Sunday, July 15, 2007
Today dawned bright and warm, but it was laundry day anyway. We gathered our quarters and headed to the Ucluelet Bubblemart, figuring on spending some boring minutes watching water and soap move around. Wrong!!
Upon our arrival at the laundry mat, we found a small magazine outlining a local yacht race. The Cadillac VAN ISLE 360, a 580 nautical mile circumnavigation of Vancouver Island was well under way and, for the 42 participating sailing vessels, Ucluelet was the stopping off point for “Leg 9” of the race. Curiously, I looked up from reading the magazine and around the small building. Within a few moments I had met Jack & Mike, shipmates from the Carene, one of the participating vessels. Before Jack & Mike finished their laundry, we visited a little and I promised to watch them start the race again tomorrow morning. (June 27th)
After our clothes were cleaned and dried, we headed to Florencia Bay & South Beach. Florencia Bay was named for a ship that was wrecked there, but to us, its beauty was the opposite of what is must have been for the distressed crew on that fateful day. It seems incredible to me the sea can be so beautiful one moment and so terrifying and destructive the next, and yet I shouldn’t be astounded. I spent a great many years as both its captivated audience as well as its hypothermic victim – depending on the day.
After a few wonderful hours of wandering the soft, sandy shores of Florencia Bay, my sweetheart and I climbed the 75 wooden steps back to the short trail leading to our car. We were tired, but decided to pay a short visit to South Beach before heading back to our cottage. A few minutes later, we were on the wooden walkway to South Beach – only 800m away. The signpost failed to prepare us for more stairs, but we navigated them anyway.South Beach was very small and made up exclusively of tiny pebbles. With the arrival of each successive wave, thousands of brine-drenched pebbles roared in puny protest under the incoming surf. It was secluded, rugged and beautiful.