The skies were overcast, but the rain mostly held off during our full day exploring the Tofino area. We hiked a lot of the local trails and explored the remote beaches while bird-watching and taking photos.
|Overlook along the Tonquin Trail|
|Long log on Long Beach|
|Taking wave photos on Long Beach|
|Couple on Long Beach|
Down at the Ucluelet harbor, we saw some California sea lions fishing right off the docks.
Next we walked out to Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet, a short stubby little lighthouse:
We only saw about 15 bird species throughout the day, but one of them, the black turnstone (80), added to the year list.
As we approached one overlook we were stunned to see a male and female killer whale surface just beyond the breakers! These were my first orcas of 2016, and also the first time I've seen orcas in the open Pacific! Infuriatingly, they only surfaced that ONE TIME. We scanned for the next half hour but never saw them again. Here's what my face looked like at that point:
|Teased by Ts!|
Before it got dark, we did some tidepooling at Brown's Beach, where the most impressive sights were the abundant mussels and giant anemones.
The next day, Monday, was when we had to head back, but when we woke up to sunshine we decided to spend most of the day on the coast before driving home. Our first stop was Schooner's Cove.
While the crashing waves on the sandy beaches were the most different from the east side of Vancouver Island, the forest portions of the walks were equally impressive, especially with their macro opportunities. Check out the droplets on this fungus!
It was so beautiful we decided to do the lighthouse loop in Ucluelet again, with dreams of more dorsal fins in the back of our minds for sure. We didn't see any more whales, but it was still a very good decision to go back out there. The wave action was incredible, and the rugged coastline was that much more picturesque in the sun.
|Crazy sea foam|
There were lots of bald eagles about too, with some of them engaged in courtship-like behavior.
All in all the Tofino area was stunning, just as I expected it to be!