April 29, 2023 – Saturday – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
2023 Panama Canal Cruise
I don’t want to miss a thing as the ship approaches my home town, so I’m out on my verandah at 7:15am as we round Cape Flattery, sailing into Juan de Fuca Strait with Neah Bay, Washington visible through the fog bank. The snowfields on the Olympic Mountains to the south of us are impressive, and the Race Rocks lighthouse stands out from the marine mist as the Sun burns it away on the north side of the Strait.
Later, the pilot from Victoria arrives onboard as we sail past Sooke and Metchosin. Our ship docks at Ogden Point in Victoria about a half hour early at 11:30am. The Discovery Princess is already docked in the slip beside our ship, so that means about 5,000 passengers are going ashore today – 3,000 from the Discovery Princess and 2,000 from the Nieuw Amsterdam!
It is a bright sunny day, and it is warming up nicely, so I put on sunscreen before leaving the ship to be a tourist in my own town, at least in the James Bay neighbourhood. I walk slowly along Dallas Road to Fishermans Wharf, where I encounter hordes of cruise ship passengers. I guess the food and tour vendors on the wharf are happy to see them, but I’m surprised that the dock doesn’t sink under all that weight!
I walk further along the harbour, but there are so many people and traffic on Bellville, I decide to divert to Superior Street where it is quiet. I need a break, so I go to Discovery Coffee on Menzies Street and enjoy a traditional cappuccino away from the crowds and noise. The sunshine is great, making for a lovely day, showing off all the Spring flowers in bloom around the city.
My plan was to take the tour of the BC Legislature, however the building is closed to tours on the weekends and a protest on the front lawn is just winding up. Also, the Causeway and downtown are packed with tourists, so after taking a few photos of the Inner Harbour and the outside of the BC Legislature, I once again divert by wandering south on Government Street. I take photos of the old historic neighbourhood along the way and then turn right at Dallas Road, walking slowly from Holland Point along the waterfront to return to the ship by 5pm.
The above map is a 6km (2.5 mi) route, with a total walking time of 1 hour, 15 minutes if you don’t stop. It took me 2.5 hours with a 15 minute rest stop at the coffee shop, and a bit slower pace than normal to appreciate the sights and take a few photos. There are no hills and all the walking is on sidewalks.
I enjoy my last dinner aboard ship in the Main Dining Room this evening, having Smoked Salmon Rosettes with salmon caviar to start, Filet of Beef Wellington with mashed celery root, peas and carrots for my main course, and Baked Alaska for dessert..
Our ship departs at 10:50pm to slowly sail overnight to Vancouver, arriving early tomorrow morning at Canada Place.