Alaska 2012:
Day 3 - Victoria


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Alaska 2012: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Seattle] [Day 3 - Victoria] [Day 4 - Vancouver ] [Day 5 - Inside Passage] [Day 6 - Juneau] [Day 7 - Skagway] [Day 8 - Glacier Bay] [Day 9 - Ketchikan] [Day 10 - Inside Passage] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Empire Builder] [Day 13 - Empire Builder]

Friday, August 3, 2012: Good morning, Port Angeles!
The sun was just coming up, ...
... and hadn't yet burned away the morning fog shrouding the ships out on the water.
We were up early to secure our place in line for the Black Ball ferry to Victoria.
We had wisely booked in advance so we were guaranteed a spot during the busy summer season.
Here's our ferry!
And here's a distant photo of the Red Lion Hotel where we stayed.
It was time for breakfast, so we grabbed a spot in the cafe and took a look at the food on offer.
Can it be? Ivar's Clam Chowder? Here? Yes, dear readers, it was the real thing, so we had our third meal of Ivar's goodness.
As we left Port Angeles, we got one last look at the Olympics mountain range.
Up on deck, a young man named Tristan was giving a talk on the octopuses. Or is it octopii? It was very interesting and made the time fly by.
After that, we enjoyed the scenery some more, purchased our tickets to Butchart Gardens at the tour desk, ...
... and 90 minutes after we departed, ...
... we were being welcomed by Victoria, British Columbia.
We were right up front when the ferry was unloaded.
A quick drive around the harbour took us past the British Columbia Parliament buildings, ...
... and the lovely Fairmont Empress Hotel.
We headed to Songhees Walkway across the harbour, ...
... so we could admire the view of the city. The Victoria Clipper, a passenger-only ferry, was just arriving from Seattle. Can you spot our little friend Orchy on the rock in this photo?
When Debbie was a girl living in Seattle, she had a honeysuckle bush like this in her front yard, so she had to try a blossom to see if it produced the same sweet nectar she remembered. It did. Tom was horrified, expecting to be arrested at any moment for picking a flower in a public park, but Debbie would do it again, given the chance.
This roundabout had an electrical box next to it, which was completely covered with a photograph of how the intersection used to look many decades ago. Nicely done, Victoria.
We suspect that our GPS did not take us on the most efficient route to Butchart Gardens, but we did get many opportunities to admire the scenery of Vancouver Island's many back roads.
Yep. Scenic.
Here we are! Butchart Gardens!
Debbie's Aunt Mary had implored her to visit, insisting that anyone who liked to garden must come here. She was right.
We passed these animal-shaped moss topiaries on our way to ...
... the Sunken Garden.
This is the main attraction, and it is a beauty. Orchy posed for a photo.
Formed from an abandoned rock quarry, it now looks more like a floral valley than a giant rock hole in the ground.
At the far end of the garden is a small lake with a dancing fountain.
Dance, fountain, dance!
Pretty flowers.
Pretty waterlilies.
Pretty pond.
More pretty flowers.
In the middle of the garden is a large rock outcropping with a staircase leading to the top.
There's Jill waaaaay down there.
Here's the view looking back toward the garden's entrance.
More pretty flowers.
Pretty butterfly.
Pretty begonias.
The begonia display was so breathtaking that it caused people to stop and exclaim. Seriously. Every single person who approached it made some sort of sound of delight, even very manly men. Begonias! Who knew?
We headed toward the Rose Garden, passing these sweet pea vines on a trellis.
Pretty frog fountain.
Pretty rose. Sorry, but it gets difficult to find new and interesting ways to write a caption for a flower.
This lawn circle was in the center of the rose garden, surrounded on all sides by carefully pruned, deadheaded, and labeled rose bushes.
Even to rose non-fans like us, it was still quite beautiful.
This is called the Fountain of the Three Sturgeons. Let's see if we can figure out why.
This clueless lady was waiting for someone patiently by this torii gate, thus blocking anyone trying to get a photo of it.
Ha! Got a photo of it from behind, lady!
The Gardens are so big, they even have their own picturesque cove. It's hard to believe this used to be the private property of one family -- one extremely wealthy family.
We strolled through the Japanese Garden.
There were meticulously tended trees, pretty streams, ...
... and this fascinating water feature that filled up and emptied out again, over and over.
Tom freaked out again when Debbie taught Jill how to make a snapdragon blossom snap. Here is Jill demonstrating the technique. No snapdragon blossoms were harmed in this demonstration, we promise.
This is the aptly named Star Pond.
Here's the Italian Garden.
Most important of all, here's the Blue Poppy restaurant ...
... where we had an expensive-but-tasty cafeteria lunch in the beautiful open-air dining room.
There was a glassed-in garden right next door.
It was a pleasant walk back to the parking lot.
We drove further north ...
... to get in line for our next ferry.
We spent some time perusing the visitor area, but were able to resist buying these ketchup-flavored Old Dutch potato chips, a clear indicator that we were in Canada. We withdrew some Canadian cash and bought some Coca-Cola Light and a Kinder Surprise Egg. Jump ahead to Day 5 to hear more about them.
All aboard!
As we pulled away from the dock, a wondrous site came into view ...
... it's Mount Baker!
Even better, here's Tom!
The ferry ride through the Southern Gulf Islands was very scenic.
See? Scenic all over.
This little cove even had its own tiny lighthouse. So adorable.
This gentleman was giving a wildlife presentation on deck, but it wasn't interesting enough to keep our attention so we left.
Instead, we walked around deck sightseeing, ...
... and spotted a couple of harbour seals splashing near the ferry.
We also spotted a bald eagle flying just beyond the bow of the ferry.
Here's a majestic BC Ferry similar to the one we were on.
Up ahead: Vancouver!
Jill was engrossed in the Hunger Games series in the lounge area as Tom and Debbie came and went. At one point, there was a visit to the gift shop where we purchased an adorable set of long johns for Claire.
We passed another BC Ferry ...
... as we made our approach into Vancouver.
Back in our car and under our own power, we saw these Maersk containers at the container port.
Along the drive, we had another great view of Mount Baker.
Getting anywhere in Vancouver seems to require driving directly through the middle of it.
We crossed Lions Gate Bridge for the first time heading to Grouse Mountain.
There was no wait at this time of day to board the cable car to the top.
Up we go!
This photo gives some perspective on how steep the incline was.
We rode up with some nicely dressed people who were guests at a wedding reception being held at Grouse Mountain. Here they are heading to meet the bride and groom who had just arrived by helicopter.
Chipmunk!
The second part of our journey involved the chair lift.
We got on and rode past this birds-of-prey demonstration happening nearby.
It's a long way up ...
... and we've already come a long way!
We watched a paraglider take off from the peak above us.
Oh, that looks like fun.
We made it to the top ...
... and enjoyed the view around us. Hey, look, there's Mount Baker looking spectacular for about the hundredth time.
On the ride back down, we spotted a patch of snow on the ground still unmelted by early August. They must get some very serious snow up here. That explains the point of the chair lifts.
It's a pretty view, isn't it?
The trail between the chair lift and the main Grouse Mountain visitor center is lined with large wood carvings like this majestic eagle, ...
... this mama owl and her owlets, ...
... and these gigantic bugs. Some of us were more taken with this particular sculpture than others were.
We had dinner at Lupins Cafe overlooking Vancouver: a pizza slice, a panini, a wrap, and a big tray of poutine: a surprisingly delicious combination of french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
Outside, we saw some actual lupines, along with several varieties of columbine.
Soon, it was time to go, ...
... and the view looking down was impressive. The lake below was formed by the dam that is upstream from the Capistrano Salmon Hatchery, coming up soon in our story.
We passed a cable car on our way down.
At the base of the mountain, a wooden carving of a wolf was situated outside of the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife.
We were lucky to see one of the handsome timber wolves who call the refuge home.
Our next stop was just down the road at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Here are the rearing ponds featuring different types of salmon, including Coho babies right up front.
The hatchery is located along the Capilano River, ...
... and salmon are routed past this miniature dam through ...
... a fish ladder, viewable by visitors through large windows.
We got to see several salmon jumping from one section to the next higher one during our short stay. It's compelling drama. Jump, little salmon! Jump!

After a very full day, we crossed Lions Gate Bridge again and checked into our downtown Vancouver hotel.

Day 4 >


Alaska 2012: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Seattle] [Day 3 - Victoria] [Day 4 - Vancouver ] [Day 5 - Inside Passage] [Day 6 - Juneau] [Day 7 - Skagway] [Day 8 - Glacier Bay] [Day 9 - Ketchikan] [Day 10 - Inside Passage] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Empire Builder] [Day 13 - Empire Builder]

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