This is the hallway of our hotel in Victoria, Vancouver Island. If twin girls holding hands suddenly appeared at the other end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

I spent most of the morning catching up with the blog, leaving the room just as I received an ecstatic message from Megan, who had gone on a whale-watching excursion: “We saw 22 Orcas!!!”


As I was walking along the foreshore, bells rang out from a nearby Cathedral. They sounded absolutely beautiful. It was 1 o’clock on the dot and yes, it reminded me of the church bells ringing over from Kent when Deana, Kathleen and I were walking along the shore in Essex almost a year ago. 

I was wandering around, trying to find where I could book a water taxi to have a look at the harbour when I bumped into Bob, the man on the left.

He instantly became my new best friend. When he asked if I wanted to have a look at the yachts in the harbour, of course, I said yes.

There was a huge race due to start tomorrow, so the regular boats were booted off and the racing yachts were all crammed in, getting ready for the big day.

This one was beautiful. It was a wooden boat and the man had owned it for 25 years.

“She was left tied up in a yard and allowed to fill with rainwater for I don’t know how many years,” he said. “This was when we were able to afford her.”

He restored her and re-varnishes her every year. It’s a labour of love.

The people here venerate the wooden boats. It’s almost like they’re the ‘real’ boats.

Here’s another one. She’s called Martha.

She’s her own Foundation. She’s here to allow kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to sail to have the chance to get into it.

The next 3 photos are educational. Bob used the example of a ‘block’ to show me the differences between the yachts.

Martha is an old boat, so she has the original blocks, which are made of wood. Very heavy.

The more modern ones are made of metal alloys and are hollow, which makes them lighter.

Then he pointed.

“This yacht here is called Smoke,” he said. “She’s one of the fastest boats on the water. See what they’ve done here? They’ve just screwed the whole thing into the deck. Much lighter.

“This is a real racing yacht. On my yacht, I have a stove on gimbals with 3 burners. I’ll bet all they have is a propane flame. It’s all about conserving weight.”

This girl was doing some work on board. I asked her about the stove and she invited me to come aboard.

Bob’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

He’s no fool, though. He scrambled aboard after me.

Chrissie led me below decks.

NOTHING was there that didn’t need to be. She also said that weight was the most important thing.

Bob was pretty much right. There was a flame to make water hot, but that was it.


The loo is a new addition. No walls, so, as Chrissie said, “You squat there and hope that no one comes down, but if they do… bad luck!”

Here’s the bottom of the mast, screwed into the bottom of the deck.

And here’s the whole thing.

I asked Chrissie who owns Smoke and she said, “Oh, my father!”

She and Bob got into a conversation where it was all about racing experiences.

“The worst thing, Chrissie said, “is when she tops over and the mast is in the water and it’s 3 AM and pitch black. The crew is calling for me to ‘find a lull” and I can’t find anything anywhere!”

It was an impressive racing yacht, but of course, most of the details went right over my head. It was a glimpse into another world, and I love having experiences like this.

When we walked away, Bob leaned close to me and said, “She’s the Skipper over that crew and she’s very good.”

(I just looked up the results of the race and unfortunately Smoke didn’t finish.)

We walked around a little more, then we said our goodbyes and I booked a seat on the next water taxi, leaving in 40 minutes.

The actual water taxi tour was a bit dull, to tell you the truth, but the captain told an interesting story about the statue on top of their Houses of Parliament.

“You’d expect the statue to be one of Queen Victoria,” he said, “But it’s actually George Vancouver. A while ago, they brought his statue down for cleaning and discovered that his left foot was completely missing. It had rusted clean away. So they took a cast of his other foot and repaired it. So there he is, standing there on two right feet. He’s no good at dancing anymore!”

This waterside restaurant is shaped like a whale’s tail.

These birdhouses on top of the logs are there to encourage the Purple Martens to stay. 

They’re migratory birds who will eat their weight in mosquitoes every day. I’d encourage them to stick around too!

Seaplanes are allowed to land in the harbour and the boats and planes have it all worked out. Whoever has their lights flashing is cleared to go.

There’s an air and water traffic control tower to keep everyone apart from each other.

As I said before, the harbour cruise was a bit boring but I’m so glad I got off at Fishermans wharf.

It is beautiful, so quirky, with all of the floating houses.

Every single floating house is a different colour and has different things around it.

Some of them are very welcoming, with flowers and everything. Others are obviously sick of people like me, milling about outside. Well,  I didn’t try and peep into any windows but apparently, some people do. Some of the houses had lots of ‘keep out’ signs and stuff like that, which I can quite understand.

I bought this pendant at a shop at the edge of the village.

It was fan fucking tastic! The bold use of colour was the best.

I was wandering around and I had two Aldi nut bars for lunch. I thought, ‘It’s not wine o’clock yet, but I just like the idea of sitting down, having a glass of wine and looking out over the water.’

Dammit! I’m going to do it.

I said to the girl who served me that I used to have that hairdo. As you could see she’s bald.

She said, “I have alopecia. I’ve got this haircut all the time.”

Anyway we chatted for a little while. She was so much fun! She got a hefty tip.

As I’m sitting here talking into my phone, it’s 4:15 in the afternoon. The sky is grey. There’s a light wind blowing and the water is a deep colour. People are talking all around me but I’m simply sitting here, sipping my wine and enjoying peace and quiet.

Beautiful bright houses are all around me, bright yellow water taxis are coming in. It’s a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon.

This day has been unexpectedly full of boats. I’ve learned more about racing yachts than I ever thought possible and have been so lucky to set foot into the fastest yacht of them all. What a day!

It’s been really lovely. Just quiet and peaceful and learning about new things and seeing new things. It’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Dad joke of the day: