2017 Snow & Lights – Day 20

RICHMOND to VICTORIA – Ferries and fun

Tsawwassen Ferry teminalThursday  and another escape to a new place.  This is the wind down part of our trip – but really, when have you ever known any part of any of my trip to a be a wind down?

This morning we are up early (no surprise there) pack our bags, check out, load the car and we are on our way to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to board the Queen of Alberni Ferry.  Hopefully after an uneventful sail we will land at Duke Point Ferry Terminal on Vancouver Island and then head to Victoria for 2 nights.  That sounds easy doesn’t it?  Read on for what unfolds –

We have a pretty easy drive from the hotel, it is only about an hour drive and we pass through some lovely countryside – unfortunately we do not stop for those Kodak moments you all love but on arrival at the check in barrier the attendant asks why we are going on the Queen of Alberni Ferry as it takes 2 hours and the entry port of Duke Point is quite some distance from our destination.  We reply that all is OK as we will enjoy the drive to Victoria and we have plenty of time on arrival before we have to check into our hotel.

He is most insistent that we should take another ferry that will land us in Schwarz Bay – it only takes an hour and a half and the roads could be bad and he is only thinking about us.  That is good but we have already booked our passage – no problem he says so after a haggle we change our booking and head to the boarding area and Lane 41 where there are loads of cars lined up and waiting to board.

Last car onWe all look at each other thinking we have made the wrong move here but the queue starts to move and then all of a sudden the queue comes to a stop.

They look as if they are counting the cars and our blood pressure is rising ready to pop.

We had better not be cut off on the last line or the attendant’s life could be in danger.  The cars move again and we are stopped, yep we wait and wait and wait and then we are given the green light – we are the last car to be loaded onto the bloody boat.  This is where we are –

Our car in last spotLeaving TsawwassenLet’s hope that a dirty big backwash doesn’t decide to come along!  We get out of our car and head for the upper decks where there is comfortable seating and a food cafeteria type eatery.

My breakfastSeeing that we have not had breakfast – our tummies are rumbling and after getting a table near the window – I didn’t realise that there were so many people on board – Tyler and I line up and get our food, return to the table and then Kylie has her turn.

This is my breakfast – at a cost of CAD 15.00 it seems a bit pricey but what can you do?  If you want food and coffee then you have to pay.  I must say that the bacon on the muffin tasted like cardboard and the service was strange to say the least.

Seems like they couldn’t understand that I just wanted cheese and bacon on a muffin – no egg – just cheese and bacon.  I don’t think that is too hard – but apparently it is.

After food, it is time for a wander around.  It is a really nice ship and even though it is pretty cold outside it is still refreshing to be able to get away from everyone inside.  Saying that I mean the tourists – not K&T!

To VictoriaTo VictoriaWe pass through some lovely little islands but a rather hefty breeze comes up and it is time to take shelter back inside.

Our journey is nearly over as an announcement is made to return to our cars.  Of course, everyone starts the usual scramble, it’s just like at Le Mans and when we arrive up on our deck we nearly get blown away. Well, that’s a shock to the system I must say.

Talk about a Force 10 gale, we go to the back of the ship where we wait patiently thinking we will be last off – but amazement we are among the first to be given the green light.

Time to disembarkDriving past everyone else we thoroughly enjoy our position of privilege and then we are down the planks and on our way the Hotel.  It all runs very smoothly and I suppose it doesn’t take that long for everyone to be on their way.

It is only a short drive – about an hour and a bit.  Traffic is good and we stop for coffee at the Golden Arches because the coffee on board was not the best.  Itas w from one of those automatic press button machines so what do you expect.  What a Godsend these Arches are.  If I had known how many I would visit on my travels I could have done a journal just on those.  From Egypt, Athens, London, Europe and all over the US and Canada – yep it would have been interesting but I digress again.

Welcome to VictoriaArriving in Victoria, it’s hard to realise that this is an island off the main coast of Canada.  It surely doesn’t look like it’s Winter, but then again we are in a nice warm car.  There is no snow or ice, just sunshine with a few clouds dancing about in the blue sky.

We arrive at our residence – the Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort.   Very classy I must say (with pricing to match but you only live once) and we are greeted by the Parking Valet who helps unload our car and with more help from the Lady Consierge we check in.

This is our hotel and this is my room – –

Our HotelDeluxe King Roomthe photo of the hotel was taken on our afternoon Harbour Cruise (more about that later) and my room was a King Deluxe with water views.  Very swanky!

Once we get organised we meet downstairs to decide what we are going to do.  It is only a short drive to Victoria Centre so we request Valet Parking to bring our car out front and then it is time to explore.

We park the car in the city centre without any problems and then we head for – yep, the Tourist Information Office of course.  Loads and loads of brochures and after much discussion and seeing that it is a lovely day we decide on a Harbour Cruise around Victoria Harbour with a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch.  That sounds good eh?  Lunch is not included in the cost as it is like a Hop-On Hop-Off ferry.

Harbur Cruise BoatOur little boat (OMG – it’s a three hour cruise) is rather quaint – this is a photo of them that I took from my room later in the day.

You have to admit they are really cute, so it’s all aboard and away we go.  Navigating our way through the more flashier boats, cruisers and sea-planes it is all very relaxing.

The commentary is good and even though we have a full boat – about 8 of us – everyone is intent on listening to what is being said.

Harbour CruiseVictoria BCWe stop at Fisherman’s Wharf and it’s time for lunch.  There are a couple of take-away food suppliers open, nothing flash,  but first up we are intrigued by the seals that are all waiting for a free feed.  Well, it’s not really free as you have to buy a small plate of fish but it is so much fun.

There are some real characters amongst these flipper flappers especially one who keeps splashing the water as if to say ‘throw it to me – throw it to me!  Another one is blind in one eye so I make a friend of him – Mr Splashy has enough friends.

Mr SplashySeal FriendHonestly, you could stand around for hours with these guys but time to silence our rumbling tummies.

My LunchI opt for the freshly caught and cooked Halibut and chips with coleslaw, salad and tartare sauce with lemon.  If I am dining near the water then I must have seafood.

Kylie opts for the same so we find a seat until it is ready.  How good does this look?  It is delicious to say the least.

It is great to sit here on the picnic tables and chairs, sun shining and seals flapping about – definitely the thing to do on a fine Victoria afternoon.  Unfortunately we have to start heading back so we wait for our little ferry and then navigate through the boats and harbour front houses.

Another friendWhen we finally get back to the start we have time for a wander around and I discover another friend – so time for a Kodak moment.

Unfortunately I have also discovered a head cold with a bad cough that seems to be getting worse.  The positive point is that it is at the end of the holiday and not the beginning like Kylie.  After walking around the typical souvenir shops we head back to our hotel for a relax.  Kylie has booked a massage – I head to my room to try and recover.

SunsetSome rest and the sun starts to set so time for some photos out the window.

The only down side of this room – there is no balcony.  It would be great to sit out here with a cuppa and a camera instead of trying to position the camera between the window edges.  The window only opens a small distance as well – you can see how much window space there is in the above photo.  Great if you want to sit in a comfortable chair inside and watch the harbour activity – not so good to take photos.

Houses of ParliamentTime to relax a bit more – then a bit of night photography across the harbour to the Houses of Parliament.  I was hoping that the famous Empress Hotel would have been all lit up   – but unfortunately no, not tonight.

The harbour is very smooth and great for photos – but the only way to get a shot of the width is to take photos and then stitch.

Trying to keep things level to marry up each photo with the previous one AND having to move furniture and curtains was a real challenge but I am pleased with the result.  My intervalometer certainly earned its keep while I held curtains and pressed its little go button instead of the actual camera shutter.

Victoria Harbour by nightAnother day finished – time to try and get some sleep.