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Starfish on rocks on beach, tofino, long beach
A pre-dawn start along with a proud introduction into the wonders of a Vancouver cinnamon bun at the ferry terminal and we were on our way to Tofino, Vancouver Island. Our first essential stop on the Island was in Coombs for the famous Goats on the Roof Cafe. This is a cafe / mini market that (as you may have already guessed) has goats on the roof! Having stocked up on a number of hand made Pepperoni sticks and feasted on giant ice cream from possibly the world’s best ice cream parlour, we were back on the road.

We made a couple more stops before arriving at McKenzie Beach, Tofino. First was a 300 year old forest, one of the too few areas spared from the logging industry. Second was a place described as ‘the rocks’, a fast flowing stream that runs through an impressive bunch of rocks.

In anticipation of our trip we had checked several weather forecasts, hoping that we might find at least one report that was a little more optimistic, but all left us expecting nothing other than 72 hours of continuous rain. Being British we were undeterred by these all too familiar forecasts and carried on, determined to make the best of it. Before we left, we were reminded by several people that Tofino was a rainforest and was meant to be wet and that we would be experiencing the place in its most natural state. I’m delighted to report that we experienced Tofino in its most ‘unnatural state’ as what actually followed was three days of gorgeous warm sunshine and clear blue skies!

With a beachside cabin as our base we explored the delights of the Tofino area which included sporadic inspections of the rock pools at Mckenzie Beach and Long Beach. We saw a gazillion starfish, humungous mussels (some the size of a child’s hand!), a kingfisher, various waders and an osprey that flew low overhead; which was particularly cool as it was the first time I’ve seen one.

Tofino is a charming town, full of friendly and interesting people. The Eagle Aerie Gallery and the Spotted Bear Restaurant are real musts for any visitor.

The Eagle Aerie Gallery
The Eagle Aerie Gallery

One of the items on our agenda that I was particularly excited about was whale watching, as there are often Gray and Humpback whales in the area. Well, the whales must have seen the same weather reports as us because they were nowhere to be seen. I knew it wasn’t going as well as planned when our onboard naturalist started pointing out cormorants! We did come across a sea otter though, floating on its back and chewing on kelp which was really awesome. It was also great just seeing the landscape of Tofino from a boat.

We had a really enjoyable walk up Long Beach. We took the Schooner Cove Trail, a 1K boarded walk that winds up onto the beach. It feels quieter than some of the other beaches, or maybe there’s just more space, either way it was a fantastic beach to roam with all sorts of hidden treasures churned up and dumped by the ocean.

Tofino is one of Tony and Lianne’s (our family, hosts and guides for the most part of our trip) favourite place and it’s easy to see why – the people are great, the food is delicious, the scenery inspirational and some fantastic homegrown artists too… What’s not to love?!