After leaving Ladysmith we cruised to Thetis Island, Wallis Island and settled in at Chemainus for two days. We thought Ladysmith was nice and it looks like Chemainus just beat them out. The marina, although in a busy spot, is right in town. Chemainus is a deep water port and there is a lumber mill in town, so large ships arrive to have lumber loaded for transport overseas. This is a financial boom for a small town of 8,000 people. There is also a ferry that will shuttle people to and from Chemainus to Thetis Island. Ferry transport from island to island is quite common out here. The town was smart enough to realize that dependency on the mill was not healthy for town finances. Especially since another mill had closed down years ago. At that point, they decided that tourism was a good means of alternative support. Someone had the idea to get artists to paint murals on the side of buildings and make a marked walking path to each mural. The murals depict the history of the town. They also encouraged small businesses and eateries and no food franchises. Subway came in under the wire and is the only franchise store in town.
When you wake up in the early morning all is quiet and you can smell the aroma of fresh cut cedar and pine wafting from the mill. As early morning arrives things get busy at the wharf. The ferry to the islands starts up. You can hear the mill operation in the distance and a huge freighter is in port being loaded with hundreds of thousands of board feet of lumber. They loaded that ship for three days 12 hours a day!
The shops are the typical shops one sees at tourist areas, but the restaurants and bakeries offer many choices. There is a big Asian influence out here so your choice of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese is abundant. There is also your typical Italian, German and more. We came upon a restaurant run and owned by an African couple. Odika is the name of the restaurant. We gave it a try and were pleasantly surprised. Jess had the lamb shank with almond sauce accompanied with plantain mash, kale and carrots. I had the local salmon also served with kale, carrots and topped with a ginger sauce.
The town also has a live theater and offers two shows 5 days a week. Unfortunately, they were sold out and we could not get to a show.
We leave Chemainus today and return to Ladysmith to meet up with a group of tugs to make our crossing of the Georgia Straits to Gorge Harbor. This will be our entrance way to Desolation Sound.
Below are some pictures:
|Clam Bay on Thetis Island|
|ILLUSIONS in port. We are on the left.|
|As you can see a bit of Asian influence here.|
|Entrance to Watermill Park. Great for kids and we also got to see a concert.|
They have one every Tuesday night during the summer
|Walking down Willow Street|
|We did take a buggy ride through the town. The driver stopped at each mural|
and explained what they depicted.
|A typical building mural. Each mural is also maintained by a local artist.|
|Lumber being loaded by derrick. Three days of Loading! You would think all the trees in Canada would be gone by now.|
|One of the more famous murals in town. It depicts the strong "indigenous people"|
heritage in the area.
|Large tide swings up here! You want to plan leaving the dock at high tide.|