Wilderness at Your Fingertips By The Sea
by Chris McBeath
With every stroke of the kayak I was rewarded with a magical show - a Harry Potter style wizardry that sent brightly lit pearls of water up into the darkness, while strands of sparkling beads cascaded down towards the sea again. It was our own pyrotechnic show of nature where against the night sky, the phosphorus content of the sea showed itself in an extraordinary way.
But then Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island, is an extraordinary place.
Located on the Island’s westernmost coast, Ucluelet is a quaint fishing community that’s perched at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, between a rocky shore and coastal rain forest. In winter, storms rage across the sea with dramatic fury; in summer, the harbour is filled with fish boats and kayaks heading for the Broken Islands in Barclay Sound and come Spring and Fall, visitors flock to the shores to watch black bears hunting along the water’s edge, sealions barking atop weather beaten rocks or whales rolling through surf.
Overlooking the fishboats, commercial trollers and yachts moored in Ucluelet’s inner harbour, Water’s Edge Resort at Pacific Rim, formerly Tauca Lea By the Sea, is a spectacular haven. Tucked in between tall cedars, it sits on an island accessed by a causeway and with walkways and trails that take you down to the water’s edge or around the harbour.
Everything about Water’s Edge is built in context of its surroundings so it exudes a rustic, West Coast style with magnificent views from every window that seem to beckon the outdoors in.
The resort comprises one and two bedroom suites, each superbly constructed and beautifully finished with a designer’s eye for texture and detail. Furnishings are top quality and include items such as a leather lazy boy in front of a gas fireplace, beautiful artwork, a well stocked kitchen with designer ware, luxury linens and all the amenities you would expect in a fine hotel. And through the expansive or cathedral windows, the panorama is close enough to touch.
"Ucluelet is becoming the wilderness what Whistler is currently to skiing," says Elke Loof-Koehler, developer of the original resort. "Long Beach and the Pacific Rim National Park are within a few minutes drive, Tofino and the Clayoquot Sound are nearby, we're at the gateway to the Broken Islands and we offer great fishing, boating and hiking. Ucluelet is going to be a world class destination.”
Every indication seems to support her premise. Unlike many small communities, Ucluelet has a strong infrastructure that is encouraging development and, with tourism figures climbing at ten per cent a year, it’s a township that’s ready to rise to the challenge of being discovered.
But until the world arrives, I was enjoying my own discovery, paddling along the shore, casting my spell in the waters and reflecting on my day in the wilderness. In the morning, my husband and I had followed the new Wild Pacific Trail, an easy hike that meandered through old growth forest, past the notorious coastline around Amphitrite Lighthouse, and under canopies of windswept trees, their branches punished back by an unruly ocean. Later, we had boarded a Zodiac for a sprint out to the spectacular Broken Islands and tonight, just before dark we had come across a black bear flipping rocks over in search of wayward crabs, her cub constantly underfoot, eager for any tasty morsel that might be revealed. The scene had taken place only 20 yards from where we sat and was an enchanting sight. It was wilderness at its very best, and in its midst there was more still to come. The comforts of Water’s Edge resort at Pacific Rim.
If You Go:
Water’s Edge Resort at Pacific Rim
Long Beach, BC V0R 3A0
Toll free: 1-866-986-2222
Vancouver and other Lower Mainland travelers: B.C. Ferries accommodates travelers from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay terminals to Duke Point or Departure Bay. General Information for sailing schedule is 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)
From State-side: The Washington State Ferries will meet your needs; 206-464-6400 Take Island Highway #19 across Vancouver Island to Ucluelet, BC. Travel time is approx. 3 hours.
Turn left at the ‘Welcome to Ucluelet’ sign; follow the road round to the right towards the resort.
Subtidal Adventures offer nature tours to the Broken Group Islands as well as whale watching adventures 1-877-444-1134
Coastal Knights provide kayak rentals and guided tours, including bear watching and nigh kayaking. 250-726-7536
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