I never thought I would say this, but I did: “The weather looks really crappy, let’s go camping”. The back story is that we wanted to try to find a window in November, between Cyclone Bombs, where we could camp in Victoria for a couple of days. Bill would bike from the campsite to U Vic to do some research and I would enjoy bike rides or walks around Victoria. Well, for the next 14 days, the forecast was pretty gloomy and not suitable. So we looked at Tofino. There it was high winds and rain, and we decided it was perfect to do some storm watching and test camping in a winterized Loytää. Winterized means no running water, or toilet availability. But with electricity and water at the site, we could stay warm, dry and hydrated. So off we went.
The drive there was exciting. We left looking at dark skies to the north, drove through driving rain and then met snow in Sutton Pass past Port Alberni. Yes, we were having fun.
We left early on Sunday so we could go to Ucluelet before checking into the campground. The black rocky coastline at Ucluelet is so different than the sandy beaches of Tofino and we really like it there. Thankfully the skies dried up for the time we enjoyed our hike, even showing some blue skies. We did see the looming dark clouds out over the Pacific and knew that the break would not be for long. Just as we got back to the van, the hail started and we knew we had timed it well. Then we drove to Tofino in sunshine! A bit of everything so far on this day!
The campground is on the shores of Cox Bay, the premier beach for surfing. On Monday we enjoyed walks along the beach in the wind and some rain. Even if the wind was not yet as high as predicted, the waves and rollers were large, and the rooster tails of wind-blown spray were impressive.
I found some beautiful beach treasures!
We admired the hardy surfers. For some reason many of them were kids on boogie boards (school holiday?). We learned that the wave frequency was too high so it was good for the kids as they could play in the small wavelets near the shore.
Later in the day, when the wind kicked up, and the wave frequency reduced, (more space between the rollers) we saw the good surfers do some really long runs. It was fun to see. The skies out over the Pacific, however, were a harbinger of things to come.
Winds of 80 – 100 kmh were forecasted for overnight Monday. The wind and the rain pounding on the van roof woke me up but we were sung as a bug. We feared for the crazy surfers in their tents, but thankfully the morning revealed they all survived the night.
We took one last walk along the beach. On the way out, we stopped briefly at Long Beach on the way out and the wind was definitely higher there, and some pretty dramatic lighting.
We then made our way home through some pretty gnarly wind, rain, hail and slushy snow. It wasn’t the most fun driving, especially on the curvy, hilly road across the island, but seeing the constantly changing weather and mountains peeking in and out between clouds and even short clear breaks made it worth it. We were glad to be home.
Besides enjoying the wind and the rain on the beach of Tofino, we learned that we could very comfortably “camp” in less-than-ideal weather, with a winterized van. We had a 11L water container inside for our drinking and washing dishes requirements. With electricity we kept warm, could use a kettle to quickly heat water (faster than on the stove) and even used the microwave. We spent quite a bit of time in the van reading, watching movies, doing cross-stitch (that was just me) and working on a book (that was just Bill) with enough space and comfort. It’s way more comfortable than a tent for sure! The only drawback: not being able to use the toilet in the van. There were some early morning dashes through the rain to the bathrooms, but we did survive! We even thrived!