Tuesday, 20 September 2011


SUNDAY, September 18, 2011

TOFINO, B. C. is a wonderful place and I really feel so comfortable here.  The beach, the walking, the bicycle riding, the wonderful landscape.  And, of course the beautiful waterscapes that are continually changing all day.  There’s such a different kind of ‘heartbeat’ here compared to an urban area.  It’s a lighter, more casual rhythm and consequently it’s more relaxing…less stressful.

The beaches that are close to where we are staying are called Mackenzie Beach, Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay

David, Ula and I took bikes out today and we cycled for several hours on the beach and enjoyed watching the surfers as they were continually challenged by the way of the water.

For the local surfer’s it was a bit of heaven here today.  At this time of the year when the weather brings in bigger and more powerful waves the air is charged with chatter and anticipation by the surfers of how they will try to conquer the waves.   Apparently the time to run to the beach with your surfboard changes by an hour every day during this season.  Today the beaches were dotted with black wetsuit clad figures as they approached the waves then flung themselves on their boards and hand paddled themselves out to sea.  (By 5:00 p.m. the waves were up about 4 metres.)

From my vantage point with my little camera I could only capture a landscape with bobbing specs floating on the white waves.  But standing watching these young people displaying such agile and acrobatic displays of confidence against one of the world’s strongest natural elements…the sea…is in itself exciting and made me feel very much ‘in the moment’ with them.  Some managed to ride the waves while others tried and failed only to get back on their boards and paddle back out to wait for another wave to crest.  Even when the day turned to dusk these black bodies would try one more time; then eventually, one by one or two by two they would pick up their boards and emerge from the foaming water and wander back to their cars or their bicycles and head for home.

As a by-stander it is a very surreal experience watching the black shiny bodies of the surfers and the breathtaking views of the spray and the foamy water surging around the dark, rough rocks.  It’s lovely in the sense that you can recognize that these surfers are totally drawn in by the power of the ocean and that they swim out to ride the waves as a lover is drawn to his/her beloved.  There’s a magnetism that somehow cannot be controlled…it just has to be accepted.  But how small we are in the scheme of things.

We explored many of the rocky areas of the shoreline.  We were awed by the views and delighted by many of the small impressions in the sand which were made by various sea creatures.  The beach is strewn with barnacle bits, luminous shell pieces and the interesting pulpy leaves and long stems of kelp.  The wonderful rock formations are Mother Nature's sculpture...they rise up from the sand and surf like great animals and the trees that manage to grow on the rocky islands reach tall and strong to meet whatever blows their way...always moving with the rhythm of the wind.

In one area we found many beautiful/ugly starfish.  Ugly because of their slimy jelly-like appearance; beautiful because of their unusual colours.  They get tossed up on the rocks during high tide and end up being trapped in shallow pools or crevices as the water recedes.

Nature is most fascinating.  We also saw thick areas of kelp moving back and forth in the deeper water of the bays but alas no sea otters were seen.  I’ve done carvings and paintings of water animals that are typical of those found in the fresh water lakes of Ontario…mink and otters.  But the otters I’ve seen are much smaller than Sea Otters and I would really love to see some in their natural habitat.  Below are two pieces of artwork that I have done depicting animals that are more familiar to me.

The mink that I carved in this beautiful piece of Chinese Pink Soapstone was inspired by a family of mink that lived close to the shoreline of our cottage and I loved to watch them move silently and quickly through the high grass and bullrushes then slip silently into the water and disappear under the dock or into the crevice of a rock then reappear again further down the shoreline.  There beautiful bodies were always sleek and shiny and often glowed in the late evening as the sun disappeared from the sky.
The River Otters in the painting below were inspired by the otters I've seen in fresh water lakes of Ontario and I interpreted them in my own way with pen and ink and added acrylic colour for the ripples in the river.  


The message written in the painting is:  THERE IS MORE THAN BLACK AND WHITE IN THE STREAM OF LIFE.  In simple terms:  I believe that if you look closely at everything you see then you will see much more than you imagined!  Life can be complicated but that's what makes it interesting. 

On that note I'll close this blog...
and anyway it's now Monday, September 19, 2011…and we are heading to another beach…Long Beach a short drive from where we are Chesterman Beach and   Alex and Joanna are looking for bigger swells on the Ocean.

By the time we get home Andrew and Margaret will have arrived from the Vancouver via Horseshoe Bay Ferry and from Nanaimo to Tofino.  They’ll be tired because it’s the first time Andrew’s driven to Tofino so they’ll be travel weary when they arrive.  

I’ll start another blog in a day or too…in the meantime BE HAPPY!


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