The weather had cooled significantly as we headed out to catch the ferry from Twaasen. We were to cross over from the mainland to Vancouver Island to meet our hosts for the next 6 days, Keith & Julie Thompson.
With our trusty GPS, Gloria guiding us we drove seamlessly off the ferry and over to the Marina in Sidney where Keith and Julie kept their beautiful boat Highlander II.
We were welcomed warmly and made to feel at home; given the obligatory tour of the boat and its workings, 3 second flushes and 3 minute showers were highly recommended.
Keith gave Marco lessons on taking the helm as we cruised out of Sidney and in no time he was confidently sailing us into unchartered waters ( well, uncharted by us at least!)
Harbour seals bobbed in the water, basking, flipping and disappearing. Pine forested islands surrounded us in a deep steel blue ocean and we breathed in the unfamiliar surroundings, totally different to any island settings we had ever seen.
First port of call was Ganges on Salt Spring island. A beautiful harbour and a village of art, craft, music and vibrancy. In some ways it felt like Huskisson had been transported into the Northwest and I did think a little about the prosperity that a marina could bring to the businesses of such a small town- not that I’m suggesting we desecrate our beautiful Husky beach in such a way. We spent a fantastic 2 days here and thoroughly enjoyed the Saturday market, festive and Summery, abundant with fresh produce, handmade soaps, delicious breads and buskers.
One such perfomer was a wiry and muscular African with an enormous grin who thrilled the crowds for half an hour with such feats as spinning four large metal bowls at one time on the end of wooden bowls; one balanced in each hand, one in his mouth and the other tucked securely in his pants. His was a strange mix of choreoraphy, a skilled juggler and gymnast, he would occasionally lapse into a series of exploitative dance moves, grinning wildly while he gyrated. Some parents squirmed uncomfortably while their kids giggled nervously. If the directors of Manpower were there he would have been hired on the spot.
Our last night we dined at a beautiful restaurant, a short walk up the hill. Amazing food and equally wonderful company!
The next stop was the hideaway Telegraph harbour. A beautiful marina tucked away in a long narrow cove it had a feeling of wild isolation and beauty. Keith had bought the girls a game of Monopoly in Ganges and the played it in just about every spot on the boat.
Our second day we walked the fifteen minutes to take the ferry across to Chemainus, a town renowned for its murals. Along the we noticed single wooden chairs on the side of the road. They had been placed there as a local courtesy for travellers to rest as needed. On a bench overlooking the harbour we found a diary open to any passerby to enter their details, impressions and origins..the girls had fun adding Australia to the long list of other visitors from many parts of the World. We walked around Chemainus for a couple of hours intrigued by the concept of reviving a flagging tourism industry by inviting artists to paint historic scenes on every bare building wall. In an antique store Marco and I found a beautiful print by an Indigenous Canadian artist and snapped it up. Sharon loved it so much she said the trip to Chemainus was worth it just for the find of gorgeous art!
The girls raced around the town striking various poses in front of murals, keen to get to a computer a post them on their My Space and Facebook sites.
Our last night was spent at Otter Bay, kowing that the next day we would say goodbye,regretfully feeling like we could stay for weeks on this beautiful boat with such wonderful and generous hosts and knowing that we would all treasure the memories of a very special experience.