Which reminds me… While on the subject of trips to far off places with travel writers. I got into conversation with a writer friend of mine, Jez, about a trip we did to Vancouver Island.
Amongst other things we were to join a sea kayaking trip around the islands to do some whale watching. Only thing was, it was the wrong time of year to see the whales – they were all off sunning it up in New Zealand or South Africa, somewhere a lot warmer than Vancouver Island anyway.
Now kayaking through 12 foot swells and driving rain to see absent whales isn’t exactly my idea of fun, especially when you are sat in a two-man kayak loaded with camping gear for 12 people and a complete stranger at your back who isn’t paddling as hard as you might expect considering the conditions. Jez had a Kayak all to him-self – why do writers always get the best deal?
The point is though, I’d forgotten so many highlights from that trip that Jez had to remind me about; The guest house in Nanaimo which turned out to be an old folks home – only one night fortunately! The poor chef at that Wilderness Lodge in Clayoquot Sound who kept serving up gourmet amuses-bouche in the vain hope we might eventually say something that wasn’t just “yeah, really nice”, and not forgetting “that ludicrous sommelier slash waiter at the Wickaninish Inn near Tofino who recited what was on the menu every time he served up a dish [“we now have a twice grilled comfit of monk fish served with a hand-crushed geranium jus, perfectly complementing the notes of smoked blackberry and hand-siefted spume in the Merlot , etc.), “
However for me the absolute highlight was the owner of a really nice floating hotel in Clayoquot Sound that we stayed at. A really bluff and blustering American chap from the Mid West somewhere that strode around the place (we were the only two guests) with a leather bush hat and waterproof cape and some sort of eagle on his shoulder that he was absolutely determined I had to take pictures of. I tried to avoid it for the duration of the stay – but eventually he cornered me and said; “Hey boy you gotta camera” to which I distinctly remember retorting; “I gotta camera if you gotta bird…” in my best American accent! The thing was he wanted to prove how well he’d trained it – so he released it expecting it to return dutifully to his arm… six hours later he was still trying to coax it down from a very tall tree!
Ah well as they often say: “If it was easy…”