Well it's definitely starting to feel like winter is on its way; we've bought our ski passes, started prepping the ski gear, the boys are booked into lessons at Mount Washington, and we've sorted a winter location for the RV - exciting stuff to come. We've even had our first snow fall in Victoria, although it didn't last long!
The earlier dark evenings and wetter weather can make it harder to get out and stay adventurous, but we've managed to make the most of breaks in the weather and make a couple of day trips out to places that we didn't get to over the Summer; including climbing Old Baldy Mountain this weekend to check-out the "Insta-famous" swing. The views of Shawnigan Lake from the top are worth the climb, although it's not the most exciting of walks.
Our tent camping season began way before Summer with a trip in the Stryker to Discovery Island, just off the coast here in Oak Bay on the 6th of March. Temperatures dropped to just above freezing over night, which may explain why we had the entire island to ourselves, but we just couldn't resist it when it was such a beautiful sunny day. The following weekend we were back up to Mount Washington for a final weekend of skiing (or so we thought - keep reading for that wee gem!).
We then spent March Break on an amazing trip up in the Yukon (let us know if you want to hear more about that trip).
Sarah's birthday is in early April and after two birthdays in lockdown we were keen to get away somewhere. Ridley hoped to get the paddle boards out but the weather had other ideas and we actually had more unexpected snow. We still had a great weekend camping at Bamberton Provincial Park, thankfully we were in the RV this time!
By the middle of April the weather was starting to warm up, and we had some great day trips in the Stryker; including our first trip to Pender Island, where we saw our first Humpback Whale.
At the end of April we took the RV up to Rathtrevor Provincial Park, and in the middle of May we had our first visitors. Sarah's Aunt and Uncle were over from the UK for two weeks, and fully embraced our Canadian lifestyle with boat camping on Newcastle Island (Saysutshun), whale watching with Eagle Wing Tours, RV camping at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, hiking to Big Lonely Doug and Botanical Beach, as well as a few brewery visits of course!
The unusual Vancouver Island weather continued for a bit longer; the snow at Mount Washington had taken much longer to melt than normal, and they opened up for a day of skiing in the middle of June for Father's Day. A week later Summer weather finally arrived and we were playing on the beach at Sidney Spit. This was our first full Summer on Vancouver Island, as we arrived in mid-August last year, and what a Summer it was!
We spent Ridley's first Canada Day as a Canadian Citizen in Vancouver. Exploring downtown Vancouver, Granville Island, Stanley Park, the Capilano Suspension bridge, and a couple of breweries.
Later in July, Ridley's brother and his family also came over from the UK for a couple of weeks. They too embraced the lifestyle; rainforest walks, trips in the Stryker, attempting to surf in Tofino (some more successful than others), boat camping at Sidney Spit, another trip to Pender Island, more whales and more breweries, are you starting to spot the theme?!
The last weekend of July was spent in the Cowichan Valley at SunFest; an awesome Country Music festival, where we won backstage passes to the main stage on Saturday night.
August found us boat camping at Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island, a beautiful boat/foot access campground with only half a dozen pitches. On our way there we had the most spectacular display from a pod of around 12 Orca. Then we were away for two weeks on our amazing trip to Haida Gwaii with Sarah's parents (read more here), and finally camping and river tubing on the Cowichan River.
The first weekend in September we were boat camping for Innes' birthday, this time with some great friends from the Island. This time we camped on Portland Island, and day tripped to Salt Spring and Pender. Our friends love free diving and spear fishing, so we had some excellent fresh crab, oysters, scallops and fish; all hand caught from the Stryker!
Sarah then spent a weekend learning to sail, achieving her Competent Crew certification on a 35ft yacht with Blackfish Sailing (highly recommended).
Our (probably) last tent camping for this year was at the end of September at Pine Point Recreation Site on Cowichan Lake. After lots of cold water swimming in the Pacific Ocean over the Summer it was nice to be back on a lake and reminded us why we loved Ontario so much!
So, now for winter adventures - lots planned, and lots in the planning, and we can't wait!