…in beautiful Tofino, BC – a district of about 1,900 residents on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There are miles of sandy beaches – 35km of surf-able beach to be exact. The water is a cool, yet fairly constant 10C/50F, making surfing a year-round activity. Tofino was listed in the world’s Top 50 surf destinations by CNN and named the ‘best surf town’ in North America by Outdoor Magazine in 2010.
However, this isn’t surfing in California or Hawaii.
Just like this guy heading out at 8 am – it is essential to be covered head to toe in a wetsuit, boots, gloves and a hood.
Our son Barrett went to Tofino about 12 years ago and ended up staying there for a couple of years working and learning to surf. In fact, he met Ainsley (his wife) there. Alice and Jim initially drove him there and visited him a couple of times during his stay. Who better than Alice & Jim to show us around. We saw the house he lived in; the location of the restaurant he worked in – the Rain Coast Cafe; his favourite place to surf and walk – North Chesterman Beach; the location of the Lions Gate Fisheries – where he worked; and Sunset Point – his favourite spot to watch the sun set.
It was not recommended that we drive the coach because the mountains were steep, the highways narrow, the curves tight, the shoulders non-existent, BUT, primarily because there were no spots large enough to park this mobile mansion. In fact, most RV places were closed for the season! So, we splurged – sharing a 2 bedroom beach house with Alice & Jim at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort for 2 nights.
We left Victoria Wednesday, November 12th and with a couple of pit stops arrived in Tofino about 5 hours later. Top of the “stop” list is The Country Market in Coombs – advertising their Goats on the Roof attraction. The market has gifts and souvenirs, as well as produce, baked goods, ice cream, specialty international food items, a restaurant AND goats that graze on the roof. Sadly, no goats on this trip – the weather was a little too chilly for them.
There’s a good possibility, at this time of year, to experience gale force winds, giant swells and lashing waves and we met people who had come specifically for that reason. In fact, the resorts offer Storm Watcher’s packages from November 1st to the end of February advertising “winter storm watching is an awe inspiring experience that invigorates the soul”. In fact, storm watching at the Wickaninnish Inn was named a Canadian Signature Experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission in 2011. Sadly, there were no storms this time. The weather was bright, sunny, light winds, but chilly & frosty in the mornings.
So, what do you do in Tofino if you don’t (can’t) surf or there’s no storms to watch? Well, eating and drinking are pretty fun… and we did our fair share of that! Dinner at Shelter Restaurant, Brunch at the Wickaninnish Inn and dinner at the Schooner Restaurant. The highlight – The Admiral’s Caesar at the Schooner Restaurant! The skewer included a slice of bread, mushroom, shrimps, beef tenderloin and red pepper. This concoction was a drink and appetizer all in one – I guess that’s how they justify the $18 price tag!
What else? Walking the beach, waiting for the sunset, playing in the sand and a Pacific Ocean sunset – and we’ll call it a day!