We recently returned from a two week road trip to Vancouver Island. After months of lockdown, Covid warnings, masks on, masks off and generally feeling a bit out of sorts a trip was a welcome change. Any trip would have sufficed but ‘The Island’ is always a favoured destination.
We split our stay on the Island between vacation rentals in Sidney and up island in Nanoose. Our car was packed with golf clubs, e-bikes, Ellen’s pickleball gear and of course my camera bag. As always, catching up with friends and relatives on the Island was a priority. Unfortunately, weather and trail closures interfered with some of our planned outdoor activities. That was not the case with my photography.
Regardless of the weather, I visited most of my usual haunts in Victoria including the Oak Bay Marina, Fishermans’ Wharf, the Inner Harbour, old James Bay and the Breakwater District. Wet, windy conditions in Victoria added an element of drama to images that otherwise would have been similar to those I’ve previously made. This time I dressed for the weather and didn’t come down with a cold, an added bonus.
Our second week was spent at the Pacific Shores Resort in Nanoose. It is located at the mouth of the Craig Creek Estuary, a beautiful, undisturbed west coast ecosystem. It was new to me and a complete surprise. I was out making images every day in this natural paradise
The Craig Creek Estuary is a protected natural environment. This wetland is one of just a few that can be found on our west coast. They are habitats for thousands of birds and animals. Much larger than the Fascieux Creek Wetland that I love to visit in Kelowna, Craig Creek is small in relation to its surroundings. It is bounded on 3 sides by condo and residential developments and a major road. Fortunately, the ocean borders the remaining side.
I arose well before the sun on most mornings. As dark turned softly to light I watched as the tide reached its full height, became slack and then turned again to empty. Two full tide cycles occurred each day. And with the emergence of early morning light and at the end of the day, twilight, the photographic opportunities were amazing.
At the mouth of the estuary I loved the rock formations and boulders that emerged as the tide receded and later disappeared as it flowed back in. Deep in the estuary I found a fish trap that undoubtedly had been built by early first nation hunters and gatherers. Salmon in abundance were obviously caught here by the first nation inhabitants. Berries, shellfish, birds, and mammals were also in great supply.
I look forward to a return visit to the Craig Creek Estuary. I have learned how to navigate the paths and routes to get to the most interesting areas. It is such a wonderful area to explore and photograph.