Bodacious Botanicals

Vancouver Island offers so many incredible places to connect with the outdoors. So often we look to other destinations for unique experiences when they are waiting for us to be discovered in our own backyard. Stephanie, Tosca and I decided to finally check out Botanical Beach, near Port Renfrew, after many years of listening to people rave about it.

Two hours at the end of the long, windy road from Victoria sits the sleepy town of Port Renfrew. We decided to stop for lunch at the Coastal Kitchen Cafe in "Renny" for a couple of local Halibut burgers before driving the short distance to the head of the 2.5 km Botanical Beach hiking loop.

Our arrival timing was perfect down at the beach in Botany Bay as the tide was low enough to explore the hundreds of aquarium-like tide pools. The isolated tide pools were like tiny, sequestered universes teeming with life and colour. Steph and I had a good laugh discussing the correct pronunciation of "anemone". I took absolutely no pleasure in giving her the incorrect pronunciation to practice aloud (Stephanie grew up a big city, Toronto girl more inclined to Le Chateau fashion nomenclature than coastal taxonomy). My shoulder still aches from where she punched me realizing I was having her on. Tosca misjudged the depths of the tide pools a couple times and rudely alarmed each tranquil "universe" with each sudden plunging of his frantic, furry legs. The surprised look on his face was priceless.

All along the park the sculpting action of countless storms and waves has shaped the nearby cliffs into fascinating caves, curved walls and alcoves, many of them mirroring the shape of the waves that created them. Having sufficiently explored uncountable pools, we sat on the sandy beach and soaked up the warm sun before eventually hiking back up to the car.

We carried on to the gently white-capping bay in Port Renfrew and I had a great kiteboarding session for a couple of hours while Stephanie relaxed on the beach with a good book and Tosca at her feet. Soon it was time to make our way back to Victoria. We drove most of the way back home in relaxed, quiet satisfaction. Stopping at the Market on Yates to pick up a few things for dinner, a perfect west coast day was capped off for us with an unexpected delicious discovery: Coconut Bliss Cappuccino ice cream (non-dairy, sweetened with agave and super yummy).

With gratitude for our home, environment, and sugar (free!) snacks,

Chris, Steph and Tosca.

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