|Our ride all packed up.|
|No trip to Tofino is complete without meeting friends in Coombs for some ice cream|
Both of them, all of us, feel the burdens of every day lift as we make that two hour trip to the Island.
And by the time we reach the beach, we truly come alive. The beach is home. So how do we do a West Coast vacation? We start out, as I said, by getting out on the water as we take the ferry to Vancouver Island.
**As a side note: for my BC friends with children with disabilities – Did you know there is a discounted fare for a BC resident with a permanent disability and their escort? Check it out here.**
We like to camp at Bella Pacifica on MacKenzie Beach. We like it because it has all the amenities we need and is right on our favourite beach. Like last year, we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. It’s expected that the fog will roll in from time to time in Tofino, but it clears away throughout the day.
Once we set up we enjoyed some camp black beans and rice, which has become our favourite camping meal followed by s’mores.
The next day we took a drive out to Ucluelet to visit Ben’s aunt and enjoy all Ucluelet has to offer. I always enjoy Ukee, as the locals call it. It is quieter than Tofino and a true fishing community – quaint and authentic. It also offers some amazing cuisine – namely, Ukee dogs.
Not only can you get a variety of types of hot dogs but my personal favourite are their meat pies, specifically the salmon pie. Delish! After lunch, we walked down the harbour where their newly renovated aquarium is located. The renovations changed the face of the harbour quite a bit compared to the makeshift shed which once stood there but the spirit remains the same: hands-on. You won’t find any whales or dolphins at the Ucluelet aquarium but its amazing to watch the kids’ eyes light up as they feel the squishiness of a sea cucumber or stickiness of a sea anemone as it retracts at your touch. Of course they have to pay for their fancy new building so the price is
a bit a lot more expensive than it was in the old building but, as I said, provides a hands on experience for the kids with plenty of touch tanks, which is invaluable.
The next two days were filled with a brand new to us, yet world renowned, Tofino experience – Surfing! Yes, that is right. We have been going to Tofino for 10 years and we have NEVER been surfing…until now!
I was a little worried about how Ella would do but she was a fabulous student and even managed to get up on her board a couple times before she opted to supervise the rest of us. My girl never fails to amaze me with what she can do. I think so often with individuals with disabilities, they’re not held back by their own abilities but by the restrictions we place on them and the stereotypes we harbour without knowing it. So what made me think Ella could do it? Well, in part it was this and partly it was my own selfishness because I wanted to learn how to surf and thought it would be a fun family activity. I actually considered…planned on, even, to not have Ella do the lessons with us….silly Krista.
A huge thank you to West Side Surf and our instructor Heath for a great day!
And of course no trip would be complete with some more ice cream…
We finished off the trip with two days at our favourite place, Middle Beach Lodge. I had planned this, thinking that if camping was a bust, we would need a place to dry out. Thankfully we didn’t need to dry out but it was still a wonderful end to the trip.