West Coast of Vancouver Island

On July 26 Greg Polkinghorn, Dave Resler and I launched from Side Bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island with a goal of paddling to Ucluelet. As an eagle flies that’s about 145 miles. Our route included rounding the Brooks Peninsula, paddling through Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve, the Bunsbys, the Mission Group, Kyuquot Sound, Nuchatlitz, the outer coast of Nootka Island, the Hesquiat Peninsula and Clayoquot Sound. Each a world class kayaking destination in its own right. The route was exposed and subject to weather. While conditions on the west coast of Vancouver Island can be very large, and care must be taken to stay within one’s skill set, we had magnificent weather with zero rain and mostly mellow seas.

Paddling the west coast of Vancouver Island, in one trip or in many, can be complicated. There are few hard surfaced roads that cross from the inside to the outside of the island. Owing to the extensive logging that has been undertaken there are a number of gravel roads that provide access but their condition varies and they are subject to closures. They can take their toll on your vehicle. This seriously complicated the Point A to Point B route that we were going for.

Enter my friend and Nanaimo area paddler Glenn Lewis who offered to ride with us from his house up island to Port Alice and out 60-some miles of bad road to Side Bay, drop us off and then deliver the vehicle to the Ucluelet Campground where we hoped to finish in 2-3 weeks. Oh yes, his wife Joan would drive the 2 hours out to Ucluelet to pick up Glenn and bring him back home. Amazing, right? On the way up he provided weather and site specific data that helped us solidify our route.

Some stretches of the coastal route can be very long, requiring extended periods of cockpit time, surf landings and launches. Many of the places that make sense to land are First Nation village sites, historical fish camps or Maa-nulth Treaty lands and prior approval of the local band office should be obtained prior to entering. For the most part if there is a good beach it has some First Nations historical significance and probably isn’t Crown land.

After 2 weeks on the water we chose to not do the last long day from Clayoquot to Ucluelet as it just didn’t seem like it would be much fun. We took out in Tofino and we’ll continue our trip from there next year.

I’ve posted a few photos here: https://picasaweb.google.com/111037397296669047941/SideBay2Ucluelet2014?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Eventually the complete trip report will be posted here: http://3meterswell.blogspot.com


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Thanks for the great pics, great trip! Who did you have to pay to get all that sunshine?

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This is exactly why I refer to 3meterswell as the “King of the Ocean.”

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