The family minivan pulled up in front of our Portland home at 7:30 pm yesterday, a mere twelve hours after leaving Campbell River, British Columbia--aka "Paradise."
It would have been longer but for a fluke of ferry magic that made us the last but one vehicle shoved onto the Queen Alberni out of Nanaimo at 10:15, but equally, we would have arrived sooner had the line at the border been shorter. Happily the border patrol glanced at our passports and let us through, without the necessity of explaining the seal vertebrae in the side pocket of the passenger door or opening the plastic bag around our youngest son's blue blankie, that went through two border crossings covered in vomit--once there, once back. I see Dramamine in his future.
Of course all of Campbell River isn't "Paradise"--there are taxidermists, sport hunters and smokers galore, as well as rock climbers, nature lovers and happy tourists like us enjoying the sight of eagles overhead and seals on the rocks. Shelter Point is paradise though, the beach where we stayed for four days, exploring tide pools, boating on the sand bar, examining dead baby seals (why were there three in four days? the whole seven years I lived there in the seventies I never saw one), finding daisy rocks (more on those in future posts), and locating every species in the book on British Columbia Coastal Wildlife we bought on our last visit two years ago.
Sadly, we saw no bear on our forays up island; the two hundred miles north of Campbell River is famed for having more bears than humans, but they are apparently smart bears, and know to stay off the coastal highway in their search for berries. The deer, too, were remarkably road savvy, and I saw more than one peeking over a drainage ditch to check for traffic.
More soon on voyages into Canada--the troops are on the move.