Residency is over now—the group has disbanded, and while a few remain in Victoria for a little relaxation and sightseeing, the rest of us make our way home. I am writing this post from BC Ferries. Between Vancouver Island and the mainland lie many smaller islands called the ‘Gulf Islands’. The best route the ferry can take to get through is an ‘s’ shaped gap between Mayne and Galiano islands called ‘Active Pass’. It’s a surprisingly narrow gap that is of course deep enough for the hull of a large ferry. Not only that, but it’s at about the halfway point on the route, which means that two ferries pass each other in the middle of the pass. One of my favorite west coast traditions is to go out on deck as the ferry enters the pass.
Today’s trip was outstanding. As the ship entered the narrow entrance, the water was swirling and churning from a massive rip-tide. Huge whirlpools of water, clouded with brown sediment, were spinning and dancing. Looking down from my perch on the top deck, I saw a fish jump, and watched large flocks of seagulls scavenging for whatever ocean life was getting churned to the surface for food. A seal surfaced near the boat, also likely looking for the feeding salmon that were in the area. Families on deck came over to the railing, and the parent next to me was pointing out the seal to their child just before the seal dove back down underwater.
As the other ferry entered the pass from the other end, the captain gave the requisite long blast of the air horns, then gave a few more toot-toots in greeting. Passengers covered the decks of both vessels as they passed by each other. A few more minutes, and we exited the pass, out into the straight – the final leg of the journey.
With the weeks of residency over, this educational journey has just begun. The next two years will be exciting, tiring, rewarding and frustrating all at once. I am glad to have met such a great group of people, and look forward to working with my fellow classmates in the years to come.