Tag Archives: Tofino

Kayaking on Westcoast Vancouver Island

Well, when I started this blog, this wasn’t the trip we had in mind. Our goal was to paddle all around Vancouver Island this summer but as fate would have it, our plans changed. Instead, we did some hiking on the wild Nootka Island trail while Bryan’s broken hand healed up a bit and then did a month of leisurely kayaking in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We checked out remote beaches, relaxed in hotsprings, fished for our dinner and cooked up delicious meals over a small campfire. We took our kayaks up river and down the long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. We explored the labyrinthine of islands in the Broken Group and high tailed it back to Ucluelet before the full force of what apparently was one of the worst storms in a decade. I thought the climax of the trip was making the run from Ahous Bay on Vargas Island to Ucluelet, completely exposed, but paddling in the vanguard winds of the storm beat it with a bang. It has been a pretty incredible summer and an amazing end of our two year long honeymoon. A quick shout-out to our wonderful and understanding sponsors: Princeton Tec, Wildcoast Publishing and Tilley Vancouver : THANK YOU!

Hidden gem: Calm paddling in the super tranquil Sulphur Passage behind Obstruction Island. The water is so calm that it perfectly reflects the sky and mountains like a mirror. To top it off, none of the busy tour boats comes back here...in fact, not many kayakers either. We saw no body in our whole time in the passage
Hidden gem: Calm paddling in the super tranquil Sulphur Passage behind Obstruction Island. The water is so calm that it perfectly reflects the sky and mountains like a mirror. To top it off, none of the busy tour boats comes back here…in fact, not many kayakers either. We saw no body in our whole time in the passage
After waiting 3 days for the gale force winds settle down so we could paddle the outside of Flores Islands, we decided to head on the inside instead. I was a little sad at first because the outside of Flores Island is known for grey whales but instead, we were blessed with paddling for two hours with a pod of transient orca whales also heading down the inside!
After waiting 3 days for the gale force winds settle down so we could paddle the outside of Flores Islands, we decided to head on the inside instead. I was a little sad at first because the outside of Flores Island is known for grey whales but instead, we were blessed with paddling for two hours with a pod of transient orca whales also heading down the inside!
The long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. This is a calm day out here with gentle rolling ocean swell.
The long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. This is a calm day out here with gentle rolling ocean swell.
Gorgeous paddling in the Broken Group
Gorgeous paddling in the Broken Group
Feeling thankful and really appreciating these islands by Ucluelet that gave us a bit of protected water. This was the first time we could stop and relax a bit after two hours of hard paddling over about 14km of stormy open waters from the Broken Group
Feeling thankful and really appreciating these islands by Ucluelet that gave us a bit of protected water. This was the first time we could stop and relax a bit after two hours of hard paddling over about 14km of stormy open waters from the Broken Group

The Essence of Adventure: Revised Summer Plans

Today is two weeks from the date we were supposed to start our kayaking journey circumnavigating Vancouver Island by kayak. Instead, we went to the hospital this morning to get an x-ray for Bryan’s broken hand. Bryan is a survivor and a quick-healer and though his hand is still a little swollen, he’s doing much better. Not kayaking level of better yet but the healing process seems well on track.

Change is an opportunity so check out this teaser of what’s coming up this summer of good wholesome BC adventure!

Maps are interactive so click on the Satellite map setting (lower left hand corner of the map) and zoom right in to see the bays and beaches we’re going to stay at. Don’t forget to also click on the points to read the info about them!! For the Nootka Island trail, I have compiled all the info on the trail from various sites on the internet into one map! 

Sunshine Coast Trail – July 10 -12 – Saltery Bay Loop 

The Sunshine Coast Trail is an 180km long meander through the beautiful northern Sunshine Coast from Saltery Bay all the way to the tip of Malaspina Peninsula in Desolation Sound north of Lund. It is free, easily accessible with multiple entry and exit points and features hut-to-hut hiking. Amazingly dedicated volunteers have constructed huts for hikers to sleep in (though bringing a tent is recommended in the summer in case there are other hikers without tents!). We will be hiking the Saltery Loop in the south end, one of the newest parts of the trail. The 18km loop goes from Saltery Bay to Fairview Bay up to Rainy Day Lake and then back down to Saltery Bay past some viewpoints and waterfalls. This is going to be a practice run for the remote Nootka Island trail the following week. We have independently trekked in the Himalayas up to Everest Base Camp and summited Mt Kilimonjaro in Africa but hiking around with everything that we need for days with only our backpacks is something new*. On this hike, we hope to work out the kinks of packing while still relatively close to civilization.  Of course, anyone whose in the Lower Mainland right now living in the haze of smoke cannot ignore the wildfires rampaging across the province right now. This trip may be cancelled if the wildfire conditions worsen. Currently, the Sunshine Coast Trail is currently away from both of the fires in the region. The Sechelt fire is to the south on the other side of a ferry ride, with winds blowing the smoke south to the city of Vancouver. The Pemberton fire is separated from the southern Sunshine Coast trail by numerous ocean inlets and mountain ranges. I am in contact with the Sunshine Coast trail and getting updates from them.

Nootka Island Trail – July 17-26

The Nootka Island trail is a 35km long backpacker paradise in the gorgeous remote wilderness on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Set in the lush temperate rainforest along the abundant coastline, the Nootka Island trail has spectacular long sand beaches, tumbling waterfalls cascading onto the sand and stunning sunsets out onto the Pacific Ocean. The wildlife possibilities are endless from sea otters, sea lions and even the possibility of seeing whales in the waves to eagles, wolves and bears in the forest. The trail starts with a drop off by a float plane in a remote bay and then it works its way along the outside coastline of Nootka Island to historical Yuquot/Friendly Cove where the Spanish and British met in the colonial era to discuss the future of the west coast. The trail is pristine and undeveloped and it’s been compared to how the popular West Coast trail was 20 years ago. There is no long wait-list or many people at all; it is just the awesome wilderness and the hiker walking in the footsteps of the rich First Nations culture that continues to flourish today in remote Nootka Island.

A West Coast Meander – Aug 5-Sept 10

A month long kayak from Tofino to Port Alberni and everything around and in-between

Prequel – Family Mini Vacation in Tofino

Depart Vancouver on Wednesday Aug 5 to head over to Tofino where we have rented a studio apartment on the waterfront in downtown Tofino for three nights.  We will spend time together, explore Tofino and its beaches and make a day trip down to Ucluelet. On Saturday Aug 8, Bryan and I will paddle off and Pat and Bill will return back to Ladner.

Part 1 – Clayoquot Sound

Our 14 day paddling route in Clayoquot Sound- tentatively from Aug 8 to Aug 21- from Tofino up to Hotsprings Cove and then back down the outside of Flores and Vargas Islands. This paddle is leisurely and explorative, with lots of beach and hiking days and short paddles to the next gorgeous beach campsite. This leisurely paddle is designed to get us back into paddle touring, especially for Bryan’s freshly healed hands.

Part 2 – Barkley Sound

The second half of our paddle from Tofino to Ucluelet for the Broken Islands and Deer Group and ending with a paddle up to Port Alberni. This half features the challenging paddle from Tofino to Ucluelet along a long stretch of exposed west coast, which we will attempt in the early morning hopefully when it is still calm, then a leisurely paddle through the Broken Island group, which one of National Geographic’s Bucket List 20 Adventures to do in the world. From the Broken Island group, we will cross to the Deer Group, which is still very beautiful and excellent to explore with tropical like crushed white shell beaches,  sea caves and other awesome things. I have built in 5 flex days into our schedule for this trip in addition to lots of rest and exploration days. The flex days are for weather and beach-is-so-beautiful-I-need-to-stay-longer delays, which may be used for optional West Coast Trail detour if 4 or more days are left at the end.

A couple final words on adventure: 

Life is full of unexpected surprises and even the best, most detailed, researched plans can all go out the window in a split second. One reaction to change is frustration and disappointment …and maybe a bit of anger to the world for screwing us out of something we were really looking forward to. However, a more productive reaction to change is to view it as an opportunity to explore a different aspect of something. If you think about it, that is the beauty of travelling, exploring and discovering – experiencing more than what is currently in your world right now. It is the unexpected twists and turns that brings you to new heights that you might not have even imagined was an option. So embrace this essence of adventure!

*Kilimonjaro requires that you go with an outfit and it is possible to hike from little Sherpa village to the next on the Everest Base Camp trek