1) Chesterman Beach Friday 10:30PM with full moon; that’s G with his flashlight and Blee further off in the distance
We enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend by journeying to Vancouver Island via Nanaimo, Coombs, Qualicum, the magnificent Cathedral Grove and Port Alberni. Fortunately Blee flew out from Toronto to join us, which was wonderful!
2) Horseshoe Bay where we catch our ferry; 3) heading for a coffee prior to boarding
4) heading onto the Ferry; 5) in the hold we leave the car and head upstairs for the crossing
Our destination was the Relais & Chateaux Wickinninash Inn on Chesterman Beach. While Tofino does not seem all that far from Vancouver, the reality is the place is world’s away and involves a 2-hour ferry across the Strait of Georgia and then a 3 hour drive on the Pacific Rim Highway, which is a horribly narrow two-lane road with no shoulders that winds its way from Port Ablerni up over the Clayoquot Plateau mountain range to Ucluelet before turning north through Pacific Rim National Park and dead-ending in Tofino.
The road requires snowtires or ice chains October through April as up on high, it can get bloody awful with snow and/or flooding and/or rock slides (even though Tofino itself doesn’t get snow; rather, its blessing is annual rainfall of some 3 meters!). Our drive over the Plateau was in teaming rain which did make for some adventuresome moments indeed – thank heavens for 4x4s!
On route we stopped into Qualicum Falls for a hike and a place called Cathedral Grove which is in MacMillan Provincial Park that has towering Douglas firs that soar 100s of feet into the air. This grove is scared to the first nation peoples and trees here are 800-1000 years old.
6) G heads down to the falls; 7) Qualicum Falls
8 & 9) G and I have fun with a might tree
10 & 11) Great and Little Qualicum Falls
12) the hiking at Cathedral Grove is beautiful with massive trees and rainforest beauty
13) G appraoches the largest tree in the Grove; 14) looking waaaay up to the largest tree
15) a plaque by the tree gives you a course in just how big that tree is; 16) very Jurasic Park
After fueling up in Port Alberni we headed on our way to Tofino arriving there around 4pm.
17) the entrance to the hotel; 18) our room with Blee looking out onto “Secret Bay”
19) no denying where we are; 20) Blee and I suit up prior to heading out for a walk on a VERY rainy and VERY windy Chesterton Beach
21) Blee is windswept; 22) we spend Sunday morning at the Ancient Cedars Spa which I can only highly recommend – it was stunning
23) the sun starts to peek out; 24) going for a beach walk early on Saturday morning
25) G and Blee at 7:30AM on sur le plage
26) G mulls his battle with the waves slated for later in the afternoon
27) me shooting Blee shooting … rocks?!; 28) the hotel with the Pointe Restaurant
29) in Vancouver you can buy rather expensive baskets made from this seaweed; 30) a catch of mussels
31) damn, I love this picture
32) the view from our room to “Secret Cove”; 33) beautiful cedar branches
34) the view of the hotel from the far end of the beach; 35) a surfer catches the wave – water here is 10C
36) G, Blee and others prepare to tackle the waves
37) a pep talk prior to heading out; 38) in they go
39) Blee catches a wave; 40) heading back for me
41) brunch overlooking Tofino Harbour
42) me waiting for my lunch at Sea Shanty, which is run by First Nations; 43) yummy!
44) I’ve made it to the end of the road; 45) dinner at the Pointe Restaurant in the Wick Inn
46) the amuse is a wee crab/lobster croquette; 47) my appetizer of oysters is stupendous
48) the view from our table; 49) G’s halibut and carrot pasta
50) Blee’s bacon wrapped sardines; 51) G’s cucumber soup
52) in Coombs on the way back we stopped at “Goats on the Roof”; 53) which is a country market with – yes – live goats that live on the roof
54) lots to choose from; 55) it’s a real mix and match of food
55) Blee and I await lunch; 56) these two kids played the piano for us while we ate
56) handing out at Duke Point in torrential rain waiting for the ferry back to the mainland; 57) look at the rain pooling on the sun roof
58) the ferry arrives and back we go
And finally before signing off, a shout-out to Lady Kay – my grandmother – who turned 100 years old today! … she even has the letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to prove it. I’m over to London again in a couple weeks and I’ll sing at you then.