During winters in Arizona we have become friends with a few Canadian couples. We are Children of a Common Mother as indicated by the inscription on the Peace Arch at the border near Blaine, Washington.
We met Catie, Gordon, Dave and Linda the first time we stayed in Yuma and have seen them several times since. Catie and Gordon have a permanent home on Vancouver Island and Dave and Linda are spending the spring and summer seasons on the island this year. It seemed to be a good time to visit them in Canada.
Randy, Elko and I approached the border with our documents, passports for us and an immunization record for Elko. We experienced polite but robust questioning about any potential firearms.
We drove past Vancouver to the terminal to board a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island. We were hoping for a top deck placement because then we would have the option of staying in the truck with Elko. If we were on a lower deck Randy and I would have to go to the passenger area and Elko would have to stay in the truck alone for the two hour ride.
I had made a reservation and we were told having that helped our cause for the top deck placement. We were lucky to be far enough forward to have a good view. We listened to the Mariners’ game on the radio and had an enjoyable ferry ride across the Straight of Georgia to Nanaimo. (The straight was named for King George III in 1792.)
Arriving on Vancouver Island we were surprised to see regular mainland businesses including RV and Peterbilt dealerships. There are even three Costcos! We had totally underestimated this island!
Vancouver Island is the largest island off the Pacific coast of North America. The population is near 800,000 with about half of that in Victoria. In land mass, Vancouver Island is nearly identical to Maryland and larger than eight other US states. No wonder it didn’t feel like an island!
We made our way to Catie and Gordon’s very nice guesthouse. Not just for friends, they also rent their Cozy Guest Cottage in Qualicum Bay through airbnb.
The next day they took us to Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest with trees that are 800 years old. We and the dogs enjoyed the walk.
Later in the day Dave and Linda joined us for a barbecue. They brought Nanaimo Bars for dessert. These bars originated in Nanaimo, the city where we came onto the island. They are a Canadian dessert staple – like apple pie or chocolate chip cookies are in the US.
One day, Randy, Elko and I did some exploring on our own, driving two hours across the middle island wilderness to the Pacific side.
We traveled to the Pacific Rim National Park and stopped at the Amphitrite Lighthouse.
We learned about whistle buoys which help guide ships into the harbor, especially in times of fog. The whistle sound grows louder when pressure is increased with rougher wave action.
On our final day on the island, Randy went golfing with Dave and Gordon. Elko and I went to spend the day with Linda at Salmon Point RV Resort, where she and Dave are staying in their RV. It is a lovely resort with a marina and restaurant.
Preparing to depart the island, we knew what to do! We arrived at the ferry dock two hours early in hope of getting a prime spot on the upper deck. It worked!
We don’t plan to go to Yuma this year so we aren’t sure when we will see our friends again. Yet in the RVer way, we are confident that we will! Thanks for a great visit Catie, Gordon, Dave and Linda!