Victoria to Nanaimo. 8/29/19

Lots to do today with a trip from Victoria to Nanaimo along the north shore of Vancouver Island. We will be catching the ferry tomorrow from Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver.

After a filling breakfast which should hold us until dinner we are on our way taking time to stop along the way to take in the gorgeous views. Our first stop is at the two Malahat viewpoints which overlook an arm of the Saanich Inlet.

Beautiful view of the inlet with the Olympic Peninsula mountains in the far distance
A little local ferry crossing the inlet

Also on our way to Nanaimo we pass through Duncan, City of Totems. Certainly that deserves a look. They have an information center with a map and a chatty lady. She wants us to take a tour but we demur. We have places to go and things to see today!

Our map helps us find the totem poles and there are plaques to explain the different figures on the totems and the stories associated with them.

Raven’s Gift Totem

These are the words of the carver, Doug La Fortune. “This one was a story about a young fellow… the Man in the middle with adze in his hand was a carver. He’s holding the adze, he is saying,”Here is my gift to you.” The Chief commissioned this pole and the raven brought the carved pole to another village that was near the river…the Beaver helped provide the log.”

The Feast Totem

Also by Doug La Fortune. The Quw’utsun’ people called upon the Thunderbird to help them. The Killer Whale was eating all the Salmon in Cowichan Bay and the Salmon were not getting up the river. The Thunderbird helped the people by taking the Killer Whale out of the bay and putting it on top of a mountain where the Thunderbird ate him.

Cedar Man Walking out of the Log

Cedar Man is the world’s widest totem pole at almost 6 feet. The original tree was over 750 years old when forestry company MacMillan Bloedel donated it to the city. The Cedar Man is showing a chief who has the right to speak at ceremonies holding his talking stick which contains his family crests. On this talking stick you see the thunderbird, the killer whale, and the man.

The Cedar Man and John

It is pretty hot here in Duncan, over 80F. The town must be shielded from the ocean breezes by the mountains in the middle of the island. We are pretty warm from our walk and ready to get back in the car and take the short ride over to B.C. Raptor Center. They have raptors including owls, hawks, and eagles plus some non-raptors like the turkey vulture.
A flying show is put on three times a day. The birds are flying free and sometimes they do what they are supposed to and sometimes they go sit in a tree. Most were born at the Raptor Center and stay there of their own accord.

So the birds fly back and forth between perches and are rewarded with little tidbits of food. All the while the head caretaker tells us fascinating facts about the birds., i.e. that pigeons can fly 60 mph and peregrine falcons can dive at 180 mph. This is probably the most comprehensive bird show we have ever attended.

Saker hawk
Flying Saker hawk. They fly low to the ground to use the heat to push them up
Bald eagle
Eagle in flight
Owl flying

Not to be outdone, just northwest of Duncan is Chemainus,  City of Murals. There are murals everywhere—on the sides of public buildings, garages, even a Subway sandwich shop. Plus they are really professionally done and in excellent condition. This is quite a surprise.

Mural – Memories of a Chinese Boy
Faces of First Peoples
Town celebration
Subway mural!

Late in the afternoon we reach Nanaimo where we will take the ferry to Vancouver tomorrow. We are staying in a tall hotel and our room has a great view of the harbor.

Nanaimo harbor

We have dinner at the hotel’s casual restaurant. Unsurprisingly seafood is on menu.

My dinner is steamed seafood with corn and shallots
John has fried oysters and local vegetables


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