It is really nice to have a lot of space to roam around in! We are not used to having 1,500 square feet of space to live in, and the water pressure in the shower is pretty awesome too! It’s funny how we’ve enjoyed living in Newman, but are really enjoying our vacation with more space in Tofino!
I was able to do my workout this morning without bumping into one of the two couches in Newman! What a treat.
With rain forecasted to be falling during 95% of our day today, we headed out to Ucluelet in the morning.
Rain on Jerry’s windshield.
The driving time between Tofino and Ucluelet is 36 minutes, but with the rain today it took us a bit longer. At one point the rain was falling so hard I asked Richard to put the hazards on and go a lot slower.
Ucluelet or ‘Ukee’ locally is on the Ucluelet Peninsula on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ucluelet means ‘people of the safe harbour’ in the indigenous ‘Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) language. Ucluelet is quite small with a population of 1,717 people. Between Tofino and Ucluelet is the Long Beach unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Barkley Sound lies southeast of Ucluelet and is a marine area that features the Broken Islands Group unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. First Nations people have lived in this area of Vancouver Island for at least 4,300 years. During WW2 the Government of Canada took measures to protect Vancouver Island’s West Coast from potential invasions. The military established a seaplane base in Ucluelet and a land base in Long Beach. The road to Tofino which had been worked on for 30 years, was finally completed during the war too. In August 1959, the long awaited road (Hwy 4) to Port Alberni was finally opened. Tourism is now the largest industry in Ucluelet with 90,000 visitors from around the world visiting the Pacific Rim National Park, Ucluelet and Tofino area each year. Tourist activities include surfing, stand-up paddle board, fishing, whale watching, bear watching, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, biking, swimming and beach combing. Storm watching is an activity during November to March each year.
Today we really wanted to hike the Amphitrite LIghthouse Wild Pacific Trail today in Ucluelet, but the weather was really looking like it would put a huge damper on our plans.
As we approached the parking lot for the Amphitrite Lighthouse Wild Pacific Trail, we saw that the sun was trying to come out, and the rain looked like it had lightened up a bit. Richard turned to me and said “We’re charmed!” The forecast didn’t look at all like it would be a great day, and just as we approached our destination, the sun came out!
Our hiking spot today. The waves were dangerously high on the warning sign today with the stormy weather we had experienced overnight and all morning.
Our first glimpse of the stunning Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on the Wild Pacific Trail. The lighthouse is active still and is named after ‘Amphitrite’ the sea goddess and wife of Poseidon in Greek mythology. This lighthouse is the only one in the Tofino-Ucluelet area that is accessible by automobile, with the only other lighthouse (the one I mentioned yesterday in the blog) called Lenard Island lighthouse. Amphitrite Point LIghthouse is located 3 km south of downtown Ucluelet and 40 km south of Tofino. The first lighthouse at this site was a small wooden tower built in 1906. This lighthouse was destroyed by bad weather in 1914 and the current concrete lighthouse opened in March 1915. Amphitrite Point is exposed to frequent gale-force winds, tidal waves and is also in a tsunami inundation zone, so the peculiar shape and construction of this lighthouse is designed to withstand strong westerly storms coming off the Pacific Ocean.
The wind was whipping up quite fiercely as we walked down as close to the lighthouse as we were allowed to visit. The waves were crashing all around the lighthouse and the views were beyond belief!
Watching the waves crash over the rocks at Amphitrite Point, Ucluelet, Vancouver Island.
We decided we would hike around the Lighthouse trail which we weren’t too sure how long it was. Some maps said the trail was 5km long and others, 2.5km. Anyway, we were up for a hike now that the sun had come out.
The weather had warmed up so much we didn’t need hats and I also took off my rain coat since I was too hot!
Rugged, beautiful west coast feel.
Peekaboo I see turquoise blue waters!
Unusual tree shapes today. It’s amazing they can grow so awkwardly
Really neat trees on the trail.
Waves crashing on the shoreline.
So many colours of blue!
The water was a darker blue in this bay.
I love how the rocks act like ‘leading lines’ in this photo to bring your eyes to the trees in the distance. The colour of the water was such a beautiful azure colour. I’m so glad I got my new camera before coming here!
I have no words to describe how stunning our hike was today. The trail was one of the most beautiful trails we have ever hiked! The people who created this trail did an amazing job, as every 100 yards or so there was somewhere to sit and look out at the views. The views were so magnificent and majestic; watching the waves crash over the rocks on this absolutely perfect day!
Beautiful sitting areas all over the lighthouse trail today.
Working on leading lines....
After finishing up our hike, it was after 2:15pm and we were starving! We drove into ‘downtown’ Ucluelet looking for somewhere to eat and ended up walking over to this little spot.
Ukee Dog Cafe & Eatery!
We waited for our food out on the patio enjoying the views of the harbour.
The folks at the table next to us were locals and they were enjoying some ‘pops’ while letting their ‘frenchies’ walk around the eating area.
Patiently waiting for lunch.
Richard’s ‘surf and turf’ burrito. He had prawns and braised brisket in his burrito today. He said it was the best burrito he has ever had! The sauce was nice and tangy too.
I had a chicken ‘salad’ with their spicy cabbage with refried beans instead of a burrito since I knew what I was having for dinner and didn’t want any starch at lunch. We have really enjoyed our lunches outdoors on Vancouver Island. Every little ‘spoon’ as we call them really works hard to deliver the freshest, most unique, creative food experience possible. It’s nice not to eat from ‘chain’ restaurants and to support local entrepreneurs who are trying to make a living with reduced table capacity and everyone trying to have as much outdoor picnic table space for patrons.
The Ucluelet Aquarium is located on the Ucluelet harbour and is a non-profit public aquarium. The building opened in June 2012 and the aquarium exhibits marine plant and animal life (invertebrates and fishes) native to the west coast of Vancouver Island. All of the specimens in the exhibits, with the exception of freshwater juvenile salmon, are collected from the nearby Pacific Ocean, specifically from Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound, and are seasonally released back into the ocean. Most specimens are collected either by scuba divers, by hand at low tide or by hand seining beaches. Other specimens are occasionally donated by local fisher folk who can access deep or offshore habitats. The feature display animal is the Giant Pacific Octopus, which at this northern latitude ranges to near the surface. Unfortunately the aquarium was closed today as it is a seasonal operation and we are definitely ‘off season’ this time of year.
I found a lovely little gift shop in the building behind the aquarium though, so I went in for a gander to see what I could find.
Such a lovely store! ‘Den‘ - a sustainable goods shop and refill store located in Ucluelet. Check them out at: thedenucluelet.com They ship anywhere in Canada too. I bought another beeswax candle for our condo in Tofino, as I had forgotten to bring one with us on our trip. I was very tempted by some of the prints they had for sale, but I couldn’t decide on which one to buy, so I didn‘t buy any prints today.
After a very full day in Ucluelet, at 4pm we decided to leave and drive home to our condo in Tofino.
Just as we were leaving town I said to Richard ‘Pull over...photo op!”
An interesting sculpture called ‘Wanderers’ Tree’ made using oyster shells. Locals and visitors enjoy hanging messages written on the oyster shells.
Raven Lady statue made out of stainless steel and sculpted by Mike Camp in 1992. This sculpture took 2,000 hours to create.
Surfer Girl sculpted by Mike Camp arrived in 2014.and took 1,000 hours to create.
These sculptures were commissioned by Bruce Schmaltz who owns the Raven Lady Oyster Forte food truck, which serves worth-the-drive oyster po-boy sandwiches from behind the Raven Lady. Why oysters? It goes with the Raven Lady. Oysters are a sensuous food and Bruce feels the sensuous statue enhances the taste of the oysters!
Raven Lady oyster food truck was not open today, but I could see how the statues would attract you to stop at this unique corner of Ucluelet.
We drove back to Tofino and made a quick stop in the industrial section of town. Right next to us was parked a bubble gum pink van!
A local surfing company in Tofino who provide lessons to anyone looking to learn how to surf. We won’t be surfing while we are here....NO, NO, NO...broken femur recovery will not allow for surfing lessons, unfortunately!
What a day! We were so charmed to have had a 95% rainy day turn into sunshine and a +9C day! We are really enjoying our vacation from Newman and the barking sea lions in Fanny Bay! We are definitely leading a charmed life out on the West coast of Vancouver Island with more adventures to come over the next few days! I’m really glad we booked Tofino for 4 nights as a weekend would not be enough time to take it all in!