Lots to do today with a trip from Victoria to Nanaimo along the north shore of Vancouver Island. We will be catching the ferry tomorrow from Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver.
After a filling breakfast which should hold us until dinner we are on our way taking time to stop along the way to take in the gorgeous views. Our first stop is at the two Malahat viewpoints which overlook an arm of the Saanich Inlet.
Also on our way to Nanaimo we pass through Duncan, City of Totems. Certainly that deserves a look. They have an information center with a map and a chatty lady. She wants us to take a tour but we demur. We have places to go and things to see today!
Our map helps us find the totem poles and there are plaques to explain the different figures on the totems and the stories associated with them.
Raven’s Gift Totem
The Feast Totem
Cedar Man Walking out of the Log
Cedar Man is the world’s widest totem pole at almost 6 feet. The original tree was over 750 years old when forestry company MacMillan Bloedel donated it to the city. The Cedar Man is showing a chief who has the right to speak at ceremonies holding his talking stick which contains his family crests. On this talking stick you see the thunderbird, the killer whale, and the man.
It is pretty hot here in Duncan, over 80F. The town must be shielded from the ocean breezes by the mountains in the middle of the island. We are pretty warm from our walk and ready to get back in the car and take the short ride over to B.C. Raptor Center. They have raptors including owls, hawks, and eagles plus some non-raptors like the turkey vulture.
A flying show is put on three times a day. The birds are flying free and sometimes they do what they are supposed to and sometimes they go sit in a tree. Most were born at the Raptor Center and stay there of their own accord.
So the birds fly back and forth between perches and are rewarded with little tidbits of food. All the while the head caretaker tells us fascinating facts about the birds., i.e. that pigeons can fly 60 mph and peregrine falcons can dive at 180 mph. This is probably the most comprehensive bird show we have ever attended.
Not to be outdone, just northwest of Duncan is Chemainus, City of Murals. There are murals everywhere—on the sides of public buildings, garages, even a Subway sandwich shop. Plus they are really professionally done and in excellent condition. This is quite a surprise.
Late in the afternoon we reach Nanaimo where we will take the ferry to Vancouver tomorrow. We are staying in a tall hotel and our room has a great view of the harbor.
We have dinner at the hotel’s casual restaurant. Unsurprisingly seafood is on menu.