We have just returned from our annual family trip to Vancouver Island. I love Vancouver Island.
Although I travel often to beautiful Victoria, every summer we join up with several friends at their extremely secluded home on an already secluded Gulf Island (the magnificent islands dotted throughout the protected waters between the mainland and the large Island.)
On this trip we raced through mainland British Columbia with a quick social and climbing stop at another friend’s home in the sweltering Okanagan Valley in the centre of the province.
Making our way down to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassan. I really wish I had reserved a spot on BC Ferries on what is the busiest travel weekend of the summer calendar.
Thus waiting a few hours we immediately relaxed once on board the crossing to Swartz Bay through the Southern Gulf Island. I take this 1.5 hour ferry crossing at least a dozen times a year and while weather is almost always perfect, I love the trip under all circumstances and often see eagles, seals, porpoises and sometimes even orcas. The region really is among the most beautiful places on earth, similar to parts of Scandinavia, Chilean Patagonia, South Island New Zealand and further north in Alaska.
From Swartz Bay it is a short drive into Victoria where my father lives in a classic building with mountain and ocean views. The night we arrived, the 1812 Overture was being performed in Victoria’s harbour!
I promise a full blog on Victoria travel in the near future, but for the moment I want to say that on every visit to BC’s Capital, we eat at Prima Strata – my favorite Pizzeria anywhere on earth (including Italy), and always walk through Beacon Hill Park before and after dinner.
Leaving Victoria, we drove north through the sunny Cowichan Valley. This region is popular for its year-round warm weather and good wine. There is a significant First Nations population and as the coastal aboriginal populations really did (and do) carve totem pole, I always enjoy stopping in Duncan – the City of Totems!
So on an island renown for good services and excellent locally-produced food, why was I forced into virtual vegetarianism??
Salmon of course. Or the lack there of.
I caught absolutely nothing. Although we were out on an island, the exceptionally warm waters this year kept the fish deep out to sea. This was a short trip, so we planned to fish close to shore not having organized a boat. The largest fish I caught was roughly three centimetres long 🙁 …
There is no doubt my distinct lack of fishing prowess was a great source of humour while sitting around the fireless (due to dry weather) fire pit, but after two warmer-than-normal winters and a hot dry summer with many forest fires, I could not even pull-up the guaranteed rock-cod we have always known exactly where to catch.
There were 11 of us all together. We did not starve. Everyone brought food and our hosts are among the best hosts and friends anyone could ask for. Indeed out of respect I will not diverge the whereabouts of their perfect holiday island and getaway home.
Since my early childhood I have travelled to Vancouver Island and I love fishing in the ocean. Let’s hope we can encourage an honest conversation about what is happening to our climate. We hope to harvest salmon for generations to come.