It’s good for the soul to sleep on the ground every now and then; go back to the basics and wake up to the cackle of black crows and a dew drenched earth. We joyfully endured two days of rustic beach camping on Mackenzie Beach during our five day stay in Tofino. We slept between the sand and the stars. The song of the sea was unceasing, and set the mood for our stay. Soft ethereal fog rolled in from the ocean and was met by night old campfire smoke that permeated the dense tree line each morning. The collusion has a mystical effect, and made that first cup of coffee feel dreamy, even though insta-coffee is anything but dreamy.
Fortunately, there were plenty of coffee houses in town to fire us up for the cold surf. The Pacific Rim is rugged and rich with waves. This slice of the world is wild and unpredictable, but where there were waves, we found them. Kaitlyn knew all, the right spots to check. Suited up in 4/3mm wetsuits, we were a formidable match for the 57 F water and the waves that Long Beach threw our way for two days. We spent our days walking endless beaches with Nugget and surfing the un-crowded peaks off the rock at Long Beach. We spent our nights staying warm next to the fires we built, eating havarti and mayo sandwiches, and drinking local brews. Sweet, simple, and highly satisfying, the way life should be.
Oftentimes, timing is everything. Gale force winds tested our tent assembly skills to the maximum late Saturday night and into the morning. Needless to say, it was a restless last night of camping as we lay waiting for our tent to take off with us in it. We couldn’t have been more ready to pack up our site and to check into our honey combed shaped cabin at Ocean Village later that afternoon. In the meantime, we sought refuge at Florencia Bay, which was protected from the wind. We slept in the sun baked sand until the middle of the afternoon.
Checking into Ocean Village was like a hug. Our little cabin suited us perfectly. We immediately felt warmth and coziness, like a home, our home. We had a full kitchen, an ocean view, and yellow crate with everything needed to build a beach bonfire. We drove into town for a few provisions, including sparkling rosé, and spent the rest of our evening on the beach, under the star saturated sky, and next to our crackling fire. It was a night full of laughter and reflections.
The next day will always remain as the sweetest of reveries. We made bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, and then Kaitlyn took me wetsuit shopping; it was time to get my own gear. I might have found the last 4/3 mm in the Pacific North Rim. All of the shops were already preparing for winter. I bought the suit that I swore was designed specifically for my body, and also a pair of booties and gloves. After a quick dirty chai, we decided to check the surf at Wickaninnish. This is Kaitlyn’s favorite beach on the island, and it quickly became mine too.
The rainy weather brought glassy conditions and offshore winds. There was also a nice little bump in the swell. The water temperature dropped into the low 50’s, but we felt tropical. The sea was emerald green and crystal clear, and the waves were firing. Being out there was invigorating! These are the types of moments when nothing is as good as the present. We surfed for so long that our bones finally became chilled. We stripped down to our bikinis in the parking lot and rode home with the heat blasting, seat warmers on, and beaming with the type of euphoric happiness that all surfers know. The only logical thing we could think to do next was to celebrate.
After long hot showers, a cup of tea, and a beach walk with Nugget, we went out to dinner at the Wolf In The Fog. We shared a bottle of DMZ chardonnay and ate the most unique and decadent creations. We had oysters wrapped in shoe string potatoes over avocado, smoked steelhead trout with roasted beets and mixed micro greens, and perfectly grilled squid. It was the kind of food that makes you laugh when you eat it. Seafood on the island is as fresh as it gets, and such a sweet gift from the wild Pacific. Wine buzzed and satiated, we decided to have sarpe(s) at Shelter. It was a rosy cheeked kind of evening.
Our last day of surf was the best day of surf. We returned to Wickaninnish. It was the coldest day, but we were geared up and eager to get in the water. We shared, just the two of us, a perfect A-framed peak, and surfed until the cold eventually got the best of us, over two hours later. The lefts and rights were long, open, and consistent. The combination of wave adrenaline, the brain freeze-like rush of duck diving, and the savage beauty of the land and seascape, produced an instantly addicting and long lasting high. We savored that last surf.
We returned to Reef Point in Ucluelet for our last night. We drank cold beers in our hot tub, as our wetsuits hung to dry. We reflected on our adventure, and began thinking about when we would return together again. It was hard to say goodbye to a place that now holds a piece of both of our hearts.
Written by: Jenn Parker
Photos by: Kaitlyn Shea
Big thanks to Ocean Village for having us!