Tag Archives: Tofino

Riders of the Last Spark

[This was originally posted on September 16, 2011, but had to be completely and imperfectly re-written following the crash of a MySQL server at my Web hosting service.]

The allusion in the title of this post is pretty simple. But if you don’t recognize it, the rest of us will wait while you check this page at IMDB…. I agree: It’s an awful pun, but please allow me to explain in the context of the following stunning photograph:


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Vicarious (non-)storm watching

[This was originally posted on August 25, 2011, but had to be “reconstructed” following the crash of a MySQL server at my Web hosting service.]

In the run-up to last Saturday’s entry — “in the sight of… this company” and the Webcam — I went from wondering what those white buckets were on the beach in front of the Long Beach Lodge Resort (Cox Bay, Tofino, BC) to realizing it was preparatory to a wedding, and finally to capturing stills from the Webcam for a potential blog post. But if you had told me that that brief impulse would lead to more than 400 views of the post over the next three days, I would have been incredulous. In fact, I pretty much still am, since this is a very small-potatoes blog. But in this case, the traffic was driven by a couple of postings by Perry Schmunk, General Manager of the Lodge, one on Twitter (@PerrySchmunk) and the other on Facebook.

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“in the sight of… this company” and the Webcam

[This was originally posted on August 21, 2011, but had to be “reconstructed” following the crash of a MySQL server at my Web hosting service.]

After my post last summer about storm watching in Tofino, BC, I found two Webcams that show a real-time view of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of Vancouver Island. One of these is closely centered on the Amphitrite Lighthouse near Ucluelet (about 40 km south of Tofino).

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Storm watching

It all began, simply enough, with this photo. In January 2006, I had newly joined flickr and found Vida Morkunas’ photos. This one, which she had just uploaded, captivated me because of other things going on in my life, things at the not-so-nice end of one of those “versus” dualities. I just wanted to sit on that bench, sink into it, even be that bench — and stare at the waves. The “restful” part sounded good, but “wild pacific trail” sounded remote, and the description below the photo confirmed it: “Ucluelet BC, on the Left Coast of Vancouver Island.” sigh. Not right now.

Then I found this one that she had uploaded the day before the one of the bench. I knew instantly that I had to see this. On the rare occasions when I experience something like this, I pay attention because of the wonderful essay by Lewis Thomas, ‘The Tucson Zoo’, in The Medusa and the Snail. He describes watching otters and beavers at play in a walk-through tank at the Sonora Desert Museum: “I was transfixed. As I now recall it, there was only one sensation in my head: pure elation mixed with amazement at such perfection.” And: “I came away from the zoo with something, a piece of news about myself: I am coded,… I have receptors for this display.”

In like manner, Vida’s display of the storm on the coast of Vancouver Island triggered a deep sensation, one that I have felt a few times previously on the west coast of California, in Hawaii, in Japan. Like Lewis Thomas, I fancy that it is in my lower brain stem, primal and not especially rational. I am coded for that ocean, oddly not just any ocean, but the Pacific. And in that moment, from that photo, I realized that the less it fits its putative self-attribution, “pacific,” the better. Bring on the storms.

Over the next year-plus, I learned several things:

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