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23.07.24 1226 [PST]

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Vancouver Island - Next Time There Will Be Whales

Sat, July 23

- Landed at YYJ airport. Jana picked us up and drove us to Victoria. Met Johl and checked into our Airbnb.

- Started our self-guided brewery tour. Started at Phillips Brewery. Our favorite's were the raspberry and the porter.

Next up was the Vancouver Island Brewery. Didn't like as many of their beers. The Killer White was pretty good.

- Walked to Fan Tan Alley. Bought some thai pants. The owner gave us a lesson on how to wrap them.

- Went for ice cream at sister. Chris had blueberry cheesecake. Jana and I had chocolate hazelnut swirl (maybe?)

- Walked around some more. Went for dinner at Rebar. Started with the miso poutine. Ordered the sweet potato falafel, the enchiladas, and salmon tacos. All were delicious.

Sun, July 24

- Long line at the Blue Fox for breakfast, but we perservered. Had a hazelnut coffee with huevos rancheros.

- Walked to Pedlar's, past the vintage car enthusiasts, and rented bikes. We decided to try the 'Quest' that would have us biking around Victoria, unlocking clues.

Started at Fisherman's Wharf. Saw the floating houses. Unlocked the clue about whales and seals. The only one we would end up using a hint for. Biked over to breakwater. Walked along the really long pier.

Next up was Mile 0 (start of the #1 highway). Biked through Beacon Hill park, and then Clover Point park, where people were flying kites.

Then it was into the cemetery. Thought we found the correct Dunsmuir grave, but it was Elizabeth, not Robert.

Through the Government House Gardens, and up to the Craigdarroch Castle to count the number of steps.

Back into Beacon Hill Park and over the stone bridge. Returned our bikes.

- Walked around the area in front of the BC Legislature building. Went for dinner at Be Love. Chris had an island bowl. I had the green bowl. We both had smoothies.

Mon, July 25

- Went to Chorizo and Co for breakfast. I had migas. Chris had bocata. Both were good.

- Jana picked us up, and we went to the Root Cellar. Picked up some cheese, cookies, salads, hummus, fruit, and other snacks for our roadtrip.

- Drove out of town, towards Ucluelet, and stopped at Little Qualicum Falls park along the way. Walked around the loop, checked out the upper and lower falls and ate our lunch.

- Carried on to Ucluelet. Checked into our house, which turned out to be quite nice, with a view of the water, a firepit, and a hot tub.

- Got all settled in, and tried to find somewhere to go for dinner in Ucluelet, but it turned out all the restaurants are closed on Mondays. So instead, we went to Co-Op and picked up some ingredients to make our own spaghetti dinner.

- Went in the hot tub. Which turned out to be an extremely hot tub. Couldn't find the temperature control, or the jets.

Tue, July 26

- Had breakfast at our place. Went to the Wild Pacific Trail visitor centre and picked up some maps and advice. Started with the lighthouse loop. Great coastal views. Jana spotted a bald eagle. Ended up seeing another one later. Then we saw some herons.

- Walked half of the Ancient Cedar's loop, and then started the Artist's Loop trails. Ended up seeing a few whales, although we're not sure what species. And another bald eagle. Finished off with the rest of the Ancient Cedar's loop, and this half had some enormous cedar trees. Jana found the perfect smore-making stick, and then forgot it while taking a picture of a tree. Luckily Chris realized it, and she was able to go back and retrieve it.

- Jana got an ice cream at The Grey Whale and we went to Brown's Beach. Headed back to our place. We drank some of our beers on the patio.

- Ordered pizza from Adobodanza. Wood fired and delicious. We had pesto chicken and hippie-something (vegetarian).

- Had a fire and made s'mores. Listened to our new favorite radio station, Uke 99.5 - with the hosts that couldn't seem to finish their songs.

Wed, July 27

- Hiked the South Beach trail. Saw some surfers. Then we hiked the Rainforest Trail. We went the wrong direction, counter-clockwise to everyone else.

- We can't remember the name of the third hike. Schooner something?

- Went to Tacofino for lunch. Jana and Chris had tuna tacos, and I had a chicken gringa and a beef taco. The line was pretty long. We ran into Jana's friends.

- For dessert we went to Chocolate Tofino and had ice cream. I had Hedgehog, and Jana/Chris had Belgian Mint.

- Drove into Tofino and checked out a few of the shops. Bought a bamboo shirt. Sat on the benches and took in the view of Tofino bay. Jana fell asleep.

- Went to the Tofino Brewing Company and tried a flight. Ended up buying a kelp and 3 blondes.

- Had dinner at the Wolf In The Fog. Nice restaurant. Had fried chicken envy. Fancy cocktails (Tuk Tuk). Jana and Chris had perogies. I had a burger.

- Jana went to visit her friends at their campsite.

Thu, July 28

- Stopped in for some hazelnut and vanilla matcha lattes at Thay Tea. Jana didn't have high hopes for them lasting too long.

- Drove to Cathedral Grove and bumped into Jana's friends (again!). Huge trees.

- Went to Goats On The Roof. A bit anti-climatic. Didn't stay too long. Bumped into Jana's friends again, but didn't say hi this time. The feeling was mutual. Market was really busy.

- Had lunch at Bread & Honey and fulfilled our breaded chicken desires. Went to Parksville beach and walked around the sand sculpture competition.

- Walked back to the car by wading in the ocean, which was pretty shallow.

- Drove to the Mooberry Winery. Bought some Moobery Wine. Watched some cows get milked by a robot, and brushed by a robotic arm.

- On to Cumberland Brewery. Nice outdoor patio. Pretty good beers.

- Had supper in Courtenay at Atlas. I ended up with 2 orders of enchiladas, since they forgot the chicken in the first order. Jana had a quesadilla.

- Continued onto Campbell River where we scouted out where to meet the water taxi for our 4 day kayak trip which startd the next morning. Then checked into our room at the Comfort Inn and organized our bags for the trip.

Fri,July 29

- Had breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to the docks where our water taxi was waiting. We were the only 3 on the trip starting from Campbell River and the water taxi continued over to Quadra Island where we picked up the rest of group and 2 of the guides, Lisa and Tyrone. The boats got loaded up with the supplies and we started the 3 hour journey to our base camp. Also on our boat was Phil,a photographer, who was on the trip to take some photos for Spirit of the West.

- It was a bumpy ride as the water was pretty choppy. On the way we saw a black bear and her cubs on the shore.

- Once we arrived at base camp, we unloaded the boats and got our camp set up. We drew the 'D Porpoise tent which had a nice view of the staight and more importantly was also sheltered from the wind. We had sandwiches for lunch and learnt about how camp works.

- Unfortunately it was too windy to go kayaking so we hung our at camp hoping the wind would die down.

- We got a kayaking overview on the beach, as we were talking I spotted a bear with 2 cubs that had emerged onto the beach.

- After that we had some beers (which were cooling in a rubbermaid of ocean water) and played Bananagrams.

- We had salmon for dinner and carrot cake for dessert.

- After dinner we didn't do much as it was too windy for anything to be enjoyable

Sat, July 30

- Woke up to more wind. Has french toast for breakfast. Couldn't go kayaking today either as it was still to windy.
- Played giant Jenga, No Thanks, read for a bit, had a nap while we waited for the wind to subside. It never did.

- Chris and Jana went in the hot tub. The guides made us curry for dinner. Sat around the fire.

Sun, July 31

- It wasn't quite as windy this morning, so we kayaked for *maybe* an hour before arriving at a beach. We parked the kayaks ashore, and hiked up to the Eagle Eye whale watching station.

- The researchers explained their role at the station, and gave us some info on the whales. Didn't see any whales. Hiked back down. The hike was pretty boring overall.

- Had lunch and waited for everyone to assemble back into their kayaks again, which can take quite a while with a big group. Paddled back to base camp, circling one of the small islands along the way.

- Ate dinner (Mexican) and sat in the hot tub. Sat around the fire.

Mon, August 1

- No wind this morning! Finally! Calm waters. Jumped in the kayaks and went on a early morning, low-tide kayak trip. We saw sea urchins, starfish, and Jana pretended to see a sunflower star. Paddled for an hour.

- Came back and had breakfast while we waited for our water taxi, which took about 4 hours to arrive.

- On the way back we ran across a huge pod of dolphins, many of them jumping out of the water, which was a nice way to end the kayak trip.

- Drove to Parksville and checked in. Went for dinner at Black Goose Inn. Had some tasty beers.

- After dinner we played mini-golf. Still need to find our score card to figure out who won.

Tue, August 2

- Went to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Saw all kinds of birds (owls, eagles, ravens) and a sleepy bear.

- Started making our way back towards Victoria. Stopped at Power House Living Foods to get some smoothies.

- Went for lunch in Nanaimo. Had a Nanaimo bar for dessert (of course!)

- One final brewery stop: Category 12

- Had some delicious Thai food at Thai Corner in Sidney.