After our four-day adventure with Orca Dreams and a couple of days taking it easy at Alder Bay Resort, we met Rolf Hicker at the dock at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning and set out on a 12-hour tour to see bears, whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and more. Click here for the details and photos: The Wildlife & Scenery Tour with Rolf/Vancouver Island Tours. It was an amazing finish to our stay in the northern part of Vancouver Island.
On Friday, we moved south hoping to cut our drive back to Victoria in half and enjoying a couple more days before leaving Vancouver Island. Linda found a Provincial Park that doesn't take reservations, Kitty Coleman Provincial Park, so we made that our destination hoping we would arrive early enough to get a site.
Kitty Coleman is a "Class C" Provincial Park meaning it is managed by a local community board. It sits right on the ocean, the Strait of Georgia, and has 65 campsites with no hook-ups. There is no dump station, but there is a place to take on water. Also, it's only $15 CAD a night which means it's under $12 USD. Cash only.
We left Alder Bay a little before 10:00. With Linda driving, I read through some literature and discovered that Monday was a holiday here - "BC Day". So, we were a little concerned about getting in on a long, holiday weekend.
When we arrived at Kitty Coleman at 1:00, the Caretaker, Peter, said the guy in the motorhome that just arrived ahead of us got the last large spot, and he didn't have anything else that would fit us. Our Plan B was a nearby RV park, and Peter called them for us to see if they had any openings - nope.
Most of the sites at Kitty Coleman are on the ocean, but Peter said he had a couple in the woods where we might fit. I hopped on his golf cart and we took a look. Yeah, I think we can get in there, but I'm not sure about getting level.
We disconnected the Jeep and I guided Linda into the site. We decided pulling in would be better than backing in so that we would be nose down. If we have to lift one end of the motorhome to level, we want it to be the front end.
We got in and got level. Whew, we got lucky once again.
We wouldn't get any sun with our solar panels, but we figured we'd be okay for the three nights we intended to stay.
I walked back and paid. We didn't have any Canadian dollars, so we just gave Peter the $15/day in USD.
The site in the woods didn't have a view, but it was quieter and a little more private. The beachfront sites have no privacy and they are stacked in tight, although the view of the Strait of Georgia and the mountains on the mainland would be worth it.
There is no Wi-Fi here, but we did have service on our cell phones. After a lengthy phone call with Verizon, we learned that our plan included not only a 1/2 GB of international data per day in total, but rather a 1/2 GB of international data per device. So, between our JetPack and using our two phones as mobile hotspots, we have 1.5 GB of international data per day - that should certainly suffice during our last few days in Canada.
Later, we took the short walk down to the very rocky beach where Linda immediately found some sea glass.
It was low tide, and we're interested to see what it looks like at high tide.
Here are a few of the beachfront sites, and an old water pump that is to be used to get water (non-potable) to douse fires in the firepits (when fires are allowed).
We walked the campground and enjoyed the views although we noted there was quite a bit of trash around the campsites and in the firepits (there is a fire ban in British Columbia right now). And there were some other sites open we could have fit in on the other side of the campground - we wondered if they were perhaps being "saved". We could feel a sense of entitlement among some of the campers as many rules weren't being followed (as we often find in campgrounds that primarily serve a very local clientele).
It's kind of a strange set-up. Firepits are not in the sites themselves. They are across the gravel road and closer to the beach, and there isn't one for every campsite, so it's like they are community firepits that get claimed by whoever gets there first. Of course, with the fire ban, nobody can use them. A few people are using propane firepits that they have brought with them, but I'm not sure they are supposed to be used either.
There are five-gallon buckets of water near the firepits for people to dispose of cigarette butts, but smoking isn't allowed at all up in the wooded sites - a nice little bonus for us.
So, Kitty Coleman is sort of a mixed bag, but we can overlook a lot for $15 a night in a campground on the ocean that we were able to get into on a holiday weekend without reservations.
We never got a neighbor up at our wooded site, so we had a very quiet night and slept late. I worked on photos from our tour on Thursday, and Linda eventually decided to walk the beach.
She wasn't gone long before she came back and told me several of the beachfront sites were open. What? On a Saturday? On a holiday weekend?
Sure enough five sites in a row were vacant, and we decided the view was worth making the move. So we made sure it was okay with the Caretaker, and then we moved to Site 20, right in the middle of the open sites. It's so easy to pick up and move the Aspect.
Again, we wouldn't get much sun on our solar panels, but we would enjoy the views out our windshield.
Unbelievably, the sites on either side of us stayed empty.
Later I set up my lounger across the road, and did some reading while enjoying the views and watching a couple of seals.
After a successful sea glass hunt, Linda joined me and we stayed there until we got too chilly.
I grilled some burgers and we retired to the rig only to return to the beach side when the sun set.
We almost missed these beautiful colors.
As the colors started to fade, fully lit up cruise ships were slowly approaching from the opposite direction. Several people stayed out to watch them pass.
It was an amazingly peaceful Saturday here in Kitty Coleman Provincial Park.
Again, the sites next to us stayed open all day. It wasn't until the late afternoon that a solo gentleman in a small Class B parked beside us on our driver's side.
As the day went on, Linda decided to drive over to Miracle Beach Provincial Park to treasure hunt on the beach a little while I continued to work on finishing our post from last Thursday.
She returned much sooner than I expected, and we once again set our loungers out by the beach.
Today was much warmer, so I replaced the jeans and wool socks from yesterday with shorts and bare feet.
We sat out for longer reading and enjoying the views of the Strait and the snow-capped mountains on the mainland.
There may also have been some napping in there as the wispy clouds passed overhead.
Prior to dusk, the views of the mountains got a little better. Perhaps some of our Canadian friends can identify the very pointy peak below.
After dinner, we were treated to a magnificent sunset.
It was one of the prettiest, longest-lasting sunsets I've ever seen.
These kayakers were on their way back in the midst of the show.
And the gorgeous colors drew lots of people out to the beach to watch.
Simply stunning, and I once again got a little emotional watching nature's beauty. What a way to end our last full day on Vancouver Island.
Tomorrow, we'll head to Victoria and take the ferry back to Port Angeles, Washington. This time I made a reservation. It's on the late ferry at 7:30, but that's okay - we'll be in no rush to get there.
Thank you Vancouver Island for a wonderful week of natural beauty. I have a feeling we'll be back someday and we'll stay longer.