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Vancouver Island

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Ever since I was a kid I've dreamt of going salmon fishing on Vancouver Island, and given how close I am in Whistler I thought I'd do a bit of a road trip. Looking on a map it looked like it'd just be a case of nipping over there for the day, but distances in Canada can be a bit deceptive. Turns out it's a 300 mile drive. Each way. Oh well, better make a few days of it.
A quick bit of planning with buses, fishing boats and hire cars and I was off. This is the first part of the trip where I was actually going to be on my own, so should be an interesting test for later on. Managed to settle back into driving on the right quickly enough, although traffic lights on highways and turning right on reds feel completely wrong. Anyway, managed to get the motel at Campbell River safely by about 2am, with a new found friend in JR Country FM. An 8am meet with the fishing boat left me feeling a little less than enthusiastic, given the lack of sleep and my experiences of previous fishing trips (which aren't generally very successful), but I tried to say a friendly good morning to the skipper, Cody and Liesel (other tourists on the trip). As the boat left the marina under the watch of a pair of bald eagles, perched literally 20 feet from where we passed, onto water with incredible views of BC mountains and forests, I perked up a bit. As "there she blows" was called out by the skipper about 2 mins later, pointing out a blow spout thing from a minke whale, I was downright excited. This place is a bit special.
I was still incredibly surprised though when 15 mins later a rod slammed over and Cody brought in a 10lb salmon. 10 mins later I had a smaller 3 lber, which went straight back. Over the day we had a total of 6 salmon, 2 of them keepers (and delicious!), and 7 or 8 rock cod. Awesome!

Rod.jpg The view, Cody, Liesel and the keepers

The view, Cody, Liesel and the keepers

After leaving the boat I had a long drive across the Island to Tofino, where I again arrived late at night and checked in to a cute hotel on a cliff by the Pacific. Woke up in the morning to what must be the best hotel balcony view I've ever seen. Sat watching more eagles fishing as I had coffee before exploring some of the rain forests and beaches around Tofino. Spent most of the morning just in a constant state of amazement about just how eye searingly beautiful this place is.

Balcony view and Tofino rainforest

Balcony view and Tofino rainforest

Tonkin Beach and Tofino Airport

Tonkin Beach and Tofino Airport

After Tofino, via a forest with massive trees called "Cathedral Grove" (more on that later), I saw a small sign at the side of the road pointing to "Little Qualicum Falls" so I thought I'd make a quick stop. Oh my god! This place had a tiny sign and I hadn't seen any mention of it anywhere else, but has to be the most magical place I've ever been. I got there just as it was going dark and had a mad rush to try walk the falls and get a decent photo before the light went, but I could have stayed there all day.

None of these Vancouver Island photos do justice to the actual places. It's incredible!

None of these Vancouver Island photos do justice to the actual places. It's incredible!

That night I stayed in another motel in a place called Duncan before meeting a guy with a boat to fish the Cowachan river on Thursday. Again I couldn't believe how helpful Canadians are. At the motel after I'd asked about fishing licences the manager offered to buy and print one for me, and then when I asked about somewhere to get food she offered me a lift to a local pizza place. At the pizza place I sat at the bar and got talking to an old boy retired trucker and a young dance instructor. By the end of the night after hearing about the planned USA road trip the trucker had forced me to take his number and promised that anywhere, in any state, he could get a breakdown truck to us in an hour. He also said he had some friends high up in the police force in most states, and could help us out if we had trouble in that department. He then offered to plan out a route for us and recommend motels. What people! The dance instructor was American and she didn't offer me anything.

The fishing trip on the river was less successful and back to my usual fishing experience of blanking, but was fun and beautiful nonetheless, and just bein out on the Cowachan was lovely. After we'd finished I headed for the ferry back to the mainline, to see amazing views of the channel, and watch a much bigger whale rolling about a mile away. It's a long way to come from the UK, but if you're ever in the area then Vancouver Island is pretty spectacular.

Cowachan.jpg Ferry.jpg

Posted by Matt Cocken 08:54 Archived in Canada Tagged island vancouver

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Hi Son
Comeon!!!!! what happened next? Promise we won't come and join you if you keep updating--- lol MnD

by Alnbabs

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