West Coast Swing

June 14, 2011

The west coast of Vancouver Island, following route 4, or as we referred to it as “The Road To Tofino”, was like traveling to another continent.  We found ourself in a rain forest, complete with the appropriate, rain soaked weather, along the ruggid western coast of the island.  We settled into our campsite among the trees, moss and rain glad to have found a place to all home.  We started our day, as Noel previously posted, very early in the morning along a deserted beach at low tide.  The tide pools were teaming with sea creatures, star fish, battling hermit crabs and bugs that could both swim and make us scream as they scurried towards us on land.  At that moment, we felt very possesive of that small piece of the beach.  The beach is swaddled with rain forest along it’s edge, and the paths leading to them are labeled 1,2,3, so that travelers can find their way back to that parking lot.  At any moment a wolf, black bear or cougar could walk along these shores looking for breakfast at low tide (although no story of the such will follow thank goodness).  We then headed off toward the small town of Ucuclet to find our whale watching tour for the day.  This town is exactly what you think of when one ponders a fishing village.  Every kind of fishing vessle lines it’s harbor while small but not trendy shops dot the streets.  Our tour was decided and we took off with our tour guide named Marla upon a zodiac named Hell Fish.   Marla was a spunky, adorable gal who was as instilled confidence.  She was young but had already been working this harbor for 7 years.  She also was a fisherwoman in Holland. I find it amazing the lives peope lead, no two are ever exactly alike.  I wanted to take her and put her in my pocket for the remainder of our trip.  But Henna knew she belonged free to roam the water.  Our tour was a wild ride, as we searched the broken Islands (chain of islands just off the coast), into open waters in search of a whale.  We did spy bald eagels, habor seals, seal lions fighting, black comorat birds and the elusive sun.  One highlight was a massive bald eagle nest perched upon a cedar tree.  Marla noted that because of it’s size it must be around 15 years old, and is home to a very old eagle couple.  Around 2 hours into our tour, and no whale yet to be spotted, Marla heard word of some humpback whales that were found far out in open waters.  She kicked the kodiak into high gear and we flew and bounced along to get our look see.  It felt funny to be searching for the whales, I felt like an intruder on someones lives.  At last we saw them, and to see Henna’s face light up when she witnessed the tail come out of the water made my heart happy.  We were watching a mama humpback, her calf and a companion hoping for some future mating privledges.  We watched the whaled breach up to feed!  Wow.  In the meantime, I got to visit the bathroom on this rocky boat…..quite an experience. 

At last we found our sea legs and found that our back cab had been open for the entire three hour tour!  Only the secod time we have done that, but it ended fine, nothing stolen.  We quickly visited the local acquarium which follows a catch and release policy.  Every exhibit is set free back to the waters at the end of the season …how nice. We then visited Tofino for a wonderful sushi dinner while watching sea planes land and take off in the harbor.  Tofino is a bigger community that ucucllet and is a big surfer town.  Before we took one last hike into the rain forest along the schooner cove I looked back at Henna and she was asleep!  I knew we had a busy day when she falls asleep.  We  found ourself once again along a beach with no people.  Ahhhhhhh…..At that moment it began to mist as we headed home to crash in the tent and sleep while the rain pattered above.  What a day.