Wednesday, March 28, 2012


After leaving Cobble Hill, Daniel and I had plans to visit Salt Spring Island. We drove up to Crofton to catch the ferry, only to realize that there was a special ferry schedule on Wednesdays and we would only have two hours there before we needed to head right back to Vancouver Island in order to check into our b&b in Sooke in a timely manner. Lame. So we bagged the idea and instead had a leisurely lunch in Maple Bay and then pressed on to Sooke. 

Sooke is located down at the very bottom of Vancouver Island, just a bit west of Victoria. We arrived too early to check into our b&b in Otter Point (the owners weren't home), so we decided to go for a walk along Whiffen Spit.

Whiffen Spit! Isn't that a wonderful name? The spit extends out from the base of the Sooke Harbour House, separating the Sooke harbor from the ocean. It was a gorgeous, if cold, afternoon and people were actually out surfing and paddle boarding. We stayed mostly on dry land.

Eventually we made our way back to our b&b to check in and get a recommendation for dinner. We ended up eating at The EdGe, an unassuming little restaurant on the main drag that turned out to be quite good- I had some of the most delicately flavored, perfectly cooked tuna I've ever tasted. 

The next morning, we breakfasted at our b&b and then drove to East Sooke Regional Park for a few hours of hiking. We decided to hike part of the Coast Trail.

The Coast Trail is beautiful and it's one of the few trails in the part of the country that actually takes you right along the water's edge. The stretch of the trail we did involved a lot of scrambling over rocky outcroppings- a fairly strenuous hike, but rewarding for all its beauty and the fact that we had the trail completely to ourselves. 

We saw harbor seals, a bald eagle or two, and Daniel even spotted a wolf (I missed it. Stupid near-sighted eyes.)

As a special treat to celebrate our last night on Vancouver Island, we had dinner at the Sooke Harbour House.

The Sooke Harbour House was one of the main reasons I had especially wanted to visit Sooke. The hotel has been around since 1929 and it's an almost absurdly charming place. The restaurant is ranked as the best on the island. Our hosts at the b&b called ahead of time and asked if we could have the local's three-course menu rather than the standard (and considerably more expensive) four-course menu and they kindly obliged. It was still light out when we were seated at our table, which allowed us to fully appreciate the view of the water and out to the Olympics. It was one of those perfect, leisurely dinners that stretch out for hours as you linger over the food and wine and settle in to the comfort of the room. I never wanted to leave. 

But eventually, we did leave and on our last morning in Sooke, we dragged our feet as we packed our bags.  We ate breakfast, bid our hosts farewell, and drove down to French Beach for one last little stroll before driving back to Victoria to catch the Clipper back to Seattle.

The sun was out and it promised to be a beautiful day. Oh, Canada.

It's always hard to come to the end of a great vacation, but we had such a good time and it absolutely reinforced how essential it is to take time away and explore a new place every so often. 

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