Friday, July 9, 2010

#40 Tofino

It's time for the city. It's Tofino time. Restaurants, shops, marine gear, boats, and lots of people. A 3-hour tour in protected flat waters took us from Bottleneck Cove to Tofino. We knew we were close when tour boats zipped past us, as close as 30 feet, doing 20+ knots. We have arrived.

Thursday's route kept us out of the ocean. We're on the west coast's Inside Passage!

We arrived around 11:30AM and cruised up and down the waterfront looking for dock space. There wasn't any convenient dock space. We saw space at a marina and started to dock, only to be waived off by the proprietor. We finally found empty dock space at the "crab dock" far from the center of town. We locked up the boat and headed down the dock to lunch, passing a "crabber" with the distinct odor of cannabis smoke. After all, it's Tofino.

After lunch we visited the public dock wharfinger (aka dockmaster), and inquired about dock space closer to town. He said we would need to raft with the fishing boats. So he pointed to a strong looking 40-foot aluminum fish boat and said "Just side tie to him". We did.

Wild Blue side-tied amongst the fishing boats in Tofino's 4th Street Public Dock.

Here's what we know about Tofino. During the European exploration of Vancouver Island by Captains Galiano and Valdez, the site of Tofino was named in 1792 after a Spanish hydrographer that accompanied the expedition.

Tofino homesteaders eventually shifted from the island to the peninsula after the turn of the century where it could grow inside bigger bounds. The Anglican Church (still standing, Second Street and Main) was built in 1913 after the Church of England provided funds and instruction for a church to be built on the most beautiful spot on Vancouver Island. Understandably, Tofino was chosen.

Earning the nickname "Tough City" for its long, rainy & tempest winters, Tofino was primarily a maritime trading town until the 1950's when a logging road was punched through the mountains between Port Alberni and the coast.

Today, Tofino is Tourism. Not only do 20,000 gray whales and several hundred thousand shorebirds visit during their migrations twice each year, but Tofino area experiences about 750,000 human visitors annually.

Tofino waterfront condos over retail for sale.

Dick and Alex have had several pretty good meals dining out here in Tofino. There are maybe 20 different restaurants from which to chose. We did our banking, laundry and shopping. There is a lot of convenient civilization in this town.

The public dock is a bit lacking. 15-amp power, inconvenient fresh water location, side-tie up only and strong dockside cross-current does not attract boaters. Several boats just anchor in the the middle of the harbour. The biggest drawback for the docks and anchorage is the large boat wakes. There appears to be no speed limit inside the harbour and boats speed by generating giant wakes. It's bouncy-bouncy time, all the time. Might as well anchor in the ocean!

On the plus side, the harbour has one of the best wifi systems we've found. Fast upload and downloads making Blog updates rapid.

We'll be here for several days. Crew Dick Squire left today for home in Malibu. We had a great time exploring the northern west coast. On Monday the new Wild Blue crew arrives. It's Alex's Cal Poly college buddies back for more. Willie, Joe and Mike should make cruising the southern west coast quite entertaining. We expect to update the Blog soon after they arrive.

Have a great weekend.

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