I arrived to Tofino at around 9:15 a.m. I had a good breakfast in Schooner Restaurant, the elegant premises and accommodating staff made my short stay a very pleasant one.
This was good because when we arrived at 10:00 a.m. to Ocean Outfitters, the owner forgot that Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and she arrived late. Then she told me that I was the only one with reservation therefore the trip was cancelled. Fortunately I was able to find a spot with Seaside Adventures ($85 plus tax)
Actually this was the only boat going to the hot springs during that day. Most of these trips usually include whale watching, bird watching and other eco-interpretive activities. In my case I was lucky to spot a young grey whale.
This soothing, natural wonder is open year-round and is accessible only by air or by sea (one-hour water taxi ride from Tofino). This place is home of the Hesquiat people and the Maquinna Provincial Park.
A 2-km boardwalk trail leads from the head of the dock to the hot springs. Two viewing platforms are located along the trail, offering views of Hot Springs Cove and the hot spring itself.
I took my time to admire huge ancient cedars, towering Douglas firs, and spruces, some draped with Spanish moss.
Here, The air is thick and humid, and everything is lush, damp, green and growing.
Here it is, what many consider to be the best and most gorgeous of any hot springs anywhere. Three, rock-lined pools are tiered down the slope with the last one spilling into the ocean just below.
Sitting in one of the pools, you could easily imagine that you are at the very edge of the world as you gaze out toward the Pacific Ocean from your surroundings of water and mountains.
This part of Vancouver Island rests on an unstable portion of the earth's crust, known as a "fault". The hot springs is a result of surface water flowing through a "fault" to a depth of about 5 kilometres. The water is geothermally heated to a temperature of at least 109 degrees C before hydrostactic pressure forces the water back to the surface and discharges through fractured rock at a temperature of about 50 degrees C.
So keep that in mind if you are one of the few that can stand the intense heat of the natural shower coming underneath the waterfalls.
Tofino provides access to a second, cooler spring at Ahousat Hot Springs, located on the shores of Matilda Inlet in the Gibson Marine Provincial Park, on the south side of Flores Island.
At higher tides the waves of the pacific lap into the hot springs pools creating the incredible meeting of the cold ocean waters and the magma heated spring.
This tidal action also flushes the pools twice daily, so they are always noticeably clean. Fortunately I was lucky to enjoy the hot springs during the low tide.
The mineral water sustains numerous micro-organisms that could affect your eyes, ears and throat, and protective footwear is recommended in the rock pools - rubber-soled aquashoes are best.
Hot Springs Cove is a very popular attraction on the west coast, specially during summer. The guide told me that sometimes you can see up to 50 people visiting the place and waiting for others to leave the pool. This place can barely hold 15 people, so, if you planning to visit this place and you want some privacy, a visit during the fall, winter or early spring is higly recommended.
Round trip: 467 km (292 miles)