Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trip to Sidney BC & Goldstream Provincial Park

It has become a bit of a tradition to go to Vancouver Island around this time of year to enjoy the sights and see the salmon run at Goldstream Provincial Park. Ever since Amy and I honeymooned in Victoria and saw the salmon run in 1996, we've been hooked. This year we had the opportunity to do it in especially fine style as Amy's parents now live near us on San Juan Island and were part of our master plan. We had them drive two cars onto the Friday Harbor to Sidney ferry, and we sailed over and met them on the other side.

The crossing was windless, unfortunately, but I did experience a real highlight while motoring near Spieden Island as the entire south grassy slope was covered with the exotic sheep that live on Spieden. Quite a sight. I motored right along the shoreline. Also, Spieden channel is a real hot spot for all native wildlife too, as the sea lions and waterfowl all congregate there. A current note to anyone going this way is to remember that on a strong ebb, the current actually flows NORTHWEST along Spieden Island, as it is forms a large eddy. Surprising but true, and quite useful. We did 8 knots or better all along Spieden instead of normal speeds of 6 to 6.5.

Crossing Haro straight is always fun, and was uneventful, except for our excitement at crossing into Canada.

What a great way to do the trip this year. The grandparents met us at the parking lot for the Port of Sidney having ferried over and we went straight off to see the spectacular salmon run at Goldstream, along with seemingly every tourist in Canada. By the way, the Port of Sidney was affordable and easy for overnight moorage and I recommend them. I was glad to see the BC park staff is trying to upgrade the trail system at Goldstream so folks are not causing bank erosion so much. Other than the throngs of people, it is truly a perfect place. Wall to wall fish and eagles and all within a stones throw of Victoria or our home in Friday Harbor.

After salmon fun we went to Oak Bay and had a scrumptuous lunch at Ottavio's Italian deli on the main drag. Great place and a beautiful sunny day. We then spent the night in downtown Victoria, the big city!, and came home the next day in easy fashion, getting to sail a bit on the way back.

The total travel time from Friday Harbor to Sidney was about 3 hours, give or take. Another great weekend centered around Aeolus.

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