It was another early morning as we all gathered for breakfast at the hotel near the Seattle/Tacoma Airport, and a beautiful morning it was. Blue skies, which have been unusually common this summer in the Pacific Northwest, gave us more breath-taking views of Mt. Rainier, as we rounded the southern tip of Puget Sound and headed northward up the Olympic Peninsula. There was plenty to take in, from vistas of Discovery Bay to World War II vintage ships in the mothball fleet to evergreen forests that looked like a scene from a Tolkien novel.
We arrived at Port Angeles, Washington, about 11:00 a.m. and had time to look around the harbor before boarding the Blackball Ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. Most of us made it across the Strait of Juan de Fuca without getting sea sick, but the swells made it a bit hard to walk around. I understand that the ferry made a couple of jogs along the way to avoid some whales, although I was not among the lucky few to see the giants surface in the wake of the vessel.
Victoria is charming, to say the least, and it is evidently more English than the rest of Canada. The architecture displayed in the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, among others, has a definite British flair. The Executive House Hotel where we are staying is a high-rise with great views of the harbor. After a dinner together at Barkley's that featured the freshest salmon I've ever had and some succulent steaks, many of us strolled through the city center in wonderful nighttime air of about 70 degrees, and the longest lasting sunset I've ever seen.
So much more to come, including the train trip across the Canadian Rockies. Will update tomorrow.