Friday, March 25, 2011

Clueless in Ucluelet

The last time you saw me, I was biking off to Vancouver Island to take tea in Victoria.  You know what they say about the best laid plans...

My sister decided to kidnap me and take me "up island" from Victoria to the tsunami hazard zone.  From what I've been reading in the Vancouver papers lately, it would seem that pretty much all of the island's west coast is a tsunami-waiting-to-happen zone, but this particular area has posted signs.

Something else that I wasn't expecting was...(wait for it!...)

Snow!!! (I hear you easterners laughing up your sleeves!)

I have to admit, though, that being whisked away on an impromptu camping trip proved to be not that much of a hardship.

My sister likes comfort.  I feel very comfortable with my sister.

I also have to confess that there had been a lot of rain en route...a lot of rain...rain that only the west coast knows how to whip up.  But when we arrived at our lodgings, the weather had calmed and we enjoyed the view of the little harbour beside the resort campground.

Appropriately, the fishing boat seen here is named "Pacific Banker."  I read in the paper recently that this area is home to BC's priciest hotel and resort  stays.  What I don't get is why investors continue to build luxury condos and complexes in a known tsunami zone.
Do the rich and super rich believe that they're immune to disaster?  Or does the risk make the venture all the more exciting? 

Here's one structure at least that's not likely to be swept out to sea when (and it is a matter of "when," not "if") that one/two punch of earthquake/tsunami hits.  Some experts say a major earthquake, even larger than the recent one in Japan, occurs every 400 to 500 years in this area and that the last one was in 1700.  Other forecasts put it anytime between now and 250 years from now, while still  other guesstimations say the inevitable is long overdue. 

But the sea views are quite spectacular, and the natural beauty of the place awe-inspiring, so it is perhaps understandable why people are willing to take their chances to live or vacation here. 

Reflecting on the beauty.

Moody sky, tumultuous ocean, unexpected colours highlighted by rain.

I'll wave goodbye to you for now, but I'll be back soon to continue our little trip "up island." 


  1. Your photos make me remember my trips to San Josef Bay in the early 60s. Didn't have any accommodations quite like those you have pictured.

  2. Thanks for taking us along on your trip! Gorgeous. I would also feel very comfy in your "tent." But I'd want to know there's a mountain nearby to run up in case of the scary t-word.

  3. Now that's camping I understand ; )

  4. Brings back memories of the
    whale watching expedition that my sister and I did years ago in Ucluelet. We stayed overnight in an old
    weather ship parked in the harbour. The bunks were not comfortable, being short, as men in those days were shorter, we were told. Our guide caught a fish, threw it in the air and an eagle flew off his branch and caught it mid-air. Saw grey whales which seemed to be covered in giant warts, not the sleek black & white ones.
    I'm happy to have seen Ucluelet when it was unsophisticated. Lynne's Mum.

  5. What a joy it must have been to breath !

    What a beautiful area you take me to. Thank you very much for this escape. Thank you for the freedom-filled ocean pictures; and those thoughts about the 'banker'.
    Please have a wonderful weekend you all.
    And yes, voices over here fear an earthquake as well, much overdue. So far the strongest for me has been a 4.9R.

    daily athens

  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous.

  7. Ucluelet is perfect! Tofino is ok. While in Toffino, turn right a block past the the rich hippy bakery and see the art gallery in the Longhouse on the shore side.

  8. Oh dear, oh dear, it is evident you have been suffering mightily in the drear and drastic conditions of your forced march into the wilds of the western seacoasts. One can only hope that you will survive unscathed ! Unscathed, even if unbathed...

    Cheery cheers from your baby brother...

  9. DCW,
    I don't know San Josef Bay. Please excuse my ignorance. This was only the 2nd time I've ever been to the Ucluelet area. The first time I actually was camping, in a pup tent, on Long Beach. Early in the morning everyone was ordered off the beach due to a storm rolling in from the sea. At least it wasn't a tsunami. I think, much like the much anticipated earthquake, you're long overdue for a west coast trip.

  10. jann,
    This is my preferred method of "tenting." It has the general shape of a tent but that's as close as it gets to the real thing. And not to worry, they do, in fact, mark the tsunami escape routes...which are few and far between and invariably involve steep hills.

  11. Driftwood,
    It's the only sort of camping worth considering at this point in life. We've paid enough marshmallow dues,don't you think?

  12. Shirl,
    Carmenooch pointed out the boat where you and Diane spent the night and talked enthusiastically about the whale watching trip you all shared. Obviously, a trip never to be forgotten. Ucluelet still has its natural and quirky charms, in spite of some resort infringement in the area. Thanks for sharing your memories here.

  13. Robert,
    I knew you would appreciate the natural beauty of the place. Aren't we humans fragile creatures after all. There's just no arguing with Mother Nature no matter how hard humans try to tame her.
    I hope you have a weekend with many opportunities to fill your lungs with deep breaths.

  14. c,
    And there's more to come! Maybe I can sway you to liking the west a little more? I didn't mention it, but two eagles flew right in front of that big window in our "tent" just after we'd arrived.

  15. Anonymous,
    We did, we did! I wrote about the longhouse gallery on my Ragzedge blog. In fact, I thought of you guys when we went to the gallery. Actually, that was the ONLY reason I wanted to go to the gallery, to say to you, "Oh yes, the daffodils are up AND I went to the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery".

  16. Owen,
    Baby bro, you understand so perfectly. Yes, a forced march! Hardships galore. However, I do have a photo of my sister and myself in a hot tub on the deck that night, so while perhaps somewhat scathed (and traumatized from having to don a bathing suit), not exactly unbathed.

  17. Spectacular......thank you!!!!!!

  18. By spectacular I mean the wild sea.

    As for the rest we never expect it to happen to US!

  19. Why investors continue to build luxury condos and complexes in a known tsunami zone? Insurance speculation.

  20. So you were sitting all the while in the hot tub sipping bubbly I'll bet... and you didn't even pass the bottle around...

    I'm thinking sister Saj is going to be peeved when she learns that, I know I am !!!!

    Hot tubs, beautiful scenery, wonderful walks, good company, sheesh, don't overdose on happiness...

    Now, where's that bubbly ? Where's the glash ?

  21. Stunning photos, sis, looks like a nice p[lace for a tsunami. Do they take tours and do you get souvenirs?
    As for the hot tub and bubbles that our Bro has called you out on, where's mine?? I started on cider while waiting in the comments queue...

  22. What a spectacular place! Your photos of the sea and surrounds are blazing there way into my heart. Oh why are there no magic carpets? I can feel the brisk ocean wind, hear the sound of the waves and experience how you must be marveling at such vistas. Your sister must be awesome judging by those accommodations. Happy Trails!

  23. Oh, these photos show how wild and untamed the coast is there! And that view from your sister's abode! So beautiful! Maybe they'll discover a longer-term plan for judging when a tsunami will hit. It seems like you had less than a day this time...
    Can't wait for the next jaunt! Love

  24. Forest Dream Weaver,
    It was pretty spectacular. In spite of (or especially?) with the strong winds and pelting rain that kept coming and going. My sister kept assuring me that a tsunami was NOT going to happen that day...I guess she subscribes to that philosophy of "it's not going to happen to me!" Makes life more navigable that way, I think.

  25. Anonymous,
    You know all the angles! As my father used to be fond of saying, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?!"

  26. BrOwen,
    The only bubbles in the not-too-hot tub were the ones from the least I think that's where they were from!

  27. Sister Saj,
    Smart move with the cider as there was no champers to be had. After all, we were roughing it in the wilds. Made do with white, red, and some Boddington's beer. They've not yet introduced a Tsunami Festival into the area but we were there for the Whale Festival and I picked up a fridge magnet for a souvenir. Even though the theme was whales, the magnet was disappointingly not life size. Your turn in the tub with our BrO! Stay away from the bubbles on his side of the tub, though.

  28. Stickup Artist,
    Yes, I am blessed with an awesome baby sister, though, sadly, I don't get to see her very often. She remarked that she was going to drag me out of my comfort zone, kicking and screaming, when she kidnapped me and took me off to the "wilds." It was a long ride but well worth the trip. You'd have a field day up there with your camera...and hiking boots and the Sergeant!

  29. Margaret,
    Twas my sister's abode only for one night...but a lovely one it was. The threat of a tsunami doesn't seem to phase her in the least as she's planning on going back this summer...without me as I'll be back on the east coast. It was really a wonderful treat she gave me, a look at all that gorgeous untamed scenery. She knew I'd want to drag some of it back for my blog friends. More coming soon...

  30. an go see the Tofino Botanical Garden longboat on the forest path out to the inlet, Cathedral Grove on the way home, and then the Chinese antiques tucked in the back of that place that has the goats on the roof.

  31. These tsunami signs are quite dramatic to see nowadays.

    I love your sister's approach to camping - quite my style ! :-)))

    The seascapes are absolutely spectacular!

  32. oh, amazing, that deep red, the sea, the quiet earth hues - it just make me want lie there on the beach and close my eyes and float forever in the sound, the music of those waves... (talking about carelessness and not thinking about risks :-)

  33. Anonymous,
    Not really the weather for the botanical gardens, even getting there in a longboat. Zipped past Cathedral Grove and oohed and ahhed over the immense moss-covered trees along the highway (too wet, cold, time-limited to get out and explore). We thoroughly explored the goats on the roof place in Coombes, though. Saw tons of interesting stuff in the store, but the goats were on their winter holiday. Didn't see any Chinese antiques, other than the guy on the cash. (I made that last bit up about the cashier).

  34. Nathalie,
    Civilized camping, it's the only way to go. The tsunami signs were really rather shocking to see. Not as shocking as an actual tsunami, I'm sure, which is something I hope to never witness first what the heck was I doing standing in a marked tsunami zone?! Oh I remember--I was admiring the spectacular seascapes.

  35. Roxana,
    It seems that just being alive is a constant risk so we might just as well indulge in a bit of careless abandon and enjoy ourselves from time to time, don't you think?