Vancouver and Vancouver Island

British Columbia 2015

Tuesday, 25 August, 2015:

Sharon and I flew out for a visit with Sasha and Nadeem. On our first afternoon, we chilled out at nearby Kitsalano Beach, then went for gelato after one of Sasha's scrumptious dinners.

Fabulous Foursome.

"Check out my pinky."

A little out of focus, but the expressions tell how good the gelato was.

Wednesday, 26 Aug:

Next day, we headed back to Kits Beach to check out the 135-meter salt water pool. Admission was about $5, and totally worth it.

With a view of the beach and ocean below, and the Vancouver skyline and mountains in the distance, this was my best ever pool experience (even on a 20 degrees C afternoon).

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That evening, we set off across the Burrard St. Bridge to the aptly named Sunset Beach. There were a lot of people - kids, couples, dogs and just folks old and young - there to have their breath taken away. 

Those are oil tankers, waiting hungrily in the Vancouver Harbour.

The Burrard St. Bridge.



Thursday, 27 August:

The next leg of our journey saw Sharon & I hopping in our gutless - but otherwise perfectly fine - Hyundai rental and heading for the ferry from Horseshoe Bay on the mainland to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

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Sharon and I stopped at Cathedral Grove, just east of Port Alberni.  We walked in and stopped dead in our tracks.  We both almost instantly gasped and tears started to gently well up. Suddenly you find yourself in the midst of wise old giants up to 800 years old. (That's 1200 AD, by the way. The Crusaders were sacking Constantinople; Ghengis Khan was uniting Mongolia and Homer was not yet even a glint in Matt Groening's eye...) This is truly a Cathedral.

It puts you in your place, like looking at a skyful of stars.

I had to get right down on the ground for this shot.

I'm not usually a tree hugger, but may have just undergone a conversion.

Driving along Hwy 4W crossing the Island, you follow the Kennedy River, and then pass Kennedy Lake. An old VW camper was parked along side the road with a NO GMO sign in the back window. The driver had stopped for a swim. Her yellow Lab couldn't help joining her. (see the 2 little specs on the left side of the pic?)

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The small town of Ucluelet was our final destination. Our lodge, The Terrace Bay Resort, sits south of town on a narrow neck of land between an inlet and the Pacific Ocean.

Map, FYI:  Map of Terrace Beach Resort

The entrance to our little Terrace Bay beach.

The bay is maybe 150 meters across.

Looking up to the cottages from the little beach.

The lodge has its own old growth rain forest.

Friday, 28 August:

The weather has been sunny and very unVancouver-like for weeks. But the forecast says rain is about to come in, and heavy, this afternoon, so we head out for Tofino, about 30 minutes north. Tofino has been on Sharon's bucket list for about 25 years. I was there in 2010 with my kids, Jamie & Katrina, but am excited for Sharon, and happy to be returning. Tofino is larger than Ucluelet, and much more on the tourist radar.

Tofino Harbour. Very active in fishing and whale watching tours.

Lurlene & Festus. Still working on the selfie technique.

Highrise crab traps on the back of this fisherman's pickup.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island's surfing capitol, is midway between Ucluelet and Tofino. The tide is out at the moment.

Don't know what sect these folks are part of, but they are sure enjoying the surf.

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After Long Beach, we head back to the outskirts of Tofino for some lunch at a food truck that Sharon dug up on the web (a very special talent and hobby of hers). 

The TacoFino Cantina has rave reviews on every foodie travel website, and lineups to go with it.

Wholly (and holy) Mexican. Fish tacos to die for.

This helpful lass is happy to take your order.

And this gent is one of 3 cooks ready to make it happen.

"Do Not Feed The Hippies"

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Tofino has it's own rainforest walk, right in town: the Tonquin Trail.

The trees are younger, but the dripping moss and wispy forest floor give you the feeling a fairy or an elf is going to pop out from behind a tree at any moment.

Look closely at this stump. It has a good-sized tree rooted right out of the middle of it. The rain forest feeds on itself, making use of the decaying deadfall to create new life.

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As if this day hasn't been packed enough! The rain still seems to be holding off, so we drive back to Ucluelet, go to the local fish market, buy some fresh caught live crab, and boil it up in the room with a salad. 

Dungeness crab. Boil 10-12 minutes in salted water. Eat. Praise. Finito.

and then for dessert, we have a most delicious sunset right at our own little Terrace Bay Beach.

The little bay is only a few meters from our room.

Sun through the trees at the entrance to the beach.

Teepee'd driftwood.

It's been a very long day. Tomorrow the big rains are supposed to hit.

Saturday, 29 August:

It rained all night and is still coming down when we wake up. Sharon looks at the Ucluelet weather online and the red stripe across the top says TORNADO WARNINGS. Wind gusting up to 90 kph. "Well, this should be interesting," I think. The rain keeps coming strong for a couple of hours, but then it fizzles and the remainder of the day is just extremely cloudy with the odd shower. 

After our long day yesterday, we don't want to travel far, so we drive to the lighthouse just up the road on the Wild Pacific Trail.

Amphitrite Lighthouse on the Wild Pacific Trail

The rain was coming off and on, but I couldn't resist walking for a while. The photo ops were just too good.

From decades of harsh wind and rain, the trees have become magnificently mangled and twisted...

This dancing fellow was most spectacular.

Closeup of his right shoulder and bicep.

His right arm extends heavenward.

This birdlike beast watches over the ocean....

...like a gargoyle atop a cathedral...

...with leaves for hair on his back and arms.

A piece fit for art in any gallery.


Sunday, August 30:
Up early for the almost 3-hour drive back to the Nanaimo ferry.
"How do the ferries accommodate the changing tides for the on- and off-loading?" I found myself wondering.

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Answer #1: dual adjustable highway ramps

Answer #2: hydraulically adjustable pedestrian ramps.

Too cool.

Back to Vancouver for 2 more nights with the best hostess and host EVERRRRR. Can't thank you enough for your unbelievably kind hospitality, Sasha & Nadeem!

Tuesday, 2 September:

Homeward bound. Depart 4 PM, Pacific time, arrive 11:30 Eastern. 

The fields and the Sheyenne River over North Dakota. Google Earth, fuggedaboudit. Window seats rock.

Leaving the sunset behind us. 

I'd love to hear your comments.

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