Every time I travel to British Columbia, I am astounded at its beauty. Although Charles and I consider ourselves to be in the travel chapter of our retirement, there have been no flights on planes, or vacation trips anywhere. Hello Covid! So our planned trip out west to visit our kids was almost like a new experience. And, as it turned out it was a wonderful journey, except for one small detail.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog I had surgery in June. All went very well, except that as we departed, I realized I was not well, and feeling pain at the site, which was to haunt me the entire time we were away. Nevertheless, I slept across Canada in the plane, except to eat an execrable Air Canada breakfast. The menu provided listed the Executive chefs who proudly are associated with the airline. One wonders if they have ever experienced breakfast on a flight. Scrambled eggs and cottage cheese with some sort of sauce and a packaged croissant that would make its French ancestors cringe is not breakfast to be proud of. The airline has also stopped serving decaf coffee or herbal teas. I guess they assume that most customers want a jolt in the morning. Now as I mentioned in earlier blogs we are fortunate enough to travel business class either with points or in this instance a refund from a previous cancelled Covid flight, so one expects a certain level of service. But my sleep was good and we had plans for lunch in Vancouver.
The flight was actually early and the crew were excellent. We planned to meet two of our sons for dim-sum lunch in Richmond BC, not far from the airport, as we were taking another flight to a wilderness island where we would spend four days. I had researched Chinese restaurants in Richmond and chose one that looked unusual and was well lauded, called Yue. It was very busy, a good sign, and our sons arrived. Much hugging all around. The food was indeed unusual, not what we are accustomed too, but when Corby and Niels are present you never have to worry about having leftovers. Next time I will find another perhaps not as exotic a cuisine. We had a delightful visit as I popped Tylenol and was starting to feel real pain, but I pushed it aside as I did for our entire trip.
Corby had to go to work, and we soon left for the waiting room/bar/restaurant of Pacific Coastal airlines. We were booked by the hotel on a chartered float plane, and while we waited, we sat and looked at the view of the mountains, had a drink, and watched the float planes arrive and depart. A very nice way to wait for a plane. It was a glorious day with the sun shining on the water. It wasn’t long before our Otter was ready to board. There were six of us and the pilot. We all had good views of the glorious BC coastal scenery.
It took about an hour and we set down on the water beside the Sonora Resort and were greeted by staff who whisked away our carry on bags( we were only allowed 25 lbs) and led us up a ramp to the stunning lobby where we were offered libation, and then given a welcome talk and briefing about the resort. After, we were taken up some hills to our room in one of the lodges. As we entered we faced a wall of scenery, one large picture window with a breathtaking view of mountains and water and sky. Apparently every room has this view and why not. It is why we were there. Well almost. Whenever we visit the kids in Vancouver it seems important to spend a few days in a resort on the west coast after travelling across the country. And BC is so spectacular that I doubt we would ever see it all.
I was still feeling poorly but grabbed a short nap, a bath, dressed up a bit and we headed to dinner outside on the terrace. I loved the look of the menu, and the appetizers particularly appealed. Lovely wines, and then we crashed as we were still on Toronto time. And what a good sleep. I took a picture of the early morning view from our window and you can see it below. We headed for breakfast again outside and had delicious eggs and savoured our experience and marvelled at our blessings. You often feel close to God when you are so close to nature.
We decided to hike one of the trails on our map of the resort and per usual we got lost and came to a dead end, but not without seeing bald eagles, and noting the water hoses that were lying all along the paths, as well as fire equipment. The weather was lovely not too hot, but it had been perishing a few weeks earlier, and although this region of BC was not part of the wild fires of the interior, it was obviously a concern as the resort is on an island and you don’t just call the fire department. Speaking of calling, Charles insisted that I call the doctor and get some assistance for my pain. They asked me to send a picture, and thank goodness we have the technology these days. I do always travel with antibiotics just in case. I discussed this with the ‘team’ and although not perfect these meds would tide me over. We were a few days from Vancouver, and an appointment was made for me to see the doctor the following week when we returned to Toronto, after an ultrasound. Tylenol helped, the meds settled the redness a bit and I just got on with it. I am not going to over discuss my misery, except to say when I saw the doctor I had an infection, probably from a stitch, who knows. I was put on 6 weeks of a different drug, told to limit my activity.. ha! and I am happy to say now at 4 weeks I am so much better, the probiotics help as well, and soon to start golf. I will celebrate the end of this journey with a nice chilly glass of Veuve champagne. Maybe more than one. Okay back to the trip.
After the hike we headed to the terrace for a delightful lunch. I had mussels and clams that were delicious. The tariff for the resort includes all meals and wine so that makes it easy ordering. Back to the room to read and then later to join an eco tour of the area on the ocean. We were told to visit the gear room near the docks and pick up flotation jackets and some water. We were met by the most charming young guide and captain of the boat who taught us about the waters, and immediately took us to see the seals lounging on a small island near the resort. Then we visited some enormous sea lions farther up the water and were astounded to learn of their size, some up to 1000 lbs. It was windy in the boat and very sunny. We motored by a pictograph that was made by tug boat captains, marking where they had travelled. The best though was the eagle supper show. Every day the tides change and the eagles know when that is exactly and they arrive at the spot to find the fish hake running, and voilà yummy supper. We were excited on our hike to see a few bald eagles, but at this spot there were hundreds as well as juveniles soaring above our heads and screaming their delight. Many sea lions joined and it was a dinner for all. In fact there were so many of these majestic birds that when they rest briefly on a promontory they look like snow with their white heads massed together. It was simply exhilarating. We then reached some rapids and the boat just twirled around in them. The tour took 2 hours and there was a young couple with us. They had also come on the float plane.
Not many people at the resort, only about 25, because of the closed border, but that would change. Americans would start pouring in from Seattle and south of there. The salmon fishing is reputed to be wonderful and I hope we will return and do just that for a day. The kitchen will clean and prep the fish, and you can eat it for dinner or have it packaged to take home, or both. After our return, back up the dock to the main room and a glass of champagne seemed in order. Then a rest, freshen up for dinner, again outside in the perfect weather, and a delicious meal. We chatted with another couple from Toronto and enjoyed the sunset on the water. We also ordered a crab dinner for our final night. There was an extra charge for this, but we were told we could share and we did.
After a good rest, the bed’s mattress was simply delicious, we were booked for a fly fishing lesson at a well stocked pond on the property. I started, but I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about pain, but I just sat out and watched my honey, who was very good, a natural. I had yummy chicken wings at lunch and Charles had clams and mussels. I did go swimming in the heated, glorious pool, and enjoyed the eagles flying overhead and seeing the boats coming and going. It felt good in the water. Then I sat with my book and noticed the chef and her sous chef at the water below me pulling out crabs and cleaning them. They threw extra bits to the fish, and then when they came up the ramp, we chatted and indeed one of the crabs was for us, the other for the young couple. I was getting hungry.
Dinner did not disappoint and there was more than enough from one crab for both of us, as it was served on a platter with root vegetables and lots of other goodies like shrimp and scallops. Again a beautiful night outside and I tried to absorb the view and remember it always. Thank goodness for our cameras. It was a romantic evening and we just didn’t want to go to bed. We wandered around the onsite shop and bought a few things as souvenirs of our visit, I had a cognac in the large main room, and then to bed. We were getting excited about seeing our family, especially our grand daughter, four year old Sway. We were heading to Vancouver in a helicopter as there would be 8 of us, but it wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:00pm the next day. I was able to get an extension on the room, so we had it until 1:00, which meant we would have breakfast and lunch before we departed and not have to rush packing.
We had a very smooth flight on the gorgeous helicopter from London Air and the views from the window of our route to Vancouver were fabulous. On arrival in Vancouver a taxi was waiting to take us downtown to our hotel. I will continue telling you about the second part of our trip in my next blog. But before I leave you I am inserting some pictures of the food served and other memorable photos.