Our group woke early to a beautiful, sunny morning in Watmough Bay. The wind was predicted to increase in the afternoon, so we decided that it would be worthwhile to depart ahead of schedule. The boats fell into line and followed Captain Tim through the small islands off the south end of Lopez. The bright sunshine against the dark, stormy skies behind us gave the day a surreal quality.
We cruised past the Cattle Point Lighthouse on San Juan Island and out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As we did, we noticed many seagulls and diving birds swarming in areas where baitfish must have been plentiful. As we watched one of these feeding frenzies, we spotted a Minke whale! Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales at just under 30 ft. long. They tend to be shy and solitary creatures so we were happy to have spied one.
As we neared Victoria, the boat traffic increased and as soon as we were through customs and in the inner harbor we found out why. It was Canada Day! It seemed that all of Victoria was out celebrating. Music filled the air, mixed with the smell of street food and hundreds of Canadian flags. Our crews were quick to join in the celebrations!
Victoria is a very inviting and charming city. From our place in the marina, we had easy access to explore downtown by foot. And that is just what we did! Finding delicious food and lots of festivities along the way. Street fairs with art vendors, live music, and performers filled the city with a contagious energy.
After the sunset, we had front row seats to the fireworks display. People packed into the harbor, watching from shore, from boats, from kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Victoria put on a great show for Canada Day. It was a very memorable experience and we were happy to share it with new friends.