Since there is only one road to Vancouver from Agassiz and there are often accidents which block the road, I planned in quite a lot of buffer. Plus even with a reservation you should arrive 30- 60 min before departure. Even with a minor traffic jam due to an accident and a quick stop at an outdoor shop I managed to be at the ferry at 1:50. Since the 2 o´clock ferry wasn´t completely full they let me on that one instead of making me wait for an hour. I was super happy about that! Weather was again cold (14°C) rainy and foggy so I didn´t have any nice view from the ferry.
One and a half hours later we landed on Vancouver Island and I had to drive another 30 minutes to reach Victoria. Found my hostel – the HI Victoria – quite quickly, but finding a parking space was another story. There is free overnight parking in the parking house accross the street but during the day you have to pay everywhere. The cheapest I would find was $9.50 for the day. It was only until 6 pm, but from 6pm on the parking in the parking garage was free. So every morning and every evening I had to move the car. The hostel was quite nice, meaning the common areas. The only free space I could book though was in a 20 bed dorm. Since the hostel was very central, it was super loud from outside, also loud inside the dorm plus way too much light. I hardly slept those 3 nights in this place. Walked around a bit to explore the area, but since it started to rain again and a very cold wind was blowing I returned to the hostel after only 1 or 2 hours. I booked a whale watching tour for the next day. Through the hostel you got it $27 cheaper. Nice! Cooked some dinner and set myself to work on my blog while watching a DVD until I went to bed. The next day I spend the whole morning trying to find accommodations for the rest of my time in Canada. It´s getting complicated since the main season started and places tend to be booked out. There are almost no couch surfers on Vancouver Island, so I was hunting for hostels and AirBnBs. After lunch I went to explore the city again
before going to my whale watching tour. The weather was supposed to be nice that day, but unfortunately it was very cloudy, foggy and windy and almost no sun. So it got pretty cold on the boat when it was going full speed. I was wearing 5 lyres and still froze a bit. We saw a Minke Whale super shortly and later 2 Humpback Whales for quite long. One of the Humpback Whales came super close to the boat. That was amazing!
Unfortunately the whale watching was overshadowed by my camera playing up again just before we discovered the humpbacks. Same issue as before, Lense error. Horrible noises, lense would neither go completely in nor out and the camera wouldn´t start. So I could only take cell phone pictures. When we returned from the tour it was already too late to go to a camera place. I had 30 minutes before I had to replace the car again, so I got myself a few treats and walked to the car park. Cooked some dinner and talked quite long to a few girls from the hostel (English, Philippian and a German girl). Got some computer work done while listening to the Jam session in the hostel. Next morning I went to the camera shop first thing. Spend almost the whole morning with going from one place to the other including a camera mechanic directly, but without success. They all told me it would take a couple of weeks to get an estimation of the price and even longer for repairing it, if possible. I am not long enough in one place to get this done. I was super sad, but what can you do. Since I wanted to have something with at list a little bit of zoom at least and didn´t want to spend too much money, I bought a compact camera and got an extra battery for free since the woman at the shop felt sorry for me. I brought the broken camera back to the hostel and decided to enjoy at least a few hours of this finally beautiful day. I set off for the coastal walkway along the harbor, the seaplane airport (it´s the busiest sea plane airport in the world with more than 200 flights coming in per day in summer!) the government buildings and Laurel Park to the Fishermen´s Wharf. There I got some Fish´n´Chips at the famous Barb´s and walked around the floating village. I also had a really yummy ice cream. From the Wharf I walked on to the cruise ship terminal and Breakwater along the coast to Beacon Hill Park. I made a little break somewhere on the coast on a bench that was shadowed from the brisk cold wind in the sun with a view over the snow covered mountains over the clouds on the horizon and some huge ships.
Walked through downtown back to the hostel and picked up my camera. Went to the post office with it. During the last couple of hours I had decided together with Nate, that I would send it to him and we would try to get it fixed in Philly. There at least the time is not so much of an issue. Then I relocated the car and went back to the hostel to heat up my leftovers from last night. Getting into finding accommodation again before I went for a quick stroll and a drink in an Irish Pub with Lena, the German girl. Next morning I went to Craigdarroch Castle and after left the city.
Victoria is a really nice place! Apart from the traffic and the parking situation it doesn´t have this big city feeling to it. Many cute little shops, some houses are light up during the night in a very nice way, beautiful waterfront, great food places, lots to do and see. I would have loved to stay longer if it wouldn´t have been for my accommodation and the car. If I ever come back to Canada, I will definitely go there again, but without a car. Taking the ferry without a car is $17 instead of about $70 and if you come from abroad, the connecting flight to Victoria is not much more expensive plus you get to fly with a sea plane. I would probably stay there a little longer than this time and after get a car for the rest of the island.