living the coastal life

West Coast Living in Ahousaht, BC



Back to Tradition at Keltsmaht

Keltsmaht is the traditional territory and village site of Lennie’s parents. Many Ahousaht locals with family ties there return each year to camp. It is an amazing beach with views of Opitsaht, Tofino and the open ocean. The fog rolls in and out each day and you can fish right in the bay. Returning here is like going back in history and returning to the traditions that once were common.

We brought the dogs with us. Not the most responsible thing, in terms of wolves and wildlife but a necessity as a dog owner with no one to care for them at home. They slept with us in the tent and stayed close during the day. Leia and Bruce loved our new lifestyle, but Yoda had clearly had enough partway through.

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Yoda enjoying his perch on a log.

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Bruce wasn’t picky about what you threw for him to fetch… Just that you were throwing something! When the sticks ran out, we used kelp!

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Leia looked every bit a wolf as she stalked the beach.

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The traditional way of cooking salmon in Nuu-Chah-Nulth culture is called a kluupchus. The salmon is butterflied and pinched between pieces of cedar before being roasted over a fire. The smoke and open flame give it an incredibly unique flavour.

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We also harvested cedar to be used for the regalia and decorations for our wedding next summer. Each cedar tree can only be harvested once in it’s lifetime. It will bear the scar for the rest of it’s time, but will survive with just one strip of bark taken. Multiple harvestings will kill the tree. We were harvesting trees while standing in a forest of trees harvests dozens and hundreds of years ago!

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You can see the large strip falling away as it disconnects. Don’t be too close underneath as it comes down!

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The raw ‘meat’ of the wood underneath the outer bark. This will dry and scar over but you will always be able to see where this strip was taken.

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The harvested bark before being cleaned. It is rolled so you can carry it out of the forest with more ease.

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Cleaning the outer layer of bark from the usable inner layer. It’s quite a long process to clean bark and must be done while wet.

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The inner bark is rolled into smaller rolls and taken home to be dried. Once be rolled again for storage until it is used for weaving projects.

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Lennie made me a cedar rose while we were cleaning the bark ❤

Keltsmaht was a great return to tradition and nature. We spotted a wolf across the beach and watched eagles in the treetops. We tried to hike across the island to Ahous Bay but took a wrong turn and ended up on the next beach over! I can’t wait to go back…


Low Tide Beach Stroll

On rare occasions, the tide is low enough to walk from Front Beach to First Beach without ever leaving the sand. A couple weeks ago Lennie and I managed to find a day where our schedule and the tide matched up!

We had a great time with the three dogs, strolling around the rocky outcroppings, hunting for hiishtuup (Chiton) and treasure hunting among the logs.

(Mouse over or click on the photos for captions!)

A Doggy Day on the Town

… Well, a day in Tofino with Yoda!

I scored an awesome toolbox off the Tofino Trading Post ( A locals only FB based buy, sell and trade) and had to make a run down to Ty-Histanis (Another reserve about 20 min. south of Tofino) to pick it up. I decided to bring our smallest dog, Yoda, with me for company. He had a blast riding around and meeting new people. I must have tired him out because he is passed out beside me right now!


Yoda happy and smiling in the back seat! He just hops right in and really enjoys car rides. Most stores are great in Tofino about dogs and if they are worried about things getting peed on (A valid concern) they simply ask for your pooch to be carried, which I certainly didn’t mind! There was only one store that asked for him to remain outside, which Yoda would NOT have put up with, so I simply left. That kind of sucked because I was looking for a piece of clothing that I was pretty sure I would have found at their shop…. their loss!


Enjoying the patio (and the fresh stream water from Meares Island) at Tofino Sea Kayaking. We love stopping here for a drink or dessert. Lennie compares every single caffeinated drink he ever has to the Americanos here. Apparently they make them just right and no one else even comes close!


I got an iced latte and was pleased to see that Tofino Sea Kayaking is supporting the Surfrider Foundation’s Straws Suck campaign and is using paper straws in their drinks! These don’t create needless plastic waste or endanger wildlife if they are littered into the ecosystem.


Lennie had some fun with Yoda on our way home and let him pretend to drive the boat! He was actually much happier being cuddled and I held him on my lap most of the way home.


Our view as we entered the Ahousaht Harbour. The closest point of land on the right is known as the “Switchback” and that’s where you make the tight left turn to enter the sheltered waters of the harbour. The other boat following us is the Ahous Hakoom, another water taxi based in Ahousaht.

It was a great day – Next time I might take Leia because she needs to be car trained before we go visit my parents in Duncan!

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