Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Salt Spring Island 9.30.09

We got on the road around 9am or so and headed South on Hwy 19 down Vancouver Island to the town of Crawfton where we jumped on a ferry over to Vesuvius, on Salt Spring Island. What a spectacular drive! The scenery is amazing – the leaves on the Alder trees are turning a beautiful shade of orang’ish brown, the pinecones on the hemlocks are turning brown’ish orange, the tips of the cedar trees are turning red, the huge leaves on the maple trees are turning yellow-orange-brown and beginning to fall….not to mention all of the shrubs & berry bushes beginning to turn colors as well. It’s definitely autumn in B.C. and is incredibly beautiful. We stopped to find a couple geocaches on our way and were treated with a huge lake, sandy beaches, & incredible vistas. The two lane highway winds over & around, up & down, and each turn rewards you with another breathtaking view. This s a place I would love to spend a couple weeks camping, bike riding, and relaxing. Next time!

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but we ‘crossed over’ into a different country which means several changes! Kilometers instead of miles, Canadian currency instead of American, liters instead of gallons, Celsius instead of Fahrenheit…at least the language is the same, well, with only few ‘eh’s’ and a different accent. Haha!

We just missed the ferry that left Crawfton when we arrived but the ferry is every 30 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long. We purchased our tickets which were about $43 CDN and caught the 4:30 ferry over to Salt Spring Island. The ferry was a double-ender ferry with no real room for passenger waiting areas so most everyone stayed in their car.

The ferry over to Salt Spring Island

The trip over was quick, only about 20 minutes or so. We arrived in Vesuvius and we were meeting our good friends Joe & Deb in Fulford, about an hour or so drive around the island.

Joe & Deb cooking up some breakfast!

Joe & Deb are our dear friends that we spent most of last year cruising with. We met them in Mazatlan and they came into Stone Island anchorage just a day past us arriving and we sailed down the coast together. They have a similar lifestyle, they cruise Mexico in the winter and work during the summer and their job is running the Fulford Marina on Salt Spring Island. What a life! :-) We knew we were coming to see them at the end of their time working, but it happened that we were coming on their last day of work! So of course we had to celebrate! Woohoo! We made it to the marina around 6pm or so and proceeded to get reacquainted and talk all about our summers. And the celebratory beers flowed as well… We went to dinner at the Fulford Inn & pub and we all enjoyed the special…a personal pizza….and beers. It was so great to see them and catch up.

We popped the top of the camper and slept in the parking lot of the marina, right alongside them in their camper that is provided to them. That made it incredibly helpful getting home at night!

Our camping spot in Fulford Marina

The next morning we met with them for breakfast and more chatting and then we jumped into their truck and went touring the island. We drove up to Mount Maxwell lookout which has an amazing panoramic view of the islands.

Up on Mount Maxwell Lookout

There was a bit of breeze in the air and a bit cloudy but it was a spectacular spot – you could see for miles and miles and as Deb put it "it was as if you could take a walk on the clouds." Just below us was an anchorage with amazingly clear turquoise water that reminded me a lot of Catalina Harbor.

Michael and Rene at Mount Maxwell Lookout

Salt Spring Island is an artsy community which makes it a lot of fun looking through the boutique stores in town. There were lots of goodies and the stores were jam packed with stuff I would have loved to have. Too bad I live on a boat! We went to downtown Ganges where we enjoyed a nice lunch by the fire at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. Joe & Deb explained that the school kids come to the island from many of the surrounding islands and so they have to take a water taxi home! They had three boats loading up to take the kids home. Jeez, I wouldn’t want to miss the boat! That’s a long, cold swim back home… ;-) We went back to the marina and partied with them both until it was time for bed.

The next morning was another day just like the day before….wake up, go over to Joe & Deb’s (did I mention they had a heater in their camper?!), breakfast, and more touring of the island! This time we went to Ruckle Provincial Park, a great park area right on the water.

Rene & Deb in front of a tree in Ruckle Park

We hiked the trails, checked out some local wildlife (this is a leopard slug),

Ewww...a leopard slug

scoured the beach for beach glass, and just took in the amazing views. This area is incredible.

How beautiful!

We decided we had spent enough time off the water – time to check out the area by boat! We went back to the Marina where Joe & Deb had a small boat that they were permitted to use and the four of us jumped aboard and took off.

Our rental boat

A friend of Joe & Deb’s, Catherine, the post mistress, met us at the dock and away we went!

Catherine enjoying a cruise on the water in Salt Spring

We just toured the area, often stopping the engine and just drifting. All the while chatting away and eating the wonderful munchies that Deb brought for us – pate, artesian bread, cheese, Canadian bacon, yum! We got back to the marina just around dark and proceeded to chat the evening away! Oh how we’ve missed Joe & Deb. Seeing them only makes us miss them and Mexico and our boat and all of our cruising friends even more! But it’s great to see & visit with them in a different place, in the layers & layers of clothes! We can’t wait to see them again and are so grateful that they could take some time to spend with us!

Cheers!  Rene in Salt Spring


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