Joined July 2017 Message
  • Day8

    The Worst Travel Day - Ever

    July 9, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Our day started out promising. We grabbed lattes at Tofino Roasters, scones at Summit Bread Co., and had our leftover cheese and bread packed for the road. We drove out of Tofino and about 20 km into our 4+ hour drive, we saw a sign the read HIGHWAY CLOSED. A young man told us a rock slide had closed the highway, but they were hoping to open it at 10 am. It was 9:20, so we drove until we reached the stopped traffic and then began to wait.

    After 10, a construction worker came down the highway and told everyone that it was going to be another two hours. We ate our scones and waited some more. I eventually walked down the highway only to discover that some people near the front had been stopped there since 5 am. I was also able to see the rock slide and the rock that sat on the highway was the size of a bus. I wandered back to our car and said to Brad that were weren’t making it home today. We had no cell service, so all we could do was wait.

    At noon, we were told two more hours. Evan finished a book, Brad started his second book, and I took a nap.

    At 2, we were told two more hours. I went to use the port-a-potty that was about 1.5 km away and discovered it had no toilet paper.

    At 3:45, we were told 10 more minutes. They gave us water and granola bars as some sort of compensation for our patience.

    At 4:10, we were allowed to proceed.

    I don’t know how far the traffic had lined up behind us, but on the other side of the rock slide, cars stretched for at least 5 km.

    I didn’t get cell service for another hour, so by the time I got through to WestJet it was our boarding time in Victoria. And it began pouring rain.

    Driving through the winding roads and rain, I was able to rebook our flight for the following day and then book a hotel. We didn’t arrive in Victoria until after 8 pm, and after a quick supper at The Commons at 10 Acres, we drove to our hotel.

    It wasn’t the day we had planned out or how we wanted our vacation to end, but in the end, it all worked out just fine. And it’ll probably be a story we can tell for many years to come.
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  • Day7

    Ucluelet, Whales, and 1909 (2)

    July 8, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    At 2:30, we went to get suited up for our whale watching adventure! We had to wear insulated flotation suits and they also gave us toques and mitts. There were 12 people on our zodiac and after a few safety tips, we cruised out of the harbour into open water.

    Our captain had heard about two humpbacks that were seen feeding, so we headed out to find them. We checked the water for blow spray and found the two whales! Our captain said they normally don’t see humpbacks, but the fish must have been plentiful to attract two in the area. We tracked the whales for awhile and eventually got to see one do a cartwheel, which is like a big roll. Later, the same whale did a lunge feed, which is when they come up, mouths open, and breech the surface to eat. That was pretty amazing to see in person!

    On our trip we also saw a grey whale, and he was pretty into giving us three breaths and then a dive with a tail flip. We watched him do it four times!

    We also saw sea otters feeding in a kelp farm and some more seals before heading back to the harbour.

    Originally we had planned to go to Shelter for supper, but we canceled our reservation two days ago and decided to go back to 1909 because we couldn’t stop talking about it! We had a table with an even better view this time and the Tofino weather was warm (for Tofino) and sunny.

    We began with the albacore tuna and a chilled seafood tower that had oysters, clams, mussels, and a shell on crab. We then shared a pasta with morels and prawns, a lamb and kelp kabob, and the morels stuffed with humboldt squid. Evan has the skillet cookie and Brad and I shared the tiramisu to finish off another amazing dinner!

    We headed back home to pack up our stuff and enjoy the last of our Victoria beers.
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  • Day7

    Ucluelet, Whales, and 1909

    July 8, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We dropped Brad off for his final surf lesson and then decided to drive to Ucluelet to check it out. Our first stop was Big Beach to see the volcanic rocks at low tide. We did a quick hike there before moving on Terrace Beach, which was probably the calmest water we’ve seen here!

    Before getting back to Cox Bay to pick up Brad, we stopped at Incinerator Rock again so that Evan could “swim.” The tide was quite far out and the surf looked strong. Evan ventured in up to his waist, but was deterred by the very cold water.

    We picked up Brad around 11:30 and the boys had showers before we walked over to Shelter for lunch. Evan dined on excellent fish and chips while I had mussels and Brad had a salmon BLT. Brad was quite wiped out after three days of surf camp, so he went back and had a nap while Evan and I went downtown to check out a few shops.
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  • Day6


    July 7, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    We got changed and walked to dinner, which was at the other end of town at SoBo (South Bohemian). It had started as a food truck, but now is a brick and mortar.

    We were seated by a large window and quickly decided that we needed to have some oysters on this trip. They were small and deliciously briny! We also shared the seafood chowder, which was rich and full of fish. Brad had been eyeing the risotto since we looked at this menu, and he wasn’t disappointed by the luscious rice and seafood medley! Evan decided to have a pizza, and I had the halibut with fiddleheads and quinoa. We didn’t get dessert, but Evan bought himself the crisp, which was strawberry and rhubarb.

    It’s a good thing you can walk so many places in Tofino because we are certainly enjoying the food!
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  • Day6

    Paddling Around

    July 7, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Up early again today so that we could drive Brad to Cox Bay for day two of surfing and so that we could drive to Middle Beach for paddle surfing lessons!

    We met our instructor, Skola from France, and got into our wetsuits before getting a lesson about safety on our paddle boards. Now Evan and I have been paddle boarding before, but this was paddle surfing, which as we would come to understand is pretty different than just leisurely paddling around a calm lake in Manitoba.

    Evan and got on to our boards and Skola showed us basic strokes and how to do 360 turns and how to fall off our boards. Then, out of nowhere, a seal popped his head up about 5 feet from our boards! Even Skola was surprised! After our visitor left, we started out for the open water. The waves kept lolling around us and keeping our balance was challenging! Evan fell in in about the first 15 minutes, but started to get his footing after that.

    Skola had us paddling around rocks and into coves as the tide was out. We even portaged across a sand bar while the tide was out so that we could get to another area. The wind was calm, so we were able to paddle out quite far. At one point, Skola pointed out three whale watching boats that had stopped and he casually turned and said, “We should watch out for whales.” Yikes! Luckily, we didn’t see any whales while on our boards, but we did see lots of starfish and even a fish that jumped out of the water by Evan’s board!

    With a few minutes left in our lesson, Skola showed Evan how to do crazy surf moves on the paddle board. Lots of people go out into the surf with their paddle boards here. Evan was actually quite adept to doing these quick moves!

    We got out of gear and went to pick up Brad, who had been promoted the green waves on his second day of surfing!

    We decided to grab a picnic style lunch from Summit Bread Co. and Picnic, which sells cheeses, meats, and other delicious picnic style foods. We went back home with our haul and enjoyed our fresh breads and charcuterie.

    Feeling exhausted, we decided to have a quick nap before heading out to hike a few small paths. We found ourselves in the rainforest again, but without the rain this time. Seeing the old growth was very cool, but I was less excited about seeing a huge banana slug (named for its size and colour).

    After our hiking, we went back to town and went to Tofino Brewing to enjoy a flight. I got to have their kelp porter, which is indeed made with kelp.
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  • Day5

    Tacofino, Hiking, and Wolf in the Fog

    July 6, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After we left the beach, we headed back to our place so Brad could shower and rinse off his wetsuit. We packed our stuff and drove down to Tacofino where the line was long, but moving quickly. Evan had a pork burrito, while Brad and I shared a crispy chicken burrito and two tacos: cod and pork. Everything was delicious and maybe slightly better than their outpost in Victoria.

    Bellies full, we drove about 25 minutes to a hiking trail that took us through the rainforest. It was raining a bit as we traversed the forest, so that seemed apropos. Evan said it was like walking through Jurassic Park!

    The hike was 5 km and took us over an hour to complete. We were feeling in need of refreshments, so we drove back towards town and stopped in at Tofino Brewing, which was packed! After a wait, we decided to head back to our place and just have a beer we brought from Victoria instead.

    We had been looking forward to our dinner at Wolf in the Fog since we made it months ago. We started with humboldt squid (everyone loved this dish!), shrimp toast with red onion and fennel, and grilled octopus. Then we decided to share the baked halibut which came with white beans, grilled green onions, green beans, and fennel sausage. It was perfect! Brad and I opted out of dessert, but Evan indulged in the peanut butter and jelly deconstructed sandwich (baguette, peanut butter powder and ice cream, and grape jelly). It was all worth the wait!

    We walked home quite content and ready for bed!
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  • Day5

    Cox Bay Surf Pics

    July 6, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Today was the first day of Brad’s surf camp! We got up at 7:30 to have breakfast and then called the surf camp to find out what beach he’d be at. After a quick stop at Rhino Coffee, we drive out to Cox Bay. While Brad got his gear on, I went down to check out the beach. The tide was pretty far out, so the beach looked like it was endless. The surf looked good for some starter surfers!

    I left the beach and drove to the Visitor’s Centre to grab our park pass and then went back to the condo to retrieve Evan. We decided to do a walk through town and made a stop at the farmers market to grab fresh cherries and raspberries.

    After our tour of downtown Tofino, we drove back to Cox Bay to watch the last bit of Brad’s lesson. Evan put on his swim trunks as well as he thought he might go swimming - because he is crazy.

    We got to see Brad ride a few waves before his lesson was done. Evan decided he would run into the water and I have some pretty hilarious videos of him running towards the water and then promptly running back out. With the water being only 12C, it was pretty chilly!
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  • Day4


    July 5, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    This was a supper we were really excited about (although that’s like splitting hairs for us on this trip). We watched Paul Moran win Top Chef Canada just a few months ago and when he won, we immediately booked into his restaurant.

    We arrived at the waterfront restaurant and were seated in front of two amazing views of the sun lowering onto the water. The menu looked incredible and we found it impossible to choose, so our wonderful server helped us along, although I really don’t think we could have made a bad choice.

    We began with albacore tuna on white radish, which was completely mind blowing! They were perfect little bites of heaven and we almost ordered another plate for dessert! We also had coho salmon gravlax with roast potatoes and morels stuffed with humboldt squid (a dish Paul made on the show).

    After the starters, we shared locally caught black cod with cubes of fried tofu and gnocchi with morels. I love black cod, so that was a winner for me! The boys liked the gnocchi best, so our sharing worked out well.

    For dessert, Evan had the s’mores and we shared a sea buckthorn tart because where else can you get a sea buckthorn tart?! Just like the entire meal, dessert was also amazing!

    We headed home quite full and ready for bed.
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  • Day4

    Tofino or Bust

    July 5, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    It was time to leave Victoria. We cleaned up our condo and then went to Bows and Arrows for a latte and a quick waterfront tour of Victoria, and then we hit the road. Highway driving in BC is not as fast (for good reason, those mountain roads are narrow!) and not as slick as MB highway driving. So, our drive felt longer than it should have. However, it was certainly a more beautiful drive than any MB drive!

    We stopped briefly in Nanaimo for lunch at Longwood Brewpub and feasted on salmon burgers, seafood chowder, and a power bowl before getting back on the highway.

    We made a short pit stop near Kennedy Lake to stretch our legs and climb on the rocks there. There was a glacial stream and pool that were so completely clear that it was almost hard to believe.

    As we got closer to Tofino, there was construction that stopped traffic briefly. However, the roads they were working on made the actual traveling space quite narrow! I tried to get a picture, but I don’t think it does it justice. Brad did a stellar job navigating our car through the twists and turns though!

    We finally rolled into town at 5ish and got to our AirBnB, which was even more spacious than the photos. We dropped off our stuff and then Brad and I went to Pacific Surf Co to pick up his wet suit and surf board. We got the board tied to the top of our vehicle and headed back home. You don’t seem to fit in in Tofino if you don’t have a surf board strapped to your vehicle!
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  • Day3

    Supper at Olo

    July 4, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    On our final night in Victoria, we had to return to Olo. We had gone here four years ago on a whim and because it was right beside our condo. It has since been on the top 100 restaurants in Canada list and for good reason.

    We began with BBQ sablefish collar, which was beautifully buttery. Then we shared two starters: gnocchi with morels and albacore tuna with strawberries and sea asparagus. Evan obviously loved the gnocchi, but he also (surprisingly) loved the tuna!

    For the main course, I had halibut with spot prawn broth and a quinoa and mung bean salad. Evan had a cheeseburger, which sounds boring, but was quite fantastic. And Brad had a lamb duo: loin and shoulder. I imagine when we get home he’s going to want to try cooking lamb shoulder because it was absolutely delicious!

    And just when you thought we didn’t have room, we shared a pavlova with sorrel ice cream and a chocolate cake with saskatoons and marscapone ice cream. What a way to end our time here!
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