Eric and I toured the
west of Canada in august/september
of 2001. We spent about two weeks camping and
hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks of
Kootenay. We did not
visit Mount Revelstoke & Glacier.
Apart from the Rockies, we also spent time on
and in Calgary,
Vancouver, and the
Kootenays and Okanagan
We spent only two days in Pacific Rim Nat'l
Park, on Vancouver Island, but that was enough
to get a good feel for the place. First on our
agenda was a whale watching trip! We made a trip
out to Flores Island, with a Zodiac boat. It
was organized by Jamie's, out of Tofino. The
weather was beautiful, the guide knew what he
was talking about, and we saw at least 4 or 5
whales! Well, "seeing" a whale is more like
seeing a small jet of condensed air a couple
of times, and then seeing a bit of the whale's
back and its tail as it dives for the bottom.
But we certainly found the
trip worth it! The photograph above shows
the tail of a diving whale.
The photograph below shows a whale exhaling
through the blow hole in its back. The "smoke"
is condensing moisture.
The weather was calm and the
ocean was very smooth when we went, but the
Zodiac ride was quite bouncy. This was a lot
of fun for us, but I can imagine that this may
be a problem when there are more waves,
particularly for those who have back problems.
On our trip out onto the Pacific, we also met
a couple of what seem to be the most self-absorbed
of all marine creatures: sea lions basking in
the sun! Look at him pointing his nose at the
Although the Rockies were swarming with bear
warnings, it was on Vancouver Island that we
finally got to see a bear! It was a young black
bear; although he looked friendly enough, we
were afraid that mother might be in the bushes
beyond, so we did not approach him.
Large parts of the Pacific Rim National Park
are covered in rainforest. I always thought that
rainforests occur in tropical regions only, but
they also occur in temperate regions with plenty
of rain. The west coast of Vancouver Island
doesn't get too cold, and gets plenty of rain
from the ocean, and has a large rainforest.
The photograph below shows how resources are
recycled in a natural forest. The old tree fell
over and died, perhaps in a storm, and the
younger tree, which isn't so small itself,
grows on the decaying tree trunk.
We spent a day and a half in Victoria. The city
has a beautiful centre, especially around the Inner
Harbor. I loved the cheery look created by lots
of flowers everywhere. The picture below shows
the Inner Harbor, and the Parliament Buildings
in the background.
The highlight of Victoria, in my opinion, was
the Royal British Columbia Museum. It had lots
of excellent exhibits, very impressive. Most of
the stuff that I remember was about the natural
environment and local heritage in this region. If
you go to Victoria and are just a little bit
interested, it's a must. They even have a
We had only four days for Vancouver Island,
and I think that was too short. The photo below
shows the sunset over Nanaimo.
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