I feel like I start every blog post by saying that all the locations we've been to this year are amazing, but Tofino really is extra special. Surfing, tidal pool explorations, Tacofino and hammock camping. Need I say more?
Our friends from Ontario were visiting (Anu, Nadia and Russ) from August 7-14, so we already knew we were going to have a sweet time regardless of where we hung out. The week they were visiting, all of Vancouver was covered in smoke from interior BC wildfires, that I had a hard time convincing them that there really were mountains visible from the city. Through the weekend escape to the island, they at least got to see some sky...
The Tofino adventure started on an early Friday morning trying to catch the ferry to Nanaimo at 6:20am (http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/hbna-current.php). Once we got off the ferry, we grabbed breakfast in Port Alberni at the Boomerang cafe, and then headed towards Cathedral Grove - an ancient Douglas Fir ecosystem with trees that are about 800 years old! Camping reservations were made two months ahead of time, and even then, only the Long Beach Golf Course campground was available. To our surprise, the spot was much better than we originally thought. You could occasionally hear flights landing/taking off, because the airport was next to the campground, but we still had lots of space at the campsite and it was relatively quiet. After setting up camp (2 hammocks + tent), we headed to Chesterman beach. The boys played some frisbee while the girls and I explored the beach. At night we cooked up some of the coho salmon (cedar plank BBQ style) Aaron caught on his trip to Gold River earlier on in the year, and that was some serious next level camp food.
Saturday morning we rolled lazily out of our hammocks and tents, and headed to Schooner Cove. We purposefully chose this beach to check out during low tide, because it's known to have some really cool marine organisms and there are some islands we can walk to while the tide is out. I should also mention that the pathway to the beach was a picturesque walk through the forest with a really, really long boardwalk. On the beach, many of the rocky surfaces were covered in starfish, anemones and barnacles, looking like they belonged in scenes from the Little Mermaid. There were also intermittent pools with sea grass, kelp and weeds with little gobies and other tiny fish swimming around. At every turn, I was reminded of how beautiful Tofino was.
After the morning beach walks, we headed to Tacofino to stuff ourselves full of goodness and it was even better than we imagined (we ended up eating here three times on the weekend - I still think about the Tuna-Ta Tacos and the Pork+kimchi Gringas). The gelato from Chocolate Tofino wasn't bad either! Next up was a surf lesson via Tofino Surf School (https://www.tofinosurfschool.ca/)! It's a locally owned business and Jeffro, the owner, made us feel super ready to catch some waves. Tofino Jorge, our instructor, was another lovable character, and he made sure that we all got up by the third wave at Cox Bay. For some reason I was really nervous about what surfing was going to be like, but I'm so happy that I didn't chicken out. The lesson and the smaller waves really helped us gain some confidence, and now I can't wait to try surfing again!
Sadly Sunday was our final day on the island for this trip. The previous night it rained so hard that our campsite looked flooded and I was really worried about tent leakage. Luckily the hammocks and tent held up and we all had the best sleep. The boys decided to surf again in the morning at Long Beach, while Anu, Nadia and I decided to check out the town one last time, grab breakfast at Schooner Restaurant and chill at the beach. At the end of the day we almost didn't get into the last ferry heading back to Vancouver, which I think is a sign that the next time we visit, we need to stay for longer. A lot longer.