Long Beach is, as it’s name suggests, a l-o-n-g stretch of near-perfect sand that extends, spectacularly, almost 5km along the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island, in the heart of Pacific Rim National Park. We headed out to explore it, early one morning, once the tide was fully out.
The soft morning light was reflected in all the water that was trapped between the ridges left by the retreating waves. But… and here’s the surprising part… the water lying all over the beach was not left there from the waves, as you might think, as the tide was on its way IN. It was running off the land, from the impenetrable barrier of rainforest that stood, resolutely, against the sandy shore. In this area of the world, the rainforest oozes into the sea, feeding it with a constant supply of land water, even when the skies are not opening up.
You can see this interesting occurrence in the patterns of eroding sand on the beach itself. We were there when the tide was on its way in, and yet these sand patterns were flowing with water toward the sea. The water, leaking onto the beach from the rainforest, makes such beautiful patterns as it works its way through the sand ridges carved into the shoreline by the ocean waves. The feathery lines in the sand, like little deltas branching out, reminded me of the stalks, bulbous roots and leaves of celery bunches. Lying in repeating patterns all along the beach, they lay testament to the continual flow of water from land to sea here.
The beach was aglow in the soft morning light, catching the puddles and rivulets as the water they were releasing made its way to the sea.
The sound of the ocean here is different than expected, too. With the ferocious visual pounding of the surf and crashing of the waves, you’d imagine you would hear its match in sound. Yet what rumbles, rolls and thunders in your ears is a constant roar …. not the wave-retreat-wave-retreat sound you’d get in nature relaxation music… rather, it is a background noise of constant, thunderous roaring throughout the landscape. Like an angry beast awakened, never to rest again.
With catastrophic waves like that pounding the shore, not much makes landfall that hasn’t been bashed, battered, and beaten into oblivion…transformed… into soft sand. But occasionally there are wonderful treasures coughed up by the sea, waiting for you to explore…. beautiful nature bits that hint at the life that lies and thrives off shore, deep under the frothing and seething anger of the waves.
Always destination oriented, be it a peak that must be climbed, or, in this case, the end of the beach to be reached, we needed to reach the end of the beach… the point at which we could go no further, cut off from the beach by the dense rainforest, impassable cliffs and/or the encroaching sea.
We scrambled around… and some of it involved all four paws on the rock (hands and feet) to climb up to the top of the rocky point. And there, we found 2 red adirondack chairs!
Our national parks here in Canada have started this fun game, of sorts. Called the Red Chair Program, they place pairs of red Muskoka Chairs (named after a beautiful area of Ontario) in the craziest places in the national parks, clear across the country. We’ve found them in Jasper & Banff before this and they’re always in the most unexpected places!
Here they were a short scramble up some precarious rock, with the surf pounding all around, and perfect foot rests in front. And the views! Wow. Right in front of us was an amazing natural spectacle: a show of the waves blasting up and out a rocky island with an explosive psssft like water blasting out of a whale’ spout.
After taking in the show for a while, and watching some cormorants play on the rocks off to the side of us, we reluctantly headed back down the beach through a light drizzling rain. The weather was turning, but it was still beautiful! We were getting a bit chilled. Once back in Tofino, we stopped for an oatmeal ball and a coffee at our favourite coffee roastery. It had been a beautiful morning.
Here’s one last look at Long Beach… and a wave goodbye from the two of us to each of you! Thanks for stopping by!