So, we have finally touched down in Canada and wow this place is amazing! The flight over with Meggie and Kent was pretty standard, of course with the usual delays at Gatwick. We landed in Vancouver around 2 ish, and after answering some petty pointed questions at customs like ‘where are you working?’, ‘what are you doing?’, ‘are you being paid?’ (they didn’t seem to like foreigners entering for paid work!) we were allowed to enter the country and collect our bags.
Terry, our contact at the IOS (Institute of Ocean Sciences), had already emailed us before we left to tell us the once we had arrived we needed to get a taxi to the ferry terminal were we could catch the ferry to Swatz bay on Vancouver Island. We stopped at the information desk in the airport to double check there was only one ferry terminal. Much to our surprise we were promptly told not to bother with a taxi and catch a limousine instead! We trusted his advice so ended up having our first experience of downtown Vancouver and Canada from the back of a limo. Sureal is probably the best way to describe it!
The ferry terminal itself was about a 30 minute ride form the airport through standard North American downtown. Although I probably should have expected it, I was surprised by the size and number of cars here. The 4x4s and pick up trucks are simply enormous.
At the terminal we met a guy called Justin who was returning from the island after spending 7 years working in Holland. In his words he decided to come back because he couldn’t be ‘dutchified’. I don’t blame him from some of the stories he had!
The ferry journey took around an hour and a half. The route took us through what our known as the Gulf Islands before arriving at Swatz bay on the Saanich Peninsula. The scenery was stunning as the boat threaded its way between small, rocky, wooded islands which seem very similar to the Norwegian fjords. The weather here is awesome with clear skies and temperatures in the high twenties, low thirties. The locals don’t expect it to rain till at least September! Terry met us at the ferry terminal but not before I walked straight past him giving a fantastic first impression!
We spent the evening with Terry who took us to the landladies’ house before heading into Sidney (the local town) for a bite to eat and a look around the evening summer market. On the way back he gave us a tour of the local area although to be honest the jet lag made us rather unreceptive and I think we all just wanted to go to bed.
Our first day at the IOS started at 8.30 with the usually health and safety crap and form signing. The emperor and empress from Japan had just visited so we were shown round all the displays and sat in on a presentation/photo slide show of the visit. I met Humfrey my supervisor and we had a chat about what work I will be doing in the next two weeks and of course the cruise. I won’t go into all that now as to be honest I don’t quite understand it myself but it has something to do with ADCPs and Matlab. (For non-oceanographers ADCPs are a type of current metre and Matlab is programming software). In the afternoon we went into town to buy some steel toe capped boots. They are some seriously insulated beasts!
For climbers - we popped into the Mountain Equipment Co-op on the way home were they flog Camelot C4s and DMM 4CUs for like 30 quid a pop. Its insane!
Anyways that’s probably enough for now, I hope it’s not too boring! I hope you are all well.