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Getting the Gang Back together!


I've had a close group of friends since high school.  People come and go with work and other reasons, but COVID was particularly bad for separating people.  Mark, whom I have known since grade 7, moved to Japan at least a decade ago and now is living in German.  At the start of COVID (April 2020), Mark married Takako in a small ceremony in Tokyo.  COVID has now relaxed enough that we can get together again!

Arrival At Tacofino
With everyone arriving on different routes, just getting dinner was a challenge.  We arrived around 5pm at Tacofino and met up with Andrea and Wendy who had arrived earlier.  An hour or so later, the Japan crew arrived - Mark, Takako and Taiki.

Meeting Up At Chocolate Tofino

We had dinner and eventually wound up at the restaurant at Mark's Hotel for drinks.  

Morning Walk at Chesterman Beach

Morning View Of Lennard Island Lighthouse
Vacations are different for different people.  When I go to a place, I want to check off as many "did that" goals as reasonably possible which generally means finding nice things to photograph.  Other people have the view that vacation is there for relaxing and running around crazy is actually counter productive.  One compromise I use is to get up at my regular work hours and just go for a walk by myself.  Everyone else gets their sleep in and I get to see something and get my "I'm going to miss out" anxiety down.




Villous Cinquefoil In CrackGiant Green Anemone With Mussels
Our AirBnB was on Chesterman beach which is beautiful by itself, but the tide was low so I walk over to Frank Island to look at the low tide zone.  Frank Island (which is at least two major island and a bunch of small outer rocks) is private property so you shouldn't walk up to people houses, but the tidal zones are fair game.


It used to be that every creature in a tide pool was new to me - the first time I saw an Ochre star it was magic - I had no idea they were so common.  Over the years you get favorites - things you expect to see in the ocean around here.  On this beach I expected to see Aggregating Anemone an no stars because of sea star wasting disease.  I was quite surprised to see Giant Green Anemone everywhere and decent sized Ocre stars wedged into the crack.  The sea stars were a real surprise - they love to eat mussels and there are mussels everywhere so I suspect they are just starting to return.

Pool Full Of Giant Green AnemoneWater Floods Into Intertidal PoolAggregating Anemone For Scale

Skate Purse Washed Up On Beach
Walking back to the AirBnB I did stumble upon something new - a skate egg case (I think).  This is a new one for me.  There are easily a dozen different species of skates around here and this one is pretty far gone, but it's nice to see there are still new things out there on a public beach in Tofino.

Market in Tofino

Claira Riding Zip LineNara Riding Zip Line
Our first meet up point is the market in Tofino - a new one for me.  This isn't a farmers market (I think the closest land farms are probably close to Port Alberni) - it's more of an art market.  Mark and company were at Greg's wedding today and Eric and Gabi were still driving over so this would be our first meet up with the people staying in Ucluelet.   Of course, we had to be there for market open - friends arrived later, but found coffee.


Kids Selling Kids Lemonade
What really impressed me was the graphic artist - vinyl stickers, signs, prints and fabric work.  There is a lot of great talent in this town.

Start At Tofino Market

 

Long Beach

Big Reflections On The Beach
This is my kids first trip to Tofino so I wanted to make sure they saw the highlights.   Long beach is at the top of list - so much so that they had to build a second parking lot!  The traditional lot (right on the sand, now with great washrooms) was full but just down the road is much larger lot (further from the beach) with also nice bathrooms.  We had a picnic lunch and went out for a walk on the sand.


The sand is almost flat which lea

Running On Wet SandGooseneck Barnacles On HoldfastWaves Wrapping Around Incinerator Rock
 
  Family At The Beach
Surfing Pacific Rim National Park is way more popular than I remember it being.  There were so many people out in the waves, I don't know how they figured out who got to ride each wave.

Busy Day For Surfers
 
Near the North end of the beach are a few huge rocks that make up the headlands.  These rocks have short trails and lots of wildflowers growing in the thin soil.

Sunny Spot Between Tidal IslandsMonkeyflower With View Of BeachView Back To Long Beach
 
  Investigating WildflowersStonecrop And Monkeyflower On RockStonecrop Looking For Space
 
  Claira Found Ice Cream
 

Ucluelet Aquarium

  Sea Star On Rock
Our next great meet up was the Ucluelet Aquarium.  This is my first time at this aquarium, but I've heard lots about it.  The Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre in Gibsons is inspired by the same model (catch and release) and we happened to go to that aquarium first. 

Strawberry AnemoneWatching In Big Pool

  Brittle Star Out For Walk
There were two exhibits that I really liked - the first one was geeky.  They had a cement block in a tank that they have been circulating sea water over for 5+ years.  Everything in the tank arrived as micro sized creatures in the water and they colonized the cement.  Very cool.  The second was an exhibit of a Pacific Octopus.  It spent a lot of time hiding, but it did come out to see Claira!

Claira Watching Octopus
 

Wedding at WickInn

 
New Married AgainRon And JeremyTaikiMe And The Kids

David And StephenEric Xander And GabiEric Up In TreeHarvey Shum Family


Takako Making An EntranceMark And Takako Holding HandsBruce With Wedding RingGetting Ready For Portraits


Watching Wedding



Mark Takako Stephen And DaveMark Takako Jeremy And RonMark Takako And AndreaMark John And Family


Bruce Giving ToastCutting The Cake

Marks Parents Witnessing The Cake CuttingHead TableWedding Bouquet



  Claira And George
 

Amphirite Point Lighthouse

Climbing Trees Runs In FamilyHolding Hands
Two households of guests found places to stay in Ucluelet so we decided to spend the afternoon in the south.  After a filling lunch at the wedding, we decided a good hike was in order.   Wild Pacific Trail has a number of sections that include a visit to the lighthouse so gathered in the parking lot and went for a little walk!


The trail is right on the edge of the forest and rocks and there are a number of beach access points.  

Islands Rocks And Ocean

While the beach is mostly rock, there are small pockets where life is sheltered from the storms.
 
More Orange CastillejaRed CastillejaSaskatoon On The Rocks
 
We arrived at the lighthouse faster than I though - from there we walked up the road and back to parking lot and our cars. 

  View From The RocksAmphitrite Point Lighthouse

Helen and the kids we back home resting - doing a bit of homework and taking it easy.

Rainforest Loop

It would be very easy to just visit the same things every time you visit a place.  Doing the research in advance I found two trails I didn't know about - 1 km loops in the Rainforest.  My kids would rather sleep in than go for a walk so I got to go out on my own for a walk.

Trail Bridge Made From Fallen LogSkunk Cabbage GrottoTrail Side Plants
 
 
 
 
Naras Steaming NoodlesHuevos Rancheros

Chesterman Beach

Walking Onto Chesterman Beach

Our accommodations was walking distance from Chesterman beach, but it actually took three days before the kids walked down to check it out.  Chesterman beach is known for it's huge expanse of flat sand, but it was really low tide so the kids decided to explore the rocky headlands at the southern end of the beach.


The headlands have deep cracks allowing the ocean to make it's way deep into the shoreline.  There was a cave with a skylight at the end of one of the cracks.

Deep Crack In ShorelineClaira Chasing DadKids In Sea Cave

Ochre Star And Leather StarDoom Is Washing In

Clinging to the rocks was a small selection of intertidal life - anemones, sea stars and lots of mussels.

Shell Encrusted Aggregating AnemoneStrong Showing Of Ocre Stars

Kite Surfing With Frank Island Behind
After exploring the end of the beach, I expected we would walk along the length of Chesterman, but no the kids were tired and wanted to go back in.  What do you do?


That evening, I went out to the rocks at the edge of the beach and watched the sunset.  We didn't get a lot of color in the sky (one of the locals said this was the place of a thousand shades of gray), but it's nice to see how busy the beach is even into the later evening.

 
 


Getting Ready For Portraits
Strong Showing Of Ocre Stars
Species: Pisaster ochraceus (Ochre Star), Anthopleura xanthogrammica (giant green anemone)
Location: Go To...
Busy Day For Surfers
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: surfing, water sports
Red Castilleja
Species: Castilleja miniata (Giant Red Indian Paintbrush)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Big Reflections On The Beach
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Marks Parents Witnessing The Cake Cutting
Naras Steaming Noodles
Claira Watching Octopus
Sunny Spot Between Tidal Islands
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Giant Green Anemone With Mussels
Location: Go To...
Skunk Cabbage Grotto
Altitude: 36m (118 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boardwalk, trail
Huevos Rancheros
Tags: food porn
Waves Wrapping Around Incinerator Rock
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Climbing Trees Runs In Family
Person: Eric, Xander
Ron And Jeremy
Person: Jeremy
View Back To Long Beach
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Running On Wet Sand
Altitude: 14m (45 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mark Takako Stephen And Dave
Doom Is Washing In
Location: Go To...
New Married Again
Trail Bridge Made From Fallen Log
Altitude: 50m (164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Brittle Star Out For Walk
Tags: aquarium
Sea Star On Rock
Claira Riding Zip Line
Person: Claira
Tags: zipline
Amphitrite Point Lighthouse
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Kids In Sea Cave
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Bruce Giving Toast
Islands Rocks And Ocean
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Deep Crack In Shoreline
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Family At The Beach
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, reflection
Arrival At Tacofino
Person: Andrea, Claira, Nara
Altitude: 18m (59 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mark John And Family
Stonecrop And Monkeyflower On Rock
Species: Sedum oreganum (Oregon Stonecrop), Mimulus guttatus (common monkey-flower, yellow monkey-flower)
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mark Takako Jeremy And Ron
Skate Purse Washed Up On Beach
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Cutting The Cake
Saskatoon On The Rocks
Species: Amelanchier alnifolia (Pacific serviceberry, Saskatoon)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
More Orange Castilleja
Species: Castilleja miniata (Giant Red Indian Paintbrush)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Trail Side Plants
Altitude: 50m (164 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Riding Zip Line
Person: Nara
Altitude: 25m (82 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: zipline
Watching Wedding
Ochre Star And Leather Star
Species: Pisaster ochraceus (Ochre Star), Dermasterias imbricata (Leather Star)
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Eric Xander And Gabi
Person: Eric, Gabi, Xander
View From The Rocks
Person: Stephen
Stonecrop Looking For Space
Location: Go To...
Harvey Shum Family
Person: Claira, Helen, John, Nara
Kids Selling Kids Lemonade
Altitude: 12m (39 feet)
Location: Go To...
Meeting Up At Chocolate Tofino
Person: Andrea, Claira, Helen, Mark, Nara
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Me And The Kids
Person: Claira, John, Nara
Claira Found Ice Cream
Person: Claira
Tags: ice cream
Villous Cinquefoil In Crack
Species: Potentilla villosa (villous cinquefoil)
Location: Go To...
Gooseneck Barnacles On Holdfast
Species: Pollicipes polymerus (Goose Barnacle or Goose Neck Barnacle)
Mark And Takako Holding Hands
Watching In Big Pool
Person: Claira, Nara, Stephen
Tags: aquarium
David And Stephen
Person: Stephen
Wedding Bouquet
Eric Up In Tree
Person: Eric
Monkeyflower With View Of Beach
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Walking Onto Chesterman Beach
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Bruce With Wedding Ring
Taiki
Investigating Wildflowers
Species: Sedum oreganum (Oregon Stonecrop)
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Pool Full Of Giant Green Anemone
Species: Anthopleura xanthogrammica (giant green anemone)
Location: Go To...
Tags: tide pool
Head Table
Claira And George
Mark Takako And Andrea
Person: Andrea, Mark
Holding Hands
Person: Eric, Gabi
Shell Encrusted Aggregating Anemone
Species: Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone, Clonal Anemone)
Location: Go To...
Start At Tofino Market
Altitude: 22m (72 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: market
Aggregating Anemone For Scale
Species: Anthopleura elegantissima (Aggregating Anemone, Clonal Anemone), Anthopleura xanthogrammica (giant green anemone)
Location: Go To...
Tags: tide pool
Kite Surfing With Frank Island Behind
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: kitesurfing, water sports
Morning View Of Lennard Island Lighthouse
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Takako Making An Entrance
Claira Chasing Dad
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Strawberry Anemone
Water Floods Into Intertidal Pool
Location: Go To...
Tags: tide pool(2), lighthouse(2), aquarium(2), water sports(2), zipline(2), beach(2)
People: Claira(8), Nara(7), Eric(4), Stephen(3), Andrea(3), Helen(3)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2022 to 2005 > Tofino Wedding

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