Take a break from your winter skiing trip in British Columbia to experience the raw power of the mighty Pacific Ocean as ferocious waves roll in from Japan and pound the shores of the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island – nature in all it’s fierce majesty! When the storm has passed, you’ll be rewarded with peaceful strolls along cool, deserted beaches – a good time for beachcombing for washed-up treasures. Make the best of these La Nina seasons by creating opportunities to witness some spectacular weather.
Storm watching is stirring for children and adults alike, whether snug in a room with a view or out in a ferocious gale. On the west coast of Vancouver Island you can watch as the open Pacific unleashes its wrath against the shore. Waves 8 feet high roll in and pound the rocky headlands, hurling themselves up on the beach.
At Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park you can walk for miles along pristine sandy beaches and experience storm watching first hand. Within the boundaries of this magnificent park you will find accommodation right at the shore, affording bird’s eye views of the sea and surf. Tofino and Ucluelet are the towns nearest the park, both offering a range of cozy accommodations.
Storm watching is not limited to the west coast of the island though, admittedly, it is quite spectacular along the Pacific shore. Along many of the beaches on the east side of the Island you can hear and watch some mighty storms roll in. Watch as a smooth sandy beach is transformed when hundreds of pieces of driftwood are pitched up onto its sandy shore. Likewise, the Gulf Islands experience some stunning electrical storms that can only be viewed out over the water.
Storm watching is a wondrous West Coast spectacle, at its best during the fall and winter months. Starting in October, a vast, persistent low-pressure system establishes itself in the Gulf of Alaska and begins to deepen. The turbulent frontal zone between arctic and subtropical air masses shifts southward and the Island finds itself in the path of the storm track. All through November, December, January and February, gale after gale slams into these exposed western shores.