7.30 am start.
We headed out of the hotel into a brisk but clear Vancouver morning and walked towards the waterfront and the seaplane dock. Handed over the appropriate documents and waited for a seat on a flight. We didn’t wait long in the very warm waiting area and our names were called. Out of our seats like runners in a race, and down the dock to our waiting plane.
Our hosts were Harbour Air on their 20 seater float plane. After a safety briefing by the co pilot, we strapped in, and waited for take off. It was incredible. First the slow movement from the dock, then a bit more power and we were making waves, then full on thrust and we started to leave the sea behind.
Every minute of the half hour flight was filled with beautiful scenery. Over the greenery of Stanley Park, the ribbons of concrete at the international airport and over the water and many many islands. Islands with jetties and houses and beautiful green trees, turning on their autumn colours.
As we flew over Vancouver island towards Victoria, we saw local morning traffic, quiet beaches and boats underneath us.
The seaplane docks right in the heart of downtown Victoria, making it so easy to start the process of wandering the quaint streets, with beautiful buildings and some amazing shops.
After a great coffee and Cronut at the Crusty Bakery,
we wandered into a book shop called Russell’s.
This is not just any book shop! 3 floors of books, old and new. The basement has a mind boggling catalogue of 1st editions, vintage and rare books. I enjoyed finding Trixie Belden Mysteries, Donna Parker stories, along with Mark Twain, Frank Baum and AA Milne vintage copies. Very hard to drag myself away from this store, but the Butchart Gardens were waiting for us. We hopped on a local bus, headed to the gardens and after almost an hour we were there.
The Gardens are stunning, even in autumn. My favourite was the Japanese Garden, with it’s peaceful zen feel, stepping stones and water trickles, little bridges and monuments. It was hard to believe I wasn’t in the temple gardens in Narita. All the different areas were so immaculate and beautifully cared for that it was hard to choose. The Ross fountain will take your breath away.
The family who lived here and built the gardens did so over 100 years ago. Throughout the gardens are also beautiful statues. The warthog was wonderful.
The weather and the gardens didn’t disappoint. Next stop, another local bus to the ferry terminal at the other end of Vancouver Island.
The Coastal Celebration was the ferry waiting and we were soon on board and saying goodbye to Vancouver Island. The trip home was longer than the way over of course, taking an hour and a half, but it was still spectacular. This time with the view from sea level instead of a few thousand feet, we saw stunning inlets, islands with few inhabitants and beautiful beaches, trees and jetties.
The ferry is large and comfortable and the time passed quickly.
Docking back in Vancouver, it was still another 40 mins, bus and train to return to our starting point of downtown.
A 12 hour day, and every minute totally fantastically great!