The drive into Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island, offers any visitor an insight into the North Island lifestyle, making it easy to see why this region has become a mecca for tourism. The road itself which was up until mid 2006 a gnarly, rough gravel road, has now been fully paved making it a pleasant 20 minute drive.
An abundance of nature and wildlife can be found during the drive between Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove - a large gathering of bald eagles on the left, to the right a black bear grazing on the side of the road, and straight ahead is the spectacular rain forest stretching on for what seems like eternity.
Our destination, Telegraph Cove, is nestled at the northern end of Johnstone Strait on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. A tiny, historic community established in 1911-12 during the building of the telegraph line from Campbell River, and is one of the last boardwalk communities remaining in B.C. Today it is home of the Killer whale museum and a must see for whale lovers.
Having both a rich and entertaining history, Telegraph Cove has been home to a lumber mill, and salmon cannery, since serving as a rely station during World War 2.
Our meeting was with a friend and guide visiting the Northern Island from the UK, the meeting place - The Killer Whale Cafe, located at the far end of the boardwalk. This fine establishment serves an excellent array of beer and delectable deserts in very comfy surroundings.
We were met by our friend along with a few of his fellow travellers who, with their wives and children in tow, were about to embark on a journey of discovery aboard the m/v Blue Fjord. As the time passed, and the cafe slowly emptied, we were about to bid our friends, old and new, farewell when in walked Judy - first mate of the m/v Blue Fjord and highly entertaining hostess. Before long it was arranged that we would join them that evening for dinner.
As we steamed out into Johnstone Strait with Shadow the dog keeping watch for whales, and the roast dinner cooking in the well-equipped galley, Captain Mike took us on a grand tour of his pride and joy.
The m/v Blue Fjord is a beautiful antique wooden boat with a remarkable history - commissioned by the B.C. Provincial Police in 1939 as a floating courthouse between Victoria and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The courtroom, which is now the well-appointed aft cabin with en-suite, was once the setting for wilderness criminal trials in the 1940's, and the prison cell now forms part of the sleeping quarters in the forward cabin.
Our tour of this grand vessel was temporarily interrupted when Shadow began barking and running about the decks madly, this can mean only one thing - Shadow had spotted whales. Each of us hurried in the direction of the barking, but this time the whales turned out to be Dolphins riding the bow wake, darting from side to side, with an occasional leap into the air. We stood gazing over the handle rail watching these wonderfully acrobatic creatures for some time until the cool of the evening ushered us back indoors.
As we were settling into another group conversation, our trusty whale dog signals again. This time the A30's - a group of resident orca's, could be seen 200 metres off the Port side of the vessel foraging for their supper. The sun was setting - silhouetting the images of these mighty mammals.
After a fabulous dinner with great conversation, and spectacular wildlife, we headed back to Telegraph Cove - our prearranged drop off point. As we watched the m/v Blue Fjord steam away, we reflected on a day that dramatically changed from ordinary to very special and memorable.
Update: Unfortunately we need to update this page with the sad news that the Blue Fjord sunk on a cold winter day after hitting a floating log, which punched a hole large enough to bring the ship down - fortunately nobody was hurt and all people on board we rescued.