We also had time to wander around Victoria, something that I love to do. I have coined the phrase "ocean fix" when it comes to my visits to the capital city. I grew up there, and as happens with many people who have grown up near the ocean...it constantly calls you back!!
The walks along Dallas road, just sitting on a bench staring out at the water and watching the myriad of ships and small boats that pass by.....my childhood is revisted.
When we were children, "going for a swim" meant usually going to Mt. Douglas Park and playing in the sand, riding driftwood logs and swimming in the salt water. Then we would clamber up, all covered with sand, and sit around the blanket eating egg salad sandwiches and drinking kool aid or juice or some such thing....and then waiting the prescribed 1 hour before going in the water again!! We didn't have to worry about sunscreen or weird people.....we just played!!
My grandmother lived a block from Dallas Road and when we visited her in the summer, she would give us large ripple-sided juice cans and plastic sand shovels and we would head down to the Dallas Road beach to build sand castles and paddle in the water.....and again ride the big logs that drifted in with the tide!
I had a fascination with the steam ships that plied the waters between Victoria and Vancouver and my grandmother and aunt took me on the midnight boat to Vancouver one night.....it was wonderful!! I always remember watching the ships pass by and trying to figure out which ship was which by the funnels. I believe the Princess Elaine had four funnels, the Elisabeth and Joan had 2 as did the Marguerite and Patricia....I could be wrong though. Dad and I always had great discussions about this and shared an interest in the comings and goings of these big liners. The CP ships were so much more impressive than our BC Ferries, I think, because they looked like the big ocean liners that plied the Atlantic....their sleek lines cutting through the waves. I remember Dad telling me that during the war, the Queen Elisabeth I came into the Esquimalt dockyard for refit because it was the only dockyard in the area that could accomodate her size. I remember thinking" I wish I had been there to see that"!
Most of our family camping trips were taken with the ocean as a backdrop. Rathtrevor beach (before it became a provincial park), Qualicum, Miracle Beach, Campbell River.....even playing on the beach in Bowser I think it was, where the liberty ships from the World War II lay rusting as breakwaters. Those hulks always scared me because they were sooo big. My brothers had no such qualms and would ride up to them on a log while little sister cowered on the shore. In later years on Sunday drives, with Mom and Dad, we would head up the west coast of the island, through Jordan River, China Beach, Port Renfrew...and I remember my Dad saying...."Now this is the REAL Pacific, not the Strait of Georgia!!"...and we would look with wonder out across the neverending ocean where there were no islands to be seen!!
So...now I live in a desert town in the interior of the province with the river running down to the sea...and after a time I crave the ocean breezes and the salt air. It's pretty much a full day trip to get to Victoria from Kamloops, what with stops in Langley, and working with the ferry schedule, but to me....it's worth every minute. My daughter and her husband are leaving Victoria in the fall for Boston, so our immediate family connection will be gone....but we will still have family and a few friends there and Mom and Dad are buried there.
However, what will pull me back always, is the ocean, and the memories of my childhood near the ocean.