If you're following our blog at all, you may have gathered how far behind we are with wrapping up the telling of our tales of our trip to Vancouver Island. So far, you've travelled with us to Victoria and Tofino.... next stop on our holiday was Parksville!
As we were driving to Parksville, we had the best bonus on the way. Along the side of the highway we saw a black bear foraging for food. We stopped for awhile and watched it. We think it must have been one hungry bear, because it payed absolutely no attention to us.
Parksville is a small family-oriented city a short drive from Nanaimo. If you tell anyone you're going to Parksville, you are guaranteed to have them say, "you have to go for Ice-Cream in Coombs at Goats on the Roof". Ice-Cream? Goats on a Roof? We were so in! On our way into Parksville we stopped for the most gigantic ice-cream cones and even managed to gaze at the goats grazing on the roof. Coombs is really tiny - the Goats on the Roof market, and a few other touristy attractions are the only shows in town - but it was well worth the stop!
After checking into our hotel, we drove the short trek down to the community beach, which is smack-dab in the center of the city. It is a beautiful beach with an amazing view.
When we were in Tofino, we saw a lot of Bull Kelp on the shore. Here, we saw a different kind of seaweed. We're not sure what the official name for it is, but we called it "Brains".
The community beach also had a humongous collection of play-structures which they've just kept adding to create a huge playground. The girls loved it there, and we had our memories jogged as the play-structures they've got up act as a sort of time-capsule. There were a bunch of old-school monkey bars and spinny-things which the girls thought were awesome.
The one funny glitch in our hotel suite was that there was only a King-sized bed and then a Queen sized bed in the separate bedroom. Usually we'd just get a cot for one of the girls, but they didn't have any. We decided to try having all three girls sleep in the King-sized bed together. I had to get a picture of them all clean and freshly showered, looking angelic and cozy tucked into bed side-by-side ..... because I KNEW that about 30 seconds after we'd turn out the light there would be kicking, complaining, and tornado-esque maneuvers which would not be crying out for a picture. I was right. But, after the turbulence was settled, they fell asleep and did just fine all snuggled in together.
On our second day in Parksville, we woke up to grey skies and rainy weather. We anticipated this, so we had a plan in our back pockets.... we went back to Coombs to check out Butterfly World. Butterfly World is a really kitschy attraction that is perfect for an hour or so on a rainy day. There were hundreds of different species of butterflies flying around us. Most of us thought they were beautiful.
Sasha was not in the "most of us" category. She was terrified when the butterflies would fly near her head or fly right in front of her face. She looked like this for most of our morning. It didn't help that the rest of us thought this was ridiculously hilarious.
In addition to the butterflies, there were gardens of orchids...
... and the most amazing turtle named Samson.
This turtle mesmerized all of us. He was busy munching away on greens when he started working like mad to bust out of his enclosure. He was the most tenacious turtle we'd ever seen! We couldn't keep our eyes off of him. At one point, he was standing straight up ready to climb out of his wooden fence...
On our last day in Parksville (and the last day of our holiday) we were greeted with sun and cloud and the promise of a good-weather day. We got started with flying Mike's beloved stunt kite at the community beach. The conditions were perfect. Mike has had this kite since he parents gave it to him as a gift as a kid. It can usually be found in the back of our van ready and waiting for good flying conditions. It's provided hours of entertainment over the years.
After we finished up at the beach in the city, we thought we'd make one last stop before we were to head to Nanaimo to catch our ferry home. We made our final stop at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. This is a beautiful place to skim board, beachcomb or go for a walk on the beach or the trails. There are amazing shells and sand dollars to be discovered here, and tonnes of driftwood for climbing and exploring.
It was a great way to spend our last day of holidays on the Island.
All that's left is the ferry ride home!