Published: August 6th 2007June 17th 2007
Well, a fair bit has happened since my last blog, and I apologize for my slackness. In summary (so you don’t have to read the whole thing), we have spent 2 nights in the very English city of Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Then onto Tofino for hot springs and whale and otter watching. This was followed by a 15hour ferry ride through snow capped fiords from Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island through to Prince Rupert. In Prince Rupert we had this brilliant plan to catch the train through the Rockies to Jasper. But it rained and snow melted and the road and rail lines went seriously underwater. Unable to travel east, we looked west and spent 4 awesome days in the Canadian Galapagos (the Queen Charlotte Islands) with our new friend Anna Marie and a bright yellow jeep called Buttercup. In the end we flew from Prince Rupert through to the cowboy city of Calgary. Despite Calgary being a lovely vibrant city, we left with a sour taste, as Emily’s pack was stolen from the safe locker at the International Hostel. Not letting this destroy our plans, we continued on
to the Rockies, where we had an awesome time admiring the snowy mountains, glaciers and the abundant wildlife. I finally completed a life long goal to see the origin of my middle name - Lake Louise. Right now we are in Edmonton (staying with Emily's cousins who are abosutley lovely), and am beginning to think it’s about time to do some work, although there’s always the temptation of that 2 week Alaskan tour…… Tofino
Tofino is an awesome little town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. From the window of the backpackers you can watch the sunset over the water and in between the mountains and occasionally watch otters and orca swim past. A large number of companies offer whale watching tours and we eventually picked one that offered a tour to hot springs as well. The tour company dressed us up in these bright red puffy jump suits - honestly it looked as though we were about to head to Antarctica. The tour was awesome, including a walk through old growth forest (virgin forest) and we saw heaps of humpback whales. No visit to Tofino would be complete without a visit to the surfing beach (Long beach).
However I would recommend that people don’t walk there - it’s a tiring 35km round trip! Queen Charlotte Islands
I can’t believe I ever thought bald eagles were even the slightest bit rare. The Queen Charlotte Islands must have one of the highest densities in Canada. They are everywhere. On the night we arrive on the Island we went for a brief walk along the harbour, and there was this one spot where there must of being at least 10 of the birds squabbling over a few bits of fish. The birds are a hazard to the local electricity system, we saw one bird hanging dead from a wire after landing on the wire and flapping its wings in the direction of another wire. The local store owner wasn’t too impressed as this was the second time that week she has lost power due to eagles!
We hired a little bright yellow jeep nicknamed Buttercup to travel around the island. It was very reminiscent of the jeep we traveled around Samoa in. The Queen Charlotte Islands are like a step back in time, everything is so laid back and very much takes its own sweet time. Old Masset
is worth a visit, although there are a large number of burnt out or degraded homes, primarily due to the high price of fire insurance. We spent a night at ‘Rapid Richies Rustics Rentals’ log cabins in the ‘Waldorf’ cabin right on the beach. It was complete with a long drop toilet, no electricity and a fire place to test my fire lighting skills. We celebrated the ‘Hans’ - a Dutch tradition of burning a witch on the bonfire and sending her to Germany. Oh and we had the most yummy banana and chocolate bonfire desert. The Rockies
No one can visit Canada without seeing the Rockies. The Rockies have been the best place so far for viewing wildlife. We have seen numerous big horned sheep, deer and elk, a few black bears (including a cub in a tree), a variety of squirrels and 3 hoary marmots. The Rockies are incredibly picturesque. We traveled around on the Moose tour travel network. Hopping off to spend extra time in Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff. We spent our spare days going for hikes, to Lake Angus in Lake Louise, up Whistler Mountain in Jasper and up Sulphur Mountain in Banff. Lake
Angus was probably one of my most favorite spots. The lake was still semi frozen, with an awesome view across a U shaped valley and jaggered snowy mountains above and heaps of very cute and bold golden squirrels. Although I’m kind of glad mum and dad didn’t make it up there, as Angus would not be my choice of middle names!
Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying themselves. It’s great to hear from you all.
There are more photos below