Tag Archives: BRITISH COLUMBIA

vancouver island :: bamfield.

part VI :: the idyllic island town.


sunset fog — bamfield, vancouver island, BC.

there’s only one road that takes you to the remote village of bamfield, a semi-private, narrow and winding, ultra-steep, gravel logging road. with no cell service. and lots of logging trucks. we made the harrowing 80km journey from port alberni on a sunday afternoon — literally on the edge of our seats the entire trip. however, it wasnt until the return trip on tuesday morning that we passed no less than five hugemongous logging trucks barreling down the slippery gravel road, kicking up dust storms that rendered us unable to proceed for minutes at a time. we quickly learned that logging roads are no joke, but an adventurous way to travel (in an SUV) and in retrospect.

as out of the way as it is, bamfield is a world-renowned fishing destination located on the barkley sound and part of the pacific rim national park. 100 lb halibut and 30 lb salmon are not uncommon in these waters, and the lifelong watermen take out numerous groups of sport fishermen in the summer high-season. we were lucky enough to meet del thompson — one of the kindest, smartest, funniest men i’ve ever met, and the owner of red eye charters. we spent the morning on del’s boat salmon fishing just offshore (the catch of the day was a 28lb chinook!) and the evening touring the harbor and observing the abundant wildlife. scores of sunbathing sea lions, spunky families of river otter, and precocious deer lined the shores, while eagles and herons soared above us.

bamfield was the final stop on an absolutely amazing tour of vancouver island, and for me it was the highlight of the trip. bamfield was exactly the small village experience i hoped to have on the island — both because of  its simple and remote location and the kind and honest people we encountered there. it is exactly the kind of place i would excitedly return to year after year, anxious to see familiar faces, swap stories, and revel in the thrilling simplicity of a day spent on the water.

enjoy!


posing with the catch of the day — a 28lb chinook salmon!

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vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

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vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part V :: sandy beaches + logging sports.


long beach — tofino, vancouver island, BC.

vancouver island’s west coast is where surfers and loggers come together — visitors and locals alike flock to beach to stretch out on the soft white sands and relax on the one and only long beach. situated halfway between the trendy town of tofino to north and the slightly more rugged ucluelet to the south, long beach is a mecca for beach lovers and surfers. in the winter the surf is increasingly intense, but consistent enough through the year to draw surfers at all times of day into the crisp pacific waters. the ultra wide beach backs up to huge pieces of driftwood and verdant trees, and the thick fog gives way to bright sunshine, transforming the scene from magical to spectacular in an instant.

tofino was certainly charming and hip, if not a little more modern than what we desired. after eating some of the best food ever at shelter, we decided to push back to ucluelet and as luck would have it, stumbled into the middle of their annual ukee days festival. early morning pancake breakfasts followed by parades down the main street, a music festival, crazy amounts of drinking, and logging sports contests spanned the three days we were in town. it was about as fantastic as you can imagine.

enjoy!


loggers competed in various contests at the annual ukee days festival in ucluelet.


keg tossing!

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vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

* * * * *

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vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part IV :: a seaside siesta.


buena vista by the sea — qualicum beach, vancouver island, BC.

seated on the shores of the georgia strait, qualicum beach is only a few hours south of the adventurous northern coast, but a world apart in weather, attitude and feel. celebrated as the “canada’s carmel” this relaxed beach town shares many attributes with sunny and warm socal — the perfect reprieve from the glacial waters and wicked wind and chilly fog up island. we arrived late, and lucked out stopping at buena vista by the sea — an amazing oceanfront guesthouse with private suites and an unbelievable sun deck. we spent hours watching the sun slowly set and the geese lounge in the warm water, and fell in love with the charming owners, claire + robbie. they made us feel right at home, and we wandered through their little town, in and out of shops and restaurants, and loved the old schoolhouse art center where artists’ open studios allow you to roam in and out while they are creating! i had a wonderful conversation with the incredible artist helene mcintosh and was smitten with her paintings of people’s faces — check her out at helenemcintosh.com — she’s a talented artist and insighful woman, i only wish i could have spent more time with her.

just outside of qualicum, the town of coombs boasts the renowned old country market, featuring fresh local produce, international spices, sauces, and treats, a fantastic deli and bakery, and is surrounded by tons of little shops. perhaps the most notable and unique thing about this massive market is their green roof which is home to goats who live above the market and delight guests with their crazy antics. earlier this year babies were born, and it’s getting a little crowded up there! regardless, it was hilarious to see them prancing around, and even more amusing to behold the visitors clammoring around below for a perfect photo of the furry little roof dwellers. yay for goats on the roof!

after coombs, we passed through cathedral grove, a provincial park with easily accessible trails weaving through massive douglas firs that are over 800 years old. it’s the only place on the island to see these big trees, and i love the peaceful feeling of being dwarfed by a super tall forest! it was small scale compared to the redwoods of northern california that i explored last summer, but absolutely impressive and magical in its own right nonetheless.

enjoy!


canadian geese!


coombs famous country market!


the goats refused to turn towards me. stubborn little roof dwellers.


traveling tinas and a big douglas fir.

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vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

* * * * *

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vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part III :: the salmon capital of the world.


driftwood carving — campbell river, vancouver island, BC.

campbell river is the self-proclaimed salmon capital of the world, so it only seemed appropriate to eat as much salmon as possible (both times) i was in town. my first visit to campbell river was at the very start of my canadian adventure — it was the first place we stayed on the island, having arrived by ferry from vancouver and by bus from nanaimo. the discovery of dick’s fish & chips, the perfect local dive with unbelievably good food, was defintiely a highlight of the trip! nothing like finding your new favorite restaurant thousands of miles away from home! the salmon run like mad through the glacial waters of the campbell river in the late summer, and they were just starting while we were there. we decided to undertake campbell river’s most talked about, yet most illusive adventure, and snorkel with the spawning salmon.

truth be told, im not much for snorkeling — i tend to freak out with all the gear and things affixed to the face — but im always up for an adventure and plunging myself into the freezing, fast moving water of the campbell river to observe salmon sounded awesome. fully decked out in wetsuits, lifejackets, gloves and booties, we rafted down river and plunged into the swift currents, floating alongside dozens of salmon! schools of 50+ swam under, around and through us, and we maneuvered around rocks and debris, each time making our way back to the raft to warm up in the sunshine. the shore was active with fly fisherman casting their lines, kids tubing and swimming, and people sunbathing along the edge. the forest rose from the water, snow-capped mountains lay in the distance, and floatplanes soared overhead in the bluest sky i’ve ever seen.

just north of campbell river, the logging industry is active in kelsey bay — and i found it disconcerting to see the juxtaposition of flourishing forests on shore and the stripped logs floating in the bay. even more surprising was how eerie it felt to drive along the logging roads through the tree farms that felt like the forests graveyards. my first experience on a dusty, gravel logging road was a detour from sayward to campbell river — a map sketched out on a piece of cardboard by a young guy working at the gas station that helped us avoid a huge accident involving an elk and a fuel truck on the only highway on the coast. it wouldnt be until bamfield road that we’d encounter actual logging trucks blazing past us, but even without their company danger feels imminent when youre driving into a blinding dust storm on a narrow, winding gravel road!

enjoy!


kelsey bay.


logging road detour!


the campbell river.


dick’s!


love me some local beer!


rainbow!

* * * * *

vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

* * * * *

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vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part I :: kayaking with orcas in the johnstone strait.


north island kayak — telegraph cove, vancouver island, BC.

telegraph cove is a tiny boardwalk town on the north east coast of vancouver island. once a small sawmill and cannery community, the current resident population is around 20, a sleepy harbor to say the least. however, the marina and campgrounds happily welcome visitors throughout the summer who come to embark on adventures just offshore. telegraph cove opens up into the johnstone strait — a narrow glacier-carved passage between vancouver island and mainland BC, and home to the largest resident pod of orcas (over 200!) in the world. renowned as the single best place to kayak with killer whales, the johnstone strait leads into the robson bight ecological reserve, an orca sanctuary where the whales are known to come ashore and rub their bellies on the warm gravel beaches.

in the three days i spent kayaking and camping in the johnstone strait (with the amazing outfitter north island kayak) we had dozens of orca sightings, pods of three, four, five whales at a time, sometimes as close as 30 feet offshore while we lounged on the beach, and often just across the water as we kayaked. although we never had a crazy close encounter, the whales were almost always all around us — as soon as someone would spot them surfacing we’d all stop paddling and just listen. our small group (7 including our guide, brad) would sit silently, listening to their heavy breath and gentle groans as they slid through the water, revealing sleek dorsal fins and a misty spray of sea water. it’s difficult to describe what it feels like to be in such close proximity to these impressive (and massive!) animals. surrounded by the vast, gorgeous landscape of british columbia it’s truly impossible not to feel tiny and insignificant — the dense forests seem endless and the sea is never so impressive as when viewed from the seat of a kayak. the magnitude of nature and wilderness was all consuming, and felt absolutely surreal in the best way imaginable. it was an utterly amazing experience.

enjoy!


tandem kayak :: one person steers while the other shoots…brilliant!

* * * * *

vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

* * * * *

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vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part II :: exploring knight inlet + lagoon cove.


mama grizzly with her cubs — knight inlet, vancouver island, BC.

the remote knight inlet — accessible only by boat or float plane — lies about 80 km north of telegraph cove and is prime grizzly bear habitat. in mid july female grizzlies are busy feeding on the protein-rich sedge grass while protecting and educating their young cubs. it was absolutely awesome to observe these magnificent animals as they ate, explored and played along the shore! from our little boat we were able to anchor less than 100 ft away, drifting closer at times. i totally couldn’t believe how close we were, at one point i swear we were no more than 50 ft away! in addition to the 6 grizzlies we encountered (2 mothers and 4 cubs) there was abundant wildlife, including deer (which the cubs love to chase!) heron and geese. the thick morning fog (chilly but beautiful!) eventually gave way to bright sunshine, sending the grizzlies back into the forest, and us on our way back down the temperamental inlet. on the way back to telegraph cove we made a brief stop at the picturesque lagoon cove — a quirky, fun little harbor!

enjoy!


the perfectly serene lagoon cove harbor.

* * * * *

vancouver island, 2010:

part I :: vancouver island :: telegraph cove.

part II :: vancouver island :: knight inlet.

part III :: vancouver island :: down island to campbell river.

part IV :: vancouver island :: qualicum beach to cathedral grove.

part V :: vancouver island :: tofino + ucluelet.

part VI :: vancouver island :: bamfield.

* * * * *

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snapshot :: tofino.


long beach — tofino, vancouver island, BC.

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