19-23 July Vancouver Island & back – not so tropical islands and vegetarian bears

19 July

While the caravan park we were at was cheap, uncrowded, on the beach, a unanimous decision was made by all of those with voting rights in such matters, and decided that Portaloos were just not the required standard. My comment that they were the cleanest Portaloos I had ever seen did not appear to sway the decision any. So we drove off to Victoria looking for another one. We drove right past the dive store I had been recommended in Waterton, so we stopped and I arranged a dive for the next evening. We eventually found another camp site which had been decided, was more suitable. Unfortunately it looked a lot like a carpark, but it had nice toilets.

Bored with the chore of switching campgrounds I suggested we should take a bit of a drive up the coast, Ucletot looks good. By the time we had stopped at several places on the way there to look at stuff, it was 6pm when we arrived. So we had tea, had a bit of a look at the Pacific Ocean, which was looking disappointingly peaceful. Flat calm, a great sea for diving under, fishing on, water-skiing on, that sort of thing, but not ideal looking at ocean conditions. But you get that. Naturally enough we then drove back. I thought that driving for a few hours through the hills was a pretty good way to spend a day on holiday, but Brenda & Shari seemed less enthused. Then again maybe it was just driving for a few hours with me that was the problem.

20 July

Today we drove into Victoria, the main city on Vancouver Island. We got there by the failsafe Pat method of navigation, which takes you past lots of interesting places, and always gets you where you are going as long as that is not anywhere specific. So we wandered around there for a while had a look at the shops and bummed around some more. In the afternoon I went to the air museum while Brenda & Shari sat in the sun & read their books. Very little taste these girls.

In the evening I went for my dive, which was just off the shore along the breakwater at a place called Ogden Point. It was a nice little dive, nothing hugely spectacular, but the really good dives in the area need to a boat, booking several days in advance, large sums of money, all that sort of stuff, so I had to do without.

21 July.

Waking up a 7:45 was not a good start to the day. Even worse was the fact that I couldn’t just go back to sleep as some bright spark had booked the sea kayaks for 9am. But we got the sea kayaks and paddled off to some little islands & rocks and stuff and had a look at some seals which must have been Americans not Canadians as they weren’t very friendly & buggered off as soon as they saw us coming. After a tough morning on the water we decided we needed to round it off with sitting on the beach for the afternoon.

22 July

I had another dive this morning, similar to the last one, but in a different spot. All in all not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. Alas our time on the island had come to an end, and we had to catch the ferry back to Vancouver .

23 July

We dropped Shari at the airport, as she was flying back to Edmonton as her sister was having a baby shortly, and she wanted to be there for that. Or that was her excuse anyway. So after 3500 kilometres on the road we accosted a stranger for a photo of us and the caravan at the airport and bid our tearful farewells. At least until next week when we see her in Edmonton. This time we manage to navigate our way out of Vancouver without driving through the centre of it. Stunning huh?

Then we drove on to Shuswap Lake, which despite having a funny name, was a nice looking lake. Very scenic, like most of the rest of the country , but you tend to suffer from a little scenery overload after a while. Canada needs a few really hideously ugly things scattered about to provide contrast to the pretty stuff.

On the way to Shuswap Lake we stopped at a wildlife park, which provided the most disappointing revelation of the entire trip. It was bear feeding time at the zoo. They fed the bears carrots. After being led to believe for the past 3 weeks that bears are dangerous wild animals which eat a diet consisting of rubbish scraps, pets, and tourists. The scariness factor of an animal, which eats carrots, is very low. Brenda tried to convince me that they also ate people, but now they just look like large rabbits to me.