Sunday, August 21, 2016
Megin River to Tofino
After Hot Springs Cove we headed up inlet to Megin River. A rainy evening gave way to a sunny morning which we were super happy about since our plan for the day was to paddle up the river. After a quick session of yoga where I soaked up as much sun as I possibly could we were approached by a First Nations boat. They gathered a fee for anchoring in their little harbor and told us about their teenage nieces and nephews on shore who were spending a few weeks camping and living off of the land of their ancestors as a spiritual cleansing. What a super cool thing.
After I packed up lunch we paddled through a narrow rock lined cut and up the crystal-clear river through old growth until we hit a big sandbar where we got out to eat our lunch and take in the gorgeous scenery. Having seen so little of the sun we really relished any time we got to bask in its glory so this was a wondrous little outing.
In the afternoon we set out down inlet to Ahousat which we had read had a little man-made "warm" springs. We found the anchorage a little tricky to anchor in and ended up dragging up the anchor to change our location. The following morning we awoke to more cloudy, cool weather but we paddled to shore anyway to find the fabled "warm" springs. When we got there I quickly wimped out of a dip in the "warm" springs when I felt the water temp. I stayed bundled up while all three boys stripped down and bravely took a dip while I snapped photos.
We had a tide to catch so we set sail after lunch for Tofino. We had the craziest, coolest sail of the entire trip. We wound through all kinds of twists and turns and each time the wind shifted in our favor. We sailed right up to the mouth of Tofino Inlet on a single tack and then things got really crazy. Tofino is notorious for being not-at-all sailor friendly but we decided to give it a try anyway. The current rips through the narrow inlet making docking and undocking incredibly challenging. We decided to tie up at the public dock where the wharfinger I talked to on the phone said that there was one spot available and there should probably be enough depth for our boat. I had a bad feeling about this. I had a nagging feeling we should tie up to the fishing resort docks where a nice lady with a proper English accent had told me they had plenty of room and, of course, there would be enough water under our keel. Anyway, we first landed on the wrong part of the public dock (because I had quickly forgotten what the wharfinger had said about what was available.) It took three people to help pull the boat against the current onto the dock. After we were tied up we were informed that we needed to move to the end of the dock so Isaac, Jason and I untied Marinero (at this point I silently panicked about our decision to leave Aaron on the boat just in case we lost control of her) for Tofino Docking Attempt Number Two (as if the first one wasn't difficult enough) and started walking her back down the dock. Phew! We made it into our spot and after we were safely tied up, again, a man came wandering down the dock and started up a conversation. He told us he has a sailboat, but he keeps it in Ucleulet because Tofino is so difficult. Eventually I asked him if he knew what the depth was here. After some puzzling we all realized that the wharfinger's half-hearted reassurances about depth here had no factual grounding (bad pun). We realized that we would in fact ground and be sitting on our keel with three feet of us out of water once the tide dropped to low. Our new friend then told us a story about how a friend of his had that exact thing happen to him on these docks. Curse you, Shady Wharfinger! Thank you Dear Nameless Stranger for your advice and warning. Time for Tofino Docking Attempt Number Three. As we untied Marinero we saw the one and only Irish Lads pull into a nearby dock. I'm positive they don't ever have to worry about depth.
Next we headed to the fishing resort with the nice woman with the proper English accent and tied up for the next couple of nights. The nice woman with the proper English accent met us on the dock and helped pull us in as the current ripped by us, literally. Certain times of the day the current was so strong we watched standing waves and tide rips form next to Marinero and boil through the docks. We felt relieved to be tied up to a dock where we wouldn't ground so now it was time to explore the town which basically equals a quest to find all the yummy food and consume as much as possible as quickly as stomachs would allow.
It was super strange to step back into real civilization. The surfing town of Tofino is a major vacation destination so the streets were choked with your classic ice cream-slurping tourists. The first night we ate at the Wolf in the Fog which was good but didn't live up to all of the hype. We had grown used to quiet anchorages so it was a bit of an adjustment being tied up to a dock next to bar where the patrons' rowdy yells kept us awake late into the night, or maybe it was early morning.
The next day (after lunch at a fish market which was meh) I made a major grocery run while the boys wandered from coffee shop to coffee shop looking for decent wifi. They never found any....apparently there is no good wifi to be had in Tofino. When I was checking out at the grocery store the clerk plopped a lottery scratch ticket in front of me and stared at me blankly. I stared back at her bewildered. She told me to scratch it so I could save on my groceries. I was about to pass it to the person behind me but they insisted I do it. I scratched it and It ended up taking 30% off my bill saving me $67 which I found amazing. The person behind me got 5% off her drink saving her about $0.03. I guess it was my lucky day. Like I said I had a lot of groceries so I needed help carrying them but I got tired of waiting for the boys so I strapped one bag to my shoulder bag and heaved the other four bags onto my shoulders. I only made it two blocks before my shoulders felt like they were going to tear out of my body and like I had a compressed spine. I cried uncle and set all of the bags down in the middle of the block and worked on my patience skills. Luckily I didn't have to wait long and I was thankful to have the help lugging all of those groceries the mile back to the boat. We got back just in time to turn around and head back out to dinner at a Japanese comfort food restaurant. Sorry Wolf in the Fog, Kuma Tofino kicked your butt with its amazing grilled rice balls. Yum! We left the restaurant completely stuffed and settled back into the boat for another low-sleep night. It was nice being back in civilization to indulge in way too much food and restock our fridge but we were ready to head back to the wilderness.
Click here for photos.