Tagged with " Vancouver Island"
Apr 16, 2010 -

Victoria to Campbell River

The drive home this evening was interminable. It was almost entirely stop and go from downtown Victoria to Parksville, north of Nanaimo, and then I caught every single red light between Nanaimo and home. It took four hours to get home (with a five minute stop in Nanaimo) and my clutch foot was actually swollen by the time I got here!

I made one photo-worthy stop on the way home, at the Malahat lookout, which offers great views of the San Juan Island and other American locales.

This was definitely a drive that was more fun with a companion and several planned stops. 🙂

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Apr 16, 2010 -

The Pacific Undersea Gardens

Reviews of the Pacific Undersea Gardens are very negative and justified, but I still wanted to experience it for myself and am glad I did, having an experience that made my $10 entry fee worthwhile. The ‘gardens’ are actually an under sea aquarium. You board a ship and descend 15′ below the surface to view fish and other marine life in a relatively natural habitat. At first glance, the whole thing screams Tourist Trap. The windows are scratched, dirty, and covered in algae and the information plaques aren’t that informational. But if you take the time to stop and really look, like I did, you might make a memory that will stick with you.

I attempted to take photographs of a large crab located at the far end of a tank, when it started to move. At first, it seemed to move randomly, but I soon realised that it was coming straight at me! Even though I didn’t have a flash on the camera, it must have been projecting a bit of light. The crab came right up to the window and started to wave its claws at me. It then began to climb the inner frame of the window and continued to tap on the window, making quite a racket. I moved the camera from pane to pane and the crab followed my movements. I was not photographing by this point, so I wonder if it could actually see the camera itself, a flash of silver in the green. Whatever it was, I am now convinced that crabs are a lot more intelligent and aware than we give them credit for. This guy was without question interacting with me.

Once Bob (I had to give him a name!) lost interest with me, it was time for a nine minute show where a diver interacts with some of animals. He showed us a large starfish, a wolf eel, a crab, and an octopus.

There are surely better ways to spend $10 in Victoria, but I’m truly glad I visited the Undersea Gardens. It just goes to show that sometimes the most hyped and slickest attractions aren’t necessarily the most memorable.

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Apr 16, 2010 -

The Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum is the quintessential museum every big city has with exhibits about the geological and human history of the province. It is seriously over rated and over priced. At $15, its price is only second to the Royal Ontario Museum (well worth its $22 ticket fee) and a joke when compared to the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s $12. I know what I sound like, the jaded, ‘been there, done that’  traveler, but I do feel that I my observations are valid. Someone visiting the RBC museum who has never been to this type of museum would definitely get a lot out of it and find the entry fee worthwhile. A seasoned traveler might read this and decide to save their money for something else.

So, the RBC has two levels of exhibits with an Imax theatre (not included in the basic $15 ticket fee). The first exhibit floor is about the geological history of BC and the second level is about the history of the native people and settlers of the province. The exhibits were extremely well done and up to date; I was really impressed with a lot of the dioramas and the occasional touch screen information panels. Money is definitely well spent at the RBC museum.

The highlight of the museum for me was the theatre in ‘old town’ that played a scene from the Charlie Chaplin movie The Gold Rush, which I had never seen! Everyone was in stitches watching him and a friend try to get out of a house teetering on the edge of a cliff.

Flash photography isn’t allowed in museums and the RBC is kept very dark, so I only got a few shots worth sharing, but they will provide a good taste of this museum:

I think the 1990’s exhibit, small as it was, was my favourite. I can’t believe that things out of my childhood are now antiques! 😀

The museum can be done in 1.5 to 3 hours depending on how much you decide to read. I did it in 2, mostly because there are a lot specialized interpreters and I stopped to listen to what they had to say.

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