4 day Johnstone Strait area adventure

coastalk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
10
Hello.

We (2 single kayaks) are aiming for a 3 night paddle leaving from Telegraph Cove. Planning on renting the boats there and am wondering if there are any suggestions on what would make a good 3-4 day paddle. I would say we are both intermediate paddlers but with common sense and a strong respect for winds and tides. Along with that of course will be tidal charts, weather reports, maps etc. I was thinking of Growler Cove but would love suggestions on any other areas where we see whales and not people. (At the moment we weren't planning on using a ferry service but would consider it if we can join in with others.)

Assuming you cross at safe times, no fog etc. what is the approx crossing time to Hanson or West Cracroft Island?

Thank you!!!
 

VanIslePaddler

Paddler
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Messages
621
Location
Tuff City
Growler Cove is a long paddle from Telegraph Cove.

Crossing time is approx 45-1 hr. its about 2 Nautical Miles.

To add to the hazards when crossing, include ship traffic. Do not underestimate the speed of a cruise ship!
 

coastalk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
10
Thank you! I definitely won't underestimate the speed of any boat bigger than a kayak. What would you consider to be a "long paddle"? My general idea was to have a long day of paddling with breaks etc. and then set up a base camp for a few days with exploring in and amongst smaller bays etc.

Thanks again.
k.
 

ken_vandeburgt

Paddler
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
1,155
Any popular place such as Johnstone Strait from Telegraph Cove means there is not much possibility of having a reasonably good campsite to yourself. Get used to the idea of sharing.

Three/four days is one day to Kaikash Creek, one day to paddle around, one no-day, and one day back to car. Kaikash Creek is a very busy but pleasant site. You would need at least a week to go much further.

Same Same for Ucluelet. Best paddling is Broken Group from Toquart Bay where there are hordes of kayakers and only 7 campsites.

The main hazards around Hanson and West Craycroft are currents in Weynton Passage and particularly Blackney Passage. Blackney Passage is junction for Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait and Knight Inlet so waters get confused.

As mentioned, Johnstone Strait is the equivalent of a marine highway. The traffic peaks around slack tide as ships take advantage of the currents. Trawlers like to hug the coast of Vancouver Island for some reason and that makes paddling in fog a bit hazardous. Johnstone Strait is prone to wind, particularly in the afternoon.
 

coastalk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
10
Thanks, appreciate the advice. I think we were spoiled last year when we rented from Tahsis and paddled up the inlet. Fishing boats during the day but nobody else in a kayak and definitely nobody around at night. Oh well, it's a big island, maybe I'll find something similar again.
 

ryan29

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
7
Hi,
I have a thread a couple down the page where I was in basically the exact same situation you are (except that I was planning to go alone which put the kaibash on the whole thing with the outfitters).

I wanted to see whales but as few other people as possible. From all my research and the great posts people offered up on here, the general consensus is that if you're leaving from Telegraph Cove and heading southeast towards Robson Bight/West Cracroft, you don't have a great chance of being alone, especially if you're staying along the south side.

However, there is a rubbing beach much like Robson Bight (but not protecte) at Bere Point on the north side of Malcolm Island. This is apparently a fantastic place for whale watching as not only is it a rubbing beach but it's also right on the migratory route the whales take from the Queen Charlotte down into Johnstone.

In theory, it shouldn't have nearly as much kayak traffic, due to the fact that none of the local tour companies seem to go there. The island is nearly entirely surrounded by pebble beaches so you've got lots of options for camp sites and should be able to find a nice secluded one for yourself.

If you're looking for whales without having to paddle through swarms of tourists, it might be worth a look.
 

coastalk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
10
hello!

I saw your post after I posted mine (of course) and found all the info quite helpful. I think we will look into the Malcolm Isl. idea. I don't mind some people but to go all that way and put in all that effort to be right next to another tent just doesn't appeal to me. Hope your trip goes well!
 

canoecat

Paddler
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
103
Location
Sointula
Adding to ryan's post, Bere Point is a developed campsite, owned by the regional district. You pay, not sure how much this year, and reservations are available, also for a fee. There is no water on site, but free firewood. Sites are geared to camper vans and you can forget about being alone. The RD took over the place because of the tourist attraction at Bere Point. Can get really crowded with people on the beach when they ought not be. Supposed to stay up on the bank along the trail. They even built a viewing platform. Link is: http://www.rdmw.bc.ca/siteengine/active ... ?PageID=62

A possibility if you want solitude, would be to look for rough, free camping east of Bowlder (sic) Point maybe to Lizard Point. Quite a bit of level land. Look for a grassy area near Bowlder. Power boaters crowd the sea near Lizard, but I think camping is possible there too. Look for a Namgis petroglyph.

If driving from Sointula, it is 6 km on gravel to site. There are some sandy beaches all along the north shore, but mostly gravel and boulder. Lots of firewood. Check if you can leave your vehicle at Bere Point Park. The marina in town (Sointula) is a safe enough place, maybe check with the wharfinger.

In "town" Co-op store does its best to provide organic, and Van Island meats. Pub and Bistro just across the road. Burger Barn at the marina, 2 km from town. Interesting museum.

Ferry fare is round trip. If you have extra time, it's possible to "turnaround" without stopping in McNeill if you want to visit Alert Bay. They have a well attended 12k kayak race coming up, (totally dominated by surf skis) with draws and prizes for finishers.

Never paddled near Donegal Head, locals think it can be difficult, but those are not kayakers.
 
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