• Rowie

Tofino Shark Biscuit

The term "shark biscuit" is used to refer to a novice surfer, a grommet if you will. On this trip to Tofino would would be left in awe at the beauty of the Pacific North West, but would be left with more than just our toes dangling in the ocean. It was an incredibly exciting trip, a trip exploring the unknown and trip that would bring many stories and reflections to be had by campfires on the beach, as the mist rolled in and everything became wet.

I think I was more stoked for Gabrielle than she was for herself as she invested in a 5mm wetsuit and took the brave plunge into cold water surfing, where waves, boards, and cold water were all a foreign entity. But, as any future champion does (just ask Jay Moriarity) feet were planted firmly, if unorthodoxly, on the waxed up side of the board and on just her second ever wave Gabs managed to surf. As the locals huddled with their coffees in town retelling stories of the mornings struggles with ordinary waves and old time long boarders I personally was stoked to get some of the prettiest and most consistent waves I've ever caught. Absolutely relished the moment. But a realisation that I had not yet come to terms with struck as Gabrielle's surf "lessons" continued. Having grown up in the sea I had an inability to understand how the ocean can make people feel exposed and this reared an ugly head as I wondered through the ocean and left Gabs to fend for herself, causing her to feel isolated. Hopefully we can get back on the horse soon (maybe in more pleasant conditions) and hopefully I've learnt a valuable lesson in being self aware of how my personal experiences shape my interpretation of a situation.

Away from the water we managed to hike to an abandoned Royal Canadian Air Force bomber which had crashed into the side of a mountain during World War II. Remarkably the entire crew survived, unlike my chosen footwear for the hike. Having heard that knee deep mud takes even the most accomplished hiker hostage I had decided that the appropriate footwear for such an endeavour would be thongs (flip-flops). This posed as a great idea up until well before we got to the muddy section when i stepped on a long and managed to bust a plugger in what could be one of the saddest occurrences for an Australian. This left me barefoot for the rest of the hike and returning to the car with mud that had managed to squelch its way a considerable way towards my knee. It also left me exposed to the glass and other unknown infectious items that lay strewn around an abandoned and rather creepy building that has few windows than it does doors, oh which it used to have two. Gabs on the other-hand who had made a slightly more sensible decision wore her runners which returned to the car looking the same as they had when they left

There are two other notable occurrences on this trip. The first thing was to see five bald eagles soaring and swooping to the water for food, all occupying the same proximity. Two of these eagles would rear at each other, flipping around and grasping at each other with amazing grace and ferocity. The other occurrence was not the kind of imagine you would see in a National Geographic magazine but more a horror film. The sound of the heart beating a blood rushes through ones ears is not a feeling one would usually wake up to, but when you are camping in a forest and a gun startles you awake at 3am, one is justified in being on edge. That feeling ever increased with the two male perpetrators of such an inconsiderately timed alarm lock were clearly audible outside the windows of ones vehicle. Having laid waiting for the voices to disappear into the silence of the trees, and then waited a little while longer for good measure, everything was hastily thrown into the rear of the vehicle and we hightailed it back into town.

Despite the worst vehicle camping experience I have ever had, and some tension in the water towards the end of the trip, a desire for more adventures of a similar kind and an upgrade to the vehicles sleeping arrangements were decided upon on the trip home. The nature and wild life, time spent in the water, and on the beach by the camp fire or kettle, and with each others company exploring and adventuring was among the best time I've ever spent. So heres to a site dedicated to groovy adventures and the ups and downs of The Search. A search what exactly? Well does anyone really know what they're looking for? All you can do is take the good and the bad and smile where ever we end up.

Ps. Walked away with a 20L dry bag as the major door prize of a paddling festival which I'm pretty stoked about.

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CHOOTZ - "to chill"