BLOG #43, SERIES #8
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #4
TELEGRAPH COVE AND PORT HARDY
October 25, 2017
We got up early next morning as we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t be late for the ferry at Powell Junction. It was a big one (hour and twenty-minute cruise across to Vancouver Island). Plenty of time for a good breakfast. On the fourth deck, who should we meet but our shipmates from Heidelberg, Germany, and little Matthew?
Once disembarked on Vancouver Island (the largest populated land mass between western North America and New Zealand), we wasted no time in hitting the road north. Towering mountains all around us—but still partly obscured by smoke. Both Byron and I had done a lot of research on the island before we arranged our itinerary. One place that kept popping up was the tiny town of
Telegraph Cove. It was mid-afternoon before we neared the junction. We decided to check it out. Population 20. But that population skyrockets during summer tourist season. It’s one of the last remaining “boardwalk” communities on Vancouver Island. It was used as a hospital village during the World War I Spanish Flu Pandemic. The plague killed more people world-wide than World Wars I and II combined.
Fortunately, for the little town’s continued existence, it was built around a deep sheltered harbor. Many of the colorfully painted structures were built on stilts. The main tourist activity is whale watching. Unfortunately, there were so many people vying for boat tickets that we missed one boat and decided to drive on to Port Hardy at the extreme north end of the island, checked in to our motel, then returned to Telegraph Cove in time to board the 5:00 p.m. whale watching boat. This boat too was full (about 50 passengers).
In our entire lifetime, Connie and I had never seen anywhere near as much wild life from one boat ride as we did here out of Telegraph Cove. Bald Eagles, fields of Orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals, deep-diving birds, etc. Orcas especially were leaping all around us, and even right next to the boat. And who could forget when the captain lowered a listening device into the water so that we could hear the whales talking with each other! It was almost surreal! And there were also excellent wildlife lectures onboard. This evening cruise alone was worth the price of the entire trip.
It was late before we got back to our rustic cabins overlooking Port Hardy’s harbor.