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wickaninnish day one

August 25th, 2001

Jeff and I have already decided to come back to the Wickaninnish Inn near Tofino, B.C., for our 15th wedding anniversary. We originally found the Inn while searching online for relaxing-sounding resorts with beautiful scenery. The Wickannish certainly fits the bill. Our room (as do all rooms) have a view of the ocean. We have a gas fireplace, a small patio, a jacuzzi, microwave, bar fridge. Amenities include a basket of fruit, samples from the Spa's Aveda line, including Rosemary Mint shampoo and conditioner and Soothing Aqua Therapy Bath Salts, and handmade lavender and tea rose soaps.

This morning I woke early and spent an hour out on the patio wrapped in a thick terrycloth robe (provided by the Wickaninnish) and a big Hudson's Bay blanket I found in the closet, reading my novel and watching the ocean waves break on the rocks. Not a bad way to start the day. We had breakfast in the Pointe Restaurant downstairs: omelets with asiago cheese, spinach, and scallops, with glasses of freshly-made blackcurrant-orange juice.

After breakfast, we took a long walk on the beach. Low tide leaves all sorts of interesting things behind to examine in the sand and in the tidepools, including starfish, barnacle-encrusted mussels, sea anemone, and acorn barnacles. The water is cold, but some brave souls (mainly kids) can be seen wading knee-deep into the waves. Surfers wore bodysuits to keep warm in the water.

After our walk, it's time for the first of my spa appointments. I wander down one floor to the Ancient Cedars Spa. A relaxed-looking receptionist asks me if I'd like lemon water or herbal tea while I wait for Dean, my massage guy. I accept some water and flip through spa magazines on a couch by the fireplace. Dean is a cheerful and rather good-looking 30ish guy in a ponytail. After filling out a basic "do you have any injuries or things we should know about" form, he has me sit at a nearby table and choose an essential oil fragrance. I sniff about ten kinds; if I find them all starting to smell the same, Dean tells me, I should sniff a bowl of vanilla beans to help clear my sense of smell. In the women's changeroom, I get undressed and put on a terrycloth robe and rubber flipflops (no paper slippers!). Dean then takes me outside in the garden area to soak my feet in a basin of hot water scented with my essential oil of choice (a lemon-mint-orange concoction called Invigorating) and with marbles in the bottom.

After ten minutes or so, he kneels beside me and dries my feet off before taking me to a treatment room for my massage (a nice perk, that :-)). And a fine massage it is, too! My favourite kind of massage is the type that borders on, but does not delve too deeply into, pain. If I don't feel like punching the masseur/masseuse at least once, then I feel ripped off. I did not punch Dean but came close several times, so am highly satisfied. At the end of the hour, Dean guides me and my wobbly self to the waiting room again to wait for Angela, who will give me my reflexology treatment.

I never really understood what reflexology was. When I asked Angela, she said something about it being a treatment that "reflexed" (her word) uric acid up from one's feet (where it apparently accumulated, causing stress) back up to where it belonged. Hm. It turned out to basically be a light foot massage of sorts that involved a lot of slow movements and pressure points. I probably would not opt to have it again, though I do admit feeling so relaxed that I fell asleep at least once. I vaguely recall Angela breaking up the massage with activities like spraying scented water above my face, shaking a rain stick above my head (I would have laughed if I hadn't been feeling so dozey), putting a drop of eucalytus oil on my forehead.

I did feel very kindly toward Angela by the end, however, because I was so relaxed and because she had asked me, when she found out I lived in Toronto, whether I was a student at the university there. :-)

After I finish my Blathering, I will probably take a nap. Jeff is out on the patio of our room, reading the paper. We have both agreed that this is the most relaxing holiday we have ever spent together.

The flight to Vancouver on Thursday was uneventful except for the fact that the Air Canada plane seemed to be disturbingly poor shape, at least from the inside. My reading light and others kept turning on and off at random intervals, making reading impossible. They were short of headsets (fortunately I had my noise-cancelling headphones with me) though they did offer free drinks to anyone who -didn't- take a headset. Several seats were broken so that they could not pulled into the upright position. The inflight staff, however, were great and also seemed to be as unhappy about the state of the aircraft as we were...they were enthusiastically encouraging people to fill out comment forms to give to management.

Jeff and I rented a car and drove from Vancouver to the island. Taking the ferry was pretty painless. We parked our car on the ferry, then went upstairs to snack, read, snooze, and walk around on deck during the two-hour ferry ride. When we reached the other side, everyone got in their cars and we all drove off.

A TON of gorgeous scenery on Vancouver Island. We also checked out Cathedral Grove, an area with incredibly tall Douglas Firs...reminds me somewhat of the redwoods I saw in California a while back. Lots of rain, too, but apparently that's the norm right now in and near Vancouver.

Jeff and I don't care...we've both brought tons of reading material and have ambitious napping plans.

Speaking of naps, I think it's time for one now... :-)

Today's Blatherpics

- A view of our room upon arrival at the Wickaninnish Inn, with a view of the ocean. On the mantelpiece is a pair of Bushnell binoculars (for watching the surf or bald eagles), candle and matches, several books about local sights and wildlife as well as a copy of "The Perfect Storm", a guestbook.

- View of our sink and jacuzzi area. Window looks out on our balcony area, which in turn looks out onto the ocean.

- Starfish and an anemone we came across during our walk on the beach this morning.

- Surprise free dessert last night. The chef had painted an elaborate drawing of a humming bird in different icings/sauces, with "Happy Anniversary" written across the top and bottom. Above the hummingbird picture were two exquisite chocolate truffle cakes, a small piece of dark chocolate shaped like a honeycomb fragment, a wispy shaving of white chocolate. Yum.

- A "palate cleansing" dish between courses at our dinner last night: Saskatoon Berry Ice served in a beautiful dish of ice imbedded with dried flowers and berries.

- Jeff and me on the ferry from the mainland to Nanaimo.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Have you ever had a professional massage?

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