Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a day trip to the west coast

I know what you are thinking. Am I not already on the west coast? Well, not exactly. I'm on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The west coast is a three and a half hour drive from here. So, on Saturday, Toni and I headed west!

The first place we stopped was Coombs. Coombs is this lovely little touristy town set in the middle of agricultural land. It is the setting for a number of interesting and quirky shops. I've been on the Island long enough to not be to drawn into all the quirk, but I do love stopping in at the Coombs Country Market, where, in the summer time, you should be able to see the Goats on the Roof. The goats weren't on the roof of the main shop on the day we went, but I knew they lived out back, so we had a look. I saw this sweet little guy itching himself on the fence and went over to give him a scratch under the chin. They see people all the time, and because they are kid-height, probably get a lot of loving.

Here is is his buddy, overlooking a very steep ravine. 

 The washroom at Coombs Country Market.

 The Market is a neat place for all kinds of reasons. Their schtick is to have lots of interesting import food, some of it healthy, some if it just interesting. Dan and I have a habit of looking for the latest in new beverages. I hadn't seen this one before, different flavors of ginger ale.

 We arrived in Ucluelet some time after 1:00. We stopped in at our friends' house, then the four of us went to the aquarium. It used to be just a little trailer, probably not more than 200 square feet, with no heating or bathrooms. It was a long time fundraising goal to be able to build a new aquarium. When I left in July last year, they had reached their goal and had started pouring concrete. It was finally open!

 They did a good job of the buildings and displays but I have to say, I found the selection of species featured here a bit disappointing. Above is the octopus, which of course is sleeping (she is always sleeping!) but it is much better to see her here than how they had it set up in the old trailer.

 Suction cups!

 One of the two jellyfish displays, this is one of the tanks from the old aquarium. Kind of boring.

 With the lighting coming in from the windows and creating glare, and with my little iPhone camera, it wasn't easy to get a good shot. The above photo is taken from the back of the aquarium, looking towards the door. It's all one big room with a main display in the middle. They used as much local wood and materials for construction as possible.

 I think the flatfish display was my favourite. Mostly it was Starry Flounder but the guy with the big dot on his side is a C-O sole. Why is it called a C-O sole, you ask? Well, it's because when they first identified this species and were thinking of a name, they couldn't decide if the spot looked like a 'C' or an 'O'. I know, right? That's what I was told when I was training for my fish job a few years ago.

 At one point I felt like I was communing with these guys. A bunch of these flat fish with buggy eyes came near to where I was sitting. It's a low tank, maybe no higher than my knee, so I could squat down and be really close to them. I know they could see me. I wonder what they were thinking with their swively eyes?

 I don't think I caught it very well but there are two sculpins leaning on the starfish, having a conversation.

 Same tank, different sculpin.

After the aquarium we headed to Tofino to visit Ellie at Knits by the Sea, the yarn shop I worked at when I lived in the area. Then to Tacofino for fish tacos. Stopped back into our friends' house for a snack and to look at photos, then Toni and I were back on the road.

Oh yeah! This is the bread I bought at the Coombs Market. When my sister was visiting last year, she bought this loaf called Triple Spiral Rye bread. We loved it and it has since been made into legend in our family. I got another one in her honour. Also: fudge. This helped fortify me and Toni as we spent Sunday gardening and laying around, the Skipper had some when he got back from fishing.

We left for our trip just before 9am. With all the stops and the construction on highway 4, it took about four hours to get there, then three and a half to get back. It was a l o n g day, we got home just before 11pm. I think if we do it again before I leave, we'll do an overnight trip.

Also, if you are reading this and you live there and I didn't visit you, it's because we didn't have time!

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