Salish Sea

This week, we leave our usual ramblings and observations about life in France for a holiday outre-mer, across the pond to Canada. A postcard from the Salish Sea where this blogger has crossed not just the pond but the entire country to discover Canada’s western sea wall.

We’re just back from a catamaran tour with the Prince of Whales — a cool and breezy way to discover the beautiful Salish Sea, so named after the Coast Salish peoples who traditionally populate the coastal waters along British Columbia and the Gulf Islands to the northwestern United States.

They promised whales and whales they delivered! A pod of Orcas kept us entertained for an hour or more near the San Juan islands on the US side.

I did not know when we stopped in Victoria that the killer whales had in fact just made an unusual appearance in the harbour. I can understand how their presence next to all this water traffic might be disconcerting, but after all, they were here first! The place was hopping with sea planes, ferry boats and little water taxis. I wonder why we don’t have these in Geneva?

Then again, we also don’t have the seals, water lions or the cormorants that have completely taken over this little island.

These seals were so much a part of the scenery that at first I thought they were rocks.

All in all it was a remarkable day. We were glad of the blankets on board as the wind was brisk and the air quite chilly.


Also glad to have these just in case. Still, with whales nearby no one wanted to see a man overboard.

I’ll share more on Vancouver and Whistler before we go to Toronto to celebrate Canada Day next week. A plus! x


  1. Susanne · June 22, 2018

    You’re on my turf! I grew up on the Island in a little village (or it was then) called Comox. You are in a lovely part of the country. Welcome back!

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      Thanks, Susanne — can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get here! You are fortunate indeed to have grown up in such a beautiful place. How on earth did you ever leave?

  2. Ali · June 22, 2018

    I live on one of the Gulf Islands….SaltSpring . Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia. We visit France quite often, usually in October and November.

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      That’s amazing! Husband and I were just saying that if we had stayed in Canada, it would surely have been on this coast. 🙂 You are lucky indeed to live in such a place and enjoy regular visits to France. Long flights though…

  3. francetaste · June 22, 2018

    It is heartening to see wildlife surviving despite urbanization.

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      Indeed, and apparently there are even some stories of renewal. It seems the bald eagle has made a comeback from endangered status since DDT was restricted in the 70s. Not all good news of course but it does seem that when efforts are made, nature rebounds.

  4. midihideaways · June 22, 2018

    Glad to see that you’re having such a great time!!

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      Yes, and (not) missing the heatwave in France! 🙂 Merci!

  5. Mél@nie · June 22, 2018

    I “envy” you… 😉 btw, I could live there… ❤
    * * *

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      Vancouver is indeed a very ‘liveable’ city with stunning natural assets! x

  6. poshbirdy · June 22, 2018

    Fantastic. What a trip!

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      We are indeed fortunate to be able to discover this region. Feeling blessed. 😇

  7. Carolyn · June 22, 2018

    Wow. Superb photos. You were so lucky!
    We went out on a boat trip from Tofino – saw quite a few grey whales (mostly just the water spouts and tails) and one close one who went under the boat and came out right by us. No good photos though. Almost everyone felt extremely seasick (including both of us) when they cut the motor and the boat bobs up & down yuuuuck.
    Look forward to comparing notes!
    Have a great time in Whistler.

    • MELewis · June 22, 2018

      We were lucky to be in a big catamaran that stayed stable. There were a few others who radioed each other to watch the whales and although we all kept a respectful distance, I could see the other smaller boats moving a lot more in the waves. How freaky (but cool) to have the whale under the boat! Will definitely compare notes when back – will call you! x

  8. awtytravels · June 23, 2018

    BC is a godsend. If only the weather wasn’t, often, even worse than London’s I’d have already done my utmost to move there…

    • MELewis · June 25, 2018

      We were very lucky the first few days but it has caught up with us in Whistler. Torrential downpours yesterday and today a risk of electrical storms has closed the Peak to Peak cable car. C’est la vie!

  9. Osyth · June 24, 2018

    What a wonderful day to spend on your home turf! And what amazing pictures you have shared. We went Whale watching off the coast at Gloucester (MA) a little under two years ago and it felt such a privilege to be witness to their floor show. Cormorants are such prehistoric birds, I think and whales always remind me of fat labradors with no ears. A bald eagle is still on my list of want-to-sees whilst on this tremendous continent. I wonder if he could be inveigled into speaking to the leader this side of the border and reminding him of the great history he might try to live up to that the eagle and his kith has been witness to 😉

    • MELewis · June 25, 2018

      You can’t help but feel incredibly privileged to witness these amazing creatures, even if it’s just the tip of their fins. They moved together in an arc through the waves in such graceful harmony it was like magic. As for the mango to the south, I fear he is no equal to those magnificent birds!

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