Seattle to Vancouver Island

Cruising to Vancouver Island

The famous Seattle rain arrived this morning. It poured on me as I made my way to Pier 69 to take the Victoria Clipper ferry to Victoria, British Columbia.

Boarding the ferry

The ferry takes about three hours to go from Seattle to Victoria. It also has paid table service for food and beverages, much like an airplane. I enjoyed the ferry trip very much.  I am sure that it is a breathtaking voyage filled with beautiful sea and mountain vistas, but this morning the world was enshrouded in fog. I did brave going out on the upper deck and got whipped by wind and rain to take a few photos in the one break in the clouds where mountains peaked through.

As we came into Victoria I caught glimpses of people heading out on whale watches braving the rain and rough seas. Then I saw the famous Empress Hotel as we pulled into the ferry terminal.

You have to go through customs when you reach Victoria, of course. The amount of camera equipment I was carrying seemed to confound the Canadian customs officials. Then I finally made it out of the ferry terminal and Traveler Six and Traveler Twelve were there to greet me. They were a very welcome site. There is nothing like seeing old friends in new places.

Farmer's Market, Duncan, British Columbia

We got in their big red Suburban and drove through Victoria. I caught glimpses of things but its all a blur. Before I knew it we were in Duncan, BC and walking through a very nice farmer's market where I saw the biggest cabbage and cauliflower I've ever seen and then saw fuzzy mushrooms that resembled tribbles from Star Trek. As I was in a farmer's market I did have to sample the wares, of course. I had some very nice chicken rice soup and some homemade kimchi. Traveler Six bought various things with which to make dinner. Then we had lunch at The Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar. The food here is really good. I had a pork belly taco with avocado and kimchi. Apparently, the theme of the day was kimchi....

Male Anna's Hummingbird

Then it was a short drive to Crofton, BC and up Maple Mountain to Traveler Six and Twelve's house, which stands perched overlooking Salt Spring Island. We investigated their garden. The resident Anna's hummingbirds were busy feeding from their feeder and then zooming off into the far trees. Then we walked up part of the mountain to see the view from even higher. On the way up the incredibly steep slope I saw my first and only glimpse of a common wall lizard, an invasive species.

Common Wall Lizard

The next day Traveler Six took me on a tour of the local area. This is part of the Cowichan Valley. It is a beautiful area with rolling hills, farms, and wineries.

Spectacled Owl
Left: Barred Owl, Right: Peregrine Falcon

We stopped at The Raptor Center in Duncan. We walked in and were greeted by a Spectacled Owl. Actually, we were greeted by the person at the ticket counter who just happened to have a Spectacled Owl keeping her company. We wandered the grounds looking at various raptor species and then watched the flying demonstration. Like with Traveler Two in Scotland, Traveler Six and I got bonked in the heads by a Barred Owl flying between us. They also had a magnificent Turkey Vulture as well. We also met a peregrine falcon who is part of the center's program to help scare birds away from airports. They send in the peregrine to clear the area of other birds and keep planes safe from collisions.  Also interesting was seeing Saker Falcons in flight. These were some of the birds used earliest in European falconry. They were also training a young hawk who refused to behave until they went and got the woman who'd been manning the ticket desk. Apparently, the hawk prefers her because she, the hawk, immediately flew to her favored human.

Saison Market Vinyard

We then headed to Saison Market Vineyard for lunch. They have an amazing French bakery there. We had quiche and lemonade. The vineyard was just touched by the fall colors when we were there. Small grapes hung heavy on the leaves of the vines.

The Tea Farm

We explored the area some more and then went to The Tea Farm. This is a lovely little place that has devoted itself to growing organic tea. Not something you generally associate with the Northwest Coast of North America! There is a wide variety of organic tea from around the world for sale along with the Tea Farm's home grown tea that has just become available. They also sell really lovely pottery. You can sit and have tea and small homemade sweets. We had a pot of Assam with tea biscuits out in their lovely garden area. And I literally mean tea biscuits as they had black tea leaves in them. They were served with jam and clotted cream. I enjoyed mine quite a bit.

A friendly spider hanging in the garden.

Assam tea and beautiful pottery

On the way back to Traveler Six's house I caught a brief glimpse of the tiny black tailed deer that live on the island.