Sooke and the fish that didn't get away

Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
Trip End Sep 10, 2005

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Flag of Canada  ,
Sunday, September 4, 2005

It's early morning and we are walking around the Port Angeles Harbor. The tower is there, so we climb it. Dawn is still trying to turn up her lights, but failing, so visibility isn't the best.    

Gary took the car down to the ferry "line-up" earlier. We want to be on the earliest departure  - 8:20am. It's a first come first go system. So, get there early, or you have to wait for the next departure.  The crossing time is only 90 minutes. We can see the Coho coming in, so we walk up the harbor front to  the car. The price for the car and four passengers is about $75 US. It's a quick and economical way to get to Victoria.

Parking is tight on the Cocho, so I am glad someone else is driving. We head upstairs to check the Coho out. Lots of comfortable seating. Dogs are permitted in the outside deck areas. The sun isn't coming out, so the views aren't the best as I stand on the back deck. The shadowy mountains are towering over Port Angeles. This would have been a perfect photo with the right weather conditions.

Coming into the Victoria harbor the views are of the unique houseboats turned into private year round housing, and the "towering" new buildings in the background.
The crossing is only 90 minutes, but it's a long wait to get off the ferry. Then, a longer one to get thru customs, which is done by pulling your car up to the Canadian Customs official. The line was moving SLOWLY. Probably someone without a birth certificate or passport was the offender.

We've cleared customs and we have some time to tour Victoria this morning. First stop is Craigdarroch Castle.  It's not really a castle. But built out of stone in the late 1800's the size (over 20,000 square feet) and rising up four and a half stories, for this time period, this was one impressive building. And still is today.

It's a rags to riches story of Scottish immigrants Robert and Joan Dunsmuir. Robert was a coal miner, working in the mines.  Ambitious enough to purchase his own mines on Vancouver island and accumulate a huge fortune. The wood working and detail in the 39 room house is astounding. We had a hard time just getting past the entry way staircase. It's an 87 step showcase of wood craftmanship. Add some stained  and leadglass windows, lavish furniture and more of the wood craftmanship, and you have an actually cozy mansion.    

Unfortunely, Robert died before the house was completed. One of his daughters married into the Guiness family. Don't forget to go out the back door. The view of the house from this angle is the best.

Victoria has seen such growth in the last ten years. It's hard to accept the change from the quaint community to a bustlely big town atmosphere. Construction is everywhere, and the once empty roads are now crowded.

We're on to Sooke for some fishing!
Of course we are dealing with those crowded roads, so we're moving a little slow. And it's lunchtime and the stomachs are growling. We stop for lunch on the road out of town, and call our fish guy to tell him we may be a little late. Another fast food luch and back on the road, but now there is construction. AGGH.

Finally get to the pier, but can't find his boat. We're walking the pier thinking maybe he got disgusted with our lateness. We're bummed, cause this is one fishing trip we really wanted to do. The salmon here can rival Alaskas. Kary spots what she thinks looks like the boat she saw on his website. We walk over, but no one there. Darn. We're discussing what to do next, when he crawls out. Just taking a nap. OK! We're ready to go.

He sells the fishing liscense on his boat. Gives us the do's and don'ts shows us where the cooler is for drinks and we're moving out of the harbor. We're going north up the coast. In open water, I ask if he would like to turn the controls over to me.

Yep, go ahead he says. My vacation has another happy moment. Fishing is the talk during the ride up the coast. He mentions the light house. Can we get close for a photo? Depending on how the fish are running. We drop anchor and now is the favorite time of our day. Except the fish aren't hitting.But he has a stash of chocolate! This is good.  We bob around for a while, he's in contact with other owners discussing where these phantom fish are running.

We move positions, but not closer to the light house which is in the far distance. Then we drift south. I get to move us further north. Waving at the other charter operators and getting a response. Finally Gary gets a hit. It's a nice one with a LOT of fight. The waters are getting choppy. Then really choppy. But we want another salmon!

We're starting to head back to the direction of the pier when we get a call from another operator just in front of us. We're dropping anchor and fishing. John has a fighter on his line. The waves are throwing us sideways, but John is going to bring in his first salmon. The smart tourists would cut line and  head back into the shelter of the harbor. Yeah, but those tourists don't fish.

What seems like hours later, but probably only another fifteen minutes and John's salmon is in the boat. It's a keeper! We're rocking, rolling and hanging on tight as we head back to the harbor. I am NOT at the controls, which is a very smart thing. Are we keeping the fish? Kary and John want to have theirs canned. Gary donates his to our captain. John's fish is quickly packed in ice and ready to go in the cooler provided by our captain. The fish heads are feed to the seals.

We look a little worn when we arrive at Gordons Beach Farmstay B&B. It's a little late, and we're wondering what to do with the fish. Gordon calls a few canneries, but they are closed. He says to put it in his huge walk in fish freezer outside. We can take it to the cannery on the way out of town tomorrow when they open.    
This B&B is unique. It's art deco architecture sitting in a farm field with an ocean view. the inside of the house is a gem also. LOTS of windows, and with this view I woul do the same. Our room is up stairs via a private staircase.  I saw the photos on line when we booked it, but they do not do it justice. The bedroom area is very large. A private deck overlooks the ocean and farm, as does most of the windows. The bathroom is a dream. HUGE. The backwall is stained glass ceiling to tub windows. The tub (very large old fashioned cast iron)is on a raised ceramic tile platform. A ceiling to tub window is in the front. Antique dressers in place of a linen closet. I brought sea salts for a long soak in this tub so I am a very happy gal.

Kary and John are happy with their room but it's time to feed our stomachs. We're told that Mom's Cafe is the place. It's themed as an old diner with bright blue vinyl booths. An old juke box and some "kitsch" thrown in. The food (fish and chips for us) was  plentyfull and delicious.  Then a cruise thru Sooke to find a cannery before heading back to the Farm.  
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