Visiting the Edge of the Earth in the Pacific – Tofino, Canada
The Bible teaches that God created the natural earth for the living species. I have not seen the Garden of Eden, but one can imagine what this garden looked like after this adventure to Tofino on the Pacific sea on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Canada is a vast country from West to East and North to South, from bountiful freshwater lakes to scenic mountains, icebergs and the Arctic. This vast frozen land with ice and snow, some say, is the best country to live in the world. This may be true in cities with heated houses and shopping malls and everything in between.
The escape adventure from Covid-19 began with a ferry ride (one can take a plane ride too) for two hours in Vancouver’s pristine blue and green waters and then a car ride for 3 hours in the land of First Nations, Canada’s original inhabitants. These are the Aboriginal Peoples or the Red Indians. On the way, is Port Alberni, a landmark of historical significance. The town of Port Alberni was a trading post established by the early Europeans who settled here in Canada. The temperate rainforest and its lustre and beauty, unseen anywhere in the world kept us in awe. I drew a comparison to my native village in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India. The only differences are the tropical rainforest species of trees and plants, huge lakes and ocean.
Tofino is a fishing village where Aboriginal Peoples made a living. The population of this resort municipality is about 2000 with annual tourists of about 600,000, generating revenues of C$ 240 million. Salt water and fresh water fishing for Halibut, Salmon, Cod, spotted prawns and Crab is the main occupation for fishermen. We rested in our cottage in Ucluelet which is a nearby ocean strip town without traffic lights. From here, we began the adventure, first to the sea. Indeed it was the edge of the earth in the Pacific. Nothing on the horizon to see but instead, just imagining Japan is somewhere in the distance. The beautiful unmaintained beach is a surfer’s and kayaker’s paradise. Of course, we did what we wanted to do, get into the waters for the first time after the Covid-19 phenomenon. Some surfed and others like me just watched the surfers, occasionally dipping our legs in the water depending on the moments of the weather. The weather experience was unique and something I have never experienced before, unpredictable. It was cold, windy, misty, cloudy, wet and sunny. The momentary change in the weather is one of a kind to experience from frigid cold to hot sun. I cladded the body from head to foot with warm clothes to stay warm and stripped the body to short pants to remain cool in the heat. The weather here does not exceed 20 degrees Celsius in the summertime- June to August. The winter weather is less than 10 degrees Celsius with occasional light snow. With the unending bicycle paths and with e-bike rentals, one can ride through the pristine jungle parks breathing the fresh cool air nature can provide under pristine conditions. Lung soothing fresh air may be only available in Tofino in my opinion. The lungs were very happy indeed.
Tofino is also a place of mighty green nature with mountain freshwater flowing into the Pacific Ocean where one can see the occasional sighting of mighty whales and other ocean species. Other wildlife such as deer and bears roam around, sometimes sighted as you trail through the wilderness in the protected parklands. The food was good. The seafood in particular was fresh from the ocean, and although we missed the Indian curries, we tried our best with our humble culinary skills to cook home food. But home is home for home-cooked food. Idli sambar and Puri bhaji were just distant dreams when you wake up in the morning. People were very homely and welcoming.
We felt like there was no Covid-19 at all although for safety we wore the masks and observed other protocols. It was a getaway from it all to the little paradise in the Pacific. There was no tension but spending my pension was simply enjoying and living in the pristine nature. And indeed we felt, it was the Garden of Eden in Canada. In the final analysis, nature is nature anywhere. I remembered my childhood days of enjoying and living in nature in my native village in India, my little Garden of Eden where I came to this world, but am grateful to witness this one half a world away.