Aboard the freighter Day Two April 2 2009
We arrived in Campbell River at breakfast time. I ate a waffle with maple syrup while we were loaded with a logging truck, explosives, cylinders of gas, and more trees. The sun began to peep out and we cleared Cape Mudge on the southern edge of Quadra Island and headed for Tobe Inlet. The captain opted for a more scenic route between East and West Redondo Island.
The sun is warm and it is quite pleasant on deck, particularly while leaning on the stack out of the wind.
I was rewarded with the sight of several bald eagles soaring, lots of ducks which we thought were buffleheads, and spying the arbutus tree—a deciduous evergreen with orange-ish red bark growing in the most awkward places along the rocky hills. Mussels, a favorite food of bears, covered many of the rocks but they (bears) are still hibernating.
On one small island we spied a grouping of signs in the trees. Apparently this is a contest between various ferries and other vessels—to see whose sign will be posted the highest. Several oyster farms were noted and the crew entertained us with stories of grizzlies and eagles. Somehow one valley’s mist was situated so as to create a rainbow rippling over and under the trees.
We reach our destination at Brem River and offload trees. The captain allows us to wander about on shore warning us not to go too far as this was where they saw the largest grizzlies they have ever seen. There is no-one here; the trees are stacked neatly with a tarp over them while we make snowballs and try to play a game of horseshoes with a chain link and a stick in the ground.
Too soon it is time to go aboard.
Photos are on smugmug at:
Breakfast was eaten overlooking the river; watching swooping seagulls, and listening to random bits of conversation from other hotel guests.
Without a car and seeing a very nice walkway in front of the hotel populated by bicyclists and people walking or running, we decided to take a walk. A marker denoting the 50th parallel is right in front of our hotel and we took our picture relying upon a bit of driftwood to prop up the camera.
We continued up the hill, passed the Museum—closed on Monday— and made our way to the Quadra Island ferry. I spied the Yarn shop, stopped in on the recommendation of a QuiltArt member, bought some lovely cotton sock yarn, and made arrangements with the owner of a B&B for our return stay.
The Maritime Heritage Center was open (at noon) and we were lucky enough to arrive just as a guided tour was starting. The highlight of the center is the BCP 45, which was the centerpiece of Canadian $5 dollar bill for many years. All the other visitors were Canadians, and they all pulled out their wallets to see what was on their $5 bill.
The temperature dropped several degrees and I was chilled through by the time we got back to the hotel. Supper was at Freddie’s Pub; Glen indulged with several local beers on tap while I had some rather sour red wine. The vegetarian penne pasta was excellent and we were entertained by the bits of overheard local conversation; working and repairing boats, a method of reducing cigarette consumption, the plight of the logging industry, the busybodyness of the environmentalists, and so forth.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people that knew about the freighter cruise and really seemed rather envious of our trip.
Tomorrow we will see for ourselves.
Leaving Texas in a sherbet sky
Our day began early with dropping off my truck for Hurricane Ike repairs.
We maneuvered our way through the rental car return maze of Houston’s Intercontinental Airport, disrobed to clear Security (well, maybe not—it just felt like it), and took our seats on the first leg of our flight to Campbell River, British Columbia. The sky was a luscious pinky gold resembling a pool of melted sherbet.
United is apparently a ‘troubled’ airline and they are saving money by refurbishing old planes and selling snacks. One of the landing gear trucks had a severe squawk as we rolled down the runway but the pilots landed in San Francisco without difficulty.
San Francisco airport was full of people sprawled everywhere; our layover there was three hours.
Vancouver was our next stop. Logs were stored in the river basin; Scuffy tugboats were everywhere—so different from the tugs in coastal Texas. The airport wasn’t particularly crowded –a good thing—as we had to go through Customs, pick up our bags, go through the airport (no signs anywhere), check in with Central Mountain Air on the far side of the airport, run our bags back to the loading carousel, clear security (again) and run to the end of the gates.
The final flight of the journey was in a Beechcraft; a Canadian coming home from drilling in Saskatchewan conversed with us during the flight. We rode with him on our way to the hotel.
Conversations here involve bears, logging, and the actions of police and government.
Today we explore the city—tomorrow we get on board the freighter.
More photos on smug mug at