1st - 31st August 2017 - Vancouver Island (our thanks to Debbie & Dave)

Wednesday 2nd August

BC Ferries have a special promotion for oversize vehicles, called Size up the Savings. Our full length with tow dolly and car attached is 53 feet and we made a good saving with this offer (cost 194 CD

We managed to get on an earlier ferry than expected and was the last but one vehicle loaded on the 3.15pm ferry. We headed north along the Strait of Giorgia towards Duke Point near Nanaimo. The journey took two hours, unfortunately the weather was very windy, nearly took us off our feet, and the visibility not good, therefore we didn’t get a good view of Vancouver as we passed.

We stayed at Living Forest RV Park just a few kilometers from the ferry port. This is a big wooded park with large secluded sites. Situated at the side of the Naniamo River there are good dog walking water front trails.

We found a very authentic English pub nearby in a small place called Cedar. It has beautifully planted gardens, creating the strong scent of summer flowers. The original owners came from Sussex and they have done a good job of creating a rural Sussex pub, complete with black beams, in the heart of Vancouver Island. The bangers and mash were not bad either.

Thursday 3rd August

We got to Debbie and Dave’s house just after midday. They live in the small town of Chemainus in a beautiful house with a deck that looks out over the water. The RV fitted in nicely next to their fifth wheel in the drive at the side of the house.

Friday 4th August

After breakfast, we went into Chemainus town centre. Bought tickets for a show at the town theatre for next Friday and also tickets for the Beer Festival taking place in town next weekend.

Headed south along the coast to Genoa Bay where we had lunch overlooking the marina.

Debbie and I took a walk along the row of covered boat moorings they have at the marina. It is like a tiny quaint village street.

We were invited in by Doug and Darlene to have a look at their mooring. Since retiring Doug had been working on his mooring and making it very homey with sixties style hanging chairs and various lights and decorations. Secured by a rope, Doug hauled down an old mirror that acts as a table which was full of shells, we got to take one home as a memento. They have really done a sweet job on the dock and have family parties there at weekends.

Saturday 5th August

This morning we headed north to Qualicum Beach where there is a Saturday morning Market.

First, we met up with Roger and Diana - friends of Debbie and Dave – both were originally from England. Roger was born in Solihull in the same hospital as Tony and came over to Vancouver when he was ten. We went into the garden of the local Canadian Legion where they were serving a pancake breakfast for six dollars each. The breakfast was delicious, fluffy pancakes with maple syrup and tasty sausages.

After breakfast we said goodbye to Roger and Diane and went for a drive around Qualicum Bay with Debbie as our tour guide.

Logging has long been an industry on the island and along with that there is a tradition of wood carving. Here are some superb examples.

Sunday 6th August

One of the large logging barges being towed along the straights. Forestry is still an important industry in the area.

Took Sandy for a walk on a local beach.

Had an early dinner and then headed north to the town of Ladysmith where there was to be a firework display. At the marina we met up with April and Mark (friends of Debbie and Dave) and went out onto the water in their boat. We dropped anchor and waited for the firework barge to float into position. From our location we had a front row seat for a spectacular display.

Monday 7th August

A visitor to Debbie and Dave's garden first thing this morning. There is still quite a heavy smoke haze around because of all the wild fires on the mainland.

Travelled along the Pacific Rim Highway west to the far side of the island. We passed lakes, rivers, creeks and wall to wall trees along route.

We finally left the smoke haze behind us as we neared the west coast town of Ucluelet. The sun was shining as we sat on the deck of a restaurant above the marina watching the fishing boats come back in. Some people had a pretty good catch judging by the size of the fish being filleted near the dock.

Unfortunately, Sandy had to sit outside the deck area because BC do not allow dogs to be where food is served. We sat near to an entrance gate so that she could sit one side of the gate and we the other whilst we had something to eat, how ridiculous.

Ucluelet Campground overlooking the harbour was our stop for the night.

Tuesday 8th August

Woke up to the sound of fog horns. Sea fog had come in and coated the coastal area.

Talking to Cerys and Rich on the phone.

Walked some of the Wild Pacific Trail this afternoon, in the very atmospheric sea fog.

Early evening we motored through the provincial park to Tofino. This town has a very different feel than Ucluelet, much more laid back, surfing town vibe and the sun was out.

On the beach it was back to the sea fog.

Wednesday 9th August

Back to Chemainus today. On the way we stopped of at Cathedral Grove to see the tall first growth Douglas Fir trees.

This giant Douglas fir is over 800 years old.

Thursday 10th August

We picked up Mark and went down to the boat in Ladysmith Marina. April couldn't come, one of their three dogs was poorly.

Mark took us over to Thesis Island – one of the small islands that pepper the east coast – to have lunch at the marina restaurant.

Tug pulling a raft of logs.

Sawmill at Ladysmith.

Approaching mooring at Thesis Island.

Friday 11th August

We started the evening with a drink at the Riot Brewery, met Ali, one of the owners. On to dinner at The Sawmill Taphouse and Grill and then Chemainus Theatre to see Rock Legends.

Chemainus has over 40 large wall sized murals and a number of sculptures around the town. They depict the towns heritage and the history of the First Nations people.

This is a great little theatre with about 250 seats, big enough for a good size audience but small enough to make you feel part of the action. The show celebrated rock music from 1955 to 1975. The performance was set up similar to an Ed Sullivan style show that was finishing after a twenty-year run. The host came on and introduced the acts that had performed on the show over the years. Either side of the stage were tv screens showing old adverts from the time, hilarious, how times have changed. The show was great fun with a young talented cast that sang, danced and played the music brilliantly.

Saturday 12th August

Debbie and Dave went over to Vancouver for Roger’s ‘big’ birthday party at his daughters.

We went to the Artisan Village in Chemainus for the Cowichan Craft Beer & Food Festival. Everyone was given a small beer glass and several tokens to spend at each of the thirty or so brewery tents. The event was well attended and there was a lively atmosphere out in the afternoon sunshine.

A couple of sliders to soak up the beer.

Music in Waterwheel Park.