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The BC coastal islands are a Long, Long Way from Anywhere


The trip from Nanaimo to Tofino took about three hours or so and this allowed for several stops along the way. One was at Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Park. Its attraction - trees, magnificent monsters. This park is one of the last accessible forests of giant trees remaining in British Columbia. Trails wind about the park, all of them permitting awestruck visitors "to walk backward in time to experience the primal forests and to wonder at Nature's marvels." The largest trees are about 800 years old, most sprouting when a fire opened up the forest 350 years ago. Those surviving that forest fire are 800 years old and 76 metres tall.

Most of the trees in Cathedral Grove are Douglas firs, a tough, rapidly growing species, which got its name from a Scottish botanist, David Douglas, who made three trips to Canada in the late 1820s and early 1830s. His name is borne by 50 plant species.

Douglas Fir in Cathedral Grove

This tree stump lives by grafting its roots onto those of a nearby tree and funnelling its food through a system of "underground connections."


A Living Stump

Another Great Fir Found in Cathedral Grove

Signs warned that we were in black bear country, but we were surprised to discover that we did not have to enter the bush to encounter the beast. Traffic suddenly slowed to a crawl, as some drivers pulled over and parked on the shoulder of the busy highway. There grazing on the side of a hill, a few feet from the road, was a big, black bear. Despite the danger involved - tourists were told to stay at least 100 metres from the wild creatures - not a few camera crazies wanting real closeups of the creature, snapped dangerously near the nibbling animal, that seemed oblivious to the intrigued tourists it was attracting. Blaring horns warned the clambering crowd that they were more in danger of being dashed by a car, than bitten by the big bruin browsing hungrily on the heather or whatever.

The Bear

Undaunted,one daring soul even captured a cub.

Finally, we arrived at Tofino, a village of about 1,650 residents on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is a popular destination in the summer, during which its population swells with the influx of tourists who come to surf, fish, kayak, camp and whale-watch or simply to seek the sea and the sand. The village was named after a Spanish hydrographer, Don Vincente Tofino, from Cadiz, Spain, who in 1792 accompanied two European explorers to Vancouver Island, Captains Galiano and Valcez.

Among the many attractions on this extreme west coast of Vancouver Island, blessed by the sun, the sea and the landscape, are the great numbers of galleries and artists' studios featuring an impressive array of paintings, crafts and carvings of great diversity. One of the shops is owned by Roy Henry Vickers, a renowned, prolific Canadian artist, accomplished carver, speaker and author of a number of successful books. His Eagle Aerie Gallery is a popular place that welcomes thousands of visitors each year.

Painting by
Roy Henry Vickers

Painting by
Roy Henry Vickers

Red Cedar Wood Carving by
Keith Plumley and Mark Mickey

Glass Art by Tofino Artist
Kevin Midgley

Hand Blown Glass by
Sol Maya

Hand-crafted Cedar Wood Furniture
Daniel Lamarche's

Beautifully-Textured Weavings by
Christine Johnston

Clay Transformed into Distinctive West Coast Pottery by
Cathy White

Detailed, Deicate and Magical Wood Carving
from reclaimed red and yellow cedar by
George Yearsley

Ceramic Art, gracefully inspired by Tofino's Changing Landscape by
Daniela Petosa

Pacific Sands Beach Resort,
? on Cox Bay 8 km. south of the picturesque
Village of Tofino.

Not far from the village of Tofino and located on the spectacular, rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, is Pacific Beach Resort. Described as "a haven of surf, sand and solitude," this lovely vacation destination has become a popular spot for visitors from around the world. The site by the sea offers a lengthy beachfront, washed by the waves of the great Pacific. For those wishing to while away tranquil hours strolling on the sand, the beautiful beach stretches for miles.

Footprints in time.

Tiny Tot's Footprints

Or one can simply sit and search through the flotsam and jetsam sent in by the sea.

Snap the whip

Accommodation is provided in a variety of settings. Impressive, award-winning, three-storey waterfront villas have recently been contructed to supplement the attractive beachfront suites, whose views of the beach and the sea are sensational.

The Lodge Villa


Scenic Pacific Surf Seen From the The Lodge

Beachfront Suites

Beachfront Suite's Scenic View

What a scene!

If more vigorous pursuits strike your fancy, wild waves provide challenge enough for anyone wanting to wade into the water and face the pounding surf..

First Surf the Sand

Then Face and Taste the Sea

Others delight in more earth-bound battle and volleyed away at each other.

Volleyball anyone?

"Lemmee At 'Em"

Or join the camera crew capturing the abounding beauty

Paparazzis Persist

And persist

Cautious Kayakers

'Kayak' is an Aboriginal word meaning "hunterís boat" or "manís boat" It was developed over many years by the Inuit and Aleut as a means of hunting. The first kayak was made of wood with a small hole in the middle in which the individual sat. The design of the kayak varied considerably from one region to another. The kayak differs from the canoe, which is flat-bottomed and propelled by a single blade paddle. The kayak has a rounded design and is propelled by double-bladed paddles. In some countries like Ireland and Great Britain, kayaks are known as canoes. One, two, or three paddlers can be accommodated in a kayak. The paddlers sit in cockpits below the deck, facing forward. A sprayskirt or any other waterproof material is attached to the edges of the cockpit in a secure manner to prevent water from entering the kayak.

Our kayak was a two-paddler. We prepared for our kayaking caper by squirming into a tight-fitting corset. After squeezing into the circular cockpit, we stretched the rubberized corset, called a sprayskirt, securely around the edges of the cockpit to ensure no water from waves and spray entered the boat. We then launched our craft into the clear, salt waters of the wild wilderness, attempting to ensure that we manipulated our double-bladed paddles in syncronized fashion.

But Perfect Paddlers

Gliding over the surface of the sea, we watched all the while for any wildlife like otters or harbour seals swimming about the boat, or eagles soaring as they searched for victims high above us. We surely welcomed the far-too infrequent tidal currents, that really lessened the load and helped carry the kayak to the shores of Hilthhoolis on Meares Island. Exiting a kayak for some is not as simple as it might seem, the act awkwardly performed only with the aid of helping hands. Led by our guides, we started out along a trail of wooden slats, the slippery path called for some reason, the Wild Grocery Walk.

Bringing up the Rear

Our track wormed its way through the primeval rainforest of monster trees, that never saw a saw nor felt an axe. Each of the mammoth Douglas Firs, Western Hemlocks and Western Red Cedars poked their peeks high into the sky, their awesome girth gigantic. Douglas Firs, the ancient giants in the old growth forests, are one. of Canada's largest trees. They are tough, rapidly growing and long-lived trees, many of them for over 800 years.



Hug a Tree Today

This tree's hollow holds Ten Tourists.

The Ten Tourists.

"I must go down to the sea again,
To the lonely sea and the sky;
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And the grey mist on the sea's face and the grey dawn breaking.

Rosie Bay from Sunset Point

Sunset Sightseers

La Raison d'etre Ici


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