AUGUST 7, 2013 (Wednesday)
Both Michael and I slept really well in the very comfortable bed at the Orca House B&B. We woke up and went into the dining room. Hans had the table loaded with cereal choices, orange juice, milk, coffee, tea, breads, muffins, yogurt, and fresh fruit. If that wasn’t enough, he then brought out a plate full of wonderful quiche and toast. The presentation was lovely. We ate while talking with Hans and how he happened to be living in Port Hardy. What a nice man.
When we told Hans that we had not seen one eagle, bear, deer, etc., he told us of his recent sightings. He said yesterday (right about the time we had checked in), at least 45 eagles flew right by the B&B. We were probably in our room at the time. He also said he was down at the dock picking up his son, who was fishing, and he observed an eagle swoop down and get a fish out of the water. How awesome is that!
After we left the B&B, we went down to the water and saw an eagle just chilling. We then went into the visitor center.
After that we got gas (over $40.00, yuck), and headed south. While gassing up we noticed a grocery store across the way:
We stopped at a viewpoint just a few miles south and so glad we did. The fog, the water, the mountains – absolutely breathtaking. Loving the natural beauty so much more than anything man can make.
We kept driving down to Port McNeill. We wanted to check to see about a ferry to one of the islands – either Sointula or Alert Bay (Cormorant Island). As we drove to the ferry terminal, a ferry was leaving for Sointula. I thought it wasn’t meant to be but we checked and a ferry to Alert Bay was leaving in less than an hour. The round trip cost was just $11.10 per person (good deal). We didn’t know it was per round trip and were expecting to pay for the return trip. We asked the lady when we bought tickets if the island was walkable and how long it would take to see the major sights. She was sure we would be able to do it by the time the next ferry left the island.
We arrived at Alert Bay and turned to the left to walk on the newly built boardwalk walkway towards the U’Mista Museum. It was about a fifteen minute easy walk along the bayshore. Every 100 yards or so there is a covered deck that juts out over the water and they all have great native carvings hanging in the covered portion just under the roof line. When we got to the museum, a local was outside carving a lovely new sculpture. He was very informative and told us stories and a short history of himself. He also told us about a fire the museum had about two weeks earlier. Person, or persons unknown, set a flare off and stuffed it into the foundation of the building, catching the wooden structure on fire. Because of where the fire was started, it set off an alarm that brought a response and they were able to quickly put the fire out. The museum was open but smelled of smoke. They were not charging an entrance fee at this time due to the condition of the items. The museum (other than the smoke smell) was wonderful. A part of it was closed off, but there were many wonderful articles and things to see and read. What a great museum. Glad we stopped. We were busy taking photos until we noticed the no camera sign.
After the museum we headed up the hill to the world’s largest totem pole. It is large but can’t really tell what the top half of the totem pole is. We went down the hill and headed towards the other end of the island. We stopped in the drug store and across the street at the grocery/deli store. While walking we had several Eagle sightings. Then on we went to the other totem poles on the burial grounds. They ask you to only view the totems from the road, which is a great vantage point. There were many very old, and some not so old, totem poles. Great variety of styles and conditions.
Michael and I were tired by the time the ferry came, but so glad we had seen this wonderful island. What is so great about it (in my opinion) is that it is so unspoiled. Very natural and nice. Loved it.
When we got to our car (around 4 PM), we got on the highway and almost immediately saw two baby deer. They seemed to be waiting on their mother. We couldn’t wait to see if she showed up but I hope she did as they were too young to be on their own. Sure were cute though.
Lovely ride down. We were wanting to eat dinner at the Crow & Gate in Ladysmith/Nanaimo area (2312 Yellow Point Road, Nanaimo). We plugged in the address but our GPS took us the longest way around possible. Was fun, seeing downtown areas we would never see otherwise. We finally got there about 8:30 PM. There was a very lively and fun hostess/waitress at the cash register. What a hoot she was. The place was way out in the wilderness, or at least seemed like it. Lovely flowers and grounds. Food was pretty inexpensive and lots of it. The bonus was it was very good. You could tell it was a favorite as it was very busy even at around 9 PM at night. Glad we went.
We finally got home around 11 PM. Good to be in our little cave. We’re tired and are gonna sleep in, tomorrow we laze and graze.
Hope your day was good!