S: The Knight's Trip to British Columbia July 2009
BC: The End
FC: British Columbia
1: A trip of a lifetime... There are not enough words to describe how amazing our vacation in British Columbia was. Breathtaking views, incredible finds, dreams come true....completely and utterly unforgettable!!! There is so much to see and do there so in our ten days we decided to concentrate on Vancouver Island; dividing our time between Nanaimo, Ucluelet and Victoria. We saw and experienced so many wonderful things. We tried to fit as much as we could into our trip but still allowing time to chill. I think we planned it well. However, you could easily see how you spend a month there....or more! Our journey began July 12, 2009 at the Hamilton International Airport,where we boarded a plane at 7:12 am to Calgary. We had a one hour stopover there and then boarded another plane to Vancouver. We got our luggage without a hitch (got to love Canadian travel!), rented the car then we were on our way! By the time we arrived at our hotel in Nanaimo we had been traveling for 12 hours! Having traveled by car, plane & ferry! The three hour time difference did quite a number on our bodies and took some time getting used to it.
2: We are finally here! We drove through downtown Vancouver making our way to catch the 2:30 pm ferry in Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. We were so excited, exhausted but excited!! Heading towards the final leg of our journey. We had only just begun and the scenery was amazing!
3: We had a bit of a wait before we had to board the ferry so we left the car and walked into the town to look around. Swartz Bay is a cute little town. We had the yummiest fries ever while waiting!! | Oh Lucas!!
4: Boarding the ferry to Nanaimo! We arrived around 4 pm. We grabbed a bite to eat before checking into the Buccaneer Inn The boys were bagged!!
5: OMG!! It was really, I mean EXTREMELY windy aboard the ferry. Now that's wind blown hair. We actually had to hold onto the boys. It was difficult to walk around the deck | Nanaimo!!
6: Our first full day on Vancouver Island. Taking the scenic route to Courtenay. Stopping along the way. | We stopped to check out the shore.
7: Discoveries by the seashore | July 13, 2009
8: Courtenay Paleontology Museum | We booked our tour with Pat, he took us around the museum describing the various fossils and samples they have. He had told us that his brother had found the remains of a dinosaur and that a replica hangs in the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. It was cool because we had visited the museum in July of '08 and remembered seeing it!
9: On a FOSSIL DIG!!!! | Pat showing Adam what too look for. | What do you expect? He's a boy surrounded by rocks near the water! | Lucas is armed with digging tools! | The second part our tour was hopping in the Jeep and going to a river bed in search of fossils. Pat showed us what too look for and how to dig it up when we thought we found something. We had to look for egg shaped rocks, which we would break open and hope to find a fossil. We found shrimp and fish poop!
10: We leisurely looked around the river bed for something, anything! I found a shrimp! Adam spotted something round and Pat helped him dig it out, it was an ammonite! Pretty cool!! Lucas enjoyed smashing rocks with the hammer. We also found an impression of a footprint.
11: Then we hit gold! A perfect fossil of an 80 MILLION YEAR OLD NAUTILUS!!! How amazing is that?! Pat said it was museum quality and I think he wanted it! No chance my friend.
12: Tooling around Nanaimo at the end of an unforgettable day | July 13, 2009
13: July 14, 2009 | A little stop on way to Horne Lake | Lucas chasing the geese...the funny part was there was a man trying to photograph them!
14: A spelunking we will go!! Horne Lake Provincial Park | Definition: exploring caves: the sport or pastime of exploring caves
15: After a 20 minute hike, UPHILL, we get to the mouth of the cave.
16: This was Lucas' favourite part! However, he wasn't impressed that he just couldn't go and do what he wanted. At one point our guide sat us down and asked us to turn off our headlamps...You can't even imagine how dark it was in the caves! It was also quite chilly down there.
17: Very small quarters, very claustrophobic! We had to be very careful what we touched, if you see the formations on the bottom left, they look smooth, that's what happens to it when human hands touch it, it kills it, some formations grow 1 cm a year, so when someone carelessly touches it, it will take thousands of years to regenerate. A sight to behold!!
18: The picture to the right and the two below were named the ice cream sundae. The formation cascaded down almost 12 feet I believe. Unfortunately the photos can not show how it sparkled. Nor its size.
19: This was cool! They called this The Buddha or Jabba the Hutt for the kids in the group! It was truly amazing!!! As we were deep within the cave, there was no breeze to disturb the pool of water just below this formation. You can see a perfect reflection of the Buddha in the water. Laura had said that people would come to worship here, thinking it had powers. We just thought it was super cool!!
20: We then changed out of our dirty clothes, but of course, we had to stop to check out Horne Lake before heading back to the Inn. | Yet again, the scenery was amazing! ...and the water was cccold!!
21: The Knight's
22: After getting cleaned up after a day of spelunking we boarded the Protection Island Ferry to have dinner on the Dinghy Dock!! It was a floating restaurant docked at Protection Bay. Yummy fish 'n chips!
23: The boys fishing from the restaurant! The fishing hole was a couple of tables away from ours.
24: Off to Ucluelet!! | July 15, 2009 | We took our time, stopping all along the way
25: Cameron Lake | Yet another breathtaking sight to behold
27: ..still at Cameron Lake | My handsome boys | Lucas & Adam
29: Cathedral Grove | Peaceful | Majestic | Unforgettable
31: Nothing like feeling really small
32: The boys inside the roots of a fallen tree!
33: It was so beautiful there, you felt so small. It had a prehistoric feel to it. Moss was hanging everywhere.
34: Another stop along the way... We couldn't resist stopping...look at the water & rocks...the SCENERY!! | Adam
35: Very ccccolddd
37: The water was FREEZING! People were actually swimming in it!!
38: WE MADE IT!!!! | Should we be concerned? | finally
39: The Cabins on Terrace Beach
40: The inside of the cabin. We loved it!! To the left was the view of the soaker tub from the master bed, the right is the view while soaking in that tub! The boys had a bath there one night and were splashing so much the water was getting over the railing and hitting Josh & I while we sat on the sofa
41: The view from our balcony and of our cabin from the beach | Ariel view of the beach
43: We had big plans for today but we ended up staying at Florencia Bay during low tide the entire day!! Incredible day! July 16, 2009 | 1.4 km hike to get to the ocean
44: Magnificent Driftwood
45: Our 1st time in the Pacific Ocean
46: Very cold....funny how children do not feel the ice cold water!! | The Pacific Ocean | happy
47: Look! I was there!
48: We had the most amazing day at Florencia Bay!! | Everywhere we looked we discovered something new! | Low tide
50: We went on a scenic hike on the Wild Pacific Trail | Had to take a picture of this slug....just because Josh LOVES them so much...giggle | July 17, 2009
53: Great memorable hike!! With tons of lookouts to take in the beauty.
54: Jamie's Whale Watching Tour | July 17, 2009
55: We arrived and got suited up for our adventure! We boarded a Zodiac with our guide Marla and went on our way. While still in the bay we saw a black bear on the shore foraging for food in the low tide. We also saw a bald eagle soaring over head.
56: We saw birds and.... SEAL LIONS!!! Lucas was so happy to see them in the wild. I'm sure he wished we could have gotten closer to them. He loves his seals! | Puff!!!
57: HUMPBACK WHALES!!! | There was a mom and her calf playing; slapping the surface with there side fins and breaching. Marla said she couldn't how much action we saw!
60: A fogbow....like a rainbow, but only with fog! How cool is that?! | It was really foggy when we started our journey. Marla had suggested we travel a bit farther out and boy are we glad we did! What a great experience seeing that much activity!
61: OTTERS!!!! My all-time favourite!!! | Aren't they the cutest EVER!! Sleeping all bundled up in the bull kelp. | At one point Adam looked over at me and smiled; the unspoken understand...Priceless.
63: Tired, windblown boys on our way back to the dock. We got out of our suits and enjoyed a tasty hot chocolate. We heard Marla saying while we were out enjoying 2 whales swimming about, 5 boats came in having seen nothing! What a GREAT day!!!
64: Saying goodbye to The Cabins in Ucluelet. | Not happy :-( | View of the harbour in town
65: A little stop on our way to Victoria at the Bog trail | July 18, 2009
66: Victoria, BC | This was the view from our hotel room. | July 18, 2009
67: Out and about in Victoria | We arrived in Victoria and found our hotel without any trouble, thanks to Lucas, the GPS and Josh's iPhone! We stayed at the Best Western Inner Harbour. It is a beautiful town with lots to see and do! Completely different from the slow pace of Ucluelet. It reminded us of Ottawa.
68: Below is the Fairmont Empress Hotel. You can afternoon tea there for a small fortune! I had a tea fromTim Hortons. | There were a lot of street performers Fun to watch!!
69: Around the harbour they put on a street fair where artists sold they goods and others performed! Lots to see and do. I have to say that I have never seen such beautiful flowers as I did in BC. Look at that hydrangea!! They were massive. | The boys were so tired, so I left them in the hotel room that evening and walked around the city on my own.
70: July 19, 2009....We had planned to go ziplining today but that unfortunately didn't work out. so we went to the Undersea Gardens. It was pretty neat!
72: Sign on the door of a cigar shop | Around Victoria
73: Maritime Museum | The distinctive building that currently houses the Maritime Museum of BC, was once British Columbia’s Supreme Court. In fact, it is the oldest court in BC still in use today, however, the trials heard today are not nearly as interesting as in the past. Currently it operates as a Tax Court. | Designed and built in 1889, by H.O. Tiedemann, the building and courtroom saw many key historical figures cross its threshold, including the talented architect Francis Rattenbury. Most notably perhaps, was the infamous Chief Justice Matthew Baille Begbie, aka the Hanging Judge, who presided over the court and meted out his judgments swiftly and colourfully.
74: We had read about Barb's Fish 'n Chips in the Frommer's Guide, they highly recommended it. Well, it was good, but not as good as they said. We know our fish 'n chips!! | Highlight...Adam & Lucas spotted this harbour seal while we were waiting in line for fish 'n chips.
75: We walked around the harbour after dinner & ice cream! The most beautiful houseboats were tied up to the docks. Below is the view of Victoria from across the harbour
76: July 20, 2009 A visit to the Royal British Columbia Museum! We had a great day there...long but GREAT!! We spent the day there, went to the Old Spaghetti Factory, then went for a walk around Beacon HIll Park then back to the museum for an IMAX film
77: Natural History Gallery
78: Ocean Station Natural History Gallery
79: First Peoples Gallery
80: Some other photos from the museum. It was a great day! Lots and lots of walking, but well worth it. | Expo '86 was my 1st visit to BC
81: Beacon Hill Park, Victoria We walked around a bit (the park is HUGE) before we went back to the museum to watch the IMAX film. The park is wonderful! We wish we had more time to really fully see all that the park has to offer.
84: July 21, 2009 Back on the BC Ferry! Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen
86: Oh, the sights we saw...
88: VANCOUVER AQUARIUM | July 21, 2009
92: Adam touching a sea cucumber! Odd looking creature. | Sweet otter!!
93: Baby Beluga!!! | The boys waiting to see the baby beluga
94: We found our way to the Blue Horizon Hotel The boys relaxed for a bit while I went out for a walk to scope out somewhere to eat and do a little window shopping. We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant. | I had the yummiest salad!!
95: The view from our hotel room. It was our last night in British Columbia.
96: We went on a drive to take in as much of B.C. as we could before flying home.