It was near midnight by the time our ferry finally docked at Port Hardy near the northern end of Vancouver Island. We had ordered a taxi for the 20-minute ride to our hotel, but it was scooped by one of the other passengers, so we ended up taking “the shuttle”, which was, in fact, a vintage yellow school bus. (Is a stick shift “vintage” enough for you?)
The next morning, we collected our rental can and headed south, stopping the first night at Courtnay, roughly halfway down the length of the island. The second day would bring is to Victoria, near the southern end of the island. But there were some very worthwhile stops along the way.
Just after a lunch stop, we swung off the road and followed some hand-lettered signs to a farm with five acres of blueberries in the process of being harvested.
A bit farther on, attracted once again by signs announcing a chance to see raptors up close, we turned off and found our way to a wildlife preserve in which numerous birds of prey were kept in cages and pens.
The highlight was a flying demonstration, with a number of birds gliding effortlessly between two of the handlers. There was a Harris Hawk (above), a barn owl, a bald eagle and a Peregrine falcon, a bird that routinely flies at more than 100 mph.
Then it was on to Victoria, the provincial capital and the last stop in our tour of Western Canada.