The distance between Surrey and Ladysmith is 100 miles give or take. To travel that distance one needs not to get sea sick, patience to wait for a ferry, and enough money to pay for the one way fare (about $80 for two adults, a child, and a loaded down Subaru). The passage lasts about an hour and a half and offers amazing scenery. We were told we might see whales but were not that lucky. I scanned the seas with my binoculars and got very excited the first time I spied a dark mass only to discover it was some driftwood. I have no pictures of the passage because I wisely (sarcasm) left the camera in the car. I also should let everyone know that even if I had taken pictures, I currently have no way of uploading them to my computer (I lost the miniscule cord needed to perform that task). I am hoping to replace the cord and when I do I will upload many, many photos. I promise. We got off the ferry and stumbled through Nanaimo. I was surprised to be back on HWY 1- island version. Four lanes here but moving at at Jamaican, laid back rate. Speed limit 80 KPH (about 50 MPH). We got lost headed to our cousin Lucretia’s house and had to call her from Ladysmith. Once there we had a lovely evening with Lou’s friend Roy, David and daughter Mariah (whom is my daughter’s age and has been a sporadic pen pal to her and is now a bff), Pam and Dan. Lou made a wonderful dinner and an amazing pie for dessert and conversation touched on the Canadian education system, fishing, and travel. After being on the road for over two weeks we felt at home.
Prior to the ferry trip we spent the day at Stanley Park in Vancouver. Vancouver is a hard city to label. We entered via W. Hastings street and were amazed at the grittiness of it. Shirtless young man in handcuffs, questionable woman on the telephone, open drug sales, and a true sense of chaos just around the perimenter of the downtown. Downtown looked like any downtown and then the park which is a jewell- a forest in the middle of a city with beaches, totem poles, bike trails, and plenty of child friendly parks. And busloads of tourists, many of whom were on some sort of cross Canadian tour. It cost us $3 an hour to park. If I drove a tour bus it would have been $40 an hour. Our first stop was an Aborigional (Native American) “village” complete with traditional dancing and a miniature train ride accompanied by a story that I had trouble following. We then drove around the park and did some light hiking in the “cathedral” forest. Leaving the park we saw a glimpse of the city that people fall in love with- interesting little shops and resteraunts, plenty of coffee shops, and people of every nationality walking about. I would love to see Vancouver again. Today we are off with David and Mariah hiking to the water to maybe see whales.