Ucluelet: March 21 - 23, 2012
Once again, this is not exactly a vacation experience but simply an interesting two-day outing to Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The drive from the Comox Valley takes about three hours and passes through Port Alberni on Highway 4. The highway runs over a rise before Port Alberni and another higher rise between Port Alberni and the coast. There was still considerable snow beside the road on the rises, but the road was bare and dry. This was fortunate since long sections of the road west of Port Alberni are narrow, winding and undulating. There are also sections of high rock faces adjacent to the highway.
We were the only guests at Ebb Tide, a three-room B&B near the southern tip of the peninsula. It has a waterfront location facing east into Spring Cove, a small inlet from the ocean. Our room was large, well but plainly equipped with a comfortable queen bed and all the amenities needed, including TV and Wi-Fi. Each room had an en suite. Our excellent breakfasts were served in our room. There was enough food left over to provide our lunch of muffins, biscuits and tea. Definitely recommended. http://www.ebbtidespringcove.com/
Tourists come to this area in the winter months for storm watching, to witness the fury of the Pacific ocean. Also, the week of our visit was whale watching week when these mammals pass by on their migration from Mexico to Alaska. However we saw neither whales nor storms.
Ebb Tide B&B
Evening view of Spring Cove from the Ebb Tide deck
There was a light shower in the early hours of our first full day but, by the time we had finished breakfast, the sun was shining and we set out on the southern loop of the nearby "Wild Pacific Trail". The name sounded intimidating but the trail was well developed and well maintained. http://www.wildpacifictrail.com/ This trail should not be confused with the "West Coast Trail" that is a daunting multi-day ordeal. http://www.westcoasttrailbc.com/trail_guidebook_map.htm There is no charge for the Wild Pacific Trail but there is a box for donations to help fund maintenance.
There were numerous lookouts with benches for Eleanor to enjoy the view.
A lighthouse is located on an exposed promontory.
There are interesting views at almost every turn of the trail.
Norwoods Restaurant is THE place to eat in Ucluelet. It's small, not much to look at, but clean with excellent food. Our opinion was shared by "Susan", our host at Web Tide, and by many of the comments in the "Guest Comments" book in our Ebb Tide room (e.g. equal to anything in Vancouver). The lack of negative comment suggests that the quality is consistent. The menu was limited but interesting. I had steelhead, the catch of the day. Eleanor had seafood chowder and an excellent, different spring roll. We accepted the server's suggestion for glasses of very good BC wines, a half glass for me since I was the designated driver. We finished off with a triple chocolate mix
I cannot recommend the "Fish and Chip" restaurant where we had our second dinner. We almost did a U-turn at the door. It was not clean and there was inadequate space for the four tables. When one of the tables was occupied, access was blocked to a second table. To give them their due, we were served a generous portion of very fresh Halibut, well cooked in fresh oil, with a small but tasty cabbage slaw. However, the chips were a soggy disaster.
We did not visit Tofino at the northern end of the peninsula; we've been there, done that. But we did visit Pacific Rim National Park and walked several almost deserted beaches.
Long Beach: So there I was, wading out with my long board to challenge the elements .... not!
Anyone interested in a vacation or outing on Vancouver Island should check out this web site, http://www.vancouver-island-adventures.com/ ,,, I must confess that it's a project of our daughter-in-law, Susan Hughes, who lives with our son Graeme and their son Nolen in Nanaimo.