After a few days resting up in White Rock where Rose took me for some Moby Dick’s, some Cactus Club, and some backyard grapes, we left once more from the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen for Nanaimo on Vancouver Island for a few days of surfing!
After a brief stop for groceries, and a night camped out at a road side stop next to some random lake, we set up camp in Pacific Rim National Park next to Long Beach. The west coast is just so rugged and lush and beautiful. And WARM! Especially compared to the Rockies I’d just come out of. I was wearing a tank top! In October!
I got a 3 day rental from the nearby surf shop, and signed up for lessons the next morning. Rose was going to Hawaii for a while shortly after this trip so she actually decided to save surf school for then.
The next morning I headed over to one of the smaller beaches for my lesson with Live to Surf. They were really awesome, and because it was the shoulder season, I actually had an instructor for just myself. And she was from Ontario, too!
She started off drawing a surfboard shape out on the sand, and just having me practice going through the motions of standing up – first, you push up like you’re doing a sun salute, then you bring one leg forward as much as you can, and then stand up from there.
It was a lot easier on land. I was not very good. I managed to stand up, but only really rode white-wash the entire time. But it was still really fun! Just lolling around in the waves was pretty fun, and the thick wetsuit kept me warm.
After I finished my lesson, I went and picked up Rose from the campsite and headed back out onto the beaches. We basically spent the rest of the day there, and I puttered around in the water all day.
I couldn’t believe how tiring it was though. I swam a lot while I was at McGill, but I guess the paddling is slightly different above water? And I’m pushing myself up all the time? For whatever reason my arms were giving out, and I was so exhausted by the end of the day.
It was a stunning day though, and the sunset was gorgeous. We watched the good surfers for a bit as the sunset and I took some nice photos before we headed back for some grub. Such a relaxing day. I could definitely get used to the surf-bum life.
The next couple of days I alternated between surfing, and going out for some walks in the gigantic forests the west coast is known for. We actually walked through Cathedral Grove on the way back, which was beautiful! The trees were so freakin’ tall and wide, it blew my mind! But we learned that for some reason they’re a common target for vandals and for whatever reason people would randomly set them on fire.
We also walked the Pacific Coast Trail, climbed some gigantic trees, and read the bill boards and acted some fools. It was great.
I think it was also this day that I went for another surfing attempt and was approached by a curious seal! It followed me around in the water for a bit before heading on. Super cool! I’ve never had a wild animal come so close before.
A couple days later, I returned my gear, and we headed back to Nanaimo where Rose caught the ferry back to Vancouver. So long, Rose! She was off to warmer seas, and skipping out on my drive down to Victoria as she’d obviously been before, being from Vancouver.
But for me, it was onwards to Victoria! After a deep-fried nanaimo bar in Nanaimo (which is famous for it’s BATHTUB RACES! seriously, it’s a thing), I was actually meeting another good friend from McGill who I’d be spending Thanksgiving weekend with. Stay tuned, my Island adventure isn’t over yet!