The view from Horseshoe Bay (the small town that we departed from) before we took off were absolutely breathtaking.
The BC Ferry itself was much different (read: nicer) than I had expected. They had both indoor and outdoor waiting areas, a mini food court, a convenience/gift shop, and several nooks with tables and outlets for those people who were commuting and wanted to get some work in. We managed to stay outside for a bit, until the ferry picked up speed and the wind started bite.
We arrived in Nanaimo and had to head south to Cowichan Bay where Ocean Eco-Ventures is located. It was my and Mel's ultimate goal to recreate the end scene from Free Willy, where the orca is jumping over the kid. We definitely started practicing our "YES!" fist pumps.
I don't even care that I look like a prison inmate from Siberia (or an orange Stay-Puf marshmallow man?). I was SO incredibly grateful for that suit once we were out in the open waters. It was so windy that I was not showing any part of my body, unless it was my hand to take pictures.
Even though the whales were at a distance, it was an INCREDIBLE experience. We didn't have any breaches or general frolicking by the whales that we encountered, and I can't explain it, but it was surreal to know that these giant, amazing creatures were lurking beneath the surface.
"Rock Sausages", according to our guide.
Sea-Lion bro straight chillin' on his bachelor pad.
Chris saw these two boats and exclaimed -"Look, the good guys are chasing the bad guys!" Haha. On point Chris, on point.
After the tour was over, we all decided that FOOD and BEER were in order. Our guide, Captain Simon, recommended the Cowichan Bay Pub which was a few doors down. The special that day was none other than fish-and-chips so it was fish for everyone with a round of beers. Also, I must have looked cold because the waiter offered me a blanket! (So awesome.)
It also didn't hurt that they had an amazing view from the patio.
After dinner we set off, tired and happy, to make one of the last ferries. I am a creepster, but this was so adorable, I couldn't help myself.
Vancouver Island I will return!