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It was warm and the sun was out with a mild breeze, what could be better for the start of a small vacation across the water in the City of Victoria. To avoid the line-ups at the ferry, this time I booked a reservation for the 11am sailing. It was a good thing as there was soon a sailing wait and I would most likely have missed it otherwise. The trip across was pleasant, this time we skipped eating on the ferry and waited until we crossed where we found a nice Greek restaurant in Sidney. Then it was on to the hotel and unpacking followed by a walk to the market for some snack food. The evening was pleasant with appies at the Abigail Hotel followed by dinner with Carolyn’s friends who live in Victoria. The evening ended with me enjoying some chat over coffee with my cousin Jim who lives in Oak Bay.
After a lovely breakfast, we got organized for my first hike of the trip. This one was to Bear Hill just north of Elk Lake. My goal was to activate this summit in the SOTA program and add a new one to my list. The drive went by quickly in Carolyn’s new Chevy Bolt electric and soon we were looking for the poorly marked parking area in Bear Park, we initially drove right past it without seeing the small sign. Once parked we got our gear organized and started up the trail. About a 100m along I realized I had forgotten my antenna! Now the small radio has an antenna but for long distance the bigger one is essential. So while Carolyn waited I zipped back to the car and grabbed the missing item. The rest of the hike went easily as we made our way up the short trail to the summit.
The next day – Friday we did some shopping in town and then left for Mt. Douglas to try my radios there. It was a much hotter day and though the view was good, the radio reception was nil. I even hauled out my HF radio and heard some guys on a net in the mid-west but they weren’t able to hear me. So after eating lunch on the hill we returned home. Later we had a walk in Beacon Hill Park and a visit with Carolyn’s friends. Another lovely day but very frustrating with the radio. When I got home I learned that the small hand-held I was using suffers from poor selectivity which is aggravated by a good antenna. So it was actively blocking the reception of my responders! I guess I will have to use a different radio next time.
Saturday was our return day and we reserved a spot on the 2pm sailing. So we had some time to spend sight-seeing. I decided to drive along the eastern shore-line from Victoria up into Saanich and then enjoy lunch at Adrienne’s as we have done before. It was a nice drive but it put a few more spots on my map to explore. I gathered a number of photos on the return ferry ride and enjoyed the warm breeze as we sailed back to the mainland. A lovely get-a-way but they end all too soon.