Of all the places I visited on my coast to coast trip, Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island is one place that I will definitely be going back to. I was here once before back in 1990 or 1991 and quite honestly I forgot how beautiful the place is. Two things that make it so are the scenery and the fact that it is remote enough to keep the place from being overrun by tourists like many of the other places I visited.
What I like most about this place is the beaches, they are rugged yet peaceful.
This seems like a nice place live right next to the beach, but I wonder what it's like during big storms.
On my first night in Tofino I had the best meal of my entire trip at the Sea Shanty restaurant, the building high up on the right in the following panoramic picture. Both the food and the service at this restaurant were excellent.
After dinner at the Sea Shanty restaurant I went down to check out the wharf (that's where I was standing when I took the panoramic picture above). While on the wharf I had a chance to see a few float planes land and take off. One of them even did an interesting flyby of the wharf.
A couple signs near the wharf.
You are allowed to drive on the wharf, so naturally I just had to get a picture of my Jeep parked there.
This is the view from the lookout at the Radar Hill site (location 10 on the map below).
This picture shows where the Radar Hill site is relative to Tofino. In case you are wondering, the new picture of me on the left of the page was take on Radar Hill with my back towards Tofino.
The next two shots are of Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
This lighthouse is located south west of Ucluelet (see bottom right corner of the map above).
This picture was taken near the lighthouse and looking to the south east (ie towards Seattle).
This is the beach at Wickininnish.
This is a tourist information center and restaurant at the south end of the Wickininnish beach.
The view from the restaurant is just as awesome as the food. I ate the best fish and chips ever in this restaurant.
The following pictures were taken in the Rain Forest along Schooner Trail (trail 9 on the map above). The trail is a few kilometers long and it has a walkway the full distance the protect the environment.
This is kind of interesting, a tree growing on the fallen trunk of another.
As you can tell, there are some BIG trees here.
Some of the BIG were cut down at some point in time.
If you take the Schooner Trail right to the end, you end up at a beach and the following two pictures where taken there.
The is the highway going from back towards Nanaimo. This scenery is comparable to that on Cabot Trail.
I took the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. When I left Tofino for Nanaimo I didn't bother to check the ferry schedule and just figured I would show up and take the next available ferry. Well, went I arrived at the ferry terminal at about 10:30am, I was informed that I would have to wait for the next ferry which wouldn't be until about 3:30pm due to mechanical problems with one of the boats. I had the option to head towards Victoria and catch the ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, but I concluded it wasn't worth since it wouldn't really save me anytime since I was headed to Whistler. So, I decided to hang around and wait, but as luck would have it I just managed to get on the 10:30am sailing and as you can tell from the photo below I was one of the last few cars to get on the boat.
This is the ferry terminal at Nanaimo as we depart.
This is the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay as we approach the mainland.
This is the ship that was broken down earlier in the day, the Queen of Oak Bay, which I believe is the one the had trouble a few weeks earlier on approach to Horseshoe Bay and ended up crashing into the marina.
After being on the big ships running between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay, I no longer think the CAT ferry was that big.