Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Away from it all on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island may be a little out of the way, but it's well worth the trip. There is something about islands that makes them special...that slight inaccessibility lending something that is hard to find in a world where things are mostly convenient and homogeneous. The ferry ride over from Vancouver was a great part of the trip in itself. We took the car ferry--a modern, well equipped, "mini cruise" with plenty of comforts, though the views are the best amenity.

British Columbia is perhaps the most diverse Canadian Province in terms of ecosystems. BC has desert areas, mountains, old growth forests, calm beaches and rain forests and more. Apparently, BC has the world's strongest ocean currents, yet in the Parksville and Nanoose Bay area they have some of the mildest, along with mild ocean temperatures (I would never have guessed the water could get up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit here!).

Some other interesting facts I learned:

The west coast of Vancouver Island contains the rain forest area and very wet weather--almost 100 times that of the east coast, which actually sees mild rainfall (20-30 inches/year).

The west coast is prone to Tsunamis, though they have been mild and the country has an extensive warning system that works very well.

The world's greatest population of cougars lives on Vancouver Island.

There are many things to do to enjoy the natural beauty of the island:

  • Watch bears chasing the running salmon.

  • Visit old growth forests and walk amongst the 800 year old trees.

  • Hike the rainforest.

  • Tour the caves.

  • Visit fish hatcheries.

  • Go skiing.

  • Walk some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

  • Take in the views from the many golf courses.

  • Go whale watching, bird watching, or shell collecting.

  • Visit the waterfalls or take in the wide variety of beautiful scenery in the many parks.

In addition to the great outdoors, there are interesting shops, museums, places to explore the history of the island's native people, crafts and artisans, tours of the wineries, meaderies, and farmer's markets, and several quaint towns to enjoy. Then, there's the capital city of Victoria...but more on that later...

For more photos of Vancouver Island click here and for more detailed information on visiting, stop by the Vancouver Island website.

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