I am no longer in Victoria, Vancouver Island… So I acknowledge everything is a little delayed, including this blog writing. I feel terrible about this.
From Haines, Alaska, I spent a week there enjoying a restful time in the small fishing village of Haines which is stated in previous post. However, from there I caught a ferry south to Bellingham, Washington. The route of the ferry should have taken me to see all the beautiful islands stopping on the way over the course of a week to see many untouched picturesque places. However, things didn’t go to plan. The ferry from Haines to Juneau ran a little slower than scheduled, arriving 4 hours late, from their announcements over the ship’s tannoy informed of a slight delay due to engine problems. Further announcements followed over the next 3 days as we stayed marooned in the harbour of Juneau. Doing daily hitch-hikes into Juneau (14 miles away) just to escape the monotony of sitting in a harbour, time passed quickly. Eventually, after a good 3 days stationary, ferry engine rebuilt and many of the destination stops being removed (to make up time) we set off. The ferry ride which I had foreseen as an opportunity to sit down with my thoughts and edit up video, went quite sour with the distraction of the delay, and plus the social aspect of bonding with fellow frustrated passengers. A week later I arrived in Bellingham.
Once on solid ground, I raced my bike back north into Canada, to catch a ferry over to Victoria, Vancouver Island. There I met a much awaited good friend from YouTube: Kim (RideVictoria), we bonded like we were friends from way back; so much to talk about at any given moment. What I had thought originally to be just a couple of days ended up being 2 weeks, I leisurely relaxed in Victoria, enjoying the social element of Kim and his family until eventually after various videos published and packing reconfigured. I set off north of the island to bench-test my new luggage set-up.
My island road trip took me up to Tofino to see the west side of the island (the west side of Vancouver Island is mostly uninhabited, and very few roads stray across the island that far). Here, I managed to see not a lot, I arrived a little later than anticipated, panicked. Having spoken to a couple of “hippie” types at a parking lot, on Long Beach, I knew of an eco-village in Tofino town. I drove around in the Tsunami flood plain of long beach looking for somewhere to camp and didn’t like the constant reminder of the flood risk, I continued into town and found myself horrified at how mainstream the place was. It was like a ski resort filled with French-speaking Canadians. I backed away cautiously with the daylight diminishing, I found my way to the eco-village as described. I pulled in, got greeted by friendly faces, directed through ropes and planks and a labyrinth of craziness to a place to hang my hammock. I was instructed to pay in the morning when I left and then I was left alone to hang my hammock. Once all set up, I went out to socialize with the friendly people who greeted me, however, just like day turned into night, these people relinquished their ability to speak English and pretty much ignored me. I went to bed feeling a little alienated. Woke up early the next day, packed up saw nobody to pay for the night, and just left.
That morning, I headed back east down the same road I came (the only road). But explored a small trail off the road to find myself on a ramshackle bridge over a little creek with crystal clear water, just as I was undressing to take a skinny-dip swim and wash, a camper–van pulled in. Plan aborted, I set off again down east.
I ambled my way north to a destination i plotted on my phone from the ferry, north of the island near Sayward, just to say I went there, it was a remote forestry area where nobody really frequents. I found myself a little camp site, free to use with very basic amenities, a fire pit and a toilet pit, two little rivers merged on either side, and I imagined as I hung my hammock that the white noise would sooth me into a deep sleep. However, one of the worst nights of my camping experience, a mixture of indigestion, cold, excessive river noise with creaking trees unsettled me throughout the night. By 5 am logging trucks were blasting their way past consistently that left me wide awake. Sapped out of energy I spent the morning washing in the river and soaking up some sun. Eventually a midday I hit the road south again, only making it as far as Fanny Bay where I was again limited with choices where to camp. I tried hard to find a trail off the roads to camp as all the trails and forestry roads were closed due to fire risk. I eventually found somewhere that had been recently logged, along the tree line. It wasn’t perfect but worked well for me.
Throughout this experience, the new luggage system seemed to be a great improvement for me, one bag with all my day-to-day camping gear. The other bag with my change of clothes, toiletries and technology that I don’t often need. This segregation improved packing efficiency, comfort and cut general fluff!
The following day from Fanny Bay, I meandered my way south through a trail down to Port Renfrew then along the coast back to Kim’s house to meet him for a “Synch The Planet 2015” video shoot that night. Alas, sadly I’ve not had time to edit the video and Kim didn’t have a computer to edit either so that’ll be published at some point before 2016 I’m sure.