Whale Watching (or not)

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 22, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, September 26, 2009

On Thursday I got all dressed up in warm clothes - leggings, pants, shortsleeve thermal top, longsleeve thermal top, fleece and jacket, beanie, gloves (learnt my lesson from the bear watching experience) and walked down to the inner harbour to go whale watching.  It was a warm day so I got a bit hot on the walk and standing around waiting to board.  Anyway, we got on the boat and off we went out to sea.  Only problem was that a fog had rolled in about an hour before and it was so thick that we couldn't see more than 50 metres in any direction.  The captain was using radar so she didn't run into any other boats!  So after half an hour when it didn't get any better, they cancelled the trip.

When we got back to harbour, I decided to do a long walk through the suburbs and along the sea through Fisherman's Wharf and back to the Inner Harbour (about 4.5 kms) but first I had to go back to the hostel and divest myself of all the extra layers.

The walk was lovely - past the provincial parliament buildings, through an area called James Bay to the Seawall, along the breakwater, past the cruise ship terminal (there was a very big cruise ship docked) and then to Fisherman's Wharf.  This is a fairly small wharf but it has the prettiest floating houses, mostly decked out in flowers.  There are also two of the fattest Harbour Seals I've ever seen.  People feed them so they just float around the dock waiting to be fed.

I also love the dinky little Harbour Ferries.  I think we should get some for Sydney.  They may not carry many people but I doubt they do much damage if they run into something.  They are about the size of a bathtub.  They have these in Vancouver too so I'm hoping to go for a ride in one when I'm in Vancouver for a few days.

Yesterday I actually went on the whale watching trip (all dressed up again).  We saw four Humpback Whales playing and feeding on the surface.  The Humpback I saw in Tofino was alone and he would come up then dive and stay down for five minutes or so.  These Humpbacks stayed on the surface, blowing and diving a little but coming straight back up.  Sometimes they would do a deep dive - that's when you see their tales.  But they didn't stay down very long and we were able to watch them for ages.  Once they were only about 50 metres, maybe less, from the boat when they did a deep dive.  Whales have really big tails when they are that close.

Unfortunately, there were no Orca to be seen so I still haven't seen one. I don't think I'll have another chance this trip - oh well, next time. 

Today, I went to the Museum of British Columbia before leaving Victoria.  This is a fantastic museum, not very big but really interesting.  They had a visiting exhibit from the British Museum, featuring cultures through the ages so there were Egyptian exhibits - mummys, jewellery, a cast of the Rosetta Stone - Greek, Roman, Celtic, Pacific Islands, ancient Arabic cultures.  I spent about an hour and a half in this exhibition and could have spent a lot longer but I wanted to see the natural history and First Nations exhibits as well and I only had about 3 hours altogether.  The First Nations section was great, although I didn't have long enough.  I plan to go to the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver later in the trip, I'm looking forward to that even more now.

This afternoon, I caught the Moose bus back to Vancouver.  Apparently, people sometimes see Orca on the ferry trip from Victoria to Vancouver but not today.  I'm back at the Vancouver hostel I stayed at last week but I have a bathroom (shared with the room next door) this time.

Tomorrow I'm going to Whistler for the night.  We arrive there about 3.30pm and don't leave to come back to Vancouver until 4.00pm the following day so I should have some time to explore.

For those of you who have been asking, I haven't entirely stopped smoking but I'm mostly down to 2 or 3 cigarettes a day.  I have to say that the attitude to cigarette smoking here seems a little harsh given that it's not unusual to see people smoking joints in the street quite openly.  I always have to suppress the urge to run up to them and tell them to put it away.  Grass is not legal but personal use is generally ignored, much the same as in Australia but much more open.

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