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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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whales and hot springs

Weird...I posted yesterday's Blathering on Sunday. I guess the time difference shifted the posting date to one day later. Today is Monday.

My favourite part of today's trip to the Hot Springs Cove was the boat ride. Major waves! Or at least they seemed major to me...I was lifted off my seat several times, only to be slammed back down in heartstopping freefall when the boat came down from a wave. Apparently the waves were only 1.5-2 metres (5-6 feet?)...I can't imagine what it would be like to ride the 30 metre waves described in "The Perfect Storm". Our ship captain, Patrick, said that the boat we were in could handle pretty big waves, as long as they didn't curl. It also depended on how far apart the waves were...if the waves were closer together than the length of the ship, for example, that would be more of a problem.

We kept our eyes out for whales; there was no guarantee that we'd spot any, but we were still hoping. Jeff was the first to see anything. He said he wasn't sure if he was imagining it, but though he saw a back of a whale arc slowly through the water ahead. Patrick immediately slowed down the ship, just in time to see the whale blow a spray of water -directly- in front of the boat. A few seconds later, we saw two whales briefly surface, then a large tail wave before going under again.

"I've never hit a whale before," Patrick said, a bit pale, "Just then was the closest I've ever come." He thanked Jeff several times for spotting the whale in time.

After the hour-long boat ride, we finally arrived at Hot Springs Cove. Then came a half-hour walk on a boardwalk trail through the rainforest. It rained the entire time (not surprisingly, it rains a lot on rainforests :)). but Jeff and I had on our Gortex jackets and were fully prepared to get wet. There was a lineup at the one-room changeroom, so we changed into our swimsuits in a nearby clearing instead. After the wet and cold walk, it was great to be able to soak in the natural hot springs. The steaming water temperature averaged about 110 degrees and smelled of sulphur. Some of the pools at the top were too hot, so we were limited to a few in a narrow rocky crack (see photo above).

My only complaint about the hot springs is that they were smaller in size and number than I expected...if it had been good weather, I suspect the pools would have been overflowing with enthusiastic bathers. Even with over a dozen people in the pools, it was pretty crowded. :-) I suppose I had expected something more like the hot springs we had encountered on our Nahanni trip. It was still a fun experience, however, and we met several friendly Germans. :-)

After soaking for a while, Jeff and I got dressed and explored a nearby trail to find a quiet spot for lunch. We perched ourselves in a secluded rocky cove overlooking the ocean and munched on cheese and crackers and a muffin I had picked up at a coffee shop before we left. It kept raining throughout, alternating between a heavy mist and a hefty downpour. By the time we got back to the boat at 1 pm, we were both pretty wet and cold. I took another Gravol (which had been essential on the way over), but this time it knocked me out...I kept dozing on Jeff's shoulder, though I gave up once the big waves started.

We picked up some cold remedies (I've developed a head cold, yuk) and some fish and chips in Tofino, then headed back to the Wickaninnish. After quickly chowing down some halibut (which was DELICIOUS) and chips, I filled up the jacuzzi. Sinking up to my neck in the steaming water (fragrant with the Aveda Soothing Aqua Therapy bath salts), I felt my chills and head cold stuffiness melt away.

We plan to head into Tofino for dinner tonight, and will probably crash early. Tomorrow: my Hot Stone Massage, woohoo!

Today's Blatherpics

- Grey whale off starboard on our way to the hot springs!! Patrick said that he whale-watching boats never normally go this close; we only did so by accident (and had it not been for Jeff's eagle eye, we might have had a much closer encounter). We also saw a pod of killer whales on the ferry to Nanaimo, which was cool.

- Slug that Jeff and I saw in the rainforest on the trail. Perhaps a banana slug?

- Hot springs!

- If you look closely, you can see Jeff sitting on the rocks near the top right.

- Me in the rainforest. The little dots are reflections of the flash off the raindrops.

Feel free to suggest a daily poll question.

Today's Poll:

Do you prefer taking baths or showers? Choose YES for baths, NO for showers.

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