Canada By Bus: Leg 9 – Vancouver Island And The End Of The Road

So to make it all the way to the western-most point of Canada just so I could say that I have been all the way overland from east to west, my across Canada trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Vancouver Island.

I took the local bus to the ferry and caught the ferry over to Victoria, the major city on Vancouver Island. It was a beautiful day so I went for a walk around the legislative building and sat upon the lawn listening to a free concert that they had playing for a festival. I also went to visit the Antarctic Exhibition at the museum. One of the biggest things that struck me about Victoria was the sheer number of homeless people that the government had literally shipped over to Vancouver Island during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It was so sad to see how many of these people were scattered about the streets with nowhere to go and it was in a way very heartbreaking.

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The stunning harbour in Victoria

I got my rideshare up to Nanaimo with Marika who was really lovely. Nanaimo was a dead town so it was on the bus to Tofino. It was beautiful in Tofino but quite cloudy. I went for a wander around the town and checked into the hostel. I didn’t book before arriving and this was again going to bite me in the butt when they tell me they have only two of the three nights I wanted and as such for the middle night I was going to have to find somewhere else to stay… an interesting feat given that the town appeared to be booked out with accommodation.

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Mushroom Island… my home for the evening

So I set off with my one man camouflage tent in search of somewhere to pitch a tent for the evening. I took the bus to Mackenzie Beach, decided that $40 a night to pitch a tent was ridiculous and then trotted over to the aptly named Mushroom Island to find somewhere to illegally pitch my tent and hope that the cops didn’t find me. I found a pretty good place, or so I thought, shaded by fallen trees and other bushes. I set up my camp, went back to the campground to use their facilities and stock up on water supplies and headed back to my campground to find that it had been discovered by some hippies from the commune Pools Lane down the road. They had started to build a fire no more than ten meters from where I had pitched my tent and were sitting around playing their ukulele and smoking. So I hung out with them for the rest of the night around the fire with the soothing sounds of others playing music next to their bonfires along the beach. Eventually they said goodbye and went back to Pools Lane and I went to bed.

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My not so well hidden tent

I awoke to a dog sniffing around my tent. I poked my head out to discover that I had been yet again found out by a dog and a couple of kids wandering through the paths of the island. I decided it was time to get up, pack up my stuff and make tracks back to Tofino. I spent the afternoon sitting on the pier reading and it again turned foggy and the weather unbearable for outside activities. I bunkered inside for the evening, my last on the island.

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The hazy mountain view from Tofino

In the morning I took the bus back to Nanaimo and caught the ferry back to Vancouver. It was over. A massive trip from east to west completed and now it was time to settle down and get to some work for a while. My Canadian adventures had ceased for a while…. but only for a short while! 🙂

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