I don’t think I mentioned this, but the weekend M and I went to Vancouver Island we had the most perfect weather. Absolutely still, super sunny, cloudless, and the temperature was very mild, although as it was still early April it wasn’t exactly hot. As I said, we arrived on Friday and took our merry time to arrive to Ucluelet, where we then headed to a supermarket to buy some groceries for dinner and find a nice bottle of wine or two. So that was Friday evening taken care of. As there was a bbq on the front porch of the cottage we rented, M had to fire it up, so he headed out into the dusk to cook, and served us up some yummy vegetables and steak from it.
Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. We had been told by a few people we had talked to that we should walk the Wild Pacific Trail. We spent Saturday morning doing this, and I posted quite a few photos from this trail in the last post I made. But it was an exceptionally beautiful walk, so I just have to indulge myself with a few more pictures here.
After this, we hopped in the car and drove to Long Beach, which is within the Pacific Rim National Park. It is approximately 16km long, so a tad longer than the “Long Beach” I grew up by. This is the first time in my life I have had to pay for access to a beach – well actually, one was paying for access to the national park, so I can’t begrudge that, because how else would the area make enough money to keep the walking trails up to standard, provide toilets and rubbish bins, take care and maintain these facilities, provide car parking, pay salaries for the people who work there etc. I’m pretty certain the Canadian government doesn’t chip in nearly as much as is needed. However, it certainly was beautiful – imagine a long expanse of beach with no one in sight (we left the main tourist spot and headed further down the 16km beach to a spot where there was no one), big logs washed up all along the beach, and drifted in large piles at the high tide line, like kindling wood thrown there (gives you some idea of the power of the ocean in this wild west coast area). The ends of the beach were so far away they were a little hazy. And while the sea breeze was fairly refreshing (it is the Pacific after all), the sun kept on shining down on us – lovely! We spent a couple of hours here, just wandering along, taking our shoes off to get the full experience of sight, sound, smell, touch (and taste too, because in a way you can taste the salt).
I really loved this picture of the star fish. We found it sitting exactly where I photographed it, washed up onto a log on the beach. This to me is so beautiful – the grains of sand, the washed out grey of the splintered wood, the textured bumps on the starfish. Am considering getting this one blown up and framed. But the whole beach, with its giant logs thrown around like sticks, grey sand, stunted vegetation growing up in the predominant wind direction, was just so wild and beautiful – reminded me quite a bit of the west coast of NZ, minus the giant dumper waves you sometimes find on the South Island’s west coast.
After our beach visit, we continued along the road to Tofino itself. I think I expected something a bit more touristy, given how much people rave about it, so I was surprised to find it looking relatively un-touristy, and very much how you might imagine any small town on the coast would look – some buildings were old and sea beaten, some were new, there was one main street, a few jettys and boats, houses and backpackers. The most touristy thing I saw were the usually hand painted signs out the front of houses or shops advertising whale watching, kayaking trips etc. M and I took a walk around here, and then stopped at one place to inquire about kayak rentals and get a coffee. To give you an idea of the small town, laid back feel of the place, despite being nearly ready to close, the girl made us our drinks, we took them, sat out on the back porch, and when she left, she locked up, came out and told us she was going, and that we could just leave our mugs on the seat by the back door. Nowhere else but a small town do you get that kind of service.
I think we had the most beautiful view for our coffee – we were looking over someone’s backyard to the sea, where boats were pottering back and forth, mountains in the distance, and best of all, a couple of hummingbirds were feeding at a bush maybe 10 metres away from us (of course, we didn’t bring the big camera or the little point and shoot with us, and taking photos on our phones was pointless). I have seen a hummingbird only once since moving to Canada, and they are such amazing, fast, beautiful, colourful little birds, it really is something to see. Their wings are more like those of an insect because they flap them so fast (up to 70 times per second maximum I believe), so you just see a blur where the wings are. These two particular hummingbirds didn’t seem to like each other – there was a little red one, that was happily feeding on the flowers of this bush with another little red friend. One of these two flew off, and we didn’t see it again. Then another hummingbird, of the same size but a green colour, came to the bush and didn’t want to share, so it kept dive bombing the little red guy until it flew off and left the bush to the green bird. Must have been some good nectar in those flowers! (And of course now I can’t even find the photo on my phone from where we had our coffee, typical!). On the bird note, outside our cottage, we also had the company of a bald eagle in the morning. I must prefer this sort of wildlife to the bears, cougars, wolves…
M then spied a fish shop, which we had to spend the next 20 minutes in as he debated (not with me, but himself!) over which fish was the best to buy (best taste, best value for money, how much to buy, how much could we eat…). Honestly, I am typically not such a careful thinker on such things – if I want something , I get it (within reason of course, there are always things I can’t afford or refuse to pay such exorbitant prices for), while M has this absolute procrastination habit when it comes to food buying – drives me nuts! And he usually ends up deciding on the very first thing he was going to buy anyway! But we came away with some scallops (nom nom nom!) fish and I can’t remember what else, that M cooked to perfection on the bbq (in true man style, he just couldn’t resist firing it up again).
Us on Long Beach – I used the camera timer to take this, but it seems I cannot use a timer properly – I always seem to set it to take 10 pictures in a row, so I make these mini movies as we start to crack up when I realise I’ve done it again! I even managed to get 10 photos in a row of my butt and M telling me to hurry up and sit down, which clearly will not be featuring anywhere here anytime soon!