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living the coastal life

West Coast Living in Ahousaht, BC

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The Final Hurdle

The boat soared upwards, plowing through the mountain of water surging in front of it. Lennie, the skipper, pulled back on the throttle as the reached the crest of the wave. There was a pause. Then the 20 ft long boat, began sliding down the back side of the swell into the looming maw of the trough in front of them. Over and over Lennie guided the boat through the everchanging roller coaster of water below them. Finally came the wait. Lennie had to time the waves before cutting across the point of rocks jutting out in the the sea.

This is the final hurdle to get into Hotsprings Cove – Home to about 70 full time residents, the tiny community is home to the Hesquiaht First Nations band on the remote western coast of Vancouver Island.

Most tourists don’t see Sharp Point at it’s worst. They experience scenic boat cruises on calm seas or fly into the inlet on a sea plane. The locals have to brave these rough winter seas near daily in order to carry on their everyday life. Doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, basketball tournaments all happen outside of the community and residents must take a boat around the Point to get there.

On the third wave Lennie made his move. Turning broadside to the waves he charged along the backside of the swell. He repeatedly checked over his shoulder to see what was coming up alongside and behind the boat. A simple miscount could send them hurdling over in a whitewash of breaking water. When he was clear of the rocks, he turned the boat and rode into the inlet on the back of the swell. The timing had to be perfect. Both the wave in front or behind them could break. He had to match the speed of the swell and stay balanced on the back of the swell in front of him.

Eventually the waves lost their force as they travelled deeper into the narrow cove. Lennie could relax – for now. He had made it safely to the dock. But now he had to load up with passengers, and do it all over again.

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Sharp Point on a calm December day, 2016
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An Afternoon at Chesterman’s Beach

A few days ago we took advantage of having a car (YAY!) and took our first little trip out to Tofino’s gorgeous beaches. It’s always nice to explore somewhere new and because of the cloudy weather, there weren’t as many tourists crowding the beach. We didn’t stay long but it was a nice break.

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Lennie looking out over the beach.

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Aggregate anemones and a green sea anemone in a tidal pool.

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Lennie looking for Tuutsuup – Sea urchins. They are his all time favourite sea side traditional food. We didn’t find any 😦

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I found a beautiful little shell!

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I couldn’t resist this shot of my ring on the rocks. It’s so beautiful  😀

Forget Whale Watching…

Let’s landscape watch!

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Yesterday was a gorgeous adventure into the upper reaches of Tofino Inlet, right to the head of Deer Bay. I really enjoyed watching the scenery slide by from my perch on the bow. I haven’t been that relaxed in ages.

We were following transient orca T077A, who was being rather elusive and going on extremely long dives before popping up erratically further ahead. We spent a while lazily following him from quite a distance and left in the mid afternoon when about 7 other boats were on scene.

I actually fell asleep on the bow as we cruised along and definitely have a bit of a burn today. I really want to be out on the water today too – Lennie has a neat whale watching tour, but the fog will burn off by then and I think I should be indoors looking after myself.

Orca Surprise!

What a beautiful and unexpected way to end the day!

We didn’t think we would get to meet up with the pod of orcas that was in the sound and in fact, we had no clue where they were. But 10 minutes from home, smashing through the glassy calm waters, came one of the youngest members of the T109As. We thought it was a Harbour porpoise at first glance, then maybe a dolphin. .. and then when the rest of the pod surfaced… Orcas!

For our friend on board, it was only the second time in his life to see a whale (the first was a cow and calf grey whale earlier in the trip!)

T109A Orcas off Front Beach

The T109As – The Runaways – passed by Ahousaht on June 22. This group of 4 are frequent visitors to Clayoquot Sound. Luckily I was listening to the whale watching channel on the VHF and heard when a boat discovered them coming around Yates Point near Ahousaht. I’m certainly getting my excercise this year by running to the beach for photos!

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