Up to now we were mostly boaters, but we have decided to become tourists as well. Not the fanatic type though. We pick our destinations to avoid the crowds – if possible – and look for a balance between the places one must see and the one few outsiders get to know. This week, the program includes Victoria, BC, the Butchart Gardens, and the Fishermen’s Wharf of Cowichan Bay. For the tourism inclined, a few pictures, and a few words.

Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is a must-see. We took a bus there – a double-decker which allowed us to enjoy the view from above. A busy place, encircling its harbor, which all kinds of floating machines have to share. Of course we walked miles, sharing our time between the most vibrant parts of the city, and the less traveled areas full of beautiful houses. A few plaques and memorabilia paying homage to the First Nations that used to be there… first. Plenty of bars and restaurants, all the shops one can wish for, but we end up slighly overwhelmed by the big-city syndrome, and we are happy to take our bus back to our boat. We might visit again, but in September this time, and with Brittany Belle, in a more relaxed organization.

The Butchart Gardens are celebrated everywhere, well beyond British Columbia. And indeed they are a beauty even for people like us who never went further, where gardening is concerned, than slowly killing a basil seedling on our balcony. One should get there early, as flocks of visitors from all over the world rapidly invade the narrow alleys. The icecream shops open at 10:30, and at 10:45 there is already a waiting line too long for my taste. But as we were moored just a 10-minute dinghy ride away, we managed to be among the first visitors that day, and  to get a nice soft ice.

For the next coupoe of days, we go back to our solitude, and anchor out in calm, secluided coves, slowly and quietly, making sure not to disturb our various neighbors.

But we finally decide to pay a visit to – last but not least – the not-so-famous city of Cowichan. There’s no transient moorage with the 2-3 small marinas: they only accept residents – some of them in a poor state of repairs – and quite a few floating houses. But the Fishermen’s Wharf Association accepts us for a night, in a strange atmosphere clouded by the smoke of the wild fires burning all over Brisith Columbia. The harbor master blames the storms, the lightnings, the dry season, and even the huge fires in Siberia. Putin strikes again!

Anyway, we discover a nice little town with a locally famous seafood restaurant, a surprisingly well presented wood boat-building museum, and… the best boulangerie we have found so far on the whole continent. Baguette, croissants, we treat ourselves to a breakfast orgy, and we provision for a week.

We still don’t know where we’re headed tomorrow…