Joan Larsen: Dipping Our Toes into Summer – the Dream that is Canada’s Vancouver Island

Posted on June 29, 2016


by Joan Larsen



“Let the world go away” became our song this spring .  .  .  I am sure we all understand the feeling this year.  When summer arrived, we wanted to be “lost” in an idyllic destination that would feel as far from civilization as it possibly could.  And yet, yet, it could be not that far from home that we would be using all of our beautiful moments in travel.

To all of you with that same longing, perhaps you too will wish to consider your own getaway true perfection with a stay in Canada’s far west – a hop and skip from Seattle – on Vancouver Island and its surroundings. 

We have just returned from an escape from the world that I wish to share – an island, easily reached, where you will find you will arrive – well – enchanted.  .  .  and depart completely renewed. 

Looking for a summer journey that will absolutely be a breath of fresh air?  I hope that my words – and then the beauty of the stunning photos  (below) of the breathtaking scenes that abound around every turn of the trail or road – together will become some of life’s most unforgettable travel moments for you as well.


Perched high atop a cliff overlooking the blue waters off the British Columbia shore was our “forever” suite, very very suitable for “second honeymoons”!  We easily pretended we were marooned there – as if on a deserted island – but feeling like royalty.  Only 2 hours from the city of Vancouver itself, Rockwater Secret Cove resort will forever remain a treasured sanctuary.


Wandering down to the rocky shore and out onto the dock, we saw a black form paralleling the shore.  As if showing off just for the two of us, a killer whale swam slowly – actually seeming to be waiting for us to take his photo.  Fumbling for the camera took a few moments.  The whale was patient.  And then he made a gigantic leap out of the water, leaving us with one of the most unforgettable moments in life.


We actually kayaked for one of our first times there . . . and were guided to the best coastal trails through old growth cedar forests, finding ourselves following raised walkways which promised stunning vistas around every turn.



Sitting on our private veranda under a blanket of stars on our last night, we found ourselves sometimes silent in contemplation, not wanting ever to leave.

But another dream setting I had chosen still beckoned – and in a little town named Tofino at a small inn known world-wide and called Wickaninnish Inn. . . we were to find not only the best of  the island’s rainforests, meadows, beaches, rivers and lakes that we have ever encountered in a small area, but privacy and seclusion that we truly desired – and – when we came up for air – a restaurant that would shame most of those in the cities we visit.


First, above is a view of Wickaninnish Inn alone that is enough to blow us away.  Private homes – just a few – were hidden well – so we had time for just a quick photo of what it must be like to live in paradise.



Once again, we felt alone in the world, taking breaths of clean ocean air as we walked on deserted beaches, took paths that turned into delights at every turn.  Place names drew us to search further:  Pacific Rim Park with its awe-inspiring landscapes and seascapes, made us realize that an afternoon’s walk would only touch the surface.  Hot Springs Cove lived up to its name and then some .    We sat on beaches, searching for starfish and underwater creatures that also believed this island to be paradise, and took the secret suggestions of the staff that seemed able to fulfill every desire we might have.

It was here that we took advantage of the black bear tours that took us safely into their home grounds.  Never had I seen so many in such a short time!  I promise you it was a “don’t miss” and a forever memory.


12-vancouverWe planned to have this island – with its beauty and tranquility and its “forever” moments – remain our secret.  But home once again, we have heard that in the 2015 World’s Best Awards, Vancouver Island has been named the #1 Island in the Continental US and Canada.

The word is out.  And no wonder.

The scenery, which includes miles of sandy beaches, strands of old-growth cedar forests, and a seascape (!) dotted with islands to explore, is breathtaking by any standard in the world.

One sojourn there will never be enough.




JoanAvatar2Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth.  But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again.  She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”