Island Hopping – Part 1

Way back in November we took a little 3-day vacation over to Vancouver Island to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We took the ferry over to Nanaimo, meandered through the Cowichan Valley, down to Victoria then returned to Vancouver from there. I think we hit most weather patterns throughout our trip – blue sky, grey sky, a bit of rain, a lot of rain, a bit of fog and some gusty winds. All in all, though, it was a great, much-needed, getaway! | Vancouver Island getaway, Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver BC

We had glorious weather heading over to Nanaimo. Although the winter sun was shining low in the sky, the wind was brisk and we managed about 30 minutes outside before feeling a bit windswept and headed back indoors.

Day 1: Nanaimo

We decided our anniversary vacation was going to be a food-and-craft-beer tour so once we landed in Nanaimo, we meandered down to Wolf Brewing to try their brews. The have been brewing their craft beer for quite a few years now, but have only recently opened up a tasting room (their Scotch Ale and Porter were fantastic!). We sat at the bar and chatted with one of the head brewers (a fellow UK lad), getting recommendations on where to go in the evening. The Wolf tasting room is slightly off the beaten track, but that didn’t seem to stop the steady flow of people coming in for growler fills. Business looked good for a Monday afternoon! | Vancouver Island getaway, Wolf Brewing, Nanaimo BC

The following day was forecast to be cloudy and foggy, with rain starting mid-morning – so our plan was to head down to the harbour at first light in an attempt to catch the sunrise and, if the weather thwarted our plans, then we would enjoy a cup of coffee while people-watching, instead. The alarm went off just before sunrise and we grabbed the camera and headed down to the waterfront. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m a sucker for sunrises! | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

Nanaimo early morning was just what we were wanting, I think we saw the best part of the day! We had a few moments of blinding sun while we enjoyed our coffee, and then the clouds rolled in to stay for the day.

The Next stop? Down through the Cowichan Valley to snack and sip. Stay tuned!

You Say Nanaimo, I Say Ferry Time!

Part of my job involves testing mammography equipment, making sure it’s up-to-snuff, in terms of all things physics. I enjoy this part of my job, as it’s nice to have a change of scenery (i.e. gets me out of the office) and I get to travel a bit to (sometimes) remote parts of BC.

Every year, during the second week of September, I head over to Vancouver Island for a few days for work. The site I visit in Duncan is one of my favourite – the technologists are very helpful and treat me very well, and they’re always so well-prepared. It makes my job much easier!

And the other reason I like this part of my job? I get to take the ferry to the island! Midweek, after all the children are back in school and the summer-vacationers have finished traveling, taking the ferry is quite relaxing. | Ferry ride, Nanaimo BC

I always take the first ferry out, which makes for an early start, but then I get to see the sun rise as we head out of Horseshoe Bay (and you know I like a good sunrise!). The clouds were starting to lift, giving me a great view of downtown Vancouver and Mt Baker in the background. | Vancouver sunrise from the ferry

I wanted to take a few pictures of the totem poles in Duncan but I had to rush back to Nanaimo to visit the mammography site before everyone left for the day, so those pictures will have to wait another year 🙂

If you’ve never been to Nanaimo, I’d recommend staying in the Historic Downtown, near the harbour. I always stay at the Coast Bastion Inn, and was given a room upgrade this time (whoo hoo!), which placed me up on the 10th floor with a neat view of both the harbour and the downtown. | Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

The view of the sun setting was truly spectactular. | Waterfront sunset, Nanaimo BC | Waterfront sunset, Nanaimo BC | Waterfront sunset, Nanaimo BC | Waterfront sunset, Nanaimo BC | Waterfront sunset, Nanaimo BC

I decided to pick up a coffee and fresh-baked scone from Javawocky, and take an early-morning stroll along the harbour to watch the float-planes come in, soak up some sunshine and get in a bit of exercise! | Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC | Float plane arriving at the dock, Nanaimo BC

The ferry ride back to Vancouver was fairly uneventful. The sun was shining brightly and the outer decks were full… then an announcement was made that there was a humpback whale about 200 meters off the starboard side of the boat (which made the outer decks REALLY full!). Then we sailed through a thick patch of fog, which promptly sent everyone back inside, except for those few passengers, enjoying the calm, peace and quiet 🙂

We left the fog, just as we rounded the corner back into Horseshoe Bay. | Foggy ferry ride, Nanaimo BC | Foggy ferry ride, Nanaimo BC

It was a hard day of work 😉