On Monday, we arrived in Vancouver on time and got to our hotel at 8am, but couldn’t check I until 2.30pm. So we went down to the casino for a scrummy buffet breakfast and then got one day passes for the public transport to ride around on trains, buses and ferries all day, until we could get into our rooms
When we went to the Casino, the security guy at the entrance told us to sign up for their Encore Rewards card, as it would give us 10% off the buffet when we ate there. So we did that, but then found out that it also put $10 on each card to use (for gambling) in the Casino. So after the breakfast and day tripping around Vancouver, we went back to the Casino for a buffet dinner (BTW we also got Senior Citizens rate for that as well). After a sumptuous meal, we all went and used up our $10 on the pokies. I made $12.65, Richard made $40, Lyn made $76 and Carolyn lost her $10, plus another $20.
Wednesday, it was off to Vancouver Island. We took a commuter bus to Tsawassen Ferry terminal ($1.80) then the ferry to Vancouver Island ($17.20) then an all day pass on the bus from the ferry to Victoria ($5.00). We spent most of the time in the Royal BC Museum, then returned the same way we came, except by a slightly longer but more scenic route suggested by our bus driver. Total cost of the trip was $43 per person, compared with the $205 that the tour people wanted for the same trip. The weather was glorious – no clouds, no wind and flat calm. We were told that Orca (killer whales) had been seen in the area and as we entered a part of the trip known as the “narrows” I spotted a whale sounding, but it was not an Orca (no big dorsal fin). I found out later that Humpbacks were also seen in the area, and I am sure it was one of them (one of the pix is the entrance to the narrows, but it doesn’t show the whale). I also saw a bald eagle flying and lading in a tree and managed to get a pic of that! On the way back, we had a buffet dinner on the ferry. Cheaper than the Casino and, I reckon, a little better, and what a stunning view!!!! Coming through the narrows, again I saw a whale and pointed it out to other diners. But, by the time they reacted, it was gone – so of course they didn’t believe me. I don’t care – I have seen plenty of whales, Orca and dolphins before, so why would I make it up!
|Tsawassen Terminal - "Spirit of Vancouver Island" in background|
|The narrows - where I saw the whale on the way back|
|There IS a bald eagle in the tree on the right|
|Swartz Bay Terminal|
|The local bus|
|The Empress hotel|
|"Spirit of British Columbia" at Swartz Bay|
|The bus driver who recommended our return route|
Thursday I went and visited the factory where they make Noflex Digestor (the sewage stuff for boats that I import into NZ). I was intending to rent a car for today so we could do some last minute shopping, but when I got to the airport to pick it up, I found I had made the online booking for pickup at Toronto, not Vancouver (Duh!). The rental company wanted nearly double the price that I had been quoted, so I decided to flag the car away and we sent to Walmart on the bus instead. Richard had gifted Lyn a Premium economy class upgrade for the trip home, so we went to the airport early but, although I had an Air New Zealand lounge pass for Lyn, they wouldn't accept it as it was a Canadian Airlines lounge. However, for a payment of CDN25 they would let her join us, so we had a relaxing time preflight.
The flight home was long (13hrs 45min) but uneventful and we managed to get some sleep. It was raining when we arrived and 8 degrees,
And that was Canada!