I have “itchy feet” – it’s what I say when we’ve been somewhere too long and it’s time to move on. We’ve been enjoying Victoria for the winter, but now our thoughts are focused on cruising north to Alaska.
Of course Victoria is much more lively and beautiful with the nice spring weather. There are two large sail training schooners that have been coming in once a week. We have a front row seat to watch the procession of high-school students (they look so young) coming off the boats after their week’s adventures, and to see the new load of youngsters trudging down the dock with their heavy duffel bags and pillows. That kind of experience is so wonderful for kids – they are away from the Internet and they can just focus on the world around them, working together to help sail their beautiful boat. Everyone should get the chance to do something like that, and to learn that one can live a week (or more!) without staring into the glow of a smartphone.
All winter we’ve been wedged behind a big trawler, blocking any kind of view out the back of the boat. We were facing the seawall and the endless parade of tourists taking pictures of the mega-yacht (search on “yacht Zenith” and you’ll see our neighbor), and Zenith blocked the view out the galley window. We could still see some of the sights out the windows, but not as much as we hoped. Well, our trawler neighbor left yesterday and we got permission to slide down the dock to the far end where we have a fantastic view of the inner harbour and Parliament – it’s a nice way to wrap up our time here.
We needed to make one last trip back to the U.S. so we drove across the southern part of Washington to visit our friends in Walla Walla (“So nice they named it twice!”). It was our first time in eastern WA, and it’s so VERY different from this side of the Cascades – it’s much flatter and drier, with softly rolling hills. Agriculture is big business here, with vast tracts of cherry and apple trees (the cherries were in bloom – so pretty!) and grapes for wine. There are big windmills on the hilltops, and verdant river valleys around the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It’s pretty, but in a drastically different way than the craggy mountains and tall evergreens on this side of the pass.
We had perfect spring weather, and we had a ball with our friends – just talking, learning more about the area, and walking around to see some of the sights. I didn’t get a photo of the pheasant male standing proud on the railroad tracks or the coyote patrolling the hills as we drove around, but it was neat to see so much that was just different. We hope to get back there to explore a bit more and spend time with our good friends. It’s hard to move to a new place where you don’t know anyone, so having friends out here – some new and some we mostly knew by correspondence – really means a lot.
We dropped our car off to summer storage and we took the Washington State ferry from Anacortes, winding through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, British Columbia – a gorgeous ride on a perfect sunny day. From there we just hopped a city bus to get back home to ADVENTURES in Victoria harbor. We have a few last chores to wrap up and then we can cast off the lines and start this year’s adventures.