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Hi All, 

Calling on the collective wisdom of SA.  A friend of mine is planning to spend a week next May exploring Vancouver Island with her daughter.  They are both avid hikers and will have a car.  I know there are some here that live on the island and many others that have spent extensive time there.  

So, what are the must sees, must dos, and must eats and anything else you can think of.  

Appreciate any and all inputs.  

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Budget? High tea at the Empress is always a favourite if you have a couple of hundred burning a hole in your pocket.  Weasel-headed fucknugget Sorry, leftovers on the clipboard. 
https://www.teaattheempress.com/menus/

OK, I'll work on a list.

https://www.butchartgardens.com/

https://www.portrenfrew.com/botbeach.htm

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/macmillan/

old-growth-forest-cathedral-grove.jpeg

http://www.tofino-bc.com/geography/long-beach-vancouver-island.php

long-beach-tofino-1.jpg

I'll think some more.

 

 

 

 

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Don'ts

Don't drive onto a beach at low tide and leave your car there for 6 hours.

Don't drive over Malahat at on Friday afternoon or Sunday evening.

The island is huge and don't plan on just driving up to the top in an afternoon.  There's not much to see from the road north anyway, especially north of Parkville.

High tea at the Empress pretty much a rip off.

 

Dos

Do rent a bike for a day in Victoria

Do drive over to Ucluelet/Tofino Peninsula and out to the ocean, check out the beaches, rent kayaks and paddle around, take a whale watch ride or off-shore fishing trip.  Good food out there, but it is a long drive.

Do check out the First Nations exhibit in the provincial museum

Do poke your nose into Murchies Book Store in Victoria

Do the Butchart Garden if it's rhododendron season.  Personally not a fan, but check out what's blooming.

Do look into Mt. Douglas or Goldstream Parks for hikes.

Do a seaplane ride out over the Gulf Islands.  

Drink beer

 

 

 

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Go to Tofino / Ucluelet :

Take a hike to Halfmoon Bay

https://www.tofinohiking.com/hikes/halfmoon-bay-trail/

Our favorite place to stay is Middle Beach Lodge 

https://www.tofinohiking.com/hikes/halfmoon-bay-trail/

Favorite restaurants in Tofino are SOBO and Shelter 

http://sobo.ca/site/

https://www.shelterrestaurant.com/

 

In downtown Victoria you can walk to lots of pubs /restaurants explore and suit your own palette

Stop in Swans pub to check out the PNW native art  and make time to check out the Robert Bateman Gallery

https://batemancentre.org/

 

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Cheap thrills for a day is to ride to as many islands as you can on the inter-island ferry. You only pay once and you can sometimes visit three or four islands in a day. Don't eat the ferry food.

Saltspring Island is very interesting, May is a little early for the open market in Ganges but there are many fine artists with galleries there.

One of our favourite places to stay is https://www.pointnopointresort.com/

3 minutes ago, nacradriver said:

Sloop John B should be along any second to help you...  and maybe be a gracious host

Sloop lives in Vancouver, but I live in Victoria and keep the boat in Sidney. I'd be happy to take them sailing in the Gulf Islands if the weather cooperates.

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1 hour ago, Left Shift said:

Don'ts

Don't drive onto a beach at low tide and leave your car there for 6 hours.

Don't drive over Malahat at on Friday afternoon or Sunday evening.

The island is huge and don't plan on just driving up to the top in an afternoon.  There's not much to see from the road north anyway, especially north of Parkville.

High tea at the Empress pretty much a rip off. 

 

Dos

Do rent a bike for a day in Victoria

Do drive over to Ucluelet/Tofino Peninsula and out to the ocean, check out the beaches, rent kayaks and paddle around, take a whale watch ride or off-shore fishing trip.  Good food out there, but it is a long drive.

Do check out the First Nations exhibit in the provincial museum

Do poke your nose into Murchies Book Store in Victoria

Do the Butchart Garden if it's rhododendron season.  Personally not a fan, but check out what's blooming.

Do look into Mt. Douglas or Goldstream Parks for hikes.

Do a seaplane ride out over the Gulf Islands.  

Drink beer

 

 

 

high tea  -- rip off

second Butchart gardens   do the butterfly gardens on the way  ..

natural museum   good

schooners   decent brew pub..

redwood forests   good

 

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 Even a number of years,  it SWMBO says the evening light set up at Bucharest is worth doing.  We were on a mooring in the cove and I stayed aboard with a sleeping 2 YO and a glass of wine while wife and 13 YO daughter did the lights. They could probably go late afternoon and stay into the evening if they wanted. 

Again old memories,  but the quayside around the harbor was a great people watching place for an evening stroll. Second the Butterfly gardens.  

 

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Try this site for places to hike:

https://www.discovervancouverisland.com/top-hiking-spots/

When in May will they be there? Memorial Day weekend is the Swiftsure Race which starts and finishes in Victoria. They could take a short hike down to Clover Point and watch the starts. It's fun to be around the inner harbor pre-race as well. It's a bit like Port Huron before the Mack with all the hustle and bustle of boats getting ready, just smaller.

As for food, I've eaten at a number of different restaurants serving myriad cuisines in Victoria. I can't recall any bad experiences at any of them. Our crew usually goes to the Sticky Wicket Pub for our pre-race dinner. Excellent pub grub. Cora just across the street is a nice place for breakfast.

Additionally, I've done touch-and-go's at a number of other ports around the island when I did the Van Isle 360 race in 2017. Ucluelet was my favorite stop. Nice small town, very hospitable and friendly.

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If they go to Tofino, they can ride a water taxi to various destinations including Hot Springs Cove. Hot Springs Cove is a location only reached by boat or seaplane. It is a 1 mile walk from the docks thru the forest on a boardwalk to the hot springs. The natural hot springs run over and thru the shoreside rocks forming pools. It is a special place to soak in the pools.

https://tofinowatertaxi.com/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g154942-d317675-Reviews-Hot_Springs_Cove-Tofino_Clayoquot_Sound_Alberni_Clayoquot_Regional_District_Vancou.html

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Telegraph Cove.  Long way up but a great little postage stamp hole in the wall.  spending a day there could mean about 50 laps around the board walk.  Nice tiny whale museum, decent pub, good breakfast burritos, and brown bears getting into the trash.  

On the way up don’t miss the best miniature golf course in Canada in Parksville

 

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It sounds like they are outdoor types so as mentioned the hiking is very good. One of our best day hikes started at the ski area at Mt Washington, but may be limited if snow is still around. Surfing was also a blast, they have lessons for beginers like myself. I would also second kayaking, there are outfitters who do day trips so you don't have to bring all the gear.

The restaurant at Wikannish Inn in Tofino is very good and very expensive, but the setting is spectacular. It is worth stopping for a drink and appetizers at sundown. 

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3 hours ago, nacradriver said:

Sloop John B should be along any second to help you...  and maybe be a gracious host

I live on the mainland so can't be any sort of host I'm afraid. I'd go with what Ish recommends.

One point - avoid the Empress - grossly overpriced tourist crap. Spent the worst night in any hotel in my life there once.

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On the way to Tofino for a surf lesson, stop at the airport in Port Alberni and take a glider flight with Vancouver Island Soaring Centre.  Go a little further down the highway and do the Zip Line.  For hiking, do the Judges Route on Mt Arrowsmith.  Sail in Swiftsure if you are there on the right weekend.

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1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

Um...that's in Vancouver, not on Vancouver Island. The (Victoria) Maritime Museum of BC is only a shadow of its former self these days. 

I stand corrected...

it has been 19 years since I went there so confused the two. I was wondering why Tillicum was not listed as an exhibit, thanks to your post I know!

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Strathcona Provincial Park is the first provincial park created in British Columbia. It is huge with awesome hikes. Victoria is okay, but head north, leave the city dwellers and get out in nature.

Strathcona Park overview

I am in Campbell River, and in SA fashion I must tell you that it really sucks here and do not visit!

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In Victoria, I will cast a vote for a trip to Spinnakers pub. 

www.spinnakers.com

Also, there are walking paths along Victoria's harbor.  Excellent place for a walk.  

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I sent my friend this thread this morning and she is very appreciative.  Given their interests, I'm sure they won't spend more than a day in Victoria.  Too much other fun stuff to do.  

Thanks so much to all and please add any random thoughts you might have.  Really appreciate it.  

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Tofino. This is my wife's fav. They have wood fireplaces for May. https://www.crystalcove.ca/tofino-cabins?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5e2Ypvj75AIVksVkCh3xugqeEAAYAiAAEgIScPD_BwE

Surf Sisters Surfing. The inner break will be fine to surf. Choice of many beaches.

Jordan River surf. https://magicseaweed.com/Vancouver-Island-South-Jordan-River-Surf-Report/323/

Broken Islands tour. Lighthouse trail Ucluelet.

Telegraph Cove. Kayaking and nature, near Robson Bight orca rubbing beach.

Cape Scott trail.

Sointula day trip or Alert Bay for meeting first nations and a museum.

Newcastle Island, Nanaimo.

Victoria heritage home tour and Old Town book stores.

Tours of tidal rapids or whales, many places.

Rathtrevor Beach, low tide.

Cougars hate Metallica.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Norse Horse said:

Tofino. This is my wife's fav. They have wood fireplaces for May. https://www.crystalcove.ca/tofino-cabins?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5e2Ypvj75AIVksVkCh3xugqeEAAYAiAAEgIScPD_BwE

Surf Sisters Surfing. The inner break will be fine to surf. Choice of many beaches.

Jordan River surf. https://magicseaweed.com/Vancouver-Island-South-Jordan-River-Surf-Report/323/

Broken Islands tour. Lighthouse trail Ucluelet.

Telegraph Cove. Kayaking and nature, near Robson Bight orca rubbing beach.

Cape Scott trail.

Sointula day trip or Alert Bay for meeting first nations and a museum.

Newcastle Island, Nanaimo.

Victoria heritage home tour and Old Town book stores.

Tours of tidal rapids or whales, many places.

Rathtrevor Beach, low tide.

Cougars hate Metallica.

 

 

those cabins look cool...      when they say pricing  based on 2 people..  does the posted price of 300 actually  mean  600  or it's  300 for 2 or less ? 

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1 hour ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

those cabins look cool...      when they say pricing  based on 2 people..  does the posted price of 300 actually  mean  600  or it's  300 for 2 or less ? 

That would be $300 for two. Going up to $310 next year. That's $235 US.

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18 hours ago, dash34 said:

On the way to Tofino for a surf lesson, stop at the airport in Port Alberni and take a glider flight with Vancouver Island Soaring Centre.  Go a little further down the highway and do the Zip Line.  For hiking, do the Judges Route on Mt Arrowsmith.  Sail in Swiftsure if you are there on the right weekend.

Do not sail in Driftsure.  

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19 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

I live on the mainland so can't be any sort of host I'm afraid. I'd go with what Ish recommends.

One point - avoid the Empress - grossly overpriced tourist crap. Spent the worst night in any hotel in my life there once.

X2 (my wife and me)

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3 hours ago, Norse Horse said:

Tofino. This is my wife's fav. They have wood fireplaces for May. https://www.crystalcove.ca/tofino-cabins?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5e2Ypvj75AIVksVkCh3xugqeEAAYAiAAEgIScPD_BwE

Surf Sisters Surfing. The inner break will be fine to surf. Choice of many beaches.

Jordan River surf. https://magicseaweed.com/Vancouver-Island-South-Jordan-River-Surf-Report/323/

Broken Islands tour. Lighthouse trail Ucluelet.

Telegraph Cove. Kayaking and nature, near Robson Bight orca rubbing beach.

Cape Scott trail.

Sointula day trip or Alert Bay for meeting first nations and a museum.

Newcastle Island, Nanaimo.

Victoria heritage home tour and Old Town book stores.

Tours of tidal rapids or whales, many places.

Rathtrevor Beach, low tide.

Cougars hate Metallica.

 

 

But bears love ‘em!

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2 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

those cabins look cool...      when they say pricing  based on 2 people..  does the posted price of 300 actually  mean  600  or it's  300 for 2 or less ? 

What he said.^^^for 2. November storms are the time to enjoy less people and big swell.

Those cabins are beside Mackenzie Beach, which is better for dogs and kids with baby surf. Pet friendly.

Cox Bay has the pounding surf and beach break. These condos are right on the beach there and are fairly new construction. https://tourismtofino.com/plan-your-trip/business-directory/cox-bay-beach-resort/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5L24w7b85AIVg7fsCh12cQfoEAAYAiAAEgJiD_D_BwE

Neither of these are in the park itself. If you want 7 miles of beach either direction and the most storm pounding action then Wikkaninish is where the rock stars stay. https://www.wickinn.com/

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We prefer Ucluelet. It's a bit cheaper and bit friendlier. Same access to beaches, surf, etc.

One tip: look on Airbnb, then go to the rental's own website. We found nice places and saved the overhead.

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There are some excellent recommendations here.  I'll second (third? Fourth?) the recommendation to see Butchart Gardens, especially at night.

Someone mention Newcastle Island in Nanaimo. Beautiful spot, if they decide to stop there, I will recommend heading over to the Dinghy Dock pub on Protection Island for lunch/dinner. It's a neat little floating pub, with good food.

I also agree with a trip out to the west coast ie Tofino/Uculuet/Long Beach. Plan on spending a couple of days there.  Make sure they stop at Cathedral Grove on the way to check out the big trees.

You mentioned they were avid hikers.  Lots of places on the island to hike.  Some of the peaks might still have significant snowpacks in May, so it might be better to wait until closer to arrival to determine where to hike.  Quite a few of the peaks are hikeable, and don't require special equipment provided they are snow free.  If some of the bigger peaks are still too snowy, there are plenty close to the coast that will be snow free come May, such as Maple Mountain, Tzôuhalen Mountain, Mount Benson, etc.

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A day is enough in Victoria, kick your way through the drug addicts and hobos downtown and take a nice walk round to Spinnakers for a beer and watch the floatplanes coming in and out. Butchart gardens, meh, alright if you like flowers. Mostly tourist crap.  Get off the peninsula.

Head out west past Sooke, lots of nice parks, botanical beach at low tide is pretty impressive, hike parts of the west coast trail etc. You can then drive up through to Cowichan, Cowichan Bay is a neat little seaside town with a small but cool little maritime museum/wooden boat place.  The drive out to Tofino is nice, prefer Ucluelet as a destination, Tofino is very touristy and "surf culture" without really having any surf culture.

Get out see bears, go annoy some whales. The island is mostly big, rugged, wild and stunning.

Oh wait, no, it's horrid, don't come here, like me, you might never leave.

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10 hours ago, CyberBOB said:

...I will recommend heading over to the Dinghy Dock pub on Protection Island for lunch/dinner. It's a neat little floating pub, with good food.

...

It used to be.  Sadly, the place has gone downhill a bit lately.  Prices (food and the ferry to get there) have gone up, menu selection and food quality has gone down, and if you want a salad you have your choice of kale, kale, or kale.  Meh. 

There is hope, however, as it is for sale and if there is a new owner soon they might be able to turn it around.

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A hike on Newcastle is worth it if you somehow end up in Nanaimo.:D It is a historic and hugely popular spot, the Union Steamships ran Vancouverites there to vacation. First Nations manage it now.

eBike Saltspring Island or pick an Island. Don't cut down a Garry Oak for your beach fire.

Go green and rent a horse in downtown Victoria.

Nothing like a 40 knot whale tour on a big rib to put that rosy glow on your cheeks.

Coombs. Nobody mentioned Coombs. Goats on the roof and enough touristy stores for an interesting washroom break.

Can't miss Catherdral Grove, you drive right through it on the highway. Monster trees. Watch for old ladies and gents crossing the road looking skyward.

Salmon fishing. Yes it's fun.

Victoria downtown Satrurday night. People cruz exotic and custom cars in the Old Town, makes for a great parade of metal, drunks, tourists and odd people.

Really not worth it when you consider the dangers, better to visit somewhere safer.:wacko:

Did I mention VI has the highest concentration of cougars in the world?

It's like AUS only worse, with bears, wolves, vicious urban deer, seniors going postal, nasty little mink[ worse than Honey Badgers], Killer Whales, sea lions, angry beavers, large tidal rapids, wolverines, marmot attacks, remote logging roads with huge trucks that have the right of way, Otters gone wild, kelp beds so thick they can drown you, sharks, giant prawns, giant squid attacks, crushed in between logs on the beach, eaten by horse flies, Devil's Club, poison mushrooms, 27 feet of rain and the giant slugs.

 

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1 hour ago, Norse Horse said:

A hike on Newcastle is worth it if you somehow end up in Nanaimo.:D It is a historic and hugely popular spot, the Union Steamships ran Vancouverites there to vacation. First Nations manage it now.

eBike Saltspring Island or pick an Island. Don't cut down a Garry Oak for your beach fire.

Go green and rent a horse in downtown Victoria.

Nothing like a 40 knot whale tour on a big rib to put that rosy glow on your cheeks.

Coombs. Nobody mentioned Coombs. Goats on the roof and enough touristy stores for an interesting washroom break.

Can't miss Catherdral Grove, you drive right through it on the highway. Monster trees. Watch for old ladies and gents crossing the road looking skyward.

Salmon fishing. Yes it's fun.

Victoria downtown Satrurday night. People cruz exotic and custom cars in the Old Town, makes for a great parade of metal, drunks, tourists and odd people.

Really not worth it when you consider the dangers, better to visit somewhere safer.:wacko:

Did I mention VI has the highest concentration of cougars in the world?

It's like AUS only worse, with bears, wolves, vicious urban deer, seniors going postal, nasty little mink[ worse than Honey Badgers], Killer Whales, sea lions, angry beavers, large tidal rapids, wolverines, marmot attacks, remote logging roads with huge trucks that have the right of way, Otters gone wild, kelp beds so thick they can drown you, sharks, giant prawns, giant squid attacks, crushed in between logs on the beach, eaten by horse flies, Devil's Club, poison mushrooms, 27 feet of rain and the giant slugs.

 

You forgot to mention the urban delights of Sayward, where I've shared my homemade pizza with goats, the vicious mola mola that have wandered north in the newly warmed coastal currents, the pleasures awaiting in Port Hardy and Port McNeil, the tasty treat of farmed salmon, the joys of driving in the rain, and the special thrills of chartering a boat and taking it across the Nahwitti Bar on an ebb current.  

But really, the real Vancouver Island experience can only be fully appreciated on the drive out to ever delightful Winter Harbor.  

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16 minutes ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

is that the longest trip you can possibly take from Victoria?  how long?

In hours, kilometers or in psychological distance or in time spent changing flat tires?

Maybe 10 hours, 500 kilometers, a lifetime, and up to 2 flat tires.

 

For time on the road, the longest drive is probably Winter Harbor to Ucluelet.   To suffer appropriately, do it in a 26' Uhaul truck.

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I want to encourage much appreciated contributions, but I'm in awe of the knowledge here.  Who needs Rick Steves when you have this group.  I will encourage her to post her plans in March/April for the group's approval.  Thanks all, I've only been there once and that was a Cow Bay regatta in '03.  My lasting memory was that at the steak roast, they used  plastic lined dinghy for the salad bowl.  

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On 10/2/2019 at 11:42 AM, CyberBOB said:

There are some excellent recommendations here.  I'll second (third? Fourth?) the recommendation to see Butchart Gardens, especially at night.

Someone mention Newcastle Island in Nanaimo. Beautiful spot, if they decide to stop there, I will recommend heading over to the Dinghy Dock pub on Protection Island for lunch/dinner. It's a neat little floating pub, with good food.

I also agree with a trip out to the west coast ie Tofino/Uculuet/Long Beach. Plan on spending a couple of days there.  Make sure they stop at Cathedral Grove on the way to check out the big trees.

You mentioned they were avid hikers.  Lots of places on the island to hike.  Some of the peaks might still have significant snowpacks in May, so it might be better to wait until closer to arrival to determine where to hike.  Quite a few of the peaks are hikeable, and don't require special equipment provided they are snow free.  If some of the bigger peaks are still too snowy, there are plenty close to the coast that will be snow free come May, such as Maple Mountain, Tzôuhalen Mountain, Mount Benson, etc.

Like this?

11694955_10153364245876047_4320752014394757714_n.jpg

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On 10/5/2019 at 4:07 AM, cyclone said:

If they plan on taking the BC Ferry towards Victoria, the Pacific Buffet on the back of the boat is a treat. We had surprisingly good food and several orca sightings. 

Yup. The salmon are running on the Fraser river right now. The J pod Orca are specifically salmon eaters so likely see a few en route. As matter fact I've seen pods right into our club outstation in Howe Sound. Last year a pod came right up and personal 100 yards from the club itself. In late August, when transiting from Nanaimo to Gibsons, about 5 miles into Shoal Channel near Gibsons, we witnessed a Humpback breach and play for awhile. To far away for a good shot but in my long time on the Strait of Georgia I've never seen that before - ever! And I'm out there all the time, Since whaling is pretty much stopped are they coming back?

 

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We have seen some 'resident' humpbacks in the Mittlenatch, Desolation Sound Campbell River region.

Last summer we saw three, one being immature, this year three again, but two are immature. Lots of breaching, tail smashing and playing about.

It's great to see them doing well.

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10 hours ago, Maxx Baqustae said:

Yup. The salmon are running on the Fraser river right now. The J pod Orca are specifically salmon eaters so likely see a few en route. As matter fact I've seen pods right into our club outstation in Howe Sound. Last year a pod came right up and personal 100 yards from the club itself. In late August, when transiting from Nanaimo to Gibsons, about 5 miles into Shoal Channel near Gibsons, we witnessed a Humpback breach and play for awhile. To far away for a good shot but in my long time on the Strait of Georgia I've never seen that before - ever! And I'm out there all the time, Since whaling is pretty much stopped are they coming back?

Has to be - back in the 70's the only place you ever saw an Orca was in the aquarium.

People didn't know anything about them really.

Didn't even know that Humpbacks were indigenous.

All the sea life except salmon is in far more abundance now VS then. Never used to see seals or otters or whales or eagles BITD. Howe sound was sterile due to the Dioxin dumped from Woodfiber.

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Some salmon are doing well, despite the media attention.

I used quotes on the 'residency' of the humpbacks, because they do head south, I assume, in the winter to have babies.

They have been hanging around this area feeding in the summer, so that is a good sign for multiple levels of the ecosystem.

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11 hours ago, Gong Show said:

Some salmon are doing well, despite the media attention.

I used quotes on the 'residency' of the humpbacks, because they do head south, I assume, in the winter to have babies.

They have been hanging around this area feeding in the summer, so that is a good sign for multiple levels of the ecosystem.

Does media attention kill salmon?  Who knew!

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Media is lazy, like your comment. There are 5 sub species of pacific salmon and many different 'runs' that are genetically distinct within each sub species.

Lots of these runs are doing very well, thanks to the efforts of local streamkeeper volunteers. Mainstream and eco media bray on about the demise of pacific salmon. Really there is a bunch of Fraser River and Skeena runs that are in dire straits. The ecos then get to generalize that all fishing must stop to preserve the iconic pacific salmon. Many of the streamkeeper volunteers that I know are avid fishermen. The irony is that if all salmon fishing was halted, these volunteers would do something else and the salmon would really suffer.

tl/dr: Yes, lazy inaccurate media reports could negatively impact salmon. You said kill, not me.

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We all agree that there are a wide variety of salmon sub-species and runs and they are genetically different.  And we can agree that media attention to the condition of salmon habitat and species success is generally a good thing, although regrettably not always specific about individual endangered locales and runs.  Without media attention, after all, you don't get legislative action without press attention.  

But, for lazy, inaccurate generalizations, this one of yours beats any of mine:  "The ecos then get to generalize that all fishing must stop to preserve the iconic pacific salmon."

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Not only will your friends have to study salmonese before they arrive, there are a few other dialects found on the island. Here are few so the young'n knows how to converse in a Tim Hortons or a culturally significant place like an arena.

 

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