Be kind, dear reader, for here follows a tale, so earnest and woebegone,it’ll to make your eyeballs roll right out of their sockets.
Now, I know there are larger problems in the world, but we don’t live in the real world: we live in Tofino. Tofino is a parallel universe unto itself, especially in the summertime when invaded by millions of alien tourists.
Oh, it makes the locals huff and sigh, check their calendars and think wistfully upon the long, dreary quiet winter days when work is short but time, space and peace are plentiful.
This is a story about #tofinoproblems
Sweetie and I give ourselves one day a week to completely and utterly slack off. No laundry, cooking or shopping. No cleaning, emails or errands. One day in seven, we go to the beach to stock up on sunshine with the hope that our skin will somehow remember what sunlight feels like in February.
This week, we biked to Cox Bay.
Usually, Sweetie and I ride our bikes the whole way – five kilometers from our house and two kilometers on trails and beach until we get to a secluded spot away from the crowds. Just us, the afternoon and the sunshine. This is our bliss time, our self-care, our recharge.
This week, there were so many people on the path to the beach, we had to *walk* our bikes nearly a half a kilometer.
Oh wait, it gets worse.
When we got to the beach, thanks to the super moon, the tide was SO HIGH we couldn’t ride on the beach, either! We had to WALK our loaded bikes for another kilometer in HOT sand!
The high tide line was littered with dead jellyfish. Sweetie avoided them as “gross”, and I guess the millions of dried velella were a lot like dead shadflies.
There were millions of baby squishy jellyfish too, they sparkled like frozen drops of water on the beach, and popped disconcertingly, like tiny water balloons under our feet.
I know, right? But wait, there’s more.
After a LONG hot slog down the acres of beach we finally reached our usual spot. The high tide had moved around our driftwood shelter, and that was a total bummer. No shade. We would just have to make do in the sunshine.
We unpacked everything, spread out our beach blanket, our multiple snacks meant to sustain us for the long day of lounging ahead, and we pulled out our sunscreen – the sunscreen that *wasn’t even our brand* by the way, it was all that was left in the store!
The nerve of these tourists, buying up all of our town’s sunscreen. Don’t the shop owners plan ahead for this kind of thing? Seriously!
So we slathered on our streaky, sketchy sunscreen with the unspecified SPF and drank about a liter of water, when a couple of tourists set up their blanket just ten feet away from us! Come on, guys, there’s a whole beach here! It’s the Tofino equivalent of choosing to pee right beside a stranger instead of picking a urinal a few booths over.
But that wasn’t the worst part about these people – they had three dogs – Shelties.
You know what shelties do? They bark. Constantly.
Sweetie and I waited for a while to see if the dogs would settle down. They weren’t going to settle down, they were city dogs at the BEACH for heaven’s sake. They were incapable of settling down, like two year old children on espresso, there was no suppressing their yelps of BEACH! BEACH! BEACH! BEACH!
We decided we had better move or our whole day would be shot.
We packed up everything and slogged a few hundred feet more down the hot beach in the *scorching* sand! Squish, squish, squish, went the jellies. Crunch, crunch, crunch went the velella.
Our second site was a bit cooler than the first, which was a good thing because did I mention it was nearly 30C? Toficians aren’t built for that kind of heat. Seriously, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The ocean breeze was a welcome addition to our new site.
We unpacked everything, our blanket, our water, all our snacks, our books – when something *odd* floated into our nostrils. It was a smell that *reminded* us of the garbage strikes in Toronto, yet ranker, oilier. You could almost chew this stench.
Dead seal. Ten feet away.
At this point, Sweetie wanted to go home. The sight of the deflated seal had caused her to retch uncontrollably for a few minutes, bracing against a massive chunk of old-growth driftwood.
Oh no, but our BEACH DAY! I begged her to stay, let’s give it ONE MORE shot.
We packed up everything AGAIN and slogged right to the end of the beach, braving the rotting corpse, the scorching sand, the dead jellyfish squishes – until FINALLY we’d reached the very last spot, our final destination, our only hope.
And it was glorious.
The sea breeze was just perfect and wicked the sweat right off our streaky sunscreen. We drank another liter of water and spread out our day’s supplies. The best part was this final spot even had some shade, blessing of blessings!
Our blueberries had gotten a tad squished and reminded me of the dead jellyfish, but I ate them anyway. Our Reeses Pieces had gotten crushed and melted into a single blob of orange, yellow and brown, but we made do. We’re troopers, Sweetie & I.
We gloried in our spot for fifteen minutes… until the fog rolled in and the sun and the heat were swallowed up in one smoky gulp.
Just a half hour before, we’d been too hot. Now, we were too cold. We wrapped up in the beach blanket for a half hour, but the fog was relentless. There was nothing to do but stay and shiver, or go back home.
Fog-ust has arrived! We may not see the sun again until September! Oh well. Part of what makes Tofino home is our #tofinoproblems.