An epic sea kayaking adventure down the west coast of Canada.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trip Log Part 4: Vancouver Island North Straits

Day 21–Port Hardy to Bere Point on Malcolm Island
Date: July 16
Distance: 19 nautical miles
Duration:  6 hours with one quick stop
Actual conditions: Calm, 10 knot head wind and rain late

We set off later to go with the flooding tide.  The sun was shining and it was warm so we wore our shorties.  We saw beautiful rugged snow capped mountains to the east. We struck out on a 10 mile crossing to Malcolm Island. We saw porpoises and heard whales.  Stormy rain clouds developed to the west and we could see it drenching the hills.  We lost the race as it moved out and over us eventually.  We finally pulled up on a steep gravel beach at Malcolm Island and then quickly set up a shelter and tried to wait the rain out a bit.  We didn’t have much luck with that!  It was persistent as usual. We found a viewing platform and a trail in the woods with an information sign about orcas.  They come to this beach to rub their bellies on the pebbles.  There is an outhouse at the trailhead to the east and a campground as well.  While at camp we saw porpoises, whales and sea lions. 

Leaving the bay outside Port Hardy

Heading south east down Queen Charlotte Strait

A calm crossing to Malcolm Island

Storm clouds threaten to engulf us

Its definitely raining over there, and its coming this way

Caught by the clouds on a long open crossing

Stormy to the west, sunny to the east, but we're going south

Nearing Malcolm Island

Day 22–Bere Point on Malcolm Island to Sophie Islands 
Date: July 17
Distance: 22 nautical miles
Duration:  5 1/2 hours without stopping
Actual conditions:

We had another long crossing and saw several pairs of humpbacks.  We encountered a group of kayakers.  We had swirlies and crazy currents with 3 channels converging at Cracroft Point at max flood. We entered Johnstone strait and saw several pods of porpoises.  We paddled to the Sophie Island group to have lunch and decided to make it camp there.  It is a rock ledge camp with a view of great clouds and snowy mountains to the West. Its a fabulous spot for watching whales, but we didn't see any until morning.  A pair of piliated woodpeckers flew to a tree behind our tent.  Shipping traffic continually passed by.

We awoke to see 18 fishing boats within talking distance of our tent

Heading toward Blackfish Sound

Crossing toward Blackfish Sound


Our rock ledge camp at Sophie Islands

Jenny getting dinner

A nice view from the kitchen

Jon lazing around waiting for whales

Day 23–Sophie Islands to Port Neville
Date: July 18
Distance: 23 nautical miles
Duration:  5 hours with an hour lunch break
Actual conditions: current against, calm in the morning, 15 knots wind with us in the afternoon

When packing up in the morning two orcas came 30 feet off our shore heading South.  They were tail slapping loudly.  We eddy hopped most of the morning and then we had a NW tail wind for the 2nd half pushing us along nicely.  We surfed and made good time.  We saw two black bears shifting rocks effortlessly along the shore.  We saw a massive stampede of Dahles porpoises in the middle of Johnstone Strait.  The caretaker at Port Neville invited us to camp there.  There used to be a post office and a store here.  The store closed in 1960 and the post office closed just last year.  We were able to get drinking water here.  Jill and Bryan had their boat, Hot Rum, at the dock and they brought us fresh baked muffins and invited us aboard for some hot chocolate.  We enjoyed checking out their beautiful boat and visiting with them.  Jonathan correctly identified the Cornish flag they were flying. They were surprised.

Orcas in the morning

Male orca at dawn

Jonathan checks out a black bear on shore

Black bear moving rocks

Black bear moving rocks

A lack of trust

Jenny in Johnstone Strait with Vancouver Island in the background


Jenny in Johnstone Strait

Jenny at the Broken Islands

Lunch break at the Broken Islands

Lunch break at the Broken Islands

Lunch break at the Broken Islands

Wind picking up after lunch

Heading back out into Johnstone Strait

Jenny in Johnstone Strait

This place looks even wetter than our tent

Port Neville Post Office

Early morning view of Vancouver Island from Port Neville

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