On the tip of Vancouver Island’s Esowista Peninsula sits Tofino, a seaside village that draws whale watchers, surfers, boaters, beach dwellers, hikers, and campers. Reached via a narrow, twisting highway that connects the east and west coasts of the island, the village is surrounded by old growth trees, mossy rocks, and jagged cliffs. Tofino is drizzly and misty during the winter months, and the region’s stretched coastline has nothing but wind, water and waves separating it from Japan. The district’s tiny population swells as the summer sun emerges and temperatures begin to rise. Seafood restaurants and stores selling First Nations art and crafts dot the streets. Dozens of whale watching tours promise sightings of grey whales, humpbacks, and the occasional orca. Long Beach, situated in nearby Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, lives up to its name with its 16 km stretch of sand. Eager surfers pull on wet suits and plunge into the water to ride the waves. Beginners sign up for surf school, and lie belly-down on their boards on the sand, learning how to paddle, stand, and balance. Children on the beach unzip their jackets and hold them open, squealing as they lean into the salty wind, which is strong enough to hold them upright.
- Photos: Jeremy Koreski