I know some of you have been wondering how our trip with Orca Dreams went. Well, it was awesome, and it has taken me a long time to go through the photos and write up the details. But that's now complete and you can read about it and see the best of the photos on our NatureTravelers.com website.
What a birthday I had with by far the best whale-watching experience we've ever had. Multiple Humpback Whale sightings every day and Orca sightings our last three days including some time with the whales with no other boats or people around. Not only that, we could hear the whales blowing all night long - the best kind of "white" noise.
And by the way, thanks to everyone that sent "Happy Birthday" wishes while we were gone. Yes, on Sunday, July 29, I turned 55 so I think that makes me eligible for a few "old guy" discounts.
We stayed at Alder Bay Resort between Telegraph Cove and Port McNeill in the northern part of Vancouver Island. Our first night, July 26, we paid for a dry-camping sight, and then we left it there for the three nights we were on the Orca Dreams deal. They charged us a $10 CAD storage fee for each of those nights.
When we returned on Monday afternoon, July 30, we moved to a full hook-up, pull-through site (30 amps) - Site 42.
We pulled into the site so we had a partial view of the water, ....
but then had to run our utilities underneath the rig. Once we got settled, the first thing we did was take showers since we were unable to do that on the Orca Dreams island (water shortage due to a lack of rain had their tank low).
Alder Bay has a boat launch and a marina, and it's clearly a summer destination spot for fishermen.
There are nice fish cleaning stations out by the dock. A few rental RVs came in from time to time, but it seemed to be mostly seasonal campers.
Alder Bay doesn't have its own Wi-Fi, and our international data included with our Verizon plan is only a 1/2 GB per day, not nearly enough to get our work done and upload all the photos we took over the weekend. But there is a local company called Ragged Edge and we could purchase a week's worth of data (up to 5GB before slowing the speeds) online for $15 CAD (about $12 USD). Since Verizon wanted to charge us $15 per GB, that was a pretty good deal.
We spent the rest of Monday putting away gear, going through photos, and following up on emails. Later, after dinner, I took some sunset pics, ....
and then we went straight to bed.
On Tuesday, Linda did laundry at the campground, and we didn't go anywhere.
On Wednesday, we took a little drive in the afternoon. We visited Port McNeill and Port Hardy and picked up some information at the welcome center in Port Hardy. Neither town really intrigued us - Telegraph Cove is much more quaint and scenic. From there, we made the curvy drive to Port Alice which is a small village on a beautiful glacier-fed inlet, Neroutsos Inlet.
We walked on the SeaWalk for a bit, ....
admiring the glacier-blue water and surrounding mountains.
We stopped briefly at a little picnic area for photos ....
and we made a couple of stops to pick some roadside blackberries and thimbleberries. We continued driving toward the end of the inlet hoping for some more pristine views. Unfortunately the views of the scenic inlet were marred by power lines and a large cellulose plant.
We turned around and headed back toward our RV park on the twisty road. On the road to Port Alice there is a 13% grade hill, a 10% grade hill, and a 9% grade hill. They aren't long and they are lots of curves, but it would be nerve-wracking to have a large RV on that road.
There were several pretty lakes along the way, and we stopped at an overlook for some more photos.
There are many beautiful, hidden lakes of all sizes in this area that would be wonderful to paddle. With the lakes, the ocean, the wildlife, and the lack of people, we may just have to return to northern Vancouver Island and spend a summer.
On Thursday, we had an all-day wildlife viewing excursion with Rolf Hicker, a professional photographer and proprietor of Vancouver Island Tours and the Artists Point B&B. That was also amazing, and I'll get a post on that done soon .... after I whittle down the 1600 photos I took.