The following two mutli-day trips were used as preparation for our big adventure.

Nanaimo to Victoria

For both of us, this was our first kayak trip longer than three days. It was our intention to use this trip to determine whether our kayaking and camping gear and, perhaps most importantly, our organization skills, were adequate for the expedition that lay ahead.

April 18th, 2001 found us driving north from Victoria to Nanaimo with our two kayaking buddies, Dave and John. After spending four days exploring Gabriola and Valdez Islands the group split up. Dave and John returned to Nanaimo while we continued south to Victoria, weaving our way through the Gulf Islands.

Dramatic sandstone cliffs of Valdez Island

Clayquot Sound

June 2001 found the van loaded down with four kayakers, their boats and gear as we chugged along to Tofino, gateway to Clayquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. John and Karen were joining us for an exploration of Clayquot. The scheduled highlight was to be a visit to Hot Springs Cove at the northwestern border of the Sound.

Clayquot Sound is of special significance to B.C. environmental groups and outdoor enthusiasts, being the site of heated protests in the 80's and 90's.

Australian band Midnight Oil appeared alongside Canadian musicians The Tragically Hip in 1992 to give a free concert in Clayquot and focus world attention on the destructive logging practices that were occurring in the old growth forests of Clayquot Sound.

As teenagers, Kevin and I had been unwitting witnesses to Clayquot's struggle. One of the logging companies involved was from New Zealand. The TV news in NZ often featured images of protesters chaining themselves to bulldozers and blocking roads before being dragged away by grave faced cops.

Having now visited and kayaked this area, it is easy to see why the protesters were so forceful in their convictions. To put it into perspective for New Zealanders, imagine travelling through the inlets of Fiordland or Abel Tasman Park and coming across areas where every tree has been felled and logging roads zig-zag through the remaining forest, showing where further clearcuts will occur.

Scenic cove on Meares Island
Although not in Clayquot Sound this is a typical Vancouver Island clearcut.
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