Thursday, January 31, 2019
Victoria Rambling - Another Geocaching Trip To Vancouver Island
Once more the three amigos, actually three brothers, caught one of the BC Ferries and floated across the Straight of Georgia to Vancouver Island to cache in the general Victoria BC region.
Ken, Alan, and Ed (myself), known in the geocaching world as MrTJ, Bowser98, and TJGUY98, were on a boys-only long weekend of geocaching and just plain having fun.
Every year there is an automotive swap meet in the Saanich area and Ken and Alan are big on going to the event to meet up with old buddies and see if they can pick up a few old car manuals which they resell through their online business.
For myself the swap meet was a necessary evil to endure as part of the weekend trip
No, not really LOL It's only 2-3 hours out of the weekend and while those two are meandering around the piles of treasure I usually take the time to prep for the geocaching day ahead.
CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO SEE THEM FULL SIZE !!
Each time we visit the Victoria region we pick a different area to geocache in, that way we don't trip over caches already found, and we get to see new sights and vistas on our travels.
This visit could almost be called "The Ocean Tour" as most of the caches we picked were along the shoreline or beaches of Georgia Straight. This presented us with continually changing ocean views and scenic vistas. The pictures I took are almost all great to look at and I had a hard time picking just a few for the Blog. All the other picture are on my Flickr page and deserve a view.
We started our adventure just as soon as we disembarked the ferry in Swartz Bay by heading to a small cove hosting a local marina and houses along the shoreline. Boats at moor in the bay were to be a common sight on this trip, as the protected bays provide perfect anchor for those weekend sailors whom love the boating life style.
Want a house on the water? How's this, close enough? Maybe too close huh .. ?
What a fantastic view these people have, but look at the size of the logs on the beach right in front of the house. Can you just imagine a winter storm's powerful waves throwing those logs up against your retaining wall all the while the waves are crashing over your upper deck?
Yeah, their railing on the lower deck looks pretty bashed up to the point of almost not being there.And look at that tree root sitting ominously by the retaining wall .. Yikes!
It was already late in the day as this was our "travel" day so we headed over to the small town of Sydney for an early dinner. This is a lovely little town and we always enjoy stopping in when ever we visit the Island. There is always a good place to have either a light meal or a full meal, depending on your appetite, and all at a fair price. Plus, a stop at the Sydney Bakery for dessert sure helps the attitude as well. 😋
Sydney has half a dozen bench/statues on the main drag and these are great conversation pieces and cool art works, plus having a place to sit down to eat your ice cream is always handy.
The local Legion has a jet fighter, an artillery gun, and a tank on display, so there is more yet to see for the visitors (Check my Flickr page for those pictures - link at the bottom of the page)
We always love doing the geocaches that highlight local historical locations and this was one of them. Back before the highways were built for commerce, the water was often the highway of choice. The farms of the area relied on the water to get much of their produce to market. We visited the former site of the Newman Farm which highlighted the importance the ocean shoreline played for them.
Straight from the fields you take the steps down to the water and find the farm's boathouses housing the farm transport of the time, the boats to take your goods to market.
We headed down the Patricia Bay Highway south from our hotel and continued picking up caches along the shoreline.Some caches had us on bluffs overlooking the ocean, others had us down in the tidal zone in parks or nature reserves which preserved the ocean side habitat for fish, fauna, and flora alike.
One of the caches was located on a hillside in the middle of a small subdivision. We had to take 3 flights of stairs to get down to the landing where the cache was located. We passed a swarm of small flies on the way down the stairs and I was last in line so I could tell they were stirred up by the time we all went past. We found the cache, enjoyed the view, and then trudged back up the stairs back to the truck. As we past the flies again they were even more agitated and as I was last in line again they took their displeasure out on me. No biggies, they are just flies. OUCH, Jesus H Christ those aren't flies, they are small black wasps and they were given me the what-for! I got 4-5 stings before I could get far enough away from the nest before they left me alone. And of course those other two clowns thought that was all pretty funny! I would too if it was one of them 😎
Another historical cache we came across highlighted the history of the First Nations in the area. It has been determined there has been a summer encampment on this location as far back as 500 AD by the Peoples who called themselves Lekwungen. They are part of the larger Songhee First Nation family which inhabit this part of the south Island.
The low lying headlands here provide easy access to the shore for fishing and capture of crabs and other sea foods that made up their diet. The moderate climate and a rain shadow environment all contributed to this being a perfect place for the summer days.
Black Tail deer are a common sight in the region, and they have no fear of humans. The one thing I did notice was the lack of dogs in the area. In Metro Vancouver, if a deer was walking through your yard five neighbourhood dogs would know about it and would be going crazy. Here, not a single bark was heard. The natural predator of the deer are cougars, and there is a healthy population of cougars in the Victoria area. Every now and then a lost cougar is spotted running through the downtown Victoria area, which gives all concerned quite a startle!
This was a shorter day of caching as that dreaded automotive swap meet happened this morning, and we had to catch an early afternoon ferry back to the mainland.
Undeterred we crammed as many geocache finds as we could into the day and carried on doing our thing.
We aimed for the easier caches today which meant we concentrated on urban caches which provided shorter distances from the truck. While these caches were not quite as "scenic" as the ocean side caches, they none the less brought us to some pretty locations and provided a driving tour of Metro Victoria.
I guided us over to the the Mt. Douglas Park area which is a high mountainous spit of land ocean side. While we were on the wrong side of the mountain to see the ocean, the goal of the route I picked was to get us out of the city and start geocaching back towards Saanich and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.
One of our last locations was Brentwood Bay, a long time Victoria favourite area of local Victorians.
The houses in the picture are actually one large complex, hence the uniformity of the housing designs and the lack of space and privacy between residences. While I'm sure all the residents appreciate the ocean views, this was the one place on the tour where we looked and all agreed - "nope, I don't want to live there" ! .
Our very last cache was shore side in Brentwood Bay, and this was one of our favourite scenic caches. We loved the view of Brentwood Bay from this spot, and the rough shoreline itself was dramatic with the rock terrain of the island battling back the ever pounding waves at high tide, all overseen by a Gary Oak tree clinging to the edge of the hill.
After this cache it was a dash up island to Swartz Bay to catch our ferry back to Vancouver. The weekend consisted of three days, a couple of ferry rides, 70 geocaches found, and a lot of tom foolery between brothers enjoying a road trip during which time we were "unmanaged" by our Life Partners. (If I say "wives" they will know I am talking about them .. shhh ... 😁 )
THE COMPLETE SET OF PICTURES, AND YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THEM, ARE LOCATED HERE ON MY FLICKER WEB SITE