Here you will find more Volkswagens than in Germany, more dreadlocks than Jamaica, more unshaven body parts than France. Where are you? Believe it or not this is Canada’s West Coast. It’s a place where cooking all three meals off a tailgate is part of the culture. It’s a place where vacationing is guaranteed to leave you completely exhausted. Kilometres of sand for walking or running, endless rocky shores for exploring, and a few relentless paddle boarders not getting the gist of your stink eye that will definitely tire you out.
Some people yearn for tropical vacations in far away exotic destinations, but why go to such extremes when the best place on earth is your own backyard? Okay, so maybe it receives 3 metres of rainfall annually and a sunny day is enough for locals to play hooky. Even a week of camping in the midst of August doesn’t guarantee a rain free vacation. However, with a lucky roll of the weather dice you might return to the mainland with tan lines reminiscent of Hawaii.
There are two cultures that thrive along the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park – the beach bum and the tourist. It doesn’t take a rocket appliance to instantly differentiate between the two: one had a shower yesterday, today, and plans on taking another tomorrow, the other has hair reminiscent of a bag of Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar chips.
There are a few other tell tale characteristics to help distinguish the two. Tourists can be easily identified by their clean shaven faces, hair free armpits, wearing actual shoes on the beach, and a strange fascination with sea gulls. It could also be said that anyone eating a meal in a restaurant with chairs is likely a tourist.
So, by process of elimination, a beach bum can be identified by their lack of footwear, understanding that stand up paddling bordering is the devil, overall excess of hair - everywhere, and a missing need for privacy while removing a wet suit.
If you visit the Long Beach area frequently enough you may even find yourself transitioning from tourist to beach bum. Suddenly changing without a towel around yourself in the middle of the parking lot is acceptable. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all cooked and consumed in whatever vehicle you arrived in. A day at the beach is no longer dependent on sunlight, but rather the size of the surf. Be careful it’s a slippery slope of neoprene, dreads, and westfalias.
The following isn’t quite a traditional blog post, rather just a bunch of photos accompanied by a bunch of blurbs.