BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival

My oh my!  Heaven, Nirvana, Shangri-la all on a half-shell — I’ll take all three please!

When we told Rick and Valerie that we were coming to Vancouver Island, they told us about the festival, so we booked our tickets immediately.  I had oysters, salmon, halibut, tuna ceviche, chowder, more salmon, brought salmon home.  You get the idea!  It was soggy outside, but seafood starts out wet, so who could see any problem?  Get this — even Paul ate some salmon, and more salmon.  (He doesn’t eat most fish, especially not salmon.) He was so shocked that this salmon was sweet and not fishy at all.  That’s fresh fish.  Mmm!

 The festival was held in Comox at Filberg Park.  
Shucking succulent oysters.


We returned to our campsite to pick up the dogs and then we did another trail up to the suspension bridge and Elk Falls in Campbell River with Rick and Valerie.  This was a much gentler trail, but there were sections that required walking on metal platforms, stairs, and of course the bridge itself.  Poppy was very nervous and even cried at first, but she is desperate to please, so she summoned up her inner Golden retriever and followed us on the trail.

 These are the wooden tubes that carry large volumes of water for power generation. The land is owned by BC Hydro, but they give back to the community in the form of trails and outdoor facilities.  
  Poppy crossed the bridge with Valerie.


Elk Falls


A nervous Poppy. (Look at how far she spread her little toes.)

  Daisy crossed the bridge with Paul from the safety of her pouch.

A slightly soggy Daisy 

Tomorrow, we plan to head to Tofino on the west coast of the island.  It will be sad to leave Campbell River and our friends.  We hope to see Rick and Valerie again, but next time in Eastern Europe in 2017.  That was what we were scheming.  We hope to get our Rick Steves group together for a reunion tour.

Campbell River: Day 2

Let there be sun!  In the morning, we hiked some of the trails in the Elk Falls campground and did some geocaching.  BC Parks are full of caches.  We came back to camp for lunch and to solar charge the dogs and the Airstream batteries.


Then, we went to the harbour.


This Kwakiutl Bear Pole was erected in 1966.

Later we met Rick and Valerie for a strenuous hike and a reward of Thai food.

  The Campbell River



Hot red happy faces.  


   The slugs here  are mammoth.  They must grow in the rain.    On our first night, Valerie was picking them up in her yard by hand and throwing them into the green space behind their house.

  Modern petroglyphs

  Paul and Rick near the water tower

Campbell River: Day 1

We met Richard and Valerie on our Rick Steves’ European tour, and they are from Campbell River.  We couldn’t wait to see them again here in their stomping grounds.  We have been staying in Elk Falls Provincial Park since Thursday.  (Today is Saturday).  Campbell River far exceeded our expectations!  Rick and Valerie were terrific hosts and found days out of their busy schedules to show us sights and take us to the Comox Shellfish and Seafood festival (aka NIRVANA!).

Rick owes a car dealership and Valerie is an award winning soap maker.  Valerie is First Nations from Haida Gwaii.  She is from the clan Raven, so her soap is called RavenSong.  We purchased several bars, and Valerie threw in many more!  Our Airstream smells so sweet now!  Here is Valerie in her curing room.  


Don’t her soaps look edible?  She even has a Nanaimo bar soap, and it looks and smells like the real thing!  You can purchase her soaps online.  She is currently updating her website with a new format and photographs, but it should be up and running really soon.  Search for RavenSong soaps and you’ll be in for a treat!

Campbell River is everything we want in a place to live — ocean, forests, hiking trails, amenities.  How can I not mention that this is the salmon capital?!

On our first night, Rick and Valerie treated us to a dinner at the famous Painters Lodge.  Many celebrities have stayed there, including Bob Hope and John Wayne.  The dining hall overlooks the ocean and the lodge provides a complimentary water taxi to Quadra Island.  Our meal was exceptional!  I had tuna tartare as my appetizer, and Paul had seafood fritters.  For my entree, I had cedar-wrapped salmon, spicy greens, and potato croquettes.  Paul  had halibut cheeks and Brussels sprouts.  Everything was perfectly seasoned and the flavours of the sides complemented the main dish.

Painters Lodge dining hall:


Geocaching in the rain

On Wednesday, it was raining, so we decided to take a drive from Parksville down to Cowichan Lake, with stops in Ladysmith and Duncan.  At Cowichan Lake, we decided to see what caches were in the area.  We found a really cool cache on an old train at the museum.  Geocaching takes you to interesting places.

Behind the train where the cache was, there was this rail car:


When we got back to our site at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, we decided to search for more caches on the trail.  We found about 5 that day.  Here I am putting a bolerama pin in a cache, with Poppy looking for treasure:

We ended our stay at Rathtrevor Beach with a crackling fire and clear skies.  Not a sound in the campground but campfires.  Heaven on earth.