Rainy, rainy days in Prince Rupert preceded the early wake up call required to make our reservation at the BC Ferries terminal. Putting Miles, our van, onto the ferry required a 3:30am arrival for the 5:30am departure for Vancouver Island. We booked a cabin on the ferry to catch up on sleep and showers during the 16 hour sail to Port Hardy.
The ferry ship, cabins and food felt more like a cruise ship. Truly outstanding. The ferry docked in Port Hardy around 11:30pm. The next morning began our three week exploration of Vancouver Island.
Northern Vancouver Island is sparsely populated compared to the southern end of the island. Fishing and logging drive the north. Tourism brings in folks wanting to fish, view wildlife and explore backcountry wilderness by kayak or on foot.
Driving the forest road to Winter Harbour revealed the major force in Vancouver Island’s economy – logging. Clear cutting and reforestation dominated the landscape – until we reached the water.
Rather than show photos of clear cutting, here is the rare shoe tree found en route to Winter Harbour.
Being an island, many campgrounds are located near the water – on beaches or even in marinas.
Gorgeous beaches in the Tofino and Campbell River area provided great opportunities for walking and watching sunsets.
Did I mention rain? A few rainy days spent in the coastal temperate rainforest near Tofino made the area even more lush, dense and green. Approximately 25% of the world’s temperate rainforest is located in BC, Canada – who knew?
While thankful for shelter in the van on rainy days, the Canadians know how to camp in the rain. One word of advice – tarps.
Glimpses of orcas on both the Alaska and Prince Rupert ferries, left us wanting more. Telegraph Cove turned out to be a great place to visit for whale watching and exploring the tiny resort village.
The whales did not disappoint. Humpbacks and orcas appeared everywhere. Seals, dolphins, eagles and deer. Yep, a deer on an island. The wildlife on land and sea in Canada is thriving.
Temperatures began dropping which meant it is time for us to head to the big city, Victoria, to catch the ferry south to Port Angeles, Washington. You cannot visit Victoria without taking a picture of the Empress hotel.
And, a throwback shot from 2000 when we docked our boat in front of the Empress.
Guess this means we’ve come full circle.