Kayaking and Canoeing Nootka Island and Sound
courtesy of Brian Gunn
Strathcona Park Lodge
south of Calvin Creek.
Photo courtesy of Eric Scott
along Vancouver Island's rugged West Coast in fully equipped ocean
touring kayaks. Nootka Sound with its winding fjords, unbelievable
beaches, rolling mountains and lush ecosystems (the salal can grow
ten feet tall) is most accessible from Gold
River and a popular kayak destination to Strathcona
Park Lodge and their clients.
past Gold River on the gravel road towards Tahsis
then along Tlupana Inlet to Cougar Creek where Strathcona keep a supply
of kayaks during the summer months. After loading and launching your
kayaks, you will paddle past Bligh Island to the Spanish Pilot Islands.
Many overnight camp spots are available in this area, however it is
wise to bring fresh water, as it is not always available. You may
visit historic Friendly Cove, where Captain Cook first landed in 1778,
to become the first European to land on the West Coast of North America.
at Friendly Cove. Photo
courtesy of Ann Fiddick
paddlers may choose to circumnavigate Nootka Island from the north
end as well as explore the Nuchalitz Inlet and its many islands where
rafts of sea otters are not uncommon. Please note that the ocean side
of this trip can be very dangerous for all but the very fit and experienced
paddlers because of the difficulty in making safe shore landings in
big seas and sometimes having to paddle considerably further than
planned to safely come ashore. While kayaking along the West Coast
of Nootka Island you will want to come ashore at some of the many
unbelievable beaches. Not to be missed is Crawfish Falls where Calvin
Creek enters the Pacific Ocean. Here you can alternate your bathing
under the freshwater of the falls with a dip in the pounding surf.
You should also spend time at Bajo Point and marvel at the large size
and great variety of inter-tidal life. Continuing your journey toward
Yuquot (Friendly Cove), a 4300 year old village, you'll meet the descendants
of Chief Maquinna and hear tales of trading sea otter pelts with European
and Spanish American traders in the late 18th century. Visit Yuquot's
Spanish church and see First Nations artifacts as well as evidence
of European history. The adjacent lighthouse is one of the few remaining
manned lighthouses and is one of the most stunning on BC coast. Keepers
are very receptive and hospitable people. Walk the beautiful polished
pebble beach; swim at a warm inland lake and chat with the native
peoples about their plans to restore the village to its former grandeur.
If you have time rent one of their cabins along the lake or overlooking
the open Pacific Ocean. To return, paddle to the north from Friendly
Cove up Nootka Sound and turn right into Eliza Passage, then left
to the launch site in Tlupana Inlet.
Falls Photo courtesy of Eric Scott
choice is to paddle the eastern side of Bligh Island, overnight at
a campsite on one of the Spanish Pilot Islands' then to cross Nootka
Sound to Burdwood Beach. Burdwood can receive significant Pacific
Ocean swell from the Northwest, so care is needed when going ashore.
Set up camp and then explore the white sandy beaches at Burdwood.
Weather permitting, you can paddle south to Escalante Beach, an even
more stunning white sandy beach. Escalante is about three kilometers
long and has many great camping spots. Some parts of the beach are
open to the Pacific surf while other places are sheltered by islands
just off shore. The Escalante River has many freshwater pools that
are warm by Pacific Ocean standards and great for swimming. Expect
a natural high watching the sun sinking over the rim of the Pacific
only to set with a tremendous flash of color.
Point Photo courtesy of Eric Scott
great variety of wildlife might be viewed on this trip. There are
seals, sea lions
and an abundance of bald
eagles and ravens that frequent the isolated shore. Make sure
you place your food out of the reach of animals and secure from birds.
alternative to driving to Tlupana Inlet is to take your kayaks or
canoes onboard the coastal steamer Uchuck and get dropped off and
picked up along its route. This allows you to focus on the areas that