(See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

From Victoria, Kyle and I drove the 4 1/2 hours north to Tofino to see beautiful Long Beach. On the way, we stopped in Cathedral Grove, home to some of the oldest and largest trees in Canada:

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^ Kyle talking a stroll through some of the giant Douglas firs.

After some more cruisin’ (and snoozin’ on my part), we finally reached our destination:

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^ Kyle’s a pretty great guy to have on hand if you want some scenic glamour shots.

Definitely worth the drive. It was cold and rainy and the water was freezing, but I still got my feet in that ocean!

From Long Beach we ventured over to nearby Wickaninnish Beach, and walked along the paths to this little hideaway:

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Finally, we went to warm up with some traditional clam chowder at what used to be the Wickaninnish Restaurant. I forget what it is called now, but according to Kyle it has really gone downhill since its transformation…

I spent the rest of my stay out west in Kyle’s hometown of Campbell River (where I also spent a week back in May). Here is a rundown of all the highlights of my week:

1. I made a blueberry tart.

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2. One evening, Kyle—and his middle school art teacher, Reid—took me Tyee fishing. Known as the salmon capital of the world for a reason, Campbell River is home to five different species of salmon. The largest species, Chinook salmon, can grow to as big as 130 lbs. Every August, people from all over (even some celebrities) come to Campbell River to fish for Tyees: Chinooks that are 30 lbs. or over.

Reid very kindly and patiently taught me the appropriate fishing techniques, but we did not end up even hooking any fish. I have to admit, a part of me was relieved that I would not have to embarrass myself by trying (and failing) to reel a 30+ lb. fish out of the water – I probably would have fallen overboard!

3. One morning, I went for a run on the Campbell River Seawalk: a 6 km-long paved pathway along the coast of the island:

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I meant to do this every morning, but alas, a lot of the other mornings were rainy (and/or I was just feeling lazy).

4. I made chili with bison meat, and it was delicious. Check back soon for the recipe!

5. Kyle and I went canoeing for about half an hour before we got rained out. There was so much rain that week considering that it had not rained in CR (or Vancouver) for a month! BC loves me, clearly.

7. We also went to Strathcona Provincial Park and hiked to Lady Falls. The sign at the beginning of the trail tells you that it is a 20-minute hike – don’t be fooled. Unless you are a senior, it will take you a maximum of 5 minutes. Still, worth the trek:

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We had initially planned to do the 4-hour hike up Crest Mountain, but the amount of fog that day made it too dangerous to do so.

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8. I had the freshest sashimi of my life at Koto. It was a very traditional Japanese restaurant (we had to remove our shoes before sitting down cross-legged at our table), and I loved the authenticity of it, not to mention the food! We shared an amazing roll (similar to Dynamite – tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, spicy sauce and something else I can’t remember) and assorted sashimi: tuna, salmon, snapper, yellowtail, squid, octopus, egg + some kind of shellfish. I’m normally hesitant to order sashimi because I’m afraid it will be slimy/taste fishy, but the fish was so fresh that neither was an issue and I actually really loved it.

I need to explain Saturday in more detail. It was a day full of ocean adventures, and some of the most fun I’ve had all summer.

We woke up at 6:30am to go fishing with Kyle’s dad and his dad’s friend Wade. Having slept a maximum of 5 hours the night before, I was less than enthusiastic about waking up so early, especially if it was going to be like the Tyee fishing where we didn’t catch anything. But it turns out our luck had turned around…

The first thing we did was put down 4 crab traps, before boating off to another area where we dropped our lines for fish. I ended up catching four massive (and ugly) lingcod, though one got away and another one wasn’t big enough to keep according to protocol. Check out this 20-pounder that I caught at the end (and that we ate in a chowder the next day):

image^ So proud.

Here’s a picture of me struggling to pull it up from the ocean floor (it was really fighting and I thought for a while I was going to pass out):

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^ ‘Twas a misty mornin’.

And here’s a picture of me posing with my new frenemy:

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^ “Oh haaiii!”

We boated over to a different area to fish for pink salmon. They’re the smallest species of salmon on the CR shores, and they like to jump! I had to learn a new fishing technique (because they fight/jump so much, someone else has to come up underneath them with a net) but I eventually got the hang of it and caught two.

All in all, we were able to keep 4 lingcod, 4 pink salmon and about 12 big crabs (though we caught a bunch more – you are only allowed to keep males of a certain size):

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The best part was, we were able to cook up 4 crabs and pan-fry a salmon for lunch right on the boat. The freshest seafood I will ever eat in my life. I could go for some more of that crab right about now.

That afternoon, Kyle and I were signed up for a 6-hour whale watching excursion (including travel time) with Discovery Marine Safaris. By then the day was beautiful, warm and sunny, and we were uncharacteristically lucky: we saw not only orcas but also porpoises, sea lions, and a few humpback whales!!! Some of our 23984732 pictures below:

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^ Synchronized orcas.

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^ Tuhtles.

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^ Orca coming to say hi!

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^ Humpback breaching.

It’s a good thing I don’t get seasick – it was a full day on the ocean, and an incredible way to cap off an amazing trip.

Stay classy, BC.

Caj

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