- Epic hot springs flowing into the ocean
- Finding out that we had random small world connections with some kayak buddies we met at the hot springs, then invited over to the boat for drinks the next day
- The hike from hell to Cecilia Lake (we did find some rainbow trout in the river)
- Gunkhole paddleboarding up the Megin River
- Nailing two nice springs off Ahousat... in the words of the Fisheries officer who boarded us later, we were "slaying it"
Nootka means "go around" in the Nuu-chah-nulth language. This is basically what we did. You can sail from the ancient Nuu-chah-nulth sancuary of Nuchatliz (one of our favorite places on the coast, where we spent three nights paddleboarding, exploring and eating great spring salmon gifted to us by some locals) around Nootka Island via Tahsis (home to the great fishing camp of Westview Marina where we met new friends tasted our first draft beers in weeks) to Nootka sound (home of Santa Gertrudis cove, a great nook with a hike through a really cool old growth forest to a lake). We could have spent far more time exploring this area.
We pulled into foggy Kyuquot and tied up at the public pier. Our mission: to find a restaurant meal, the first opportunity in many weeks. A very friendly lab met us at the top of the ramp and led us along the boardwalk and path to Java the Hut café where we had great burgers and spent the afternoon on the deck talking to a few locals and other boaters. Luke (the guy our age with a whale skull hanging on his cabin just across the inlet) gave us some great recommendations on stops further south. His thoughts echoed some discussions we’d been having… if you’ve seen one inlet, you’ve seen them all, but the coastal islands and beaches are the real jewel of the west coast.
Gorgeous sunset in Walters Cove.
A velella jelly on the beach at Rugged Point
A perfect time to visit Rugged Point. With a good southerly blowing on the ocean, we were nice and protected behind the point and had a great bonfire on the beach.
Sunrise North of Brooks Peninsula
Sailing into Columbia Cove
Epic white sand beach a sort walk from the anchorage at Columbia Cove. Are we in Hawaii?
Kite up on the way to the Bunsbys
Bunsby Islands - one of the most spectacular places we have ever seen!
The northern portion of the West Coast of the island is rugged, wild and basically looks like a scene straight out of Jurassic Park. Entering Klaskino we passed aptly named Rugged Islands that looked like volcanic rock with scraggly trees on them. Everywhere we looked we waited to spot a Pterodactyl flying by. Brooks Penninsula, just to the south, is one of the few places in the world that wasn't glaciated so you never know, could be some baby dinos hiding in the trees.
Tiny entrance to Klaskish Basin.
Ryan on the river flats in Klaskino.
We've been enjoying beach bonfires when we can and found a nice little beach outside the inner basin at Klaskish, had a fire, wandered the beach and enjoyed a beer. We'd seen a few helicopters fly by (presumably from the logging operation nearby) and as we were just pushing off the beach one hovered and landed exactly where we had just been on the small beach right on shore. Assuming guilt for having a fire or some unknown delinquent action, we went back to shore and Ryan got out to talk with the four men. After small talk about where we were from and asking if we'd paid our "moorage", they encouraged us to stop at Rugged Point further down the coast, said they had some "engineering" to do and stomped into the forest, densely packed with trees and brush.
After a fun couple weeks in the Broughtons, we headed for Port McNeil on Vancouver Island to provision and fuel up for the rounding of the North end of the Island and our West coast cruise. We had a few days in McNeil to wait for good weather for rounding the Cape so we visited Alert Bay, an island nearby that has a lot of historical significance as a fishing port as well as a first nations site. The totem poles on the island are impressive.
In Alert Bay, we found Ryan's new house. You need a row boat to get to it though.
After fueling up and loading two dock carts full of groceries and beer aboard, we headed north for Port Hardy for the night, then up Goletas Channel to Bull Harbor on Hope Island which is the traditional staging point to make the trip around the Cape.
Walking on the beach at Roller Bay.
We were up early to cross the dreaded Nahwitti Bar. We had actually planned to take the "inside route" between the kelp line and shore, but with calm conditions we went straight over the bar with a nice 3 knot ebb pushing us towards the ocean. There were still some pretty impressive waves on the bar! The fog set in a few miles out but luckily we were able to follow our friends on EVENSONG through the thickest of it.
We anchored near Winter Harbor for the night, then headed into "town" at Winter Harbor the next morning for fuel.
A trip through the Broughtons would probably not be complete without a stop at Billy Proctor's homestead and museum. Billy was born in the area and has lived there all his life. He was a commercial fisherman and logger but is now active in conservation causes seeing the changes to the environment over his 80 plus years. We spent an awesome couple hours with him hanging out in the sunshine on his boarwalk. He has an impressive musuem he built on his property housing local artifacts and items he's found over the years. Plus, he has a massive fishing plug collection!
We really enjoyed this stop on Tribune Channel. A friend told us you get a feel for the life of the Broughtons by going to the very few marinas, talking with other cruisers and the owners, many of who have worked with/against nature to build a home and life in this completely wild area. We stayed at the marina at Kwatsi Bay and had a potluck on the dock with the 10 other boats it takes to completely fill the marina up. We have been dubbed "the kids" and/or "the young people" by many couples since everyone we have met is retired, but we've really enjoyed their stories and cruising tips.
The Burwoods are an open, low lying cluster of islands and islets at the mouth of Tribune Channel. They are a popular kayak or dinghy spot, anchoring is tricky because the depth around most of the islands is 65-100+ ft. and they are relatively unprotected. We anchored off two midden beaches and spent the day exploring.
We left Gig Harbor and arrived at Lagoon Cove, our first stop in the Broughtons, 7 days later. Quite the feat for us. We were booking it, pulling 10 hour days, often motoring at 6 kts, covering 235 miles as the crow flies and amped up. We find we do this on our 2 week cruises; plan long journeys, put in lots of hours and feel rushed.
But this time we were early in the season. We had a quiet anchorage at Montague (said no one who cruises in August, ever), boated right into a near empty Dinghy Pub in Nanaimo, had 2 other boats at the Cortes outstation and our pick of fresh lettuce and herbs from the garden and enjoyed those long hauls more than we normally do. We did those long days so that we could do this:
Our first stop in the Broughtons, Lagoon Cove. Full of wacky art, good stories and fresh prawns.
We headed west to Potts Lagoon and decided to stay 2 days so we could sleep in, read, explore the epic reverse flow rapids into the back cove (video to come), paddle around and just relax.