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Canada: Quadra Island, BC

October 31, 2015

A friend and I decided to take a road trip on Vancouver Island during late summer. Despite the season’s reputation for being dryer and sunnier than most of the year, naturally I brought a bag full of warm clothes and rain gear, which went unused the entire trip.

We left Victoria on a glorious clear day as the clouds thinned. The Trans-Canada highway climbs quite high just north of the city.

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Our destination was Quadra Island, which I had never visited but about which I had heard great things during a trip to the area some twelve years before.

En route we stopped to pick blackberries as there is no shortage of disturbed areas near the highway where the invasive plants can thrive.

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Our first waypoint was at Parksville, a working-class beach town that faces mainland BC. Our motel was modest by any standard but featured a remarkable view at low tide.

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High tide wasn’t so shabby, either.

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From there we carried on toward the north and finished at Campbell River, from where we crossed via ferry to Quadra Island.

The Campbell River Marina and ferry dock warm nicely in the sun.

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On the island itself we found a harborside hotel and off-season prices made the place affordable. For the second time on the trip we enjoyed wonderful views, this time from the patio in front of our room.

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Quadra Island no longer has much of any old-growth forest, but here and there we glimpsed patches of verdant woodlands.

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But the highlight of the trip was a day-long trip north through the inside passage, prowling the waters for whales and other marine species.

The day felt near-tropical in temperature as I waited for the zodiac to arrive at our dock.

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photo by Ben Brown

We passed some interesting places. Here the currents mark the spot where years ago the city of Campbell River blew up a shoal to assist vessels in navigation. They miscalculated the amount of TNT needed to do so and set off the largest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen in 1958.

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Always good for a laugh, these Canadians!

Campbell River BC - Ripple Rock blown up world's largest non-nuclear ...

Eventually we finished with historical distractions and found what we were seeking – orcas.

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Didn’t get too close but no matter. I’d never seen one before.

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We stumbled on some other remarkable spots. Here is a look at the mainland just south of Desolation Sound from a beach we found after hiking down a dirt road..

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Give me half and chance and I’d move to Quadra Island. Even if the place is rarely as warm as it was during our stay there.

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