BRIAN REID PHOTOGRAPHER

Canada West Day 22 - North Vancouver Island

Monday, 29 May 2023 04:32

Today has taken me as far north as I will go on Vancouver Island. Apart from a few backroads this is as far as the highway goes, finishing at Carrot Park where the story is it took a very long time from promise to delivery to provide a highway to Port Hardy, BC-19. This is where the ferries go to northern British Columbia but sadly not within my schedule. The headline picture is at Bear Cove in Port Hardy. There is also a pretty cool war memorial which includes a totem recognising the first nation volunteers from this area who fought in WW2. Another totem was looking a bit grumpy which can be explained by the power outage from 7am to, in the end, 5:55pm for maintenance. It meant Port Hardy was like a ghost town with nothing open. In fact there were two places there were people. First there were those being baptised! It is Sunday after all. By far the biggest group were at the scenic Storey Park enjoying picnics and games. A raven was having a little less fun being harried by crows. It is nice to see the two together helping recognise their size difference. The mountains on the mainland coastal range are a constant, including at stops along this very scenic highway. On the way up from Campbell River I took a punt and headed off to the coast at Sayward and its port of Kelsey Bay. Big logging country. The village of Sayward was well maintained but a little sad. The small shopping mall was empty and the hotel and bar had suffered a similar fate. Remote communities are a challenge the world over. I mentioned the highway, BC-19, and it was a joy to drive. Almost no traffic, beautiful surface and views at every turn with cruise control on and favourite music playing on CarPlay, not a bad way to pass a couple of hundred kilometres. I finished my day, with still no power, at the little town of Port McNeill, jumping off point to a couple of the islands in the Broughton archipelago. My small motel is just above the harbour. No super-yachts here, Along the ferry terminal fence there is a delightful art installation, Stream of Dreams, where painted salmon are on the chainlink fence creating a wonderful shadow pattern in the afternoon light. Someone thought about this. As I finished my walkabout a ferry headed off to Alert Bay, one of the Islands, with a handful of vehicles on board. After the long power outage there were questions asked about whether anywhere would be open to eat and gladly Gus’s Pub did their bit and it quickly filled up with grateful diners and drinkers, most of whom seemed to be locals.