During the first couple of months in 2004, Susan was spending a lot of time at home shows throughout the province for work. While in Victoria, she came across a great deal. One of the booths at the Victoria homeshow was info on a timeshare property called Pacific Shores, a Gold Crown timeshare in Craig Bay (just outside of Parksville, which is just a little ways from Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island). One could buy a ticket to stay a few nights at Pacific Shores and we would get a chance to spend a couple of nights in a very nice place, and Pacific Shores got our attention for a few hours to explain the program and try to get us to buy in. Weighing all the tradeoffs, it seemed like a good deal.

We took the 11:00 Friday ferry from Horseshoe Bay, and got into Nanaimo at about 12:30. We were met by our good friends Nikita and Barry, who live in Nanaimo, and had lunch with them at a restaurant near the docks.

After lunch we drove to Craig Bay, and checked in. Because it was a busy weekend, we actually were not checked into Pacific Shores but into a neighbouring condo unit just beside Rathtrevor Provincial Park. Our "room" was very nice. It wasn't so much a room but rather a complete condo. We had a kitchen, dining room, and TWO bedrooms! We looked out onto Craig Bay and when we arrived the tide was out. Out far! We wasted no time and were soon out on the beach hiking towards the water's edge. We saw some pretty neat marine wildlife (1 2). When we reached the water's edge, according to Glen's GPS we were more than a kilometre out from where the high tide watermark was.

After hiking on the beach, we went to a Quality Foods in Parksville to get some groceries to use over the next few days (nice to have a kitchen). But before looking at preparing our food we went for a swim. The pool at Pacific Shores was very nice. We certainly were hungry for dinner! Although we had bought food, we hadn't looked that carefully at how long it would take to prepare the food. The "instant" lasagna we had bought wasn't that instant. With thawing and baking it was going to be close to two hours before we could have it prepared. Because we were quite hungry after such a busy day, we went to a Smitty's in Parksville for dinner. After such a busy day out and about, we relaxed "at home" watching TV.

Saturday morning was our appointment with the Pacific Shores timeshare people. We were a little gun shy because of having a very bad timeshare sales presentation a few years before in Cancun Mexico. The program that Pacific Shores belongs to turned out to be surprisingly nice. The property itself was very nice. We actually spent a few hours with the sales lady, and gave it some serious thought. We feel the program would have been worthwhile if we didn't have our cabin, It would be great for a family who likes to vacation, and doesn't have their own recreation property. Since we've done most of our travelling already, and now have our cabin, we ultimately decided against buying in.

Saturday afternoon we went to Rathtrevor Provincial Park and went hiking. That night after dinner (lasagna with the pre-knowledge of the thaw time), we went to one of the Pacific Shores amenities, which is an outdoor hot-tub. Very nice to sit in the hot-tub while the air outside is cool.

Sunday morning we were up early and signed out another Pacific Shores amenity, a canoe. With the tide in, we actually paddled to, with the guidance of the GPS, the spot where we had hiked to a couple of days before. From there it seemed a long way to where we had spent the last couple of nights.

After a couple of fun days, we finally checked out of Pacific Shores. Our trip wasn' over yet! We next drove onto Qualicum Beach. It was a beautiful day. We gave a couple of ideas some thought as to what we should do. We could take a train that went up and back the middle of the island, but the time seemed too much so we discarded that idea. We heard of some caves that the public could visit, that sounded like great fun! We drove a ways inland to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park. A very cool place to visit! We rented some helmets and headlamps, and went into the caves. It was very neat in the caves. A few spots were certainly tight. According to a map at the park, we actually went a couple hundred meters into the mountain, so we were certainly glad to see the light after we got out. We highly recommend it if you've never done it before.

We ended our day by doing some grocery shopping in Nanaimo at a Save On Foods, probably not a good idea as we then arrived at the ferry terminal only half an hour before the 7:00 sailing, which means we missed that sailing and spent a couple of hours in the ferry lineup waiting for the 9:00 sailing. Oh well, nothing like taking advantage of the weekend to the fullest! It certainly was a good time!

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