After a restful night in a Seattle hotel, and a fun breakfast at the Totem Diner in Everett, we entered British Columbia, Canada — a detour from our original plan to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca via Port Angeles, Washington.
Our mistake was assuming our second ferry crossing experience would be as our first, where we drove to the landing, purchased a ticket at a drive-up booth, and then drove directly onto the ferry to cross Lake Champlain.
All crossings to Victoria from Port Angeles were sold out by the time we rose and attempted to purchase a ticket. In fact, our only option was to drive into Canada to the Tsawwassen Terminal, catch a 6pm ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Swartz Bay, and then drive 30 minutes to Victoria.
It was a long day, but the sunset views across the strait were well worth the trek.
Our cozy Airbnb apartment allowed us quiet time to sleep in and recuperate from the previous day’s travel.
It was afternoon before we ventured into downtown Victoria, where vibrant colors enhance the city’s energy – it was bustling, yet laid back and friendly.
The city’s center surrounds a busy harbor and is comprised of a mix of Victorian architecture, modern condominiums and shopping/tourist areas. It works, and we enjoyed walking around the harbor interacting with street artists, musicians, and other tourists.
Fisherman’s Wharf & Whale Watching
We arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf well before our scheduled tour in order to explore the area and try Barb’s famous fish and chips.
Barb’s lived up to the hype. We both agree they were the best fish and chips of our six month trip, a perfect mix of crunch and tender flaky cod. And not too greasy.
Eagle Wing Tours had favorable reviews and offered a wide range of whale viewing opportunities.
Although a beautiful, warm day, the speed of the boat amped up the effects of wind and sea spray requiring us to break out our rain gear.
The waters surrounding the San Juan Islands provide an ideal home to wildlife, and the perfect feeding environment for Orcas.
Subsequently, Victoria is home to many marine biologists who study and research the great mammals. Their decline in population, compounded by a lack of new births, is the greatest concern.
Orcas roam about in groups referred to as pods, and we encountered both the K and J pods during our outing. Overall, we witnessed six full breaches, and too numerous partial breaches and fin and tail slaps to count.
It was an incredible and magical day!
Our stay in Victoria passed quickly and did not allow time to explore all that Victoria has to offer, including Butchart Gardens. Gladly, we would have another opportunity to revisit the city three weeks later.