cabins have an upstairs tenant too, but our neighbors were pretty quiet. The kitchens were well stocked with utensils and cooking pots and pans.

Fishermen were operating out of Ucluelet and selling their catches from boat side. This deck hand was filleting cod as a potential customer looks on. The local market in Tofino is is a co-op with a good selection and many health conscience offerings. Fresh ocean snapper and cod were both offered at a reasonable price.

I really like fishing boats and the associated shapes and colors. Even on grey days the colorful fleets brighten the gloom.
A small falcon fishing at Sproat lake caught our eye. Nancy and I both like getting off the main roads and onto some gravel and Forest Service roads. Many times this is where the best images are waiting to be discovered.