[IMAGE] Chesterman Beach

[IMAGE] surfer

[IMAGE] beach

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Jazz at the beach.

Well, Tofino, plus the wild, mountainous midsection of Vancouver Island one traverses to get there, is nothing short of stunningly beautiful. Like so many of the villages up here, summertime tourist crowds swell the size and the local economy, altering the vibe for a four month period of warm air and long nights. But the rest of the year offers a peace and solitude that few July visitors can experience. Wintertime on a beach is always magical to me.

I remember when I lived at Paradise Cove in Malibu, and this time of year I’d have a mile-long stretch of sand, cliffs and raging tides all to myself. I’d walk up and down the empty beach completely alone, occasionally wondering whether a bomb had gone off in Los Angeles and I was the last to know, and perhaps the last person left standing. My twisted psyche sort of liked this thought. Experiencing that kind of solitude within reach of one of the worlds’ busiest cities is fascinating. Experiencing it as I did this past weekend, many hours of travel away from any such metropolis, is another fantastic form of isolation.

Surfers, like the fellow who looks like a black smudge in one of these photos, come to Tofino around the year to feel the first push of the Pacific against a right-hand land mass. Tsunami warning signs and evacuation route information are everywhere. And so are reminders of California’s Malibu, my home for 14 years, as nearly every car we passed had a surfboard or two strapped to the roof, and bicycles sported board racks instead of kick stands. Home again. Just a little colder. And apparently, grayer. No, I did not bring an antique black and white camera. But the light, which showed my eyes plenty of forest green in the trees and a hint of pale teal in the sky, played tricks with my lens, to nice effect.

I think I saw more Bald Eagles in three days than ever before, and one of them was kind enough to pose for me outside the deck to our room on Chesterman Beach:

[IMAGE] bald eagle

Looking at this noble image, I can see why it won out over the turkey for the U.S. avian representative!

Tacoma and New York beckon early next week, but I have more photos to post so I’ll be back on the blog soon!