Tofino and Ucluelet are surfing townships on the West side of the island and are very touristy. We were unable to find any accomodation in either town so we booked 2 nights on Meares Island at Lone Cone Hostal.
Steve kindly dropped us off at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo to catch the bus over to the other side of the island. Again, we slept a bit but the landscape on this journey was stunning. Very high, forested peaks, blue lakes to start with then once over the ridge the lowlands and the opposite peninsulas both towns sit on.
Once in Tofino we checked in and took the water bus to the island. Once there we hopped on the back of a ute with our gear and were taken up the dirt road to the hostal.
Lone Cone consists of a main building with a store and games room and the men’s dorm above it, a separate woman’s dorm and below that the kitchen with the private rooms off it. In frount of that is a sandy volley ball court, BBQ areas, fire pits and the camping area. It is lovely!
Once settled in our private but very basic room we went outside and chatted to a lady named Lisa from Australia and shared a bottle of wine. Just before dusk we wanderd down to the little beach and saw a stunning sunset.
That night we didn’t sleep too well as being just off the kitchen we could clearly hear the chatting and cooking some naughty folks were doing after 9pm. Some French guy in another room yelled at them to hush just before midnight so eventually got to sleep.
The next morning we were woken by a family with a baby having their breakfast just after 7am so we’re kind of forced to get up. The morning was quite cool and misty which was nice and we had a lovely fry up breakfast overlooking the misty bay. After breakfast we caught the 9:45 water bus back to Tofino.
The mist and cloud cleared soon after and the day became warm as we wanderd around the small but busy town in search of some new sunnies for me. We visited a coffee shop, souvineer and craft shops and booked a whale watching tour with The Tofino Whale Centre for 5:30. Got some beer and cider too for the evening. (If you can’t beat the noisy people, join them I say!)
Headed back to the island and headed off to the lake which is about a 20 minute walk from the hostal on a dirt road through the forest. Once there we came across a ‘First Nations’ family enjoying a swim and sunbathe. We chatted to them and learned their tribe owned the island and others around it.
Enjoyed a cider next to the lake and went for a swim. It wasn’t too cold but as you couldn’t see the bottom who knows what was lurking down there! There was also a canoe Fergus had a paddle round in and a rope swing.
Headed back to the Hostal to get changed then walked down to the jetty where the very small whale watching boat collected us. We had to put on what looked like space suits to keep us warm and protect us against hypothermia should the boat sink…..they were very sexy!
We headed out towards the sea a bit and found a Gray Whale diving. Our guide told us about their feeding habits, where they travel to, what they feed on and plenty of other information about the whales and other wildlife in the area.
Once out there we circled near a small rocky island with 4 other boats and waited for the Humpbacks that had been spotted out there. We waited for a long time and did see one but only briefly. Listening to the other boat drivers talking on the radio our guide decided there was not much else to see out there after the whale took its final long dive. We also saw cute Sea Otters, Sealions and Shags.
Next we headed back into a bay that is renowned as a place to see a lot of Gray Whales and we were not disappointed! We saw mothers with babies along with single whales diving and exhaling leaving big plumes of water in the air. I even saw a tail!
After spending about half an hour there it was time to head back. The tour lasted 2.5-3 hours in total and was quite thrilling. The ride back was fast but a lot gentler that the trip out. We were then dropped off at the jetty on Meares.
We made a lovely steak, garlic mushroom and salad dinner that we ate in the kitchen looking out to the bay.
We then had some drinks with a couple of lovely Dutch ladies, Kim and Chloe and chatted about our travels. After a while we joined a bonfire in the campsite with a couple of guys from Vancouver and continued to drink, chat and listen to music well into the night.
The following day, after an egg and avocado roll, we got the water bus back to Tofino with the girls and a few other people we had met from the hostal. Said our goodbyes and we sat in the park a while and got some supplies from the Co-Op before catching the bus out of there.