Six weeks of road travel and a 15-hour ferry ride down the Inner Passage have brought us to our final stop in Canada, Vancouver Island. We arrived in Port Hardy at 11 PM and the RV park we were heading for was in Port McNeill. We thought we could park in the ferry lot for the night rather than navigate unknown roads in the dark. The ferry folks said no, we could not stay there. They did tell us of a small park by the boat ramp just up the road that we could stay in. They said the sign there says no overnight parking, but that we could ignore it. Ignore it we did. We were tired, so we parked in the empty parking lot and hoped for the best. We awoke to find the empty lot now filled with cars and boat trailers. We heard none of them come in. We had a lovely harbor view and enjoyed our morning coffee while watching the fishing boats depart.
For the last two weeks we have worked our way north. A few days at Cluxewe Campground in Port McNeil, fishing Alice Lake, exploring Telegraph Cove and the southern end of the Island. Then on to Campbell River, a hotbed of salmon fishing, a nice big harbor town, surrounded by many lakes, none of which produced any fish for us. We moved further north to Sproat Lake Park. Here we were more into the mountains and could explore the Pacific Ocean side of the island. Again, it is summer and the trout were all hiding and the salmon were just starting to trickle in so fishing was less than optimum. (At least for us, in our canoe. If we had a bigger boat and downriggers it would have been a different story) However, we found lots of things to take up our time. Vancouver Island has it all, mountains, ocean, lakes, rivers. Salmon, trout, whales and seals. Canoe and kayak trails, hiking trails as well as beaches to walk along or surf on. Here’s a slide show of some of what we enjoyed:
Our final stop: Victoria, a picture perfect harbor city, on the end of the island, overlooking the mainland. It was holding its annual Busker Festival so we ran into street performers and entertainment everywhere we turned. Not to mention beautiful scenery, an endless choice of restaurants and lots of sight seeing opportunities. Our Rv park, West Bay Marina overlooks the harbor, so even back at “camp” we could enjoy watching the ferries, the water taxis and the sea planes that are so much a part of the Harbor scene. On our final night we had drinks in the Bengal Room of the famous Empress Hotel and couldn’t agree on which was our favorite spot in Alberta and British Columbia. Western Alberta and the CrowsNest area near the U.S. border was a fine place to start, but the Rockies, Lake Louise and Jasper were beyond beautiful. Hubby thought the northern British Columbia leg was the best with its great fishing and small towns. We did agree that Vancouver Island was a great place to finish up, it was hard to narrow down the photos of all we have seen here, so here is only a sample in a slide show. We get on the ferry today to head back to the States and continue our travels exploring the west coast down to San Diego.