I have been all around Western Canada, to Europe, Eastern USA, and Hawaii. I have yet to find a cleaner, more beautiful, family friendly place than Parksville. Even venturing outside of Parkville to surrounding communities, you can tell that this place is special even in it’s own area. On Monday we shopped at the QF (Quality Foods) on the advice of a resort worker and found the smallish (by Calgary standards) grocery store to be great! We stocked up our fridge with the next 3 days food and headed back to the Lodge. After a quick supper of pork cutlet and fresh Fraser Valley corn we popped down to the beach to see what all the fuss was about.
Well this is pretty nice, but the tide is in. Still, the sand was as soft as I had ever felt, had multitudes of shells and the water was warmer than any Saskatchewan lake I could ever remember.
I was actually blown away by how warm it was. They said warm, but come on, this is the pacific ocean, where dry suits are required to surf in Tofino. They meant WARM. Like bathtub warm at times. (especially as the tide comes back in).
I fell asleep at 9:30 on Monday night. I never fall asleep that early. I had no choice this time, but it’s a great exhaustion! Waking up early without any lingering requirement for sleep is amazing!
We ate a nice traditional breakfast in our room. We are staying at Tigh-Ma-Nara lodge. We booked this place under a summer get-away deal where you paid for 2 nights and got the 3rd for free, as long as it was between Sunday and Thursday. For the quality of the location and the reputation of the lodge, we didn’t really have a choice after price checking the area. This is what formed the entire shape of the trip. these 3 nights in Parksville.
You know what? I am now sad that we didn’t book the entire vacation here. Should have flown out, rented a car and stayed the entire time here. There is so much to do and see with my wife and young son, that we will be sad to leave.
After breakfast, we headed down to the beach. WOAH! tide is out! Again, they said the tide goes way out, but WHOA… it goes WAY out! this is at least a half mile of sandy beach now.
We walked down and got set up in a simple spot and never spent more than 10 minutes total there. Andrew and I headed out into the tide pools and Traci (supposedly) was going to sit in the sun.
Andrew is a little timid on this first day as everything is new and some of it is pretty squishy. And some of it runs away when you go to pick it up. (the last note may have been related to me, and it didn’t freak me out at all when I picked up that rock and a few little crabs went scurrying away. honest, I didn’t jump at all)
I am blown away by the diversity of life (and death) as the tide goes out. Also, the amount of life that sits and waits under the sand. There are little holes in the sand that I imagine are enormous sea creatures waiting for me to step on them so they can grab my leg and pull me under as a prize for his lair. But I am sure they spot me coming, weigh the pros and cons of my ability as a storybook captured man- damsel, against my ability to provide sustenance as food, and decide to wait for a more suitable and good looking man- damsel. he is waiting under this rock. It’s the only rock in millions of square feet of sand, so it must be his spot.
Andrew ended up a little creeped out by the seaweed and the little crabs in the tide pools, so we headed back to the main shore. We still didn’t know Traci had gone way out to the tides edge, but had an idea that she was exploring, so we hung around close to the main beach edge and played in the sand while people watching,
We went up to the main lodge to get some snacks and ended up with full on take out lunch from the restaurant, and on the way past the rec office, decided to enter the sandcastle contest. We weren’t going to, as it was a 3 hour commitment, but in the end figured the boy would like it.
The contest was well run by the rec staff, and there were some pretty amazing creations. The 2 hours was a long time and I was in a full-on sweat at times. Andrew had a blast the entire time. Traci was less impressed for the first half, but once she decided I was doing a half-assed job, she kicked into gear and fixed our sculpture. All the time the tide was coming in, and fascinating me to no end. I am impressed by nature, what can I say.
So. the sand sculpture idea was to bring Alberta to the Island. It ended up representing a rocky mountain, but fell short of the vision I had for it. Traci salvaged my plan as good as she could, but it was just missing some oomph in the end. In the end a team member was to present the theme to the other teams and a little about their sculpture. I spoke for us and had this grand speech ready!
“Ladies and Gentleman! Behold the majestic power of Natures Finest Creations, here on this incredible beach I present to you, Alberta!”
I actually said this:
“We are from Alberta, and wanted to bring you more than just our money”
Yep. I said that. I became that loud, fat, d-bag Albertan. Sorry family. I wanted to be witty. I learned long ago that my attempts at witty always turn just plain embarrassing in public places, so I’m not sure why I thought I could get away from that this time. Ah well… I moved on. To be truthful, this is the first vacation we could afford in a long time and we couldn't be happier where we are spending our money… just so you know.
The mountain is 4’ tall, if you wondered. We moved a LOT of sand. We didn’t win. A guy who built a large banana split won.
6 hours of beach time! A new record! Woot!
We headed back to the room. I think we broke the boy as he grabbed a blanket and crawled up onto the bed and layed still for quite some time. Anyone who knows Andrew knows he doesn’t lay still. ever. It’s ok tho, he recharged and was good as new within the hour. We made a nice BBQ steak supper and then headed out to play some golf.
Amazing Golf! Paradise Mini Golf has been on our radar ever since EVERYONE has been telling us to go play the amazing Mini Golf in Parksville! So we did!
And Bumper boats! We were the only ones in the pool, but we did fine! the boy loved every minute. And so did Andrew!
We had ice cream for apres-golf snack and headed home for bed. Another early night. Tomorrow we will find a waterfall! (and go to the beach…)