After our extra two days in Japan we ended up being on the Asian continent for 488 days. We were ready to head to North America and see what it had in store for us. First stop…. “Canada eh?”….
We already had two pet sits lined up before we arrived in Canada and both were on Vancouver Island a few days apart. As we flew into the city of Vancouver two days later than expected we didn’t really have time to explore this city. Our Airbnb was in Burnaby (click here for our review), which we though was an area of Vancouver, but found it was actually a city of it’s own. We had incredible jet lag and exhaustion from the unsettled days dealing with Typhoon Jebi and all that it threw at us, so our main focus was on purchasing a car that we would use for our means of transportation through Canada and America. Logan had done huge amounts of research before we arrived, emailing back and forth with the appropriate authorities to ensure we could in fact make the purchase and also get insurance cover while in both countries. It turns out British Columbia (B.C) has one of the easier systems for buying and selling vehicles as each province in Canada has it’s own set of rules and regulations. He had also been shortlisting a few vehicles to test drive once we eventually arrived. With our time reduced in this area of Canada we also looked at vehicles on Vancouver Island but the prices seemed a bit more than the bigger cities. As we didn’t want to rush the decision and we needed to get to our first pet sit, we hired a rental car for a few days to give ourselves a bit of breathing room while we went over our options and headed from Burnaby to Sooke.This included a very pleasant ferry trip with B.C Ferries and heading into Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island really reminded us of home with some of the same beautiful scenery that you see in New Zealand. The weather had also changed for us, from hot and humid Asian climates to the cooler, autumnal season of North America. We are glad we had purchased at least one warm item of clothing before arriving.We arrived in Sooke in the late afternoon and headed to our sit, we met with the family and their pets and got all the information we might need while they were away. We were to be caring for three pets during our first assignment; Mika the Husky, Gala the polydactyl cat and Spike the Bearded Dragon.
The family left very early the next morning on their two-week holiday so we were straight into things. It was refreshing to be back in a good-sized “home” with all the mod cons and as there was a seven-year-old boy in the family the house had an incredible array of toys to occupy our boys and a trampoline in the backyard. Braxton was over the moon to have an increased selection of Hot Wheels toys and LEGO to play with again and not overly interested in the animals, although he did warm to them over the coming days. While Lincoln was super keen to take Mika out for walks as soon as possible and ensure the pets feeding schedules was strictly adhered to.
Having a fully stocked kitchen with all the necessities for cooking and baking was just what we wanted as we had a long list of meals we wanted to make that we had been missing after 18 months in Asia. Some reasonable priced and good quality wines were also on the shopping list. Navigating a supermarket in any new country throughout Asia was an interesting task that I always enjoyed, checking out new and different items and ingredients. I wasn’t expecting the supermarket in Canada to be much different from New Zealand but I still found plenty of products to mull over as I meandered around our local store.
Sooke is a town with a population of around 14,000 and had many amenities that made our stay easy and enjoyable. There were numerous walking tracks and reserves near the house so we got a great feel for the place while out walking Mika and exploring the area. The plump, juicy wild blackberries along the footpaths and in the reserves were still in good supply and we picked numerous containers full during our stay. Another activity that reminded us of New Zealand. The locals were very friendly and we meet numerous people while out and about, especially if we were walking Mika. So far Canadians were living up to their very friendly reputation.
We had a few rainy days but managed a nice picnic lunch and afternoon at Whiffin Spit one day. The spit is situated between Sooke Basin and Juan de Fuca Strait and is named in honour of a clerk, John George Whiffin, who served aboard HMS Herald when the Royal Navy surveyed Sooke inlet in 1846. Looking out from the spit you can see America in the distance. Stunning views and scenery.Logan’s birthday fell during our stay in Sooke so we surprised him with a visit to Mom’s Cafe, a local diner, for breakfast, before a pleasant walk through Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. We had a lovely few hours and a picnic lunch before the rain drops started. We splashed out for dinner and a leg of lamb was purchased and deliciously roasted (if I do say so myself). It was actually New Zealand lamb so we knew it would be of excellent quality, and it was!! In no time at all our two weeks and our first sit was done. We had a few days until our next assignment so Logan found us another local island to visit and explore.
Average Daily Spend for 15 nights – $87.92 NZD ($199.58 under budget per day) Now that we were in North America we had a much higher daily budget than in Asia but the sit gave us a good start with two weeks well under budget.
If anyone might be interested in house/pet sitting and would like to sign up to TrustedHousesitters.com (this is the website we use), then please feel free to use our referral code, RAF145453 at checkout or click this link to get 25% off your membership.