The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) sponsored Stephen Miller’s flight in February to the Wickaninnish Inn for its Writer InnResidence series in Tofino, BC.
The most convenient way to get to the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, BC is to fly via one of Orca Airway’s eight-passenger Navajo Chieftans. But the weather this time of year (February) is, to put it mildly, changeable, and we’ve had to drive across the island to take part in the big attraction: storm watching.
Yes, they call it the “Wet Coast” for very good reasons. The dining room has a 240-degree view of the waves as they crash onto Chesterman Beach—a long curve of taupe-coloured sand punctuated by rocky outcrops that seem to have been placed for maximum artistic effect; there is, for the entire weekend, about 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of visibility. There are rain slickers in every room, and as soon as possible, we venture out into the blast. Well, it’s absolutely sublime.
There are pools and strange patterns in the sand, long strands of kelp; someone has made a really huge mandala out of mussel and oyster shells. Tofino is on the international surfers’ map, and out there are a dozen hardy souls, wet-suited against what can only be unimaginably cold water.
But the air! Well, it’s not air exactly; it’s about one-third water and salt-spray and hovers in a fine mist that is probably really good for your skin, hanging in curtains that remind me of the aurora borealis. If the sun were out, a thousand individual rainbows would be cast by this tactile atmosphere that can’t quite decide if it’s going to become rain or fog.
The real world sloughs away, and you realize that all you are is a primate in a rain slicker. The endless waves, the geological timelessness of it all, combine to create a deep inner cleansing.
So, my friend, if you can get there, do. Go to the spa on the beach, eat some fantastic food, walk by Henry Nolla’s carving shed or just sit on a rock and figure out what’s really important. In my case, a lucky fool, just standing on the sand happy to be alive. Grateful to simply be there.
To simply be there.