What SUP???

Monday, June 9, 2014

We awaken to gorgeous sunshine streaming through our cabin.  No sign of the misty, cloudy fog from yesterday,  This should be a perfect day for paddleboarding!

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Yoga is an early 7:00 am this morning because Michelle has a volunteer commitment later.  Rich joins in today and we have a great session.

Michelle is waiting for us on the deck.
Michelle is waiting for us on the deck.

Michelle has on work on balance and talks about getting us “centered” for SUP later today. She is trying to poke Rich about getting on the board.  We’ll see what he decides to do. Back to the cabin for a bit of breakfast.  We have gotten very skilled at making a mean piece of toast in our toaster oven.  It is actually delicious with Michell’es blueberry jam.

The Stand Up Paddle session is loosely scheduled for 10 am.  We have to wait for the tide to come all the way in so we can launch from the jetty.  Al stops by to give us wetsuits and waivers (!).  Looks like Rich is going to go for it – yay!  I think he will love it.

Not too sure about this
Not too sure about this

I would like to wear my sunglasses on the board, but am concerned that if/when I fall in I will lose them. I really don’t want to lose my brand new pair.  I am wondering if they will float.  Hmmm – let’s do a float test in the sink.

Failed float test!
Failed float test!

The tide is coming in slowly and we make our way down to the jetty where Al and the paddleboards await. The water looks pretty calm and smooth.

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Rich’s board is on the left and is named “The Big Easy” ha ha

Al takes us through some techniques of where to stand, how to paddle, how to carry the board, etc. We will have to walk through the squishy mud flats in order to get out to deep enough to get on.

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Practicing my paddle technique
Practicing my paddle technique

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Nice, big rubberized pads for non-slippage
Nice, big rubberized pads for non-slippage
Al takes his smaller board down to the water
Al takes his smaller board down to the water

Rich and I carry our boards and step into the mud.  This may be the most difficult part!  Gingerly we both manage to put up one knee then the other.  We are kneeling on our boards and start paddling.  This isn’t so tough after all.  When I get comfortable I attempt to stand.  Since I have tried SUP this once before I know it actually can be done. I stand up without too much effort – yay! Rich stays on his knees for a bit longer to become comfortable with his balance.  With encouragement from both Al and myself we convince Rich to try and stnd. First one foot and a knee – that is difficult enough.  Then he brings up his other foot and is in a crouch position holding the paddle out in front of him.  Great,  Now slowly he brings himself up to a complete standing position.  Wowee!! He did it!  I knew he could.

We practice making turns and gliding along.  When we are all ready, we head off for the other side of the island.  There is a bit of a breeze and it gets choppy along the way.  When we get to the back side there is very calm water.  We are  both standing and looking great!  The plan was to paddle out to a neighboring island, but the tide is already starting to go out and the wind is picking up.  We made our way almost around the island but now the wind is directly in our faces.  The water is quite choppy.  At one point I picked up my paddle out of the water and the wind turned me completely around in a quick 360!  Whoa.  Rich’s board ended up being sideways to the little waves and he started to wobble.  He managed to get it turned back around safetly.  We all dropped to our knees to cut the wind resistance.

Al suggests that we backtrack because it looks too windy/choppy the direction we are going.  Also the tide is going back out pretty quickly.  We don’t want to get beached out here!

What are those two little specks just to the left of the large island?
What are those two little specks just to the left of the large island?
We did it!!!
We did it!!!

We are completely stoked after our blazing success. (I could have worn my sunglasses AND brought my camera!) As Al so delicately put it – we had no “dismounts.” After peeling out of our snug wetsuits and showering we find ourselves starving and prepare to drive into town for a late lunch.

New friend (unstuffed)
New friend (unstuffed)

Yelp assists us with our choice and we arrive at Schooner’s Restaurant very shortly.  It is a bit windy (and chilly to us) to sit outside so we are lead to a window table.  Nye (our server) laughs with us at being all bundled up inside while there are folks in shorts and tee shirts sitting outside!  That is what being from Arizona will do to you.

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The menu looks pretty good with a wide variety.  Nye steers us to the “oyster menu” and expains one of his favorite preparations – Nami Nori.  He explains that these are oysters that are blackened on the grill and then coated with Ritz cracker crumbs and butter. They are the broiled and topped with Flying Fish roe (Tobiko) and a dollop of wasabi mayo.  We are sufficiently intrigued and choose two of those plus one oyster casino for me and “Rockafeller” for Rich

We celebrate Rich’s maiden voyage on the paddle board. I am very proud of my guy!

Way to go, Rich!
Way to go, Rich!

Our oyster plate arrives and it us a beauty. The ni namo are unbelievable – we love them!  Rich may even like his Rockafeller better.  They are all great and we eat them up with abandon.
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Lunch continues with a shared bowl of Tom Yum soup with seafood and a split Salmon BLT.
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We enjoy a long, laid-back lunch.  Nye is a wonderful server. He tells us he is from Nova Scotia and that we must visit there someday.  I mentally put it on my list.

The mission after lunch is to pop in the Wickanninish Inn.  The “Wick” is a fancy-schmancy inn right on the ocean in a gorgeous setting.  Janet and Eric had plans a couple of years ago to visit here, but then life got in the way.  We also considered a stay here, but chose CedarWood instead,  We want to take a gander at the Wick to show Janet/Eric and also to check it out for any future visits.

The Wick
The Wick

Upon entering the lobby we are warmly greeted and told that we are more than welcome to wander and look around.  Great.  The inside of the building is beautiful, but the real stunner is the view.

lobby
lobby
Second floor library
Second floor library

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check out the view
check out the view

IMG_2375This one goes on the list…

Next stop is a hike to Schooner Cove.  The Schooner Cove trail is part of the Pacific Rim Provincial Park. It is windy and chilly so I grab an extra layer.

Buried alive in the car trunk
Buried alive in the car trunk

Should we turn back now?

oh noetry
oh noetry

The path is all boardwalk through another old growth forest.  There are many, many stairs and I am already dreading coming back up them!

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We named this tree Big Bertha
We named this tree Big Bertha
Roots growing sideways
Roots growing sideways
Horsetail plant
Horsetail plant

The path comes out of the forest onto one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  It is almost deserted and goes on forever.

Awesome beach
Awesome beach
anemone
anemone

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We walk for a little while along the beach and I start feeling worn out.  Maybe it’s the yoga, maybe the SUP, maybe the beer at lunch?  In any case, I am ready to turn back and go take a little nap.
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When we get to the cabin we both pass out for about an hour.  I wake and brew a cup of chocolate-mint tea. Rich joins me on the deck.  We sit for a while and then realize that it is close to sunset time (9:30).  Let’s go to Chesterman Beach (right across our road and down a little) for sunset.  Great idea.  We pack up a bottle of wine, our leftover halibut and some crackers.  It is going to be windy and cold on the beach so we dig up a few beach towels and a blanket from the car, too.
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Chesterman’s is another beautiful beach – it is basically the beach that is viewed from the Wickanninish.  Sunset here is glorious.  We bundle up,sip our wine and nibble on halibut.  Ok.  Does it get any better than this?

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This was our last full day in Tofino and it has been great.  We are sad to leave our cozy little cabin and our awesome hosts – Al and Michelle.  They have a really good thing going on here and we feel lucky to have shared a piece of their paradise.  Tomorrow we turn back East and then South to Victoria to complete our time on Vancouver Island.

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8 thoughts on “What SUP???

  1. I remember a documentary on “Wick” filmed in the midst of a winter storm, with the high tide waves crashing just outside the window. You have some beautiful scenery in today’s post. Thanks,
    Love,Dad

    1. We found out that many people come to Tofino strictly to “storm watch!” It would be awesome to see the power of a storm whilst dining at the Wick. Vancouver Island is definitely a great destination. We are so glad we chose to stay in several different locations to get a feel for the place. It is a huge island and we only made it up halfway. Next time we might try to get even farther north. We are in Victoria today – have you been here? Beautiful.

  2. It is definitely mind-over-instinct to stand up on those things. Once up, it is hard to believe you’re up. But we had no choice – afterall it is STAND-UP paddleboarding.

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