June 26th, 2016
Sunday morning on Stuart Island dawned clear and calm. After some breakfast the crew of Victoria was joined by those from Discovery and Grand Adventure for a walk through the forest to the still operating one room schoolhouse that serves the children of the island. Along the way we were treated to a fantastic sight, a Bald Eagle landed on a tree top very close to us and struck an interesting pose that most of us did not understand until Captain Tim informed us that the eagle was drying its wings in the sunshine.
After checking out the schoolhouse which has operated most years (that there were children available to attend) since 1904. We completed our loop back to the dinghy dock and prepared to set sail for Victoria B.C. Shortly after getting underway, Tim ordered Victoria to change course and radioed the flotilla with exciting news, there were Orcas nearby! Before long, we arrived at the scene that we all were hoping for, a pod of resident Orcas porpoising, spy hopping, and occasionally breaching, just a few hundred yards in front of us. Large males with their towering dorsal fins, and little calves alongside their mothers gave us a show for about an hour before the action subsided and it was time to get back on course for Victoria.
Thoroughly satisfied with the day already, we motored south down Haro Strait, through Baynes Channel, and around into Victoria Harbor. After negotiating the channel past ships, planes, (over a hundred floatplanes a take off and land here each day), and a few harbor seals, we cleared Canadian Customs and moored right in front of the Majestic Empress Hotel. After the long cruise, we were all ready to stretch our legs and take in our surroundings and explore Victoria’s waterfront, a bustling area full of yachts, street performers and manicured gardens hemmed in by the Empress, the equally impressive British Columbia Parliament Building, and downtown Victoria.
After some of us enjoyed a delicious dinner of fish and chips, it was an early night for everyone, but with a full day ahead to enjoy the city, it was just what the doctor ordered.