Kaacumin on Florencia beach

Florencia Bay-2a
Pebbles on Florencia Bay

The Nuu-chah-nulth  (pronounced noo-cha-nolth) are First Nations people who’ve lived along the coast of Vancouver Island for ages.   They have a story about the stones seen on Florencia beach.

Thunderbird and Skate were playing a game. With total disregard for safety, they took turns throwing spears at each other.  Thunderbird had the first throw which Skate narrowly avoided by turning sideways at the last minute.  Then it was Skate’s turn. Thunderbird in a fit of trickery and bad gamesmanship, called down lightening and hail called kaacumin (pronounced cots-oo-min) to obscure Skate’s sight.   Un-remarkably, neither deity was hit but the hail turned into  stones which remained in the bay.

Image from Parks Canada brochure

The stones are reminders of the fickle nature of the coast. People are taught to never remove pebbles from the beach.   Doing so might invite Thunderbird’s wrath and cause lightening and hail to fall.

Today was sunny and beautiful.   Having no wish to change it, I looked but didn’t take anything but these pictures of the beach.

Florencia Bay, Ucluelet. March 2019





Up and Down Florencia Bay

Allen is a surfer and among the many things he told us (all in surfer slang and most of which I didn’t understand) were prime locations for crowd free beaches and waves.   We ignored the sweet spot around Radar Hill as it involved scrambling down a ‘rabbit hole’ and then scrambling back up.  Instead we sought out the beach on Florencia Bay.  Access is through Willowbae Trail in the Pacific Rim National park, an easy hike through second growth rain forest.

Second growth refers to trees replacing old growth cedars. You can recognize second growth trees by their narrow girth and high tops.  The tree canopy is so high, it’s mesmerizing to tip your head back and stare. It seems like given a clear swatch of space, the trees shot up to the stratosphere.

Willowbrae Trail
Tree top canopy

The trail was easy but long.  Ten minutes in I noticed that we were climbing up.  Not a good sign when heading towards a beach.  What goes up must come down.   Sure enough, at the end of the trail was a steep set of stairs.  They were sturdy, soggy and most definitely slippery.  For people with dodgy knees (like me) it was a slow and careful walk down.  But what a reward was at the base – a gorgeous view of the beach and cliffs.

Cliffs of Florencia Bay

Cloudy days make for moody and muted landscapes.  The light however  was wonderful for close-up shots.  Looking down, here were a few.

The mineral rich run-off from a nearby creek creates an abstract painting on the sand


Salt etched driftwood


River rocks at the junction of land and sea

Ucluelet, Canada.  2018