420. Sunday 3rd May 2015. In which we start to explore Vancouver Island…

Prepare to be overwhelmed with photos this week.

 

Monday 27th April

Bev n Pete went to work today so Bev kindly offered me the use of her car. I took the opportunity to visit Geoff & Margaret at La Perouse. They have a wonderful four story brick house with views over Botany Bay and Kurnell to the south. Geoff and I took a walk along the foreshore and exercised their poodle, Pippa.

Tuesday 28th April

I had trouble sleeping and was wide awake at 3.30 am unable to go back to sleep. At 6am Bev drove me to Sutherland Railway Station for the train to take me to the aiorport.

My next adventure began.

Hmmm! Being first in line at the Air Canada ticket desk does not mean first on the plane. Getting through security and customs was my first exercise in futility and holding my annoyance and dare I say, anger, in place. These people operate under a different set of rules, logic and are a law unto themselves. A word of advice. Do not leave water in your carry on bag – it will be confiscated – and no matter how much you may think you would like to clean your teeth on the plane, forget it. Leave your toothpaste at home, buy some on arrival or leave the toothpaste in your checked in luggage otherwise it will be confiscated. I was seated at the departure gate waiting for my zone to be called when I heard, “this is the final call for my flight”. WOT THE! Last on the plane!

Tuesday 28th April

Did you notice there are two entries for today? That’s because I crossed the date line and arrived in Vancouver three hours before I left Sydney. The flight was 14 hours long. That’s 12 hours more than my tolerance level. Just as we were coming in to land I could see the runway below the plane when suddenly there was a burst of power and the plane went into a steep climb. WOT THE!!! All the passengers looked at each other and asked the same question. What was that about? The pilot announced the landing was aborted as a plane was already on the tarmac! He further announced this was normal. Yeah right! As if anybody believed him. At last we eventually landed – safely – about a half hour late. I had no sleep on the flight and arrived in Vancouver tired and irritable. Immigration and Customs in Canada are just as humorless as their Australian counterparts. Despite those hurdles I still found a shuttle bus to take me to Harbour Air two hours early for my seaplane flight to Vancouver Island. I asked to take photos and was assigned the Co-Pilots seat.

One of several seaplanes at South Vancouver ready for flights to places along the coast and several destinations on Vancouver Island.

One of several seaplanes at South Vancouver ready for flights to places along the coast and several destinations on Vancouver Island.

This pair of Canada Geese were on a boat ramp beside the Harbour Air Seaplane terminal at South Vancouver.

This pair of Canada Geese were on a boat ramp beside the Harbour Air Seaplane terminal at South Vancouver.

Donnis and her sister Joan collected me from the seaplane jetty at Nanaimo

The city of Nanaimo seen from the seaplane cockpit.

The city of Nanaimo seen from the seaplane cockpit.

 and drove me to Duncan, our home for the next week. After a few hours of sleep it was time for dinner followed by a full nights sleep.

Dogwood tree in colourful regalia at Joan's House.

Dogwood tree in colourful regalia at Joan’s House.

One of the first things I learnt today is that Victoria on Vancouver Island is the state capitol for the Province of British Columbia. (Or should that be Province Capitol?)

Wednesday 29th April

Today was Joan’s day off before returning to work tomorrow. She graciously drove us around much of the Cowichan Valley Trail and the sights of;

Kinsol Trestle Railway Bridge . The timber bridge which spans the Kocksilah River was built in 1920 and fell into disuse when the last train crossed in 1979 and abandoned a year later. At 44m high it is one of the highest trestle’s in the world. The bridge began to deteriorate and cyclist and walkers were unable to use the bridge in their Trans Canada Trail hikes. In 2007, CAN$5.7 million was provided for restoration works as a non motorised trestle. It is now a tourist attraction especially in the summer months.

Donnis at the trestle bridge.

Donnis at the trestle bridge.

Trestle Bridge

Trestle Bridge

Cowichan Bay, a fishing village now used by alternative type shops.

Cowichan Bay Marina

Cowichan Bay Marina

Just some of the colourful floating houses in Cowichan Bay.

Just some of the colourful floating houses in Cowichan Bay.

We stopped for coffee at an Organic Bakery

Cowichan Bay Shops.

Cowichan Bay Shops.

Bakery at |Cowichan Bay

Bakery at |Cowichan Bay

Seafood Eatery at Cowichan Bay.

Seafood Eatery at Cowichan Bay.

then found our way to the Timber Boat Society Museum on an old jetty. Some of the old timber boats were just simply loving creations. We visited what is known locally as the Butter Church or the Indian Stone Church built in 1870.

The Butter Church ruins near Cowichan Bay.

The Butter Church ruins near Cowichan Bay.

Inside the Butter |Church. Note the hug hole in the wall.

Inside the Butter |Church. Note the hug hole in the wall.

The church fell into disuse and the land became part of a lot given over to the First Nations Peoples. Vandalism soon put the church into a poor structural state and funds were raised to restore the historically significant building. Due to lack of use it again has fallen into a sorry abandoned state and is a haven for graffiti with one stone wall almost completely knocked out.

Next on our list was Maple Bay

Donnis and Joan at the pub at Maple Bay.

Donnis and Joan at the pub at Maple Bay.

Seaplane buzzing Maple Bay before landing at Mill Bay.

Seaplane buzzing Maple Bay before landing at Mill Bay.

and the Lion Rampant Scottish Pub (once known as the Brigantine Inn Pub) re-furbished and re-opened in 2014. We had lunch here and I had a typically Scottish “butty” (a breadroll with chips, bacon, cheese, lettuce, mayo and I dunno other stuff in there as well) with a bowl of rich gravy for dunking and washed down with a pint of Scottish beer.

To work off the big lunch we went for a walk in the woods at Osborne Bay Park

Frank n Joan realx on the pebble beach at Osbornes Bay.

Frank n Joan realx on the pebble beach at Osbornes Bay.

between the towns of Crofton and Chemainus and then arrived in Chemainus, a town which was, once upon a time, populated mostly by Chinese, Japanese and Swedes as labourers in the mill, as fishermen or shopkeepers. Families of those early settlers are gone now but First Nation Peoples still live on nearby Thetis and Kuper islands.

Interesting Teahouse / coffee shop called The Twisted Sisters at Chemainus.

Interesting Teahouse / coffee shop called The Twisted Sisters at Chemainus.

Log Cabin style house at Chemainus.

Log Cabin style house at Chemainus.

Whew! It was a long day and we ended it with a barbecue and a couple of glasses of a local Pinot Grigio.

Liquor prices are or were controlled by the Government via the 10 Provinces and the three Territories. Alberta has now privatised sales but British Columbia sales are still controlled by the province of BC.

I was staggered to find that a 4 litre box of wine which would sell in Australia between AUS$12 to |AUS$16 sells for CAN$28 to CAN $40 more than double the price. Of course on top of the sale price must then be added a 10% GST and a Provisional Sales Tax (PST) of 5% so that increases the cost even more. The Australian price already includes GST.

Hmmm. Perhaps |I should not complain about the prices of Australian beer wine & spirits!

Thursday 30th April

Today after driving Joan to work, we went to Victoria, capitol of the Province of BC. Along the way I could see snow covered mountain peaks in the distance. After making enquiries I found the mountains are the Olympic Range including Mt Rainier, across the Straits of Juan de Fuca in the United States in the state of Washington near Port Angeles. The town of Port Angeles was already on my list of places to visit next month.

We visited Victoria Harbour where a cruise ship berthed earlier and Parliament House stands proudly overlooking the harbour as does the nearby Empress Hotel.

Victoria is the bustling capitol of BC province and is a tourist delight with many of these horse drawn carriages,  clopping the streets around the parliament building and nearby shopping precinct.

Victoria is the bustling capitol of BC province and is a tourist delight with many of these horse drawn carriages, clopping the streets around the parliament building and nearby shopping precinct.

Parliament House.

Parliament House.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel was built between 1904 and 1908 for the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line. The hotel still conducts High Tea every day.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel was built between 1904 and 1908 for the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line. The hotel still conducts High Tea every day.

Victoria Harbour which today was an even busier hive of activity due to a boat show.

Victoria Harbour which today was an even busier hive of activity due to a boat show.

Several Harbour Air Seaplanes at Victoria Harbour.

Several Harbour Air Seaplanes at Victoria Harbour.

These are often referred to as rickshaws or Tuk Tuks. Either way they are fun way to look around Victoria.

These are often referred to as rickshaws or Tuk Tuks. Either way they are fun way to look around Victoria.

Joan's Toyota "truck" at Victoria.

Joan’s Toyota “truck” at Victoria.

On our way home we stopped at a lookout on Mount Malahat which has great views to Brentwood and as far as the Juan de Fuca Straits.

A walk in the forest at Goldstream Provincial Park.

A walk in the forest at Goldstream Provincial Park.

While a passenger in Joan’s truck, driven by Donnis I had time to observe local traffic and learn that Canadians, men and women, like their USA counterparts, are in love with their “trucks”. Mostly gas guzzling giants made by GM, Dodge and Ford. Toyota also holds a large part of the market. Some of these trucks are huge with the bonnet being taller than me. These trucks take up more than one car parking space and seem to be occupied by only the driver. The drivers all seem to share the same emotional reason for driving these monsters – they feel they are safer on the road if they have an accident. Canadians, like their US counterparts also love the baseball cap which they wear everywhere. To fit in I have taken to wearing a cap with AUSTRALIA printed across the top.

Friday 1st May.

Gulp it is Friday already.

Today Donnis dropped me at downtown Duncan while she took her mother for a haircut. This gave me the chance to wander around to look at the sights and sites.

I captured this electric bike in Duncan. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\a bit of research shows this bike would have cost around the $4,000 mark.

I captured this electric bike in Duncan. A bit of research shows this bike would have cost around the $4,000 mark.

Duncan is known as the City of Totems. I am reliably informed there are 80 totems around the city. Far too many to visit and photograph so I have only a few photos to share. Incidentally Joan was once the Totem |Tour Guide and wrote a guide book detailing around 35 of the totems.

Duncan City Hall.

Duncan City Hall.

This isThunderbird on Killer Whale Totem.

This isThunderbird on Killer Whale Totem.

This is the Raven, Sun, Eagle Human Spirit Face Totem.

This is the Raven, Sun, Eagle Human Spirit Face Totem.

Cedarman Holding a Talking Stick Totem. It is the largest pole in circumference in the world.

Cedarman Holding a Talking Stick Totem. It is the largest pole in circumference in the world.

This is a newly erected totem which even Joan was unable to identify.

This is a newly erected totem which even Joan was unable to identify.

A list of Totems and explanation can be found here.   http://www.duncan.ca/totems/index_totems.htm

In the afternoon we took Donnis mother to the BC Forest Discovery Centre where Joan works. Apart from wandering the grounds looking at restored machinery, equipment and buildings we took a ride on a train pulled by an original diesel locomotive called The Green Hornet.

Train pulled by The Green Hornet in forest setting.

Train pulled by The Green Hornet in forest setting.

The huge steam locomotive was on holidays today. Life was tough for the timber men 100 to 150 years ago. A display showing original hand tools and a diorama showed how timber was felled and moved to transport points was fascinating. The display showed the changes over the years and how fewer and fewer men and equipment was required as technology improved. Life is still tough but timbermen no longer need to spend weeks or even months in the forest. Now they can drive to a site and return home the same day.

The small train crosses a trestle bridge.

The small train crosses a trestle bridge.

These are a few of the timbermens quarters. They include the cook and tallyman hut, the blacksmith shop, the mess and of course sleeping quarters. Each hut included a substantial sized heating stove. Based on my experience of spring I can understand why the heaters were needed.

These are a few of the timbermens quarters. They include the cook and tallyman hut, the blacksmith shop, the mess and of course sleeping quarters. Each hut included a substantial sized heating stove. Based on my experience of spring I can understand why the heaters were needed.

Fire Lookout Tower.

Fire Lookout Tower.

Saturday 2nd May

Today after dropping Joan at work Donnis and |I toured the downtown Duncan markets. As regular readers will no doubt be aware I am not fond of markets but I will do a cursory tour looking for paintings and photographs – only to look mind, not to buy. At least these markets insist on all locally produced items, food, artwork etc being for sale. No imported or mass produced items can be sold.

After lunch we collected Donnis mother and drove to Maple Bay Marina

Floating Houses Maple Bay.

Floating Houses Maple Bay.

Floating House with Garden at Maple Bay.

Floating House with Garden at Maple Bay.

Another delightful floating house at Maple Bay.

Another delightful floating house at Maple Bay.

Marina at Maple Bay. Note the covered marina berths in the background.

Marina at Maple Bay. Note the covered marina berths in the background.

Empty Maple Bay Marina berths.

Empty Maple Bay Marina berths.

Note the run down condition of the walkways.

Note the run down condition of the walkways.

Hummingbird at a feeding station on a floating house at Maple Bay.

Hummingbird at a feeding station on a floating house at Maple Bay.

and then on to Genoa Bay Marina.

Genoa Bay Marina

Genoa Bay Marina

Floating houses Genoa Bay with Mt Tzouhalem in the background..

Floating houses Genoa Bay with Mt Tzouhalem in the background..

Maple Bay has delightful floating houses for sale or rent. http://maplebaymarina.com/float-homes Eight klms further along a narrow twisting road is Genoa Bay Marina which has a used floating homer for sale. http://www.genoabaymarina.com/ Although the floating homes look wonderful the remainder of the two marina’s are badly in need of maintenance. In fact more than maintenance. Insurers in Australia would not provide liability insurance for either of these two marina’s. The Maple Bay marina also has covered marina berths for those owners who want (and can afford) to leave the boat in the water, undercover, during the winter. Both locations are well endowed with restaurants and I am sure, at least for awhile, living in one of these floating homes would be relaxing and fun.

Sunday 3rd May

Today was intended to be a lay day. Joan was at work and we would have an easy day at home with Donnis mum.

Cat enjoying fire.

Cat enjoying fire.

Donnis and her mum.

Donnis and her mum.

Once we had lunch Donnis took her mum back to the nursing home and said we are going to climb Mt Tzouhalem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Tzouhalem

040515 tzouhalemWell alrighty, I am up to the challenge. The first challenge was to find the parking area. Next was to find our way up the mountain avoiding wrong turns. There are no directional signs anywhere on the track/trail. There are no distance signs either. We could only ask questions of other hikers coming down the mountain. About halfway we came across a series of small rock cairns built by hikers – most likely stopping for a rest.

Multiple Rock Cairns

Multiple Rock Cairns

Once at the top we were rewarded with views along Cowichan Inlet, Cowichan Bay and the city of Duncan.

Cowichan Inlet.

Cowichan Inlet.

Overlooking Duncan

Overlooking Duncan

Overlooking Cowichan Bay

Overlooking Cowichan Bay

A large cross sits at the top of a the sheer drop below.

Cross atlop Mt Tzouhalem.

Cross atop Mt Tzouhalem.

At least another dozen hikers were there before us. They came prepared with food, water, hiking poles, backpacks and things to sit on. We did not even carry water.

Sigh!

Donnis at peak of Mt Tzouhalem.

Donnis at peak of Mt Tzouhalem.

 

 

 

 

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