Early early early to rise to drive to Port Alberni to catch The Francis Barkley. The roads are pretty quiet at 6am so I made great time. It was hard to speed through the Cathedral Grove and not stop to gape at its splendour. Next time.
I arrived in time to throw my gear on the boat and wander a bit to take in the sights of the Port Alberni docks,
With the sun beaming and the wind calm I boarded the boat confidant my fist full of anti-nausea pills would get me to Bamfield without embarrassing myself.
It was on this voyage that I decided to explore the art of Zen travel more, you can see why –
I was feeling so mellow I barely recognized myself. 🙂
BC scenery is monochromatic, shades of green on green on green. It soothes the eye and relaxes the brain allowing you to stretch out on the deck of a boat and Zen out, absorbing those marvellous negative ions which make us feel so darn good. There is nothing to jerk your eye around, unless a pod of Orcas bounce by in which case Zen goes out the window and everyone’s adrenaline ratchets up. I wasn’t that lucky.
The mountains aren’t dazzling like the mainland ones, here their edges are soft and rounded. Most are covered by evergreen trees except where the lumber companies cleared swaths away. The water is black, the sky is bright blue and the air is just cool enough I don’t notice the uv rays reflected off the water burning my nose and cheeks.
A seniors bowling league from Vancouver filled the boat making for some interesting people watching. I admire the ones in advanced stages of physical deterioration, what courage to keep pushing yourself! How daunting are those stairs I scamper up and down to someone who can barely move a foot forward with a cane?
I watch the couples who have been together since the ice age: the ones whose weave is still firm and those who have been unraveling for some time and who stay together from inertia. Both are fascinating in their differences and their similarities. Most do not stray from each other, moving around (or not) the boat like one unit. There are the couples whose eyes still light up when they see their partners and those whose eyes are cold to each other. I feel like an archeologist exploring a world I have never experienced.
Such a wonderful experience, I highly recommend it. You can book the Francis Barkley through the Lady Rose Marine Services and go to Bamfield or Ucluelet (on different days), stay for a couple of days or just make it a 9 hour day trip. It isn’t a plush fancy pancy boat, it is a working vessel after all. But there is a little cafeteria with tables and lots of outside space to soak up the rays and scenery. If you make your way up to the top you can even chat with the captain.They stop at different places along the way to drop off freight and mail only accessible by boat so you’ll see a different side of Vancouver Island than you would from a car.
They also have the Sechart Lodge in the Broken Group Islands that they can drop you off at. Check out their Sechart Lodge Overnight Cruise Special.
If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me a comment or email me. I’d love to hear from you.