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New Year’s Resolution

This is the time of year when I look back at past adventures and look forward to future ones. What to see in two, oh, one, three. A lot of it revolves around the phrase “I wish I had done that when I was so near”. With that thought in mind, here are my next year's adventures:

I must admit that as an Islander I like being on the water, even aboard a ferry, but despite my best laid plans I haven’t experienced any of the working vessels that still ply Vancouver Island waters.

If you happen to be near Port Alberni you must check out the MV Frances Barkley and cruise the Alberni Canal to Bamfield and Ucluelet, the Broken Group Islands and the Sechart Lodge. This working vessel will get you up close and personal to the abundant wildlife and natural beauty found on the west coast. Breakfast and light lunches can be purchased in the galley and there are comfortable viewing lounges. Remember to bring your camera and dress in layers to ensure the best experience this adventure has to offer. Reservations are suggested.

Another working vessel is the Uchuck III based in Gold River. This former WWII minesweeper sails down Nootka Sound to Tahsis and Kyuquot. The schedule offers day and overnight cruises, the ability to wet launch your kayak or be dropped off at the Nootka Trailhead for you hiking enthusiasts. No doubt you'll see a lot of wildlife and take the time to learn and experience the Nootka Sound First Nation's history.

Just north of Campbell River in Menzies Bay is the 135 foot MV Aurora Explorer. She carries freight to remote logging camps, floating lodges, fish farms and other businesses scattered throughout the Gulf of Georgia and the remote inlets of Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Straits. This unique vacation will transport you through beautiful scenery and wildlife not seen anywhere else in the world. There is a dining room, upper and lower lounges, a library and comfortable staterooms. Depending on weather, the vessel may stop for fishing or prawning. This may be the best 5 days of your life but you need to act quickly because at the time of this writing in January the 2013 season is 80% full. I may need to book a trip in 2014.

Ever wanted to swim with the fish? Destiny River Adventures of Campbell River provide half day, full day, 3 & 4 day exhilarating wilderness rafting adventures on the Campbell River, Oyster River, Nimpkish River and Southgate River. Beginning in August, thousands of salmon return to these waters enabling Destiny to offer a 3 hour tour that includes rafting and snorkeling with the salmon. When drifting over the pools you may even see steelhead or cutthroat trout prowling for salmon eggs.

I may take time to nurture my inner child by sleeping in a tree house sphere. Tom Chudleigh of Free Spirit Spheres Horne Lake Road, Qualicum Beach, has designed and built some amazing orbs that are suspended in treetops. Can you imagine the sleep you'd  have in these gently swaying spheres?

I had been planning a trip to Savary Island and the Sunshine Coast and this year I definitely will travel there. A meal at Nancy’s Bakery in Lund is a must and from there, a water taxi to Savary Island. This jewel of an island is is known as the Hawaii of the Georgia Strait . It boasts white sand beaches and warm waters. Then it’s off to the mainland (still feels like an island) and the Sunshine Coast. My destination will be the West Coast Wilderness Lodge in Egmont. The lodge has been recognized as the Best Wilderness Resort 2010, 2011 and 2012 and is close to the Skookumchuck Rapids where the most adventurous of kayakers push the boundaries of good sense. All in all I'm excited about this year’s road trips and hope to see you down the road.

Elm Hill Car Tours Editor at Large