Tues Nov 5 - Wed Nov 6th
We're off to my friends' place in Maple Bay on the east coast of Vancouver Island, about 90 minutes from Victoria. Though this isn't a huge distance to cover, we have to go "over the Malahat" a very scenic and often treacherous part of Hwy #1. You don't want to drive this stretch in inclement weather or the dark of night, so we are staying over night at their place. The last few times we've passed through it's been shrouded in fog but, when the sun shines its stunning scenic views are revealed and one feels blessed to be alive.
Our gracious hosts take us on a round trip boat tour from Maple Bay to Crofton. Midway we drop anchor in a sheltered bay to enjoy a picnic lunch onboard and watch porpoises and a pair of sea lions as they pass by. Though our hosts have navigated these waters for 10 years and the other guest has lived here for 16, these sightings still excite. We jump up and herd from window to window to witness their passage, spilling wine in the process. I swear I can hear the male sea lion snorting each time he breaks the surface of the water as they undulate with surprising speed and grace.
Our captain takes us to Crofton where sea lions hang out on the docks, log booms or anything else they choose. Their barks greet me when I step out on the deck.
|The "cloud factories" of Crofton.|
The next day Rod and I go to Cowichan Bay on our way back to Victoria. Our hosts told us, most enthusiastically, "You must go there. TRUE GRAINS the best bakery in the area. They use B.C. grown grain and you can watch them mill the flour onsite while you have your coffee and treat." So we did. Melt in your mouth shortbread for me, a pastry (the inspired creation of the day) for Rod and a bag full of bread, scones and cookies for our pantry.
Cowichan Bay is a little community of unique, independently owned shops which picturesquely frame the ocean and take you back to simpler times. In fact "in 2009 Cowichan Bay became North America's first Cittaslow community. Cittaslow communities are characterized by people who: take time to build community relationships, celebrate the community's unique history and traditions, promote craftsmanship and environmental stewardship, maintain the community's distinct character, and engage residents and visitors by sharing in high quality living."*
Fortunately for anyone travelling up island, this place, just off Hwy#1, is on the way.
*this info from Cittaslow Cowichan link found on True Grains website