Oh what a day. We decided to travel cross-island to visit a beach that is mentioned to be the best for tidal pooling. We were not disappointed! Botanical Beach at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park was amazing. We spent hours there and could have spent more time. It was recommended to go during low tide so we had to time our drive and exploration time accordingly but that was not hard.
The drive across the island to Port Renfrew was an adventure. Most of it was on a winding and hilly road with 1-lane bridges. We dodged many motorcycles and camper cans as we also studied the logging areas wondering how the heck trucks, machinery and people work in the steep hillsides. It is a shame to see denuded mountainsides but the logging industry is vital to Vancouver Island.
We were concerned that we may not be allowed in the park with Ontario plates on the car but beach access did not require payment of a day pass which pleasantly surprised us. Any provincial park in Ontario demands user fees for anything.
The walk towards the beach followed a sun-dappled road. The trees are tall and big so generally forest walks are “dark” but there is always room for sunlight!
The first beach was beautiful. The black shale rock was easy for rock hopping and it was great to feel the energy of the tide and water movement. Not huge waves but enough for interest and we watched kelp and see grasses flow with the water.
We learned that kelp beds are a doppelgänger for seals 😃. We really did believe it at first. But Bill does swear he saw, through the binoculars, a whale or two out in the channel I believe him.
Our real target was Botanical beach. We walked a while through a beautiful old growth forest. The trees were tall but also gnarled and often oddly shaped. We attributed this to the winds and forces of time.
The real fun started when we arrived at Botanical Beach. There was so much to see. The sandstone and granite rocks were full of holes that were perfect places to see sea urchins, blue mussel shells, white gooseneck barnacles, and green sea anemones. I looked for sea stars but could not find any. But looking in these holes and seeing the teeming life was a lot of fun. @Kirk we missed you; I am sure you would have loved it.
But the scenery around us was spectacular too. Even though the tide was going out swells were still forming and crashing in the rocks.
And the beach had some interesting wood!
We walked a bit further and found this garden of “holes” that were beautiful. Some had rocks in them; others had interesting see grasses etc. All against a beautiful backdrop of huge cliffs in one side and the Pacific in the other. We sat and enjoyed the views as we had our picnic supper.
We really enjoyed the time by the seaside. we loved the cool breeze and sunshine. We loved the energy of the crashing waves and trying to figure out how all the critters held on in the pools. The scenery was fantastic. A great day trip and one we will repeat I am sure.