Where to go in British Columbia? Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
Bread with squash butter
Unusually well-fed, we set off for our surfing lesson on Wickaninnish Beach. Wickaninnish Beach is at the south end of Long Beach, the flat stretch of wind-swept sand that draws visitors from all over the world to enjoy its good surfing, tidal pools brimming with anemones, barnacles, and crabs, trees populated by eagles and ravens, and shores that attract sea lions and seals and the occasional gray whale spouting in the distance.
Simon (below), from Inner Rhythm Surf Shop in Ucluelet, met us in parking lot B.
After we'd struggled into wet suits, Simon led my kids and me down the path to the beach where he instructed us on the dangers of the ocean. He talked about the rip tides at the edges of the beach where water pours around the rocks with a strength that will defeat the strongest swimmer and taught us to swim parallel to the beach, if we had to. I wrote in an earlier post about how we followed Simon into the water and walked out into the waves, jumping over them. I was cold for a couple of mintutes, and out of my element, but the feeling passed the second I caught the first wave and rode it into shore. We passed the next two hours in the water. It was a wonderful adventure to share with a 13-year-old boy. My younger son had decided to pass on the adventure, and I kept glancing up to shore to see him leaping over logs, or bent over something he was building in the sand.
We said good-bye to Simon and I suggested we try somewhere new for lunch. But the kids staged a high-volume protest and begged to go back to the hotel, where, they insisted, they'd tasted the best food of their lives. So we returned to the resort and we all ordered Turkey Dip, a dish which included (sorry to be repeating myself) the best fried yams I've ever tasted. I knew I'd have some extra hours at the gym thanks to this meal, but every bite seemed entirely worth the future effort.
Two hours of surfing had left my older son exhausted and we returned to our room where the boys settled into watching YouTube videos, and I enjoyed the beautiful shower in preparation for my massage and sea weed treatment at the Drift Spa. Judy Bewick, Drift Spa's vivacious director, greeted me at the spa reception on the resort's ground floor. The luxurious spa (pictured below) takes full advantage of the resort's spectacular oceanside setting. My masseuse showed me into a peaceful room, and beyond its windows, waves curled over jagged rocks.
The spa offers treatments such as the "therapeutic seaweed soak." It uses the nutrients of seaweed, ocean water, marine minerals, sea salts and heat to nourish and cleanse the body in a hydrotherapy tub. And the "sea kelp salt scrub and moisturizer" is an exfoliating and clarifying body polish that removes impurities while vitalizing and making skin smooth and unbelievably soft for days. Fresh seaweeds are combined with Pacific sea salts and marine minerals to scrub away, loosen dead cells, and encourage healthy cell growth. The spa also offers traditional Chinese medicine treatments and reflexology.
I returned to my room feeling fantastic, and picked up the kids for our walk on the "Wild West Coast Trail."
Wind sculpted trees lined the trail.
Not far from the hotel, we came upon a small, secluded beach with trees that looked like installation art.
Our dinner at the Black Rock Resort amazed us as much as breakfast and lunch. The kids ordered from the children's menu and found their steak and hamburger a cut above the usual. I ordered tuna on a bed of sun dried tomatoes, olives, green beans, and potatoes.
The next morning, we set off for "the world's smallest aquarium", an engaging place for all of us. But that's another story and I'll be posting it soon.
As for the Black Rock Resort, I highly recommend it as a place to get away from the city, a place where you can instantly relax. I also recommend it to international travellers looking to find a luxurious yet informal lodging, a place to settle into for a week to experience at a relaxed pace the beautiful beaches, the old growth forests, whale watching, West Coast sunsets, and the many offerings of Ucluelet and Tofino.
Tidal pool at Long Beach
Long Beach long view
I can't wait to go back to Wickininnish Beach, pictured in the photographs above and below.
And to the Black Rock Resort.
Here's how to find the Black Rock Ucluelet Resort:
596 Marine Drive
Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0