Windy beaches, Good eats, Island Life Part 2 – Tofino and Ucluelet, BC, Canada

20140419_191357Feeling peaceful in Tofino

This is Part 2 of exploring the wet and windy coasts of Tofino and Ucluelet. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 which showcases old growth forest and 1,000 year old trees you can read that post here. I’ve never tested the weather sealing on my camera and I’m a believer now after this trip. I struggled to keep the rain drops off my lens but perhaps it will be a more immersive viewing experience for my photos?

Returning from Meares Island we checked in to Marina West Motel and I would stay here again – the room was clean, bed very comfortable and extra points for the microwave! I booked our stay through Expedia and it was one of the few places that allowed us to book for only 2 nights during a long weekend break; most places required a minimum stay of 3 nights. For the location and comfort, it was $99 per night – good value when compared to the pricier places in Tofino for a long weekend getaway. Across the street from the motel is a restaurant called Shelter and I had their ‘Tofino Surf Bowl’ with chicken which was the type of dish I could eat again and again. Perfect combination of carbs, protein and veggies with a delicious light teriyaki glaze. Yum!

The next day we decided to walk around town and came across a trail called Lighthouse Trail that led to Tonquin Beach. It slopes through forest while providing glimpses of the beach and ocean and if I lived in Tofino I would be on this trail all the time! It’s very accessible and provides beautiful views mixed between evergreen forest and rocky beach. This trail took about 1.5hrs at a relaxing pace return.

IMG_4864Heading towards Tonquin Beach

20140419_172134Tonquin beach coast

IMG_4846End of the trail

Hiking to me equals snacks, so once we got back into town we stopped by Common Loaf Bake Shop for coffee and treats. If you like brownies definitely try theirs, perfect with an americano! When dinner time rolled around I was feeling very tired (relaxing and strolling along beaches and trails can be an exhausting experience) so we opted to eat at The Diner at our motel, a stone’s throw away from our room. My favourite part of the meal: a cup of hot chocolate with cream to warm the belly before bed.

IMG_20140419_205747Night cap: Hot chocolate before bed

On the way back to Nanaimo, we made two more stops to cap off our coastal adventure. The first stop was Schooner Cove; a 2km hike in Pacific Rim National Park that takes you from forest to beach. The trail is short and not difficult; there are some stairs but it’s worth the effort to take your time amidst the greenery and then be greeted by the sounds of waves. The wind and rain felt strongest here, I really struggled to keep my camera and lens dry and jacket hood in place but that all adds to the experience!

IMG_4928Exploring Schooners Cove in wind and rain, Tofino

The most interesting thing I saw was this alien-like looking creature on a mussel and thanks to the wonders of google I learned that it’s called ‘gooseneck barnacles’ and happens to be delicious delicacy to eat. If only I brought my camping stove to try it out…

IMG_4938Gooseneck barnacles

IMG_4947A couple takes a selfie in the elements

The last stop was Ucluelet where we did the short Lighthouse Loop which is part of the Wild Pacific Trail. This was also a nice easy 2.6km gravel trail that takes you along the egde of the coast. Despite the wind and rain it was still beautiful, one spot looking like a painting with the grey skies and small island of trees surrounded by ocean, waves crashing upon the rocks. There are several benches along the trail where I’m sure on a more sunny day would be nice to sit and listen to the ocean.

IMG_4964Along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet

IMG_4955The lighthouse along the trail

The most favourite thing about my trip to Tofino and the quick stop by Ucluelet was the feeling of wherever you go you will end up on a beautiful trail and a guarantee of amazing scenery. I’ve never felt so immersed in nature before and relaxed. It really is the island life and if you love the outdoors then you’ll love coming here. I can’t wait to go back.

Tips:

  • If you want to make sure you’ll have a spot on a ferry, especially during a long weekend, you can make a reservation on the BC Ferries website
  • Check the weather forecast; if there’s rain in the mix and you like to stay dry bring your waterproof gear (jacket, rain boots)
  • The most expensive time to go to Tofino is during high season from about June – September. The cheapest is during the winter from November – March and during this time you can storm watch (which I’ve heard is very cool and is on my list to do going back!)
  • Stop by Port Alberni to eat as there’s nothing much from Port Alberni onwards if you get hungry (nom nom nom)
  • Kick back, relax and enjoy – no stress, no rushing, smile and say hello to everyone you meet, you’re on island time now!

IMG_4871Walking along the beach, Schooner Cove, Tofino

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