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Author Topic: Vancouver Island  (Read 1976 times)
Peter McLennan
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« on: August 10, 2004, 07:26:33 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Much of Vancouver Island is remote and inaccessible. It takes time, knowledge and a helicopter to get to the really good places. Avoid the area north of Campbell River for this reason. That said, there are many, many places that will exceed your expectations and aren't inaccessible at all.

The trip to Prince Rupert would cost you substantially in both time and money. The boat ride itself is good, a pleasant ride through endless green forested valleys that happen to have ocean for bottoms. Unfortunately, they all look the same. The real way to see the coast of BC (or Alaska) is by air. Charter a float plane out of Campbell River for two hours and you will be amazed. Probably the best money you'll spend in BC.

As for the Island, I'd suggest Tofino, about halfway up, on the west coast. If you don't live on an ocean coast, the experience there is worth however long it takes you to drive there. Tofino has ocean beaches to die for, including excellent offshore islands to add to the effect. It's a spectacular location with lots of tourism facilities.

In Tofino, the Mears Island walk is worth the trip if you've not seen a real rainforest. Tropical jungles don't compare. Ever seen a 300 foot tree? Eight feet through?

There are a many opportunities for wildlife photography in Tofino, including whales. Seals, Sea Lions, birds galore, forest dwellers. Note that some whale watching is seasonal. I'm not sure when they migrate past Tofino on their way back from the Bering Sea to Baja. Late fall, I believe.

Another excellent adventure is the ferry boat "Lady Rose". Google it. It's a great trip with good stuff at both ends.

Bamfield, on the west coast is a tiny version of Tofino. No sandy beaches, but you can visit the Broken Group, an archipelago of dozens of tiny, uninhabited islands seemingly laid out by Japanese gardeners. You'll need to pay for a tour there, but it's a world class location.

West of Victoria are Sooke, Jordan River and Port Renfrew, all not quite in Tofino's league, but easy to access. The drive is nice, but slow, windey. Victoria is an excellent little city to visit if you have a day or so to spare.

Travelling south from Campbell River, avoid the new "parkway" and find the old highway. Less traffic, better scenery. Qualicum Beach, for instance.

Have fun!

Peter[/font]
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PeterP
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2004, 03:06:39 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Thanks to Peter and Rusty for the advice - the float plane out of Campbell River sounds great and we are checking out overnight trips from Telegraph Cove.

Thanks again

PeterP[/font]
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PeterP
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2004, 05:22:40 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']My wife and I are planning a trip to Vancouver Island this September and we were hoping for some advice on planning our itinerary.  Our only pre-booking is for 6 days at Knight Inlet Lodge with 7 days prior to this booking and 5 days after yet to be planned. As usual when trying to plan a trip we are suffering from information overload, all gleaned from the tour brochures and travel guides, and we were wondering if anyone with an interest in wildlife photography could offer any advice on the places to visit and tours to take.
We fly in and out of Campbell River and will obviously be hiring a car or 4x4. One suggestion we have had is to take the ferry up to Prince Rupert and spend some time there where we could be expected to see humpbacked whales and grizzly bears. This seems a very long trip and I wonder if we would see as much or more staying on Vancouver Island.[/font]
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Rusty
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2004, 10:50:42 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I live just outside Parksville and can concur with Peter M's reply. Do you hike? Consider a drive up to the ski hill at Mount Washington, from there you can hike over well marked trails into strathcona park and avoid the long hike up hill from the Buttle lake side. you will go through paradise meadows, and may see wildlife if you are good and early. there are lots of lakes and the trails are easy and well marked for a day hike. You will see whiskey jacks for sure.
There is also a boat ride from Gold River and/or Tahis to Kyouquet (sp?), I have not done this but hear it is good and there are B&B's there.
As to whales I suggest a trip to Telegraph cove north of Campbell River where there is fair sized tourist industry catering to whale watchers. There are rubbing beaches utilized by the whales and with the salmon running you stand an excellent chance of seeing whales. Be sure to contract with an established guide outfit that adhears to the legal and ethical concerns about approaching the whales. google on that for a reference, bring a moderate telephoto and if you have IS that will help, Gee I really must do that myself sometime....
there are lots of tour operators and boats with skippers available to hire in Campbell River for wildlife viewing. Only if you are very short of time consider the Zodiac type tours they just burn up the channels and you just get to see the scenery fly by. Consider an overnight trip on a slower tour boat through the Broughten Archepeligo, two years ago I watched bears on a beach on Sonora island turning over huge bolders to feed on the critters beneath, bring a faster film for this type of shooting.
I lived for several years in Prince Rupert and can say that the drive from Rupert to Hazelton is one of the seven wonders of the world, on a good day... I have seen moose swiming in the estuary of the Kasiks river that flows into the Skeena about 2/3 of the way to terrace from rupert.
enjoy the trip
R[/font]
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