Ucluelet: “People of the Safe Harbour”


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Published: June 20th 2019
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Tuesday 18th June2019

Dawn came early to Ucluelet harbour and by 6 a.m. the sun was casting golden shimmers in streaks over the water. Ucluelet is a unique natural harbour, reached from the ocean by a long inlet dotted with islands, from the jagged rocky end to this mountainous and deeply- forested peninsular. The Ucluelet Peninsular is surrounded by a distinct marine ecosystem full of seabirds, seals, sea lions, eagles, whales and sea otters. The forests are home to black bears, cougars, wolves, deer, moose and raccoons. Ucluelet means “People of the Safe Harbour” in the indigenous Nuu-Chah-Nulth language spoken by First Nation peoples in the area. It is one of the most beautiful harbour settings we have ever seen.

The little Dixie 4, our cruiser for this morning’s marine tour, was skippered by her owner, Captain Brian, a former Pacific Rim National Park Warden and an active member of the Auxiliary Coastguard. We had the luxury of being Brian’s only passengers this morning, so we had his expertise exclusively to ourselves. The tour was supposed to last about 2 hours 30 minutes, but we enjoyed 3 hours 15 minutes cruising with Brian. Apart from seeing stunning coastal scenery, we saw thirteen mammals and countless sea birds including numerous Bald Eagles and a Kingfisher. The mammals we saw were two black bears, four seals, one sea lion, three black-tailed deer (a mother and two kids) and three raccoons foraging for crabs and other seafood. Quite a count for a morning’s boat ride. It was a privilege to visit these animals in their home, especially the bears. A very special start to the morning!

After a late breakfast, we did the mundane chores, visited the laundromat, supermarket and the liquor store! We still cannot get used to having to go to the liquor store for beer and wine rather than just getting it along with the other shopping in the supermarket!

This afternoon we drove to the end of the peninsular and walked some of the Pacific Rim Trail, not too much of it because we were pretty tired after the exciting morning, not to mention standing and balancing at the rail of a little boat, bobbing up and down around the rocky coastline for over three hours. The legs ache a bit now! It was worth it! Impossible to sit down when there is wildlife to hunt for!

The Pacific Rim Trail is easy strolling yet in wild terrain. This whole peninsular is wild, dark jagged rocks, deep turquoise waters, dense green forests full of wild animals, rimmed by the Pacific surf. This wildness is its beauty! Unforgettable! Before we left the trail, we saw a large mule deer, feeding in a grassy clearing. It looked rather frail, standing on spindly legs, looking slightly bemused, so we thought it was probably elderly (know the feeling)! The province of British Columbia is home to three deer species, white-tailed, black-tailed and the mule deer. We have now seen all three. Fourteen wild animals today and dozens of birds! We are so very privileged.

This special day ended at a restaurant by the harbour called the Eagles Nest. Whilst we sipped our wine and ate our food, we watched the eagles on the wing over the water: end to a perfect day!

Wednesday 19th June2019

Tofino is about a half hour drive north of Ucluelet, the other side of the Pacific Rim National Park. It is a tourist town and a surfing mecca, so perhaps less authentic than Ucluelet, which is predominately a fishing and forestry town with a bit of tourism thrown in. Having said that, it has equal charm and some really good art galleries, exhibiting local artists. So far in Canada, we have visited several small galleries in small towns along the way and this is the first time I have really been impressed by the exhibits. One artist in particular, Roy Henry Vickers has done some beautiful stuff. The price charged for his prints is astronomical but if he can attract those prices then good luck to him! I enjoyed viewing his gallery.

Tofino is the furthest place west that one can drive on a paved road on Vancouver Island, often referred to as the very western end of the Trans-Canadian. Glad we made it!

The Pacific Rim National Park has some beautiful beaches. One beach, called Long Beach, reminds us of Playa de los Genoveses, San Juan, Cabo de Gata in Almeria, where we often camp; about the same length and width of fine sand, rocky outcrops and a mountainous backdrop. Four differences are that here the woodland is coniferous not deciduous, the mountains here still have traces of snow on them, the water is freezing and bears, cougars and wolves live in the neighbourhood! I had a paddle, as one does. John didn’t. He said that he really wanted to but he was busy as the cameraman!

Tonight, will be our third and final night in Ucluelet by the Pacific Ocean. It has been a great chill out; loved it here. Tomorrow we leave to drive back to the eastern side of the island to Brentwood Bay and the home of my cousin Kaye and her husband Randy; about a four-hour drive, with some stops along the way to enjoy the scenery once more. The next few days will be special because time spent with family is always special:

“Families are like branches on a tree; we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.”

Anon.


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Young eagleYoung eagle
Young eagle

They don't get their snowy heads until they are about five years old


Birds of a feather!Birds of a feather!
Birds of a feather!

Two adult Bald Eagles




20th June 2019

Beautiful island
Hi Viv and John I gad no idea Vancouver Island was so beautiful or that your cousin lived there. How lovely to end your spectacular trip with a week with family. Love Barb and Dave xx
20th June 2019

Beautiful island
Hi Viv and John I gad no idea Vancouver Island was so beautiful or that your cousin lived there. How lovely to end your spectacular trip with a week with family. Love Barb and Dave xx
20th June 2019

Hi Barb. Yes. Kaye and Randy have lived there many years now.Also, my cousin Eric's son Jake, lives in Vancouver so we are going to spend time with Jake and Julie also. As you say, great way to end this soecial trip. Xxxxx
20th June 2019

Sea and animal art
Had a look at Roy Henry Vickers work on internet, not to my liking...have a look at the stuff by Robert Wyland...which is fabulous apart from the artwork when he colaborates with others, he does the marine stuff while others do the land. He paints huge outside wall murals and does sculptures as well.....but the price....wow

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