Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chestermans Beach, Tofino, B.C.

A late October sunrise (looking west from the living room windows)

Approaching the beach from the house through bushes which help hold the sand during the storm season.

The sand seems to stretch for miles as tides gently come and go.

The park has signs daily suggesting the relative danger from the waves to swimmers and surfers.

The setting October sun (rain came that evening)

The sun is nearly set (time exposure)

The sun draws attention to the wet sand as the tide recedes.

Kelp washed ashore. One artist weaves these plants into interesting baskets.

For more than a decade, we have tried to include an annual visit to Chestermans Beach just south of Tofino, B.C. Situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this is my favourite beach with dramatic tides, waves for surfers, and sand stretching out until it eventually gently drifts into the Pacific Ocean. The Wickanninish Inn is on the far northern part of this two-part beach, but is too expensive and reminds me of being in a big city hotel (but with far better views and access to nature). We prefer Judi's Seaside Cottage on the southern part of the beach. This rental is a quiet little secluded one-bedroom dwelling that gives absolute privacy, great views of the ocean through the trees (both from the deck and the living room), and immediate access by foot to the ocean (following a path through the bushes). We were there in late October 2008, during off season, so the beach was virtually abandoned, and on one beautiful sunny day the nearby 9-hole golf course had one other golfer, a bear and me (I wisely let the bear play through on the sixth hole).

The sunsets can be spectacular, colours depending on the constantly changing weather, but even sunrises can have interesting glows to the west as the sunlight plays off the mists rising from the ocean. The sand is constantly changing, sometimes being almost glassy-smooth, sometimes showing ripples from the ebb and flow of the tides. Washed up kelp reminds me that I know very little about the teaming life in our ocean.