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Day 6 : Thursday 30th September 2004

Coast to coast

After a refreshing night's sleep, I felt that I had really got over the jet lag which had tired me early in the evenings up until now. After a hearty breakfast of (again!) egg, bacon and hash browns, we had to make plans for our day ahead. As we were due to head back to the mainland the next day, we were keen to not spend the whole day driving, or end up somewhere too far away from the ferry terminal in Victoria.

It was then that the helpful hotel receptionist mentioned that there was a ferry also from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. A bit of research beforehand could have helped us there! But that was perfect. We decided to drive over to Tofino, on the Pacific coast and then head back and overnight in Port Alberni, before heading back to Nanaimo for one of the morning sailings the next day.

So we headed off and the driving was much easier than it had been the day before. The road to Port Renfrew was not a particularly good one! We stopped early in Port Alberni to book some accommodation, and grab a picnic lunch. Shortly after leaving the town, we came across a lovely stream running over some rocks just by the roadside and stopped there for lunch.

With it being early afternoon already, and still quite some driving to go, we headed onwards towards Tofino. After about an hour's drive through some breathtaking scenery, we arrived at the coast, where a section of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is situated. As per the previous day, we took some long guided walks, although luckily failed to come across any bears (although that would change later in the day!)

We proceeded up the coast to Tofino, which struck me immediately as being a kind of backpacker hangout, but still a lovely, somewhat secluded, peaceful place. We walked around briefly, but really didn't have much time to do anything substantial. We really regretted not being able to spend more time here.

The drive back seemed shorter than on the way out, maybe because we were driving more quickly and it was getting late, so there was less traffic. As we rounded a bend about half the way back, there in the middle of the road was a fairly large black bear! After frantic braking and fumbling around with the camera, I managed to take a picture (see below), but it ran away reasonably quickly (I didn't realise our car looked that mean!).

On our return to Port Alberni, we found our motel, which was absolutely lovely, and went out to a local restaurant called the Clam Bucket for a reasonably priced and utterly wholesome evening meal.