Whenever a ship travels north from the Pacific coast toward Alaska, its route takes advantage of the protection provided by the inland passage, a protected area of islands along the shore. The first time we went to Alaska, we put our trailer on the Alaska ferry and fell in love with the gorgeous wild scenery so close to use on both sides that it felt like we could touch it. It took us two days to traverse this calm area. People who are afraid that they will be seasick, find this placid passage a joy.
We are camped across the street from this inland passage and our landlord provides all the equipment needed to go the beach and watch the ship traffic go by. She gives out buckets with a blanket to sit on, wine glasses and a cork remover, and kindling to start a fire in the sand. We are most interested in seeing the cruise ships and Ken used his cruise ship app to determine when that would be. The ships that left Vancouver sailed past us around 11pm. We could see them coming from our front window and they seemed close enough to touch when they finally got here. The ones that left Seattle passed by when our eyes were shut. It was a thrill to see them so nearby from the shore that we have admired from cruise ships large and small. During our time here seven more are scheduled to come by.
After our stay in the wild north, Campbell River with its 30,000 residents feels like a big city. It has a surprising amount of tourist infrastructure. Both a local radio and TV station chatter on non stop about all the things there are to see and do here. Because it's a long holiday weekend here with Victoria Day being celebrated on Monday, we felt lucky to find such a nice place to stay and decided to spend an extra day here rather than trying to find another spot on Monday as originally planned.
Campbell River is powered by hydro electric. For many years the water came through wooden pipes twelve feet in circumference. There are getting old and leaky and the whole Pacific coast is worried about the next earthquake. So the hydro company is building new lines deep into the bedrock and while they were at it, the local Rotary Club turned the area into a provincial park. We hiked a nice trail to overlook Elk Falls whose waters flow into the hydro works. The Rotary paid for a suspension bridge so that we could get up close and personal with the rushing water. Job well done.