Getting Over To The Island 

After getting up at the crack of dawn for breakfast, and saying a temporary goodbye to Gill (I’m back this way on Day 2 of my trip), Stewart and I rolled out on to the deserted streets together for the short ride west to Tsawassen’s ferry terminal.

The eagle-eyed might have spotted the slightly odd  new addition to my cycle helmet, courtesy of yesterday’s shopping trip. It weighs almost nothing and feels pretty weird for the first 10 minutes (I was convinced it was not going to work, being so close to your eye), but your eyes just instinctively work out what to do, and the rear view becomes crystal clear.

With this in place, and arriving early at the ferry, Stewart and I decided to do a quick slog up to Moraine Lake in the heart of the Rockies (the same view as my JustGivingpage photo) to get the following souvenir snap:

Oh alright, we didn’t.

(That’s enough waving – Ed.)

Just after taking this we met a very friendly couple, Barb & Willie, who asked about my trip and are now following the blog, so hello! They told us that they had a relative cycling across Mongolia at the moment. (Later, on the boat, we looked at his Facebook page together, to discover that he’d ditched his bicycle and was now crossing Mongolia on a whopping great motorbike). It’s a 2 hour journey across to Duke Point, so after saying another temporary goodbye, to Stewart this time, I settled on deck in the morning sunshine with a coffee and passed the time by watching gulls balancing on floating pieces of driftwood. The boat felt very quiet, which was fine by me. On arrival they opened the bow doors well before docking, which was slightly less fine by me.

Then it was a race against time to find the next ferry port 12 miles up the coast (Nanaimo) where my bus was to leave from, and a pub showing the FA Cup Final. With some local help I found a great spot with a live blues band setting up, proper wifi, cold beer, ok food and 30 minutes of watching Arsenal do it again. Superb.

The bus route to Ucluelet, my starting point on Monday morning, was exactly the same as the first two days of my trip will be, only in reverse. I knew from map profiles that the interior of Vancouver Island was pretty hilly, but I have to tell you that I could see that the hills I’ll be doing are absolute belters (especially the second day), as are the views along the way. I think I’ll have earned a couple of new pips on my uniform by this time on Tuesday night. I didn’t take any photos of the staggering scenery through the smoked glass bus windows, but will compensate on Monday. I will also try very hard not to think about swapping to a motorbike at all.

Ucluelet is absolutely gorgeous, but one thing marred my arrival – the bus dropped me as planned, but as I unloaded the bike the driver said she’d got all the rest of my luggage for me. I was so grateful that I didn’t notice until she had driven off that my helmet was still in the luggage bay under the bus. A few rapid phone calls to the office and HOPEFULLY the bus coming in at 8.30pm tonight will bring it back to me. If not, there are a few buses tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Every side street seems to have a different but stunning view in Ucluelet.

A scary moment, but luckily I’m now au fait with my “Bear Basics” book, so not a problem.

I ended the evening in a nice cozy pizza place, ordering a medium when even a small would have been more than enough. And a local brewery’s finest:

Howe Sound? Sound good.

Cycle helmet update…..not on the 8.30pm, but the driver seemed very confident that it would arrive in the morning.

6 thoughts on “Getting Over To The Island 

  1. This blog is turning into a white knuckle journey of suspense – first the meths quest, now the helmet, never mind the precipitous hills. Parental nerves jangling but we know how you rise above every obstacle, and what stunning scenery! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s too bad about the helmet, Ben. If it doesn’t turn up, maybe you could borrow/hire one for your first couple of days, which I could post back to Uclulet. Then you could have one of my spares for the rest of your odyssey. That said, yours will probably turn up.
    You missed this morning’s visitor: a large immature bald eagle in the tree in our garden. With any luck, it will come back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Cheers S

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Canada is crazy. Bald eagles coming for breakfast. Thanks for the offer of a helmet – I’ve actually met a great guy here, Lewis, who owns Ukee Bikes, and he’s got a used Bell, in good shape, $10. If I need to Nanaimo has loads of bike shops apparently but i thinkthis will more than do for now. Looks like they’ve not found mine, but Beth in Tofino says she on the case!


      1. $10 is a steal! I was going to ask for $12😉 I still have hopes for your customized job.

        See you Tuesday – whatever the headgear. Gill and I send fondest regards to your mum and dad.


        PS Do you want me to get you another mirror? No problem…

        Liked by 1 person

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