After a few frustrating days we felt in need of a day off, besides the sun was now out and Rob had a canoe, a lake and even a small electric motor as well as the paddles. The world always looks slightly different from the water and we thoroughly enjoyed an hour or two messing about on the lake before joining Rob in the garden.
Rob had spent many months working in his garden to make it a relaxing and welcoming place, he showed us photos of bears enjoying his fish pond, a little too much as they ate his fish. He had a bird feeder on his porch and we spent hours trying to capture the humming birds in a photo, they are so quick and beautiful. You get a little warning by the buzzing of their wings as they constantly move about.
Later that night we topped of the relaxing day by sitting with a beer round the fire.
Originally we had planned to head further up and thought we might catch the ferry from the north of Vancouver Island and take the marine highway up to Skagway (USA) along the inside passage route but when we looked into it we could not really afford the $700+ it was going to cost us to do that.
We had still intended to travel a little further north on the island but after a week of heavy rain with more predicted we had enough, besides we didn’t know how well our temporary coil would manage on the phone holder so we pointed the bike back to Victoria in the south. A couple of people had told us the ferry ride from Sidney to Tsawwassen was far more scenic than the one we had come over on so we decided to head back that way instead and only $60 for the two of us with the bike.
First we travelled through MacMillan provincial park and visited the giant Douglas Fir tree. At over 800 years old, 76 metres tall and 9 metres round, it was already over 300 years old when Christopher Columbus came to North America in 1492. Most of the other trees are young western hemlock which grow well under the shade of the mature Douglas fir and western cedar trees and will eventually replace them as the new forest when they decay and fall.
In order not to cover the same ground again Karen poured over the maps and found a few good routes using the old highways on the coast incorporating Ladysmith, Maple Bay, Cowichan Bay and Shawigan Lake. We had a chance encounter on the highway at the start with Cameron a friend of Rob’s we had missed earlier.
We knew we were back on rural roads when we spotted this deer on the verge and murals painted on the shops. Another stop was this trestle bridge. As soon as we had started to head south the sun came out again and we had a great day but it wasn’t yet over we had the ferry ride to look forward to.
We had lunch on one of the many beaches with a view, beach-combed and found this interesting piece of wood. It was so nice to see the sun once more and our spirits soared.
Maple bay was a pretty fishing village, with the water so clear we could see this starfish from the jetty.
The residents of Shawigan lake nearly all have private jetties or docks on the water’s edge.
The last route off Finlayson Arm to Sidney turned out to be a cracker of a back road. It was narrow, steep and like a roller coaster of switchbacks and ups and downs and Kev loved it (Karen wasn’t so sure). Karen couldn’t take any photos while we whizzing around the bends so this is one from when we stopped near the top at a small water hole.
The ferry didn’t disappoint as we spent most of the time weaving through the outlying islands.
Some of the outlying islands have to ferry their vehicles across.
In the narrowest part we passed the ferry coming in from Tsawwassen.
It wasn’t the only ferry we saw these smaller ferries serve the multitude of outlying islands.
There was a tug towing a barge, a navy ship and lighthouses.
The late afternoon light was shimmering on the water.
We could just make out Vancouver in the distance as we approached Tsawwassen.
Time to fire the bike up and head back to Harri’s briefly before our we resume our journey North.
Next Up – Heading North