The reunion participants gathered at a local restaurant this morning for breakfast after which we and a few others returned to the home of our host and hostess. We went back so John could download a copy of the family photo slide show that was put together by several of the folks. We wanted to have a copy in case they were unable to upload it in a format that everyone could download at home.
We left about 1 o’clock and headed north on the Island Highway. We made several stops for geocaches which also gave us some interesting sights to see.
Our first two stops were not far from the house. There was an Earthcache at the Nanaimo River Estuary so we followed the trail to find the information that was required to send to the cache owner to prove we were actually there, since an Earthcache is a cache without a log paper to sign. They are created at sites of historical or, very often, geological interest and the cache owner includes a series of questions to be answered before you can log the cache as found. We were able to answer the questions, but we honestly were somewhat underwhelmed by the estuary itself. Looked more like a stream with a lot of grass, but it is apparently the largest estuary on Vancouver Island and an important habitat for many types of plants, animals and migrating birds.Our second stop was also to get information for a geocache that requires questions to be answered. This time at Petroglyph Provincial Park, which is the site of some First Nations petroglyphs carved into the soft standstone in the forest. We were somewhat disappointed with this park as many of the petroglyphs were getting covered with moss and had fir needles and fallen leaves covering them. We met a young German toursit who had walked the three kilometers from Nanaimo just to see them and he, too, felt a bit let-down with the inability to clearly view the etchings. Still, it was a good thing to see and learn about – and, since we were going his way, we gave him a ride back to the hostel where he was staying. There were castings such as the two above of eight of the petroglyphs from the site and several of them were almost invisible as well.
We stopped next to find a cache overlooking Wellington Beach on Long Lake. Wellington was one of James Dunsmuir’s coal mining areas and when the coal seam was exhausted most of the homes and buildings were dismantled and moved to create the new town of Ladysmith at the his mine. We stopped at Union Bay to find a geocache that was hidden across the road from an ice cream parlour. Today was very warm and sunny so they were doing a booming business. The size of this cache is a nano. Nanos are SMALL and often very hard to find. This one, however, John spotted almost immediately at the bottom of a sign post. If the container is small, you can be sure the log paper is also small. With these types of geocaches we only sign our initials to save space.
The Denman Island ferry was just coming in as we drove by the harbour.Several areas along the coast of the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland are oyster producers. We passed a few mountains of shells and this large collection of traps. We took a short detour off Highway 19A to go over to Royston to see the Ghost Ships. There were thirteen ships of various ages and types that were sunk in the bay in the 1940s and ’50s to make a safe breakwater for getting the large logs to the barges for shipping. Due to salt erosion and time many of them are completed buried but there is enough left of several of them to make the area very hazardous so it is off limits to boats and swimmers. I had never heard of scuttling old ships to make a breakwater. You learn something new every day. We didn’t drive really far today, but with the late start and all the stopping to look at views and find caches we did not arrive at our hotel at Oyster Bay until after 6 pm. There was a good Chinese food restaurant about two minutes drive down the road so supper was easy to get.
Tomorrow we have to go about 200 km, which is also not really far, but knowing us we will take all day to do it.