Saturday, 17 September 2005

Frank Island (off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada)

SURVIVOR: FRANK ISLAND
(off Chestermann's Beach, Tofino)

Frank Island is a tiny island off the west coast of Vancouver Island. It's connected to the mainland for only 4 hours a day, at all other times the high tide covers up the sand spit (you can see it in the below pic - we cheated and took a photo of a postacard, no we do not have a helicopter).

Leaving our van behind on the mainland, we decided to stay on the Island itself, in an octagonal cedar cabin, called 'La Piccola'.

It is probably the most remote location we have ever stayed. We had 4 hours of daylight to hike over the spit laden with backpacks and supplies for the next 4 days. It was absolutely extraordinary, there was no one on the island except us. In the evening, when the tide completely covered the spit, there was a moment that was slightly scary but also totally exhilarating as we realised we were completely cut off from the mainland.

It’s not super cheap, but if you’re looking to absolutely get away from the world, this is your spot. It is amazing beyond imagination. There is no telephone, no reception, no television, even the tap in the kitchen is operated by a pump. The most amusing part, the outdoor toilet only has 3 doors with a view out to sea! To book the cabin, just click here.
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Frank Island - off the west coast of Vancouver Island:


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The cabin, La Piccola and its blustery surrounds...
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This place was amazing - there are solar panels on the roof charged the halogen lights, a fireplace kept us warm, and we used a foot-pump to work the taps in the sink! It was so unique - complete seclusion in an ocean-side setting...
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This is the incredible sunset view from the cabin - looking west into the Atlantic Ocean.
Ni night...
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TOFINO - on Vancouver Island

On the western coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is home to Canada's hottest (and only!) surf spot, and bustling surf industry. The entire place packs out with crazy Canucks every summer, living the surfing dream, Canadian style...
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Wickininnish Beach, Tofino. Check the driftwood! One of the few spots to surf in Canada.
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As you'd imagine, the water here is FREEZING. Seriously. Cold. We put our feet in and our ankles just about froze off... Surfers' wetsuits are super thick - 8mm, booties, gloves, a hood are all standard gear!!

The locals build these little A-frame huts (below) out of driftwood on the beach, and they light fires inside - every little while they paddle back in to de-frost by the fire and soothe the ice-cream-brain-freeze headaches. The mushy (iceberg-laden) two footers were not tempting enough for Dane, deciding NOT to don the full divers suit and paddle out a rental mal. Needless to say, Claudia's bikini stayed firmly tucked away in the bottom of her backpack....
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Fall foliage on the drive out of Tofino.
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After our adventures on Frank Island we left Tofino, headed for Nanaimo to begin our road trip across the Canadian Rockie Mountains...

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