Saying goodbye to Tofino, our trip back to Vancouver was quite long and drawn out - 4.5 hour drive, 1 hour bus ride, 2 hour ferry trip, 1 hour bus rid, 15 minute taxi. As you can imagine, we didn't do a whole lot of anything except try to make it from point A to point B.
We stayed at the Sheraton again, this time in a room in the original tower and let me just say it made me miss the room in the new tower. It had furniture circa 1989, the internet connection was a 30 foot cord that you had to drag across one of the double beds to get to the desk and the bathroom had mold in the shower around the fixtures. I tweeted about how disgusting it was and management called to see if we wanted to move. At that point, we were only staying two nights and didn't feel like re-packing so I told her all I wanted was for the cleaning crew to come scrub the bathroom and vacuum up all the dust. Needless to say, they didn't. Eventually, I took a washcloth and scrubbed the tub. I'm getting the heebyjeebies just thinking about that black sludge.
Our last day started off well enough. We had booked two seats on a whale watching tour out of a fishing village about an hour outside of Vancouver. We ordered room service, showered and were getting ready to be picked up when the whale company called to say that the morning tour was cancelled because we were the only ones that booked. Awesome. We hung around the room for a couple of hours, finishing up breakfast and reading and then finally made our way out to Steveston. Knowing what I know now, I'd have rather taken the boat out of Victoria because they take you out almost all the way to the San Juan Islands of Washington to see the Orcas so it would have been a much shorter trip with less time getting to/from where the whales always hang out.
The orcas we saw are local to the area, traveling in pods. Our naturalist (or marine biologist, not sure) identified them as Granny and Ruffles; Granny is nearing (or over) 100 and Ruffles, her son, is well over 50. They are some of the oldest orcas around and are famous for having been included in the closing scenes of Free Willy.
People with fancy cameras like the Nikon I left at home kept stepping in front of me to get better shots of the whales, and after awhile I got tired of fighting for pole position, so Alan and I just sat down and enjoyed the cruise. There were some baby orcas breaching but you can't really get a good picture of that with a point and shoot camera, but it was fun to watch.
Leaving the whale pods, we made our way back through the Gulf Islands to Vancouver, passing a habitat of harbor seals along the way. They're supposed to be incredibly shy, but this particular group was very interested in us ... staring and cocking their cute little heads trying to understand what was going on.
Our flight out of Vancouver left at 8 a.m. so we left for the airport before the sun rose, getting back to San Francisco around 11 a.m., exhausted and ready to be home. If we had to do it over again, we'd skip Vancouver all together and just stay on the Island. Apparently you can fly from Victoria to Tofino, but it costs $$$. Maybe someday when money is no object we'll be visit that way.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming ...