Monday, March 16, 2015

Touring 'round Tofino

Sitting on the western edge of Vancouver Island, Tofino is so rugged, they've made a whole tourism campaign around winter storm watching.  It is a magnet for surfers who come year is on the migration path for whales...and it is where nutrients from the rainforests sustain animals not only on land, but in the ocean.   Signs with "Tsunami Evacuation Route" are evident in the area and a reminder the next land mass is Japan.

We've always wanted to visit Tofino, so decided to drive there and spend the night.  It was magical.

Tofino's life centers around fishing, lumber and tourism
We spent the afternoon walking along different beaches ---- next time we'll do some hikes in the rainforests.

Crystal clear water

Mussels galore

Surfers come to Tofino year round; many are young people who work in the service industry in between catching the next waves.  How they can surf while wearing dry suits is beyond me.
Surfers taking a lesson
We stayed at the beautiful Wickaninnish Inn
View from our room
We slept with the balcony door opened so we could hear the crashing waves and smell the salt air, plus the unmistakable aroma of marijuana that wafted into our room.

Food also plays an important part of Tofino's culture and we had fantastic meals.
Best ever salmon burger for me, and Thai curry mussels for Roger

Cedar plank salmon

I read about this great food truck "Tacofino" where they served .... you guessed it...tacos.  Muy delicioso!
Sunsets are spectacular here, and beaches draw crowds at night who want to see the sky turn colors.

In the morning we took a whale watching tour, but first, our boat participated in the annual Blessing of the Fleet which included boats from the Coast Guard, tours, and fishermen who had their vessels blessed by a local priest.

Any day on a boat is a good day

Boats lining up for blessing that was broadcast over radios
After the brief ceremony, boats paraded by the main dock and had water squirted onto the boats

Our main goal was to see some of the grey whales that are migrating north to Alaska from Mexico.  While we didn't see any whales breach, we saw several whales spout water, and break the surface of the water.

Whale spouting water (center of picture) before going underwater

Grey whale breaking the surface of the water

Sea lions sunbathing on a small island near the harbour
Eagles with two meter wing spans soared over us and we saw huge groups of sea otters and seals.  Great viewing day.  We will definitely return to Tofino, but right now, it got a big check mark on things we wanted to do.

On a recent trip to Victoria to get our passports renewed, the agent looked through our very colorful passports and warned us the new passports don't have as many pages as our current one and at the rate we are going, she thought we'd have to get a new passport earlier than when it expires in 10 years.  In unison, we said, "We hope we won't be traveling as much!"

I must say, I will miss seeing my Colombian visa that was so photoshopped to erase my wrinkles and blemishes by the well meaning young woman at the photo kiosk I went to in Medellin, that I worried Immigration wouldn't accept it!

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."

Henry David Thoreau

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