Thursday, August 14, 2008
Along the Ucluelet-Tofino highway, there are several streets branching westward towards the beach. The first one we visited was called Chesterman. We were excited to finally see sand and sea. Because it was low tide, there was even more sand to walk barefoot on. The boys enjoyed it.
I miss this kind of beach in Vancouver, long and wide and sandy, facing the open sea. This reminded me of our beaches back home and the one we visited in Oregon Coast some time back.
"Mom, if you stand facing the ocean, that is where Mickey is," Gino said.
The water was so inviting. But like most bodies of water here, it was very c-c-c-cold! Your are right, LHB! This was nothing like our tropical beaches in the Philippines. I didn't even have the courage to wet my feet.
So we just sat and walked on the beach, and enjoyed the view while the boys did their own thing.
I was attracted to some large rocks on the shoreline. A group of people were gathering something, and I was curious to find out what it was. The lady I approached said they were mussels. Mussels!! I love mussels!
Some people collecting mussels from rocks.
I got excited. This was my first time to see mussels in their natural habitat. I didn't know they grew on rocks. I knew they came in boxes from New Zealand.
There were thousands of them all over the rocks. Wow! I became more excited about them than about the beach. However, the ones I saw were small unlike the ones in the plastic bags of the mussel-gatherers. When finally, I saw a large one, I tried to take it out.
This was not as easy as I thought. Not easy at all.
When Gino saw what I was doing, he exclaimed, "Mom, you can't do that! You need a license."
I asked Mr. Mussel-man passing by if he had a license. He said yes. Uh-oh. There goes my baked tahong. I let him have the one mussel that I struggled to get.
That afternoon, I learned something about mussel gathering. You can't do it here without a license. And you can't do it without an awl or some pointy thingy. Mussels cling tightly to rocks you can't pry them out with your bare hands. And they have lots of barnacles attached to them too. I got little cuts on both hands. All that for nothing.
We stayed at Chesterman Beach until early evening. The sky was overcast from the time we arrived so we were glad to see the sun finally come out at 4 pm. Come out, sun! Bring on the heat!
We drove back to the hostel in time for dinner preparation. Bye-bye, beach, we will come back tomorrow!