OpenRoad Driver Volume 14 Issue 1 - Page 42

42 » OpenRoad Driver afternoon sunshine. We pass by bald eagles on deserted beaches, the heads of curious seals surfacing briefly to look around, and the rusted bellies of old vessels, deliberately sunk in a row to create a breakwater outside the harbour. A few minutes into our ride we are reeling in 150 feet of rope, at the base of which is a trap containing sixteen indignant Dungeness crab, clawing crazily as they try to resist the crab pot. Checking them briefly for size and sex - by law female crabs must be returned to the water - Danny’s co-captain, Pete, boils and chills the crabs before you can say, “Ahoy, mate!” He delivers a bucketful of crab legs to us for a fresh, waterside dinner. It is the perfect finale to a weekend drenched in sunshine, adventure and raw, west coast beauty. W H E N YO U G O Drive: BC Ferries offers daily sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point, as well as Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay. The drive from Duke Point to Courtenay is 125 kilometres. 1 (888) BC FERRY (223-3779) Information: Visit Tourism Vancouver Island. (250) 754-3500 Stay: The Old House Hotel & Spa is a convenient, well-appointed property that sits on the banks of the Courtenay River and the main thoroughfare into Courtenay and Comox. With lush gardens, bicycles for guest use, a full-service spa and rooms with kitchens, it’s a great choice for a weekend getaway. (250) 703-0202 Eat: Locals Restaurant is the epicentre for farm-fresh food in the Valley, a classy eatery where Chef Ronald St. Pierre is producing incredible cuisine in an historic house with cedar beams, stone fireplace and a wonderful, homey feel. (250) 338-6493 Bike: Island Joy Rides offers guided and self-guided bike tours in the Comox Valley that include helmets, snacks, chilled water bottles and brand new bikes. A half-day culinary-themed tour includes stops at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, Blue Moon Winery and Hot Chocolate in Courtenay, encompassing twelve easy kilometres. (855) 830-8522 Kayak: Comox Valley Kayaks & Canoes, a waterside operation in Courtenay, offers guided estuary tours, sunset paddles, day trips to Tree Island and paddling excursions to see the Comox Harbour shipwrecks. (888) 545-5595 Cruise: If you love fresh Dungeness crab, you’ll want head out on a sunset crabbing excursion with Comox Harbour Charters. The two- hour cruise in Comox Harbour and Goose Spit delivers stunning views of wildlife, the harbour shipwrecks and the nearby islands, coupled with cooked crabs pulled minutes before from the ocean depths. (250) 339-5326