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Report 1953: Vancouver/Vancouver Island/Seattle July/August 2011

By Panda from UK, Summer 2011

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Page 6 of 12: Day 6 Butchart Gardens

We made an early start for the drive to Butchart Gardens and were amongst the first in the car park. It was a wise decision as we had a peaceful wander around the gardens without the public holiday crowds - as we came out towards the exit to visit the newer features near the car park, there were hordes going in. My husband had been there before and loved the trees around the edges and it received a teenage vote of ‘surprisingly good’. We took the ‘scenic’ coastal road back to Victoria, getting really quite lost due to one mistaken turn, but made it back safely.

Later that afternoon we set off on a walk to James Bay. My husband thought he had seen the Esmeralda, the Chilean Navy sail training ship, sailing across the horizon on the previous day. (He knew it well as it had often come into Auckland Harbour when he was young.) I thought I could see the masts from our balcony, somewhere in the direction of the cruise port.

It was indeed the Esmeralda, moored behind a large well guarded fence in the Ogden Point Cruise Terminal. My husband suggested that we walk out along the long, curving breakwater to get a better view of the ship. As it was quite busy (unfenced drops next to water are an aversion of mine), I took a walk through the little park towards the fenced ship and saw a very small sign saying ‘Open Visit – 1-6’ next to the gate. It was now 5:30. You would think my family would recognise a short, curly haired woman jumping up and down making wide ‘come here’ gestures? Completely oblivious – and both had left their phones in the apartment. The very smartly dressed guards were vastly amused by my attempts and my blinkered family. As they started to walk back I ran over to the breakwater to gaspingly tell my husband he had about 20 minutes to fulfill his childhood dream to actually go on the boat. It was worth it.

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