Continuing the theme of casting back into the past for shots of things that compensate for not going anywhere anymore, this one isn’t too long ago. Our visit to Victoria in the run up to Christmas involved staying in a hotel alongside the harbor. We had a view from our hotel room across to the legislative building which is nicely illuminated at night – not just for Christmas but all the time. Here is the shot from the hotel window!
Having traveled on the car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight for all of my life, I have seen many generations of ferry come and go. The oldest ones I recall are Fishbourne and Camber Queen. These would amaze current travelers with their limited car capacity and very limited customer amenities. They were replaced by a bigger and better equipped fleet which were replaced in turn but the fleet of Saint named ferries. Their time has mainly come and gone and now most have been replaced again.
On this trip, I got to ride of two ferries from the newer generation. They have a significant increase in capacity that has required the introduction of two level loading to allow the schedule to be kept. While traveling on each, I got to see the other heading in the opposite direction along with one of the older Saint class. The latest ferry has again gone away from bi-directional operation and has also added a hybrid power drive of some sort. No idea how it works but the large logo on the side leaves you in no doubt that it is there.
I walked along the harbour shoreline in Victoria to go and see some of the floatplanes in operation. The planes have to take off and “land” in the outer area of the harbour so they are a bit away from the easiest spots to watch things from when they are most active. I saw a couple of planes making their approach. They came in through the entrance to the harbour before making the turn to line up for landing. A nice arc to final approach and then touching down to be at water taxi speed by the time the entered the restricted area of the harbour itself. Fun to watch and I could have spent plenty of time there on a sunny afternoon!
The waterfront of Victoria Harbour has a statue of Captain Cook. This is a long way from his home town of Whitby but the lad did get about a bit. Given the nature of his efforts, you might think he deserves a bit of respect (unless you come from a place that he ended up harming irreparably). A local gull -or one of its cohorts – was clearly not from the respect camp.
During our visit to Victoria, there was a fast catamaran ferry moored up in the harbor. It was named to the V2V Express. Based on the name, my assumption is that it provides a fast connection between the downtown harbors of Vancouver and Victoria. However, at no point while we were there did we see the thing move. I don’t know whether the service is seasonal, not yet implemented or has failed. The boat just sat there during our visit. If anyone knows the story, do let me know.
There is a direct ferry from Port Angeles to downtown Victoria operated by Black Ball Line. Their boat is an old ship called the Coho. We have taken this route on a previous visit but didn’t use it this time. However, the regular arrival and departure of the Coho meant we saw it frequently during our stay. The ship has loading apertures on each side of the hull through which the cars can be loaded. Otherwise it looks like a pretty normal ship.
It wasn’t hard to know when they were leaving as there would be a blast on the ship’s horn. This was followed by swinging the boat around in the main harbor in order to be able to head out through the narrow passage to the open sea. The Coho first entered service in 1959 so is clearly not a new vessel. I have no idea whether there is any plan to replace her or whether, with regular refits, she will continue in service for years to come.
While walking along the harbor in Victoria, I happened to be looking over the edge when three otters came out from under where we were and dropped into the water. I was quite surprised by this and we watched them swim out a way into the water before the dived. It wasn’t long before they popped back up with their catches in their mouths. They then climbed up onto the jetty for one of the ferries to enjoy their crab lunch and to play around as otters are prone to do!
The legislature was out of session while we were in Victoria and access to the galleries over the chamber was closed. However, the door to the chamber was open so you could see the space in which the legislature meets. The speaker’s chair at the front was pretty grand. There were photos of all of the legislatures which made the room look huge but it was not that large. Clearly they had used a wide lens to get everyone in and it made the ones at the back seem miles away.
A new Johnson Street bridge has recently opened across part of Victoria Harbour. It has replaced an old bridge that was apparently in bad condition. The new structure is a bascule bridge to allow larger boat traffic to access the inner areas of the harbor and it has a really cool design. While the bridge carries the road across the water, it has excellent access on either side for other users. The two sides carry both bike and foot traffic and they are wide enough to provide plenty of space for all users. There was plenty of foot traffic when I was there which might have had something to do with the Christmas Parade that evening.
In the evening, the bridge is well illuminated. The curvy nature of the structure provides lots of interesting details. The mechanism for raising the bridge is not concealed either so you can see the gear wheels involved in lifting it if you look below. On my walk back one evening I ended up spending a fair bit of time on the bridge because it provided so many possible angles to shoot it either to get the full bridge or to focus in on individual parts of it.