We strolled into Joe Fortes in downtown Vancouver shortly before 6 pm on Thursday evening...without reservations. So what a treat they had a place for us on their outdoor patio with lovely views and breezes and amazing food--everything was fabulous.
Our first night in Victoria on Vancouver Island we went out for a sunset whale-watching cruise on a powerful catamaran. It was amazing. We got to see one humpback whale, then spent a bunch of time watching orcas from J pod hunting salmon. They were widely scattered at first, but around sunset a bunch of them gathered together and got a little playful, slapping the water and even jumping a little, as well as making lots of vocalizations underwater that we got to hear through a microphone.
The following day we were graced with fabulous weather for our visit to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. It was an amazing afternoon; words can't do that place justice at all. Unfortunately since we came on a Saturday to stay late for the fireworks, we got to share the beauty with an oversized horde of other people. I'm glad I could buy a calendar to remind me of the gardens next year.
Sunday morning before leaving Victoria brought two treats. We went to the Robert Bateman Centre to see his amazing art, and it was neat to learn that he lives on a nearby island. Not only did we get free admission because of the bus tour we took the previous day, but while we were there the employees told us about the water taxis in the harbor doing a 'water ballet' at 11 am once a week, and we got to watch it from the museum which made for a fabulous view. A lot of the moves reminded me of dressage, except done on tiny boats rather than horses. Adorable!