This past weekend was my last on the island as I head off to the Arctic on Wednesday (5th August). It was also a long weekend as Monday was a bank holiday for British Columbia Day/birthday.
We were all quite jaded from the previous weeks work so we decided that Saturday morning should be a lie in. We got up around 11ish feeling fully refreshed and spent the next few hours just chilling out around the house. For once the tide was out at a useful time (the tides here are mixed semi diurnal – pretty messed up compared to the UK) so we headed down to the beach to have a poke around and see what we could find. Supposedly there should have been hundreds of sand dollars just lying around, but they were nowhere to be seen. However there were crabs everywhere. The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent looking around the Butchart Gardens. The Gardens are located in an old limestone quarry and cement works and has four distinct areas: The Sunken Garden, The Japanese Garden, The Rose Garden and the Italian Garden. In the evening we had been told by the staff at the IOS to stay and watch the fireworks which happen every Saturday night. They were incredible and well worth the wait till 9.45pm. Getting home afterwards was a bit of a mission, as the bus that was supposed to leave as the fireworks ended didn’t seem to exist and we had to wait till 11.10pm. Saying that, its pretty awesome that there was even a bus at that time!
Sunday required and early start as we planned to visit the Sooke Potholes which we missed doing last weekend. This turned out to be a good call as even after catching the 9.14am bus from Sidney we didn’t arrive till just after 1.00pm. It didn’t help that the last 5km to get there was on foot as there was no bus service. The journey was well worth it as the gorge (George – very similar to the Gorge du Fier) and of course the potholes were sweet. The river was seriously deep in some places so we had great fun jumping off the surrounding cliffs (Ed, Jon, Gid, Alex (and others who like jumping off big things!) – you guys would have loved it. There would have been some awesome DWS as well if I had my shoes). We decided we really couldn’t be arsed to walk all the way back down the road, so we stuck our thumbs out and hitched a lift in the back of this guys truck (Jit – thought of you on your Morocco Hitch!!). In the evening we went to a free open air concert in Victoria call the Symphony Splash. We sat on the grass outside the Government building watching the orchestra who were sitting on a barge in the harbour. They played some awesome music including the Star Wars theme tune and one of the movements from Jupiter. Again we had to wait hours for the bus so finally got back around half midnight.
The plans for Monday were to hire canoes/kayaks and paddle out to the marine reserve on the Sidney Spit. As it turned out none of us woke up till after midday so by the time we got into town it wasn’t worth spending the money. Instead we sat around in the sun reading for a while before having, for me, a final look around the town and marina. If I had more time, there is so much more to do but ah well there is always another time.
We leave for the Arctic on Wednesday so as soon as I have finished writing this it is time to start packing. Tomorrow is my last day the IOS. Although I have spent very little time there it’s been an amazing time. The people are so nice and the atmosphere is awesome. I would not complain if I ever ended up working there! Anyway tomorrow I will post some info about the cruise and some photos from previous cruises. I don’t know how much internet will be available whilst I am up there, but I shall do my best to keep you all updated.