Around Nootka Island

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by LAM, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. LAM

    LAM Paddler

    Joined:
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    Outside
    After our relaxed Gulf Island trip in June this year Doug and I decided to do something a little more challenging for our September trip. We have wanted to circumnavigate Nootka Island for some time now and figured this is the time!

    We packed up all gear and boats on Friday and took the BC Ferry to Nanaimo where we spent a night at Long Lake Inn. This enabled us to get a nice early start up the highway to Tahsis where we would spend a night at the Westview Marina before launching on Sunday morning. We enjoyed a nice afternoon and evening at Westview Marina on their dock, sipping beer and watching the fishermen come in with their hauls. Our room was at the end of the floating dock and we enjoyed a few whiskeys at our private deck before bed.
    Welcome to Tahsis.jpg
    Tahsis 2.jpg
    Tahsis Marina.jpg
    Westview Marina

    Up before dawn and launched by 7:30 am. The plan was to get to Garden Point for the night. The paddle was very easy, no winds no currents and a bit of help from the ebb tide. There was a grey whale in the Inlet which we were able to spot a few times before we headed through Tahsis Narrows. We stopped for a quick lunch break at a little creek and back in the boats. Shortly after we spotted a bear strolling along the shore line and we enjoyed watching him until he tired of us and headed back into the brush.
    Instructions for Parking Payment.jpg Instructions for Pay Parking

    Ready to Launch.jpg
    Govt Boat Launch Tahsis

    Ceepeecee.jpg
    Ceepeecee

    Garden Point.jpg Garden Point

    When we arrived at Garden Point we had a good look around and decided that the campsite here was quite dark and not really appealing to us. We then decided to paddle into Nuchatlitz, about another hour, and to look for a nicer campsite. We were able to find a spot on Island 44, west of the main campsite which was booked up. We had checked out Rosa Island on the way over and there were so many tents on it that we didn’t bother looking for a spot for our tent.

    Our back up plan for this trip, if the wind/weather turned bad on us and kept us off the coast, was to stay in Nuchatlitz and enjoy this area. We were here once before and there were places we didn’t get to that we would have liked to, so Plan B was one that we could both be happy with.

    Upon listening to the marine weather on Sunday evening we realized that there was NO wind for the next two days, but starting to get pretty breezy by Wednesday afternoon and becoming very windy for the 3 days following. It was then that we decided we should take advantage of the no winds and get down the coast in the next two days. We were originally going to go to Tongue Point and camp there on Monday night and maybe even Tuesday night. That plan was abandoned and we headed to Calvin Falls on Monday, again very early in the morning. We had to pack our gear and boats in the dark and quite a distance as the only campsite we could get to the day before was not accessible at low tide.
    Sunset at Island 44.jpg
    Sunset on Island 44

    Early Morning Launch from Island 44.jpg Packing Boats just as dawn arrives

    Paddling conditions were perfect as the water was very calm and the sun came out again today. We crossed over Nuchatlitz Inlet (so named by us as I can’t find an actual name for this body of water) and over to Ferrer Point. No issues except beauty overload. This part of the coast is gorgeous. We passed by Third Beach as we didn’t need a break yet. We paddled down the coast to Skuna Bay where it seemed that we stopped moving. By this time we were both tired and ready to call it a day. It seemed to take forever to paddle into Calvin Falls. Once we got closer to the shoreline it was clear that the only landing would be surf landing. We were trying to find the “perfect” spot for this but we kept getting pushed in closer and closer. I just yelled at Doug “Let’s just do it!” After quite an exhilarating ride I finally landed on solid ground, popped the skirt, bounced out and grabbed my front toggle and I see Doug walking down the beach towards me, his kayak right side up but quite a ways down from mine. We both landed with no swims! I kept repeating all the instructions that Liam (formerly of Tofino Sea Kayaking) instructed to us a few years ago. Those lessons really paid off on this trip.

    Again we had a long walk with gear and boats to set up camp at Calvin Falls. After lunch and a walk to the falls to fill up water bags we were in the tent by 5:00 pm and ready to call it a night! The next morning we had to once again move all the gear and kayaks way out to the water and then wait for the perfect time to launch in the surf. Doug was a bit ahead of me and had no problems. I got hit by two huge waves but managed to stay right side up and not get blown back into shore. Again, I was remembering the instructions from Liam on launching in surf. At one point my bow was way out of the water! After my heart stopped racing and my breathing was back to normal I noticed that the surf took my chart and pump. I was NOT going back for it.

    Continued.....
     
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  2. LAM

    LAM Paddler

    Joined:
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    213
    Location:
    Outside
    Crossing from Nuchatlitz to Ferrer Point.jpg
    Crossing from Nuchatlitz to Ferrer Point
    Calvin Falls.jpg Happy with his surf landing
    Beach at CalvinFalls.jpg Beach goes on forever in both directions
    Ocean View.jpg Ocean View


    Calvin Falls 2.jpg
    Calvin Falls

    Next obstacle was Bajo Reef. The tide was still low and there was no wind when we paddled between the shore and Inner Bajo Reef. It seemed supernatural with the calm water and the sun just waking up. I would have loved to just sit there for 30 minutes or so. I had worried about this spot the previous night and wondered if that is where I die, but we passed by at the perfect time and I did not die.
    Waiting to Launch.jpg Dawn just breaking, waiting to launch

    Heading to Bajo Reef.jpg Heading to Bajo Reefs after surf launch.

    Chart Bajo Reef.jpg Chart showing Bajo Reefs

    Calm sea at Bajo Reef.jpg
    Calm seas at Bajo Reef

    Next obstacle was Maquinna Point. Again, the night before I was worried that if we successfully got passed Bajo Point I could die at Maquinna Point… I didn’t. I found from Maquinna Point to Yuquot to be simply outstanding in its beauty. The huge rocks and reefs jutting out of the water can be hard to pick your way around in bad wind/weather but we had no trouble finding a safe passage through them. The coastline here is so rugged with rocks and caves and the swell from the outside was just enough to make you notice it was there but not so big that you lost sight of your paddling partner for too long.

    We had a quick lunch break at Yuquot and then sore bums back in the seats for another hour to Charlie’s Beach on Bligh Island. This was our third day out. It felt like a week. Long paddle days with little or no breaks, surf, death defying reefs, and long walks with gear and kayaks. Time to settle in to a campsite for 3 nights . We had enough sun left in the day to dry out our paddle gear and clothes. As we were enjoying a well deserved beverage from the “magic beer hatch” two paddlers showed up. These two gents shared the campsite with us for the next 2 days and nights and shared some of their “catch of the day” with us (in trade for some beer). We traded many kayak stories and other stories and truly enjoyed their company.
    Lighthouse at Yuquot.jpg Lighthouse at Yuquot

    Charlie's Beach.jpg Charlie's Beach

    more next page.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  3. LAM

    LAM Paddler

    Joined:
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    Happy Campers.jpg
    Happy Campers Paddle around Spanish Pilot Group.jpg Spanish Pilot Group

    Day 2 at Charlie’s beach brought the rain and the rain stayed on. There was some very strong winds as predicted and it looked like we would not see sun for a long time. We made the right choice to get on the outside of Nootka when we did. We paddled around the Spanish Pilot Group for a few hours but I had to let some blisters and chafing heal before we headed back up the Inlet. Friday the 13th at Charlies Beach allowed us to pack up wet gear before the skies opened up on us. So that was nice. We started out under dark skies but it only started raining on us about 5 k from Tahsis. But rain it did. Hard. We packed up our gear into the truck in the cold wet rain and we felt as if the world should have been there to congratulate us on what we consider a “feather in the cap” trip. But alas, no one showed up.
    Dark Skies for the trip back to Tahsis.jpg
    Dark Cloud on Friday the 13th Heading up Tahsis Inlet.jpg Paddling up Tahsis Inlet

    This trip was super fantastic. It was a quick trip with 135 km paddled. A few notes for others who may want to do this.... the FSR from Gold River to Tahsis is well looked after. We had no problems on it. It was well graded and they are using small gravel that is almost pavement like. There are some viewing interests along the way which are fun to watch for. Parking... $5.00 day / $25.00 week / $50.00 month. Pay at the launch (see picture above) Parking is just above the launch a 2 minute walk. No issues coming back to the truck. There is a porta-john by parking.

    Lila
     
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  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
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    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Superb report, great photos. You two really zipped along on the outside! Great job of reincarnation, also. ;);)
     
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  5. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Great report! Thanks!
     
  6. AM

    AM Paddler

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
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    Location:
    Vancouver
    Right on, guys! I did the same trip in July, launching from Tahsis and staying at many of the same spots. Nootka is awesome, but if you don't have a weather window, it could be really nasty...

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  7. benson

    benson Paddler

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Sequim, Wa
    Great photos and trip report. I remember our trip out to The Nuchatlitz and Catala Is a few years ago. We launched at Tahsis and camped at Garden Pt. I recall the "unique" outhouse there at the time had a safety line attached to the outside and the toilet cone secured to a couple of weathered 2' by 6's. Needless to say foot placement and a good grip on the rope were essential!
     
  8. chodups

    chodups Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
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    I passed through with a couple of buddies about 5 years back. On our way from Side Bay to Tofino. We spent a couple of days on Islet 44 South before continuing on. Ferrar Point was very lumpy. We camped at Bajo Point, made a brief stop at Yuquot and camped the next night in Burdwood Bay. That stretch of coastline is simply stunning. Your report captures it well.
     
  9. nootka

    nootka Paddler

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,527
    Location:
    Campbell River
    Thanks for the trip report Lila! That looks like a nice launch. As well as being dark (unless you are on the little island), Garden Pt seems to have a perpetual bear problem.
    You had good luck at Charlie's - I have found kitchen gear strewn everywhere which prompts me to
    move on.
    I think someone has been exaggerating the dangers of Nootka Island to you - but you do need reasonable weather.
    Here's Third beach in August with some storm surf - I stayed an extra day.
    https://scontent.fyvr4-1.fna.fbcdn....=a76022516e063e090cc12c9d5e80573d&oe=5DF39FDC
     
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