Stripes on sea – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island

Come with me, on a journey to a remote place few people (even Canadians) have ever heard of… To a place where, even in June, you have to endure bitter temperatures, especially when you’ve taken off your top three layers of clothing to snap some blog photos… To a place where all your blog photos look a bit tense/manic because you are so cold and it could start raining again at any point, meaning you’d have to dry your jeans over the cabin’s electric hobs again… This place, my friends, is Telegraph Cove.

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Ok, so this photo was actually of me trying to hurry J along so we could get the whole freezing photoshoot over and done with as soon as possible. I’m only smiling because I’m nice like that. Oh, and because in spite of its worse-than-England’s summer weather – Telegraph Cove is just right-on marvellous.

It’s a tiny (you guessed it) cove nestled into the north-eastern coastline of Vancouver Island. The village was first created in the early twentieth century with the arrival of a (guessed it again) telegraph operator, and you can now stay in its preserved historic buildings. Our cabin had once been a dance hall. On stilts… Presumably it was pretty civilised dancing.

There’s no supermarket, no petrol station, no internet. There is, however, the Pacific’s oldest whale watching operation, a whale interpretation centre, and a pub. I was content. The reason I’d sought this place out was its reputation for whale watching, that, and a photo I’d found on Google of a whole heap of otters chilling on the boardwalk. It was simply incredible for wildlife. We did indeed take a boat out to see whales; the area is famous for its resident and visiting orca populations but actually all we saw was humpbacks. And by ‘all’ I mean ‘we saw humpback whales! They are fifteen metres long! We saw five different ones in one afternoon! Plus huge sea lions, porpoises, bald eagles and seals!’

It was beyond exciting.

The ‘kayaking with the orcas’ day trip we then took didn’t seem to be as much fun at first. It was pouring with rain and this had clearly put all the animals out of whack and they’d gone underground, or underwater, or wherever animals go when the weather is yuck. All morning we saw nothing beyond a lot of kelp and the occasional curious seal. Which, I’m not going to lie, was still pretty amazing from the relative proximity of a kayak.

But after lunch, just when we were thinking of heading towards home, it happened. Out of nowhere, a humpback whale surfaced, its ‘pssshhhh’ of air the only sound out in the calm channel. We froze in anticipation of the next surfacing, only to wait, and wait, and wait. As we finally decided the whale must have moved on out of earshot, it surfaced – I kid you not – just metres from our kayaks. I nearly fell into the water in my excitement. Then, just as smoothly, the magnificent creature upped its tail and disappeared into the deep.

And yet, the thrills weren’t over! We set off back to Telegraph Cove only to be joined by a pod of dolphins! And like all thinking people, I heart dolphins, big time. It was incredible! I secretly wanted them to ‘accidentally’ overturn our kayaks and swim with us, but it turns out that dolphins are more sensible than I am, and so sadly that didn’t happen.

Now I know y’all are usually here just for the sewing mishaps but I wanted to write about these travels because they’ve created such happy and fulfilling memories, and I want my blog (because it’s mine, all mine!) to sometimes be about things I’ve done, not just things I’ve made. But of course I do have something I made to share – a self-drafted raglan sweatshirt which kept me warm-ish, dry-ish and (I think) stylish.


I simply copied the pattern from an old sweatshirt I’ve had a few years, and actually made it up first in a pink striped version with a looser fit. This second version took quite a lot of tweaking as it turned out whilst deepening the seam allowance by an inch or so was the perfect way to tighten the body and sleeves, it created the excess along the raglan seams that I’ve since learned is a common ‘raglan issue’. After about three revisions of the seams I reached a point where the excess is barely noticeable and I’m perfectly happy to wear the sweater, but it’s not a fit I’d want GBSB’s Esme examining!

The stripes and the ribbing both come from the Village Haberdashery, as did the two fabrics for my pink version. They have some lovely knits there, not to mention irresistible cottons – I may or may not have snaffled a swan print I most definitely did not need… Anyways, I’m so happy with having drafted my first sweaters and working out the ribbing cuff and neck lengths – small steps!

And I’m even more happy to have discovered and visited Telegraph Cove!

Thanks for reading, as always 🙂 I hope you’ll bear with me in my next post when I wax lyrical about the Rockies, oh, and my first ever homemade rucksack! x

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6 thoughts on “Stripes on sea – Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island

  1. Sounds like a wonderful experience! Love being in nature myself and sewing so this was a great post in my opinion 😉

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    1. Thanks, Christina – it truly was wonderful and I’m so glad you liked the post 😊 it’s always hard to gauge how people who read the blog for sewing interest will react when you go off-piste!

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  2. You’re killing me; it sounds amazing! And you should *definitely* write about what you want (also you write really well so it’s a pleasure to read sewing or not!). Your sweatshirt looks great, and so warm and comfy! Great job and thanks for sharing, all of it. I’d not really checked out knits on tvh but now I will.

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