Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | December 3, 2017

Vancouver Island: Once More, Without the Stones #1

Ocean

How I missed you, ocean.

I love British Columbia, and I love Vancouver Island, but the last time I visited, just this past August, I was not able to properly enjoy it properly.  I had been to the doctor a few times prior to traveling for ongoing issues that turned out to be kidney stones, for those who didn’t read my last set of entries, and while I started to get better halfway through my trip, I was still exhausted and healing.  I felt like I hadn’t gotten what I needed from that particular trip – my quality time with the ocean.  So what could I do but go back again?

So here I am again, on Vancouver Island, to soothe my soul with storm season, and my parents will be joining me for part of my vacation, so I can show them this beautiful place that I love, and where part of my heart is at home.  I flew in from Yellowknife to the Comox airport last night after work, so I didn’t even have to take an extra vacation day to start my weekend on the Island.  It was a bit of a time crunch worry at first, since we were delayed by deicing and my tight connection got pinched super small.  Nevertheless, I made it from Gate A24 to Gate A5 in the Calgary Airport just in time to catch the tail end of my flight boarding, without any embarrassing paging of my name while I hoofed it as fast as I could.  Despite the time crunch, I was also pleased to see my suitcase made it with me, thanks to West Jet being awesome as usual.

Sea shell

This perfect tiny shell makes me happy.

The flight into Comox got in just before midnight, but it was a busy night for cabs, so I had to wait awhile before I could get one from the airport. It was nearly one by the time I got to bed, and I was hungry and sore from airplane seats, so my sleep was a bit rocky despite my excellent bed at my hotel, and so I woke up earlier than I’d planned, but when I opened my curtains to my view of the ocean, I didn’t even care.  I’m so happy to be here.

I ate the granola bar I’d stashed in my bag and drank a coffee, my eyes drawn ever back to my view, before going to an early lunch in the hotel restaurant. The waitress, Emily, was lovely, and it turns out is close friends with someone I used to work with at the Co-op  when we were in high school. It’s a small world!  I have a dish of mussels cooked in gin with a salad, and they were so good.  I regret not trying the oysters in New Orleans now, and will the next time I go, because obviously I do like seafood, I’m just not overly fond of most cooked fish. I also had a drink called an Aquapurr, which was like a gloriously extra mimosa. Drink of the day for sure.

Eagles

It’s eagles! My zoom lens is being repaired, so many thanks to Maureen and Finn at Roy’s in Yellowknife for arranging a loaner so I wouldn’t miss out, because look! EAGLES!

After lunch, I took a walk on the beach for a bit, taking pictures.  There were gulls and a gorgeous little brown bird, and bald eagles.  I’ve never been able to get a bald eagle shot before, but I got once today. Totally worth soaking through my shoes and my socks.  I’m just going to roll up my pants and wear my flip-flops, I think, for future beach walks. Thank goodness I also have a pair of hiking boots I can wear tomorrow – I’m pretty sure my runners will need more than tonight to dry out, and running the blow dryer over them is probably less genius than I think.

After my beach walk, it was time for the spa appointment I’d booked. I don’t have pictures because they are not allowed in the spa, but it was truly glorious and exactly what I needed to get rid of the lingering tension headache from travel. I started with a guided walk through the Sea to Sky Hydropath (my guide was the lovely Dana) in the spa here.  First, you shower in a Swiss shower that sprays water at you from all sides, before soaking in a hot mineral bath with jets, where you move around so different ones aim at different parts of your back. Next it is a series of different waterfall showers before a steam room with eucalyptus, then onto a glacial waterfall shower.  (My least favourite, I’ll admit, though invigorating.) Then there is this path you walk down twice with different jets, first through hot, then through cold water.  Following that is a sea salt and mineral soak, with jets that “rain” on you and a bubble massage.  You finish in a milk bath after an exfoliating scrub.

Berries

Everything is beautiful and hydrated today, including these berries.

I next chilled out with tea in the relaxation room, before Sherlynn came to get me for my relaxation massage. Normally I don’t rave about relaxation massages – they are nice, but they are usually not the same kind that works to ease my tension. This wasn’t an RMT massage, but it was so good.  Seriously, I’ve gone to RMTs who haven’t been able to work that deeply into the muscles. It was so good, and my headache was gone, gone, gone after her excellent work. I always tip, but she got an extra good one from me. That was glorious.

Post-massage, I was feeling super hungry again, so I went to the bar to try a new cocktail and get a snack since I don’t like drinking on an empty stomach.  I tried a Figgy Old Fashioned, which was a nice strong drink, with a nice burn of whisky. I ate a bag of parmesan and truffle butter popcorn with it. Then, even though my aunt was coming to get me for dinner soon, I decided to have pre-dinner dessert (which I didn’t admit to so I could also have dessert after dinner). I couldn’t resist – I was hungry and they had creme brulée. The classic vanilla kind.  I also had a second drink, a Havana Caffeinated. Also quite the burn of whisky, and it was cold coffee, not hot, which surprised me.  Still delicious – and the creme brulée also had that perfect crackling sugar top. (Seriously, the mixologist here at the Kingfisher Resort and Spa is super creative and awesome, and it is really tempting to go back to try one more drink because they are all so interesting and delicious and different. This places gets all the votes and I definitely have to stay here again.)

Thanks to my potent drinks, I was very relaxed and a bit giggly when my aunt picked me up, but in that nice way I was trying to hold on to from after the spa. I had a lovely visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousin (up for the weekend and heading back to uni tomorrow!), as well as yummy chicken soup followed by yummy homemade blueberry pie. Basically, I am not going to bed hungry tonight, but instead going sated and happy and relaxed.

Tomorrow, I shuttle to the airport to pick up my rental, then to Nanaimo to pick up my parentals! I’m very excited to share the Island with them. And even happier to be back.

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