“Where flowers bloom, so does hope” – Lady Bird Johnson
Some newcomer youth and families celebrated the arrival of spring by hopping on a boat and connecting with the Salish Sea and its vast wildlife. These newcomers are clients of the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) and are finding their footing in Canada and in the beautiful city of Victoria. The wildlife tours, on March 24th and April 2nd, were graciously funded and organized by the Greater Victoria Naturehood society and Eagle Wing Tours. The biologists from Eagle Wing Tours also supported the youth with a session of learning and cleaning the beach at Ogden Point.
We had over 130 participants who hailed from Egypt, Libya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Thailand, China, Greece, Cuba, India, Korea, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, El Salvador, and Syria. The youth, along with their families, assembled at Fisherman’s Wharf. Excitement lingered in the air, as for many of the participants it was their first time adventuring onto the Salish Sea. During the first tour, the weather was windy and the water was rough, while the second group enjoyed calm waters and hot sun reflecting off the ocean and onto their skin. Despite the fluctuations in weather, both groups had a positive experience and went home more connected with the local wildlife and educated on how they can contribute to a healthy ecosystem.
Safa (10 years old) shares her favourite moment: "when all the wind came, and me and Wendy were on the deck at the very front and all our hair was flying!” The same youth shares something she learned, "that when two eagles find each other, they become partners forever."
The tour led to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, where everyone was mesmerized by the sight of massive sea lions and seals, lounging on the rocks and surfing on big waves. One of the groups was fortunate to catch sight of a sea otter resting on the rocks, which is a rare encounter to have. The lighthouse keeper waved to the groups to welcome them and the participants excitedly waved back.
The ICA community is deeply thankful to Eagle Wing Tours, Greater Victoria Naturehood Society, and all its supporters and donors for coming together and providing such a warm welcome and a memorable experience.