Tofino

This year we started with Family Day here in BC. Justine and I decided to take the long weekend and make it a bit longer by taking Friday off as well. We booked an early ferry to Nanaimo, and were off pretty much as the sun was coming up.

We were quite a bit early getting to the ferry terminal (a first), so we had some time to wander around Horseshoe Bay. The sun was just coming up, and through the clouds there were some great views of the mountains off in the distance, and the light hitting them was magical.

The ferry to Bowen Island was just departing as we sat on the edge of the marina, shuffling commuters back and forth for the last work day before the long weekend.

 The ferry to Bowen Island leaves from Horseshoe Bay

The ferry to Bowen Island leaves from Horseshoe Bay

The ferry trip ended up being pretty eventful. First, not long after leaving Horseshoe Bay we passed a Canadian submarine (the HMCS Victoria - one of our navy's 4 subs), then not long after Sarah McLachlan sat down a few rows in front of us. Justine was a little star-struck and stalkerish, but it made for an interesting ferry ride. It was a good start to the weekend.

After arriving in Nanaimo, we hopped on the main highway and made our way north. It's a bit of a crazy drive across the width of Vancouver Island, and the road can be a bit treacherous in place, so we were planning on taking our time. Just before we started working our way west, I saw a small Provincial Park - Little Qualicum Falls -  that I wanted to check out. So we stopped a bit to stretch our legs and have a look.

The river below Little Qualicum Falls races through a tight canyon.

A couple of different looks of the area around Little Qualicum Falls.

After our short stop, we were back on the road and heading west. Just before Port Alberni is a small park called Cathedral Grove, which has some remaining old growth rainforest, with 800 year old trees. Pretty much every time I've driven to Tofino I've stopped here for a short walk in the forest. It's a beautiful spot, and always worth a stop.

Cathedral_Grove.jpg

The biggest, oldest tree in the park. With Justine modelling for me.  :-)

We wandered the forest for half an hour or 45 minutes, then continued on our trip. Partway through we hit some higher elevations and were surprised by the amount of snow on the ground. Thankfully it hadn't been snowing recently, so the drive was good. The road itself get's really interesting from Port Alberni (where we stopped for lunch) to Tofino. It's a twisty, turvy road that requires a lot of concentration. Before too long we were at the west coast, working our way along the ocean, past Long Beach and into Tofino.

 Our cute little cabin on Chesterman beach - well across the road from the beach anyway.

Our cute little cabin on Chesterman beach - well across the road from the beach anyway.

We were spending the weekend with our friends Alex and Fergus, and had rented this great little two bedroom cabin. It was perfectly located at the intersection of North and South Chesterman beaches, and while not on the beach, was just across the road and pretty much on one of the public trails that leads to the beach. Fergus and Alex are both surfers, and so much of the weekend was to be spent surfing.

It was about 2:00 by the time we got to the cottage, and Fergus and Alex were already settled in. After we got ourselves settled, we headed down to the beach with Alex and Fergus to watch them surf for a bit. The waves were manageable, and they played in the waves for about an hour before heading in.

 The tide was way out as we headed to the beach for the first time. 

The tide was way out as we headed to the beach for the first time. 

 Alex and Fergus heading to the beach.

Alex and Fergus heading to the beach.

 Alex is just about up, while Fergus waits for another wave. 

Alex is just about up, while Fergus waits for another wave. 

Alex and Fergus after their first day on the water.

 Justine and Alex

Justine and Alex

The sun came out for a bit as we explored the island just off the beach.

After hanging out on the beach watching Alex and Fergus surf, Justine and I walked out on the beach. With the tide being way out you could walk all the way out to these small islands just off the beach. We explored for a bit before heading back to the cottage. We made dinner and had a relatively early evening.