Island Hopping

Pride of Vancouver Island
See more images of the crossing

Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens
See more images of the gardens

Totem pole
Totem pole in the BC Museum

The last full day of the honeymoon and it looked to be anther monster! A full day exploring Vancouver Island - which is a huge place, the size of Taiwan.

The ferry terminal was about an hour from Vancouver in Tsawwassen so a bleary eyed drive early in the morning was needed to reach the port.

It takes around an hour and a half to cross the Strait of Georgia to reach Swartz Bay on the Island. You pass through the Gulf Islands which gave me loads of time to stand on deck with my coffee and let the wind blow the cobwebs away.

Our first stop was at the Butchart Gardens and I have to say a couple of hours just wasn't enough time to do justice to the amazing place. There was nothing out of place yet it still looked 'real'. Anyone visiting the city of Vancouver should spend the time to go over the the Island to see this - it was one of the highlights of the entire trip and I thought it was just going to be another 'stopover' point.

We then went to the state capital of BC, Victoria. An 'old' city with a very European feel which made it an excellent place to spend our last formal part of the holiday.

Instead of wandering around yet more shops of souvenirs we spent a couple of hours in the BC Museum. It was nice to find out more about the region and more on the First Nations. Also the shameful process of the English sending over loads of girls, some as young as 12 to marry the gold miners. This was to make the place more civilised (!) and the journey took the girls on a trip of over 101 days sailing from the UK via the Falkland Islands, up the west coast of South America, into San Francisco and then up into Vancouver. In all that time the girls had to live in the bilge of the ship as they may "tempt" the sailors. Who was behind this brilliant idea - the church, brilliant. The one organisation you'd have thought would have helped the weak, but no. Stopping men drinking and fighting was preferred and church sponsored slavery and in effect prostitution was encouraged.

The return crossing in the evening gave us a great sunset over the coast and the chance to say goodbye to the first of our little group to leave. Our group was to split into three with one couple getting a floatplane to go watch whales, then about half those left took a cruise to Alaska and the rest of us were heading home.

As it was late and money tight we ended the evening in McDonalds - my first in North America, cool!! (Yes, I'm sad!)

Ferry crossing to Vancouver Island

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