Today had quite a long drive on our schedule, driving all the way east and south from Tofino to Victoria.
Our first stop of the day was (well, after breakfast of course) a trip down a piece of old growth temperate rainforest. It is called, not surprisingly, the Rainforest Trail and consists of 2 loops, each 1km long. Loop B is closed due to storm damage, but loop A is fully accessible. The entire trail is raised off the ground by a boardwalk which makes an easy stroll and a very low impact on the surrounding forest.
It is plain awesome!
The forest looks pristine, yet very cluttered and unordered, but that is just the way such a forest should look like. If a tree toppled over, it just lays there and becomes ground for the other plants and trees to grow on. Really fascinating stuff to see, and awe inspiring due to the where height of the giant cedars and the wealth of growth in the forest.
After that we drove straight to Victoria and did an evening stroll to see downtown Victoria by night. It is such a lovely city! Very picturesk.
Other people might say we are nuts, I’d say we went out and made the most of it. Today was filled with water time, in total 3 hours looking at bears and over 6 hours looking for whales and such!
And oh my, we have seen the lot. From amazing birds like the Tufted Puffins and Bald Eagles to marine mammals like Sea Otters, Grey Whales, Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Harbour Porpoises, Harbour seals, Steller Sealions, River Otters, and the likes to obvious land dwellers like the infamous Black Bear and wolves.
It has truly been the most amazing say of our trip, and are pretty exhausted now. And maybe a little sunburnt from all this being outdoors…
Tomorrow a trip to Victoria, to our final hotel. Tofino, we are going to miss you!
This morning has to be the most easy morning we had in quite a while. We started off by sleeping in, and around 9 we had an excellent breakfast in the restaurant next door. Compare this with our usual hours and you know why our spirits were up as the rain poured down quite heavily!
We were scheduled for yet another trip on a boat to see whales, this time from Tofino and to see Grey Whales and Humpbacks. Our trip was scheduled for 3 in the afternoon, but seeing the weather forecasts (heavy showers between 3 and 5) we really didn’t feel like it and asked the friendly people over at Jamies to reschedule our tour to the one before that. Luckily, this was possible and we embarked at 12:30.
Fully litter and suited up in our padded floatation suit, we stepped into the Blue Thunder, a rigid hulled zodiac. We were promised an exciting ride, and that is exactly what it was. Completely exposed to the weather, we were quite lucky for the showers to have lifted and to have made way for very light drizzle which even did not last long.
The trip down Clayoquot sound is great, fast, windy as the twin engines roar and definitely not as wet as you’d expect. The first Grey Whales were found very quickly, and after gazing at them for some while we went on to find our humpbacks. We eventually spotted them breaching!
Unfortunately this was the only breach we saw, but it was awesome!
The ride on the zodiac was great, but not good for taking photographs at all as it is way too bouncy. Tomorrow a bigger boat, I guess!
Starting off in Campbell River we headed out to the other side of Vancouver Island, to Tofino. This is quite a long drive straight through the rugged terrain that is the island’s inland.
The terrain includes steep mountains, lakes, the obvious pine forests and some pretty amazing stuff: rainforests!
Right after starting on the island highway, we encountered Miracle Beach, which is rumoured to be a really pretty and just beach. Unfortunately, it was neither. Completely empty, smelly and quite small we quickly left to get on with our trip.
We did run into a nice deer who was kind enough to pay attention to us but not flee. Long enough for us to get close enough for some nice closeup shots!
The real highlight of the day were Qualicum Falls. There actually are two falls there, we started off with the lower and proceeded to the upper falls. That is the right way! The lower falls are pretty dull, but the upper falls are very picturesk! We have seen quite a lot of falls recently, but these are pretty nice.
Further en route to Tofino we had to go through Pacific Rim National Park and we stopped in quite a few places to check out the scenery and see what this park had to offer. Mostly beaches and coastal environment.
Pretty neat stuff! Take into account there is still some temperate rainforest in this area, and you can imagine the unique make of these surroundings.
Tomorrow, we’ll be doing some local hiking before checking in with Jamie’s to go on a boat. Again!