Before we started plotting this trip, I was unaware of the existence of Vancouver Island. So in case you’re in the same boat: it’s a Pacific island off the west coast of Canada (accessible by ferry, or if you’re feeling rich, by seaplane), it’s about the same size as the Netherlands or Taiwan and it is covered in trees, the best bits of which are magnificently mossy old-growth rainforests. It’s a favourite Canadian summer holiday and surfing destination (yes, they do have both summer and surfers in Canada). We spent 10 days on Vancouver Island. Judging by our overall island photo collection, we may have spent too much time stalking banana slugs and mushrooms, but I promise I showed restraint and included some pictures of trees, beaches and birds too. Happy gallery viewing!
Saul can confirm that while banana slugs are fine with photographer proximity, they do not like camera shutter noise 2cm from their heads, making it difficult to photograph their feelers.
The opening on the side is for breathing and is called a pneumostome. Now you know.
After a windy night, we found these foam islands on the beach
We had this beach to ourselves, until Saul rounded a rocky outcrop and almost walked into a black bear sow and her two cubs. We beat a hasty retreat.
The Lighthouse Loop is a short but beautiful hike that forms part of the Wild Pacific Trail. We walked the full loop in good weather but also went back for a short foray during a storm. Storm-watching is a thing on Vancouver Island…
After all that hiking in the Rockies, we felt we deserved a little treat!
I love fish tacos, something that is completely at odds with my hatred for coriander. So I spend a lot of time persuading restaurants (and food trucks) to make me fish tacos WITHOUT coriander. This one had to be sent back to the kitchen, but was incredible once it came back, coriander-free.
Nanaimo is one of two sizeable cities on Vancouver Island. This is their local pride and joy, the Nanaimo bar, available in every restaurant and coffee shop in town.
I love lighthouses. Saul doesn’t get the whole romantic thing. So chances are if it’s a lighthouse, it’s me who took the photo.
Autumn is a good time for mushrooms and the forests all over Canada are filled with them. They are actively gathered for eating too – if I lived here, the first thing I would join would be the local chapter of the Mushroom Foraging Society.
Botanical Beach is a famous tidepooling spot. We went in search of starfish, but found none. Later internet research revealed that Pacific starfish populations have been decimated by starfish wasting disease since 2014 and are only now starting to recover.
We did find a lone heron on Botanical Beach. He seemed a bit annoyed with our presence although he did stay around and continued to fish.
The killdeer is a common type of plover, named after its call.