This morning Mike’s brother Gary really went above & beyond his brotherly duty and got up ridiculously early to drive us to the Seattle Waterfront to catch the Victoria Clipper ferry to Victoria, British Columbia. We leave our RV in guest parking at the RV park for a few days.
They call us to board at about 7:30 am and soon we’re settled in our comfortable seats at a table in the upper cabin. We have a great view as our ferry gets underway promptly at 8:00 am.
Our route from Seattle to Victoria, BC takes less than 3 hours. I venture outside to the back deck to take some photos but it’s very cold & windy – the speed of the boat is deceptive from inside the cabin but we’re actually moving quite fast. The view as we transit the Puget sound is especially beautiful as we pass Whidbey Island, the Cascades rising behind it. Mike is excited to see a submarine as we pass Port Townsend.
The boat slows down as we enter Victoria Harbour so I’m able to step out on the back deck and take photos.
We dock at 10:38 am. After we clear Customs, we walk the short distance from the ferry terminal to our hotel, Harbour Towers. Unfortunately, it’s too early for us to check in but they do allow us to store our luggage so we can explore Victoria unencumbered.
We thoroughly enjoy walking through small parks full of colorful tulips & other flowers down to the waterfront, which is called the Inner Harbour.
We stroll along the waterfront watching the seaplanes take off & land from their terminal, the huge yachts & small fishing boats mingling, and a beautiful tall ship.
We talk to Jeff who is a painter on the tall ship, the Pacific Grace. The tall ships aren’t actually not old; the Canadian government commissioned the ships to use for teaching high school students how to sail. The students sail the ships, even taking them in & out of the harbor, under the supervision of a few instructors.
Mike & I stop for lunch at a cute pub near the waterfront called The Local. It’s very warm & sunny but luckily they’re able to seat us outside but partially in the shade.
After lunch we wander around the shopping area by The Local and enjoy the interesting murals.
Towards the end of the day, Mike & I walk along the waterfront again and notice a “Buck a Shuck” (CN$1.00 per oyster) promotion at Steamship Grill & Bar. It’s 4:57 pm so the manager tells us we’re just in time. We’re seated on their lovely deck overlooking the waterfront and order two dozen raw “Paradise” oysters (from Baynes Sound), which are served on a heaping bed of ice with lemon juice in one cup, cocktail sauce in another cup (too sweet for our taste), and shaved horseradish. The oysters are absolutely delicious and we thoroughly enjoy our Happy Hour together – we even see HARBOUR SEALS (as they spell it in Canada) & RIVER OTTERS swimming in the water!
After Happy Hour Mike & I wander down to the water taxi dock and catch one to Swift Street, the nearest stop to Victoria’s Chinatown.
A short walk uphill and we’re exploring the few blocks of the oldest Chinatown in Canada, what’s left of what was once a large Chinese community. We enjoy walking up Fisgard Street & down Fantan Alley and end up eating a Chinese dinner at Ocean Garden Restaurant.
I’m wearing “cute shoes” instead of my comfortable sneakers so of course I’ve developed blisters and walking is painful. We go back to the Swift Street dock and call for a water taxi, which takes us back to the dock close to our hotel. I actually take off my shoes and walk barefoot for a while along the waterfront, my feet hurt so badly, but (of course) I make it back to our hotel. Obviously tomorrow I’ll be wearing my sneakers!