A big part of this trip is getting time back to focus on some of the hobbies and activities we love. I have been surfing and kiteboarding in the Bay Area for multiple years, but haven’t dedicated enough time and energy to make the progress I’ve wanted. So for this trip, I set the stretch goal of getting in 100 days of kiting and 100 days of surfing – Jenine is focusing on yoga and cooking. These past two weeks we got a great start in two spectacular spots on Vancouver Island – Nitinat Lake for kiting and Tofino for surfing.
This is an amazing kite spot that many USA kiters hear about when they meet BC kiters, most often when kiting down in Baja. It is a remote lake about 3 hours north of Victoria on the west coast of Vancouver Island, that has an epic thermal wind that turns on every day around noon. To make it even more interesting, the closest real town is about a 1.5 hour drive down a dirt logging road full of big rocks and potholes (take this into account if you are planning a visit – gas up and stock up). The primitive campground is full of awesome kiters and wind surfers excited to be making the pilgrimage to this special spot. The wind, the scenery, and the people make this spot one of the best locations for Kiteboarding that I’ve ever been to. I wrecked my body over the course of a week kiting as hard and as much as I could, and I left with much improved tricks and a bunch of new friends that I hope to meet again in La Ventana Baja this winter.
You might be wondering what a day in the life at Nitinat looks like (AKA, what do George and Jenine do all day?):
Morning: Yoga session followed by a quick paddle and a hardy breakfast. The water at Nitinat is a mix of saltwater and freshwater, which brings in beautiful jellyfish and other wildlife (including a whale which other campers managed to sight!).
Mid-morning/Early afternoon: Practice Spanish (thanks Rosetta Stone!) and do some light reading
Afternoon: Kiting, kiting and more kiting (Jenine enjoyed the show – and did some reading while George enjoyed the wind)
Evening: Great dinners and catching up with other kiters over a beer. Jenine even managed a delicious mexican inspired slow-cooked pulled-pork one evening, a four hour endeavor
Late night: Cribbage, group campfires, and late nights on the beach
Next we hit up Tofino at the far north west coast of Vancouver Island. I was skeptical about the surf and beach scene at first, but eventually was blown away. Tofino, a known “hippie surf town”, is crawling with tourists in the summertime and the high prices that accompany a worldwide tourist destination. As we pulled into our parking space campsite wedged in with the masses, we were almost tempted to leave this little gem. But with morning brings new perspective, and I ended up surfing all week at Cox’s Beach, and met surfers from all over the world. The waves got big and the water was cold. The paddle out was very tiring and it felt a little like surfing around San Francisco.
The week was great – we did yoga and meditated on the beach each morning, surfed all afternoon and had campfires on the beach each night, with some of the first of many beautiful sunsets we hope to enjoy on this trip.
The meditation is part of a new daily trend that we are taking up after reading “Why Meditate” by Matthieu Ricard. My mother had given me the book, and I just got around to reading it last week. I recommend it highly.
We are off for a few nights in Vancouver proper and then onto Banff. The stress of leaving our lives in SF is finally melting away, and we are relaxed and excited for each new day and the freedom to chose our own adventures.
Overlanding Tip: For fast wifi in Canada, make a stop at your nearest Tim Hortons
- The Best American Travel Writing 2013 (great compilation of short travel writings picked by Elizabeth Gilbert)
- Why Meditate? by Matthieu Ricard
What we are listening to:
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