We spent Sep 24th in Port Hardy stocking up on supplies, collecting the food box that Karen brought and searching for tent poles. No luck with the poles so decide to stick it out with our bivvies.

We left Port Hardy on the 25th. After leaving Hardy Bay we were hit hard by northwest winds in Goletas Channel. Little head way was made and we decided to pull out at the first suitable beach.

As we approached a likely beach we were surprised to encounter other kayakers out in these conditions. Was good talking to Brent Henry from Quadra Island and his friend Barbara from Stutgard who had been out on a multi day trip and were now heading back to Port Hardy.

The winds died down for the next day and we made good progress along Goletas Channel. Dodging some breakers we entered the Nawhiti river to check out some old cabins at the river mouth. They were in a pretty bad state of repair so we decided to push on and see how far we could get that day.

Conditions at the infamous Nawhiti Bar were mild and we rounded Cape Sutil and made our way along to Shuttleworth Bight. Along the way we passed through a large kelp bed where we encountered a large family of sea otters.

 
     
             
         
Shuttleworth Bight
 
 

At Shuttleworth Bight we entered the Stranby River, Kev trying to surf the rollers at the river mouth. Next morning when we exited the river mouth, we encountered strong headwinds and much bigger breakers. Decide to turn around and sit it out.

We then pent the day exploring the beach, following wolf tracks and searching for glass floats. Although the wind died and the sun shones all afternoon the big surf pounding on the beach convinced us that we made a good decision to sit the day out.

The following day exiting the river was much easier and we made our way along the coast to Nels Bight and Cape Scott Provincial Park. From off shore the surf at nels Bight looked substantial and we donned our helmets for the first time on the trip. It was almost a disappointment to find the surf was only 2-3 feet and gently spilling and we landed without any difficulty.

Campers on the beach came down to greet us and we here we met Forster, Tara and Patrick from Vancouver. We set up in the rangers cabin, as they had apparently left for the season, and then set out to explore Hansen lagoon.

Having hiked the region many years earlier Garth had been looking forward to returning and checking it out again. The lagoon was looking its scenic best in the late afternoon sun. and we made our way along to the dyke built during the failed attempt at settlement by Danes in the late 1800's.

We returned to the beach and cooked dinner at the cabin. Some senior rangers turned up at dusk but thankfully were willing to share the cabin with us. We pass some time at the Vancouverites campfire before retiring to the cosy cabin.

Another sunny day and gentle swells greeted us as we rounded Cape Scott, another infamous piece of water on Vancouver Island. Near the Cape we were able to easily navigate through the occassional boomer and make our way to Guise Bay.

Landing at Guise Bay we explored the sand dunes and check out the portage route natives used rather than canoe around the Cape. We then hiked the trail up to the lighthouse and visited with Mike, the senior keeper and Harvey and Todd, the assistant keepers. Forster, Pat and Tara also turn up having hiked around from Nissen Bight.

When we move on we split up briefly - weI head in to explore the mouth of Hansen Lagoon and Karen pushes on for Sea Otter Cove. Catching up wth her at the Cove we made camp and realized that we had left our fuel bottle and pump for our stove at Nissen Bight. Next morn Kev headed off to collect it while Garth and Karen make their way south to Grant Bay where Kev was tol meet them.

Unfortunately it didn't work out to be that simple. Deteriorating weather forced Kev off the water and prevented him from reaching Grant Bay the next day as well. Meanwhile Garth made an informal request that the Coast Guard helicopter that was sacheduled to ferry Todd and Harvey that day keep an eye out for Kev.

Although Garth stressed that this was not an emergency situation the Coast Guard decided to conduct a shore search for Kevin and located him in Raft Cove. Despite feeling uneasy that his request had escalated into a search, Garth was certainly relieved to hear that his little brother was OK!

Conditions improved the next day and we were soon reunited at Grant Bay. Once Kev was fed we finished packing. We decided against visiting Quatsino lighthouse to dry some gear and pushed on across Quatsino Sound to Kwakiutl Point. Threading through boomers we are pleasantly surprised to find a well equipped cabin at restless Bight. We were all happy to stay there for the night and the stove was soon fired up with our gear hung up to dry.

The next day we headed out of Restless Bight, passing by Kwakaitul and Lawn Pts before crossing the mouth of Klaskino and then Klaskish Inlet.

Like all the other inlets we had passed Klaskino had been heavily logged with some slopes completely denuded. Klaskish Inlet was a pleasant contrast, as yet retaining it's old growth forest. However it lacks protected status and logging roads are currently being made into the East Creek region and allowing access to what is one of the few remaining unlogged watersheds on Vancouver Island.

Our progress had been slower than expected so we decided not to try and get round the Brookes and risk pushing on past nightfall. We found a beach with small surf at the base of the peninsula and make camp in thick mist and drizzle. Sitting on the beach with a small fire we silently take in the brooding majesty of the area.

Thick fog greeted us the next morn but it lifted slightly while we ate breakfast so we decide to head around the Brooks. The ocean buoy at South Brooks was reporting 2.5 m swells but as we approached Cape Cook much bigger, steep sea were encountered. A line of breakers extended out from the Cape so we skirted wide to avoid these and then cut back in between Solander Island and the peninsula.

A northwest wind picked up to speed us along the outside of the Peninsula. As we approached Cape Clerke the sun broke through the clouds. Another line of breakers forced us wide again before we cut in to the more sheltered waters and smaller seas in the lee of the Peninsula.

Pushing on into the evening it was dark by the time we reached the small community of Kyuquot and landed at a private dock belonging to the Kyuquot beach House. Knocking on the door we get to meet Mike, one of the Lodge's owners, and he grants us permission to to camp on the dock. Karen, seeking some luxury, chooses instead to pay for a cosy bed for the night.

The next morning Mike invites us to join him for breakfast. A resident of Quadra Island he runs the fishing lodge during the summer months. We had caught him in the process of winding everything down for the season and he had to rush to be on Quadra Island that day.

After breakfast we go to leave town but the extremely thick fog has us struggling even to see the way out of the natural harbour. We phone Dan, the nurse in Kyuquot, who had been a generous host to our friends Kirsten and Jodi who had circumnavighated Vancouver Island earlier that year.

Dan invites us to visit, which we do, and when the fog continues to persist, he offers for us to stay the night. We make a trip to the Kyuquot store and stock up on crisps, candy and ice cream. then spend an enjoyable day and evening with Dan, enjoying his tales and photos of the remote places he has worked as a nurse.

Good weather greeted us as we continued south from Kyuquot but strong winds forced us off the water at Catala Island. The next day stong headwinds limited our progress and we only make it as far as Ferrer Point at the northwestern tip of Nootka Island. The following day we finally make some progressand pass uneventfully by Bajo reef, continuing on to Escalnte Island south of Nootka Sound.

We made our way past Estevan Point in sunny weather. Unable to find a route inside the reef we had to swing wide around the point to avoid the offshore breakers and steep seas. Once safely around the point we took a lunch break and then bee lineit for Hot Springs Cove.

We spent a day at the Cove reading and relaxing in the hot pools. and meet Shawn Shelongsky who owns the Innchanter, a floating bed and breakfast. Shan invited us aboard the innchanter - his pride and joy,an 86 ft long, 80 year old freighter that he has spent 8 years converting to a B & B.

Leaving Hot Springs Cove we enjoyed a beautiful days paddling along the outside of Flores and Ahousat Islands to Tofino. Along the way we enjoyed close encounters with California sea lions and grey whales.

At Tofino Karen is met by her husband who has driven up from Victoria to meet her. As we land we are fortunate to meet Dan Lewis of Rainforest Kayak Adventures, a kayaker whose regular articles in Wavelength magazine we enjoyreading.

Dan and his wife Bonny are dedicated to preserving the old growth and wilderness habitat that remains in their beautiful backyard. They had recently returned from a trip to Japan where they met with CEOs of lumber companies and showed them the damage that logging was doing to Vancouver Island, in an effort to dissuade them from buying old growth logs.

After Karen and her husband departed we set up camp on a small island in Tofino harbour. The next day was Thanksgiving and we were fortunate to be invited for Thanksgiving Dinner with some Aussie and Canadians we had met the previous day.

Rob, one of the Australians had a beautiful cedar-strip kayak that caught our eye as he was driving around Tofino and we had commented on it to him. Dinner with Rob & Carmyn, their daughter Maddie, Steve & Cheryl and Kent & Aniston was a blast. Good food, good wine & great comnpany - what Thanksgiving is all about.

Well after dark and definitely well past our usual bed-time Rob drives us back to the beach and we sprint kayak back to our camp.

It was not an early start the next morning.

   
       
   
Kelp and swells, North Vancouver Island
 
       
 
Landing at Nels Bight
 
Hansen Lagoon
   
 
Old dyke at Hansen Lagoon
   
 
Mike, keeper at Cape Scott lighthouse
   
 
Karen in thick fog at Kyuquot
 
Klaskish Inlet/Borooks Peninsula
 
 
Cape Cook, Brooks Peninsula
 
Sunset at Ferrer Point
   
 
What its all about - Hot Springs Cove
   
 
Californian sea lions off Flores Island
   
 
Thanksgiving Dinner at Tofino
   
Back to top