Day 8 – Tuesday 20th August
We visited the Astoria Column that commemorates Lewis and Clark who were the first to cross the continent to the West Coast and then drove over the Columbia River on a 4.1 mile long
At South Bend, we purchased a pound of oysters for $10.00 from a seafood shop on the north side of South Bend shops. They were medium sized, but as big as a large mussel at home. We had three each with some French bread at the side of the road for lunch. The lady in the Information shop in the South Bend shops recommended the take away bar across the road for batter cooked oysters. She was not keen on the raw type. I can see why ‘they’ call South Bendthe oyster capital of the world. These come highly recommended.
Our drive took us up through central Washington to the Puget Sound and we found a small motel on the shore at Hoodsport around the Olympic National Park. Our motel is quite small, but right on the edge of Puget sound with a balcony overlooking the water. We watched the indigenous locals netting for salmon just below us and they had a great catch with some almost a metre long. Fishing by net is restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays for the native people only, which means fishing from the shore is not much good on those days.
We went to the Hoodsport winery, which is one of the longest established in the area. They specialise in fruit wines and I can understand why, as their merlot and pinot noir are not memorable. The winemaker is very hospitable and while tasting some interesting fruit wines we met some customers who had just visited NZ and had children who are working in Wanaka and had done a traverse of the South island on foot. While there we also met a guy, Tom, who had worked for 25 years for Air NZ at LA and new lots of aircrew. We bought a bottle of Rhubarb wine (believe it not) for $16.00 and really enjoyed it as we watched the moon rise over Puget Sound and ate the rest of our Oysters and marinated Tuna. It was a truly memorable meal and we are now relaxing before going to bed.
Day 9 – Wednesday 21st August 2013
We awoke to a lovely sunrise across the bay and had breakfast on the deck of the Sunrise Motel, before driving around the shore of Puget Sound heading to Port Angeles. The GPS guided us straight into the ticket box (about $80.00) for the ferry across to Vancouver Island and we had 90 minutes to wander around town and eat before the sailing. We bought some steamed buns at a farmers’ market and an iced hot-chocolate at a fast food outlet.
The 90 minute ferry trip was calm with good views back to the Olympic Mountains in Washington and ahead to Vancouver Island. We saw some whale-watching boats ahead of the ferry and then a pod of four orcas across our bows. While on the ferry we tried to find a hotel on the internet, but the connection was too slow, so we noted one in a tourist pamphlet and entered the address into the GPS. The entry into Victoria Harbour is spectacular, with seaplanes taking off and landing alongside the ferry. After clearing immigration,
Pauls Hotel was only a five minute drive from the wharf and just on the edge of the main shopping/tourist area. It is an older, motel style hotel but has parking and the rooms are a good size with two queen beds, a microwave and coffee machine and cost $102 including GST and local taxes. We walked through Chinatown on our way to the waterfront which puts Auckland to shame. It has been developed with pedestrian access right around in front of apartment buildings and hotels and with all the tourist attractions set out along the piers. We booked bikes for Friday and headed back to the hotel