“What if someone takes our house when we’re gone?” Miss C.
“Does Tofino have sasquatches?” Miss S.
“What if it rains the entire time we’re here?” Me.
But being hearty west coasters, we were prepared. An extra tarp had been purchased and we’d packed their gumboots.
What we weren’t prepared for was how wet our daughters would get. Oh. My. Word. They are true aquaphiles.
The water at Mackenzie Beach called to them as it crashed across rocks; carved paths through the sand; filled tidal pools. They couldn’t resist – even in the pouring rain.
Fun fact: clothes won’t dry, hanging under a tarp for four days. The clothes the littles were wearing in the ocean on Saturday came home on Tuesday filled with sand and surf – so did the ones worn on Sunday and Monday.
It’s their parents’ fault, really. All those days and months spent dreaming of camping beside the beach and neither my husband nor I thought about reality.
When we go to the beach in Victoria, the littles race into the water, make sand angels, construct boats out of driftwood and come out soaked. Most days they’re transported home naked – a towel separating them from their car seats.
At Bella Pacifica, the girls ran to the ocean, splashed, and came out needing new clothes for fear of hypothermia as night fell. By Tuesday we were scraping the bottom of the bags for outfits.
As for life at the campsite, it was relaxing. Yes, camping with three kids ages 8, 5 and 3; a dog and a mum with strep throat was relaxing… Right, I had strep throat; that was awful.
Because I was sick, my husband did all the work: cooking, dishes, trench digging to redirect the much-needed rain away from our tent… Even though I went from zero to better over the weekend, his willingness to do everything was the reason the trip was a success.
Our campsite was large. It fit a four-man tent (we’ll need an upgrade soon) minivan, picnic table and fire pit. Though we couldn’t see the ocean thanks to the foliage surrounding our site, if we looked diagonally through campsite #4 beside us, we had a great view.
The girls enjoyed walking the path through our bushes to the beach and giving us reports on where the tide was or who was out there. They loved playing in the tent and climbing the rocks like mountain goats.
In what might be an unpopular statement, the town of Tofino itself isn’t kid friendly. Sure there were coffee shops, restaurants and kitschy stores where you could purchase I Love Tofino sweatshirts for $39 – Miss C told us firmly, “I don’t love Tofino, I love my sisters.” Insert collective awe. However, unless you were there to surf, whale watch or visit the hot springs, the real magic was found on the beach. Where else can you watch eagles be harassed by crows, or walk the tide line and find the tiniest of jellyfish?
Four days was the perfect amount of time to rough it seaside. On our way back down the island we found an amazing restaurant in Port Alberni called Pescadores, and stopped to check in on the 800-year-old tree in Cathedral Grove. Magical.
Magical still that the rain stopped on day three, Sasquatch was nowhere to be found and our house was exactly where we left it on our return. As I unlocked our front door, and my husband unloaded the van, plans for our next vacation were in the works.