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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Monday, 12 Oct 2009

Location: Vancouver Island, Canada

MapHumpback Whales

Victoria to Duncan (the long way around)

I just realised that I haven’t been keeping track of the amount of kilometres we are doing. I will fix that soon.
Early into Victoria this morning as it was whale time, I had a brochure so we put the coordinates into the GPS and set off. They were heading out in 45 minutes and we could be on it, so we ran and got a quick breakfast at Starbucks, of which there is one on every corner and were back ready to leave. It was cold so we chose the covered in boat and with 16 on board we were cruising out to a spot where a humpback was spotted. He/she was interested in eating, so we saw a few amazing tail flips as it dove down for the fish. A pack of sea lions were harassing the whale so I think it just wanted to get away. All of a sudden we were off at a decent pace, I could see other whale boats further on and lots of splashing so I knew it was going to be good. Two Humpbacks were playing around, breaching, tail flipping, rolling over, waving their fins, another breach – IT WAS AWESOME! I took heaps of pictures and unfortunately I wish I had taken less and just watched them. J took some video footage so I can live through that and watch them over and over again. The biologist on board said it was the most playful he has seen them all year and even he was ecstatic to see them and you could hear the excitement in his voice – and he gets to do this for months and months. I know this may sound spoilt, but there were no Orcas out there, we even went past a seal colony to see if there were any transient Orcas hunting but no luck. The resident Orca pods are heading down to warmer waters following the salmon and luckily for us we are heading that way but unluckily we didn’t see any today. They are the main reason I am on the Island and I am going to find some internet connection tomorrow to do some research to see if we can see them down that way, they can travel 40-100 miles a day, so we could be driving towards them and they could be swimming back where we come from...ahhh, hopefully some day. I cant keep doing boat trips every day cause they cost alot but I have this dire need to see Orcas.

I wanted to drive along the west coast of the island so we drove all the way to Port Renfrew. It was rainforest all the way along the road, which was beautiful, deep greens parted by golden trees losing their leaves. You could only get glimpses of the ocean in between the trees and considering how much forest driving we have done, I think we were both looking forward to some ocean views – I think that will have to wait until the Pacific Hwy in Oregon & California. After some desperately windy road we stopped at the general store in Port Renfrew for some power steering fluid – I didn’t even know Lester has power steering! A few shady locals walked past us and J and I kinda looked at each other, we were a long way from the city and there wasn’t much other traffic going in the same direction as us. The camping spot I was thinking of was 6kms away so I thought we would be fine. It was a gorgeous camping spot right on Fairy Lake, so close to the water, but the smoke was still coming out of a fire and when J looked in there there was a tent and chairs still burning...I hadn’t even got out of the car which I usually jump out and nest the moment I get there. There was no one else at the whole site and J said he had a weird feeling about the place too. I couldn’t think of a good reason why someone would burn their tent and chairs – so off we drove. We are currently driving along the back roads with forestry either side of us to get to Lake Cowichan. Its getting dark really fast here so I think its going to be a stop, sleep, go kinda night.

Its funny that along the main tourist road the trees are huge with signs saying “planted 1961, spaced 1973” well that’s wonderful for the tourists to see, you drive out the back of it and there is clear felling everywhere, reminds me of Tasmania – although they are more blatant, just 3 metres of trees line the roads with clear felling all behind it. Grrr, “spaced”, there is NO spacing here where I drive, all trees in the patches are gone. Its barely a transparent industry that’s for sure. Sorry, that’s my whinge for today.

Once we have internet connection we can research a little more of what we are going to do with the rest of our days here. There is currently Grizzly Bears catching salmon in the inlets up the east coast of the island, which is another 4.5 hours driving each way so J and I are debating that. We are planning on crossing the border into the U.S via Ferry (which is down South) and going straight into a National Park, maybe backtracking up to Seattle to see if we can catch these Orcas. Only time will tell.