Our many travels on Vancouver Island have taken us to a wide variety of locations, but a recent trip up the northwest coast is one that will remain in my memory until the day I die. It was nothing short of magical thanks to a combination of very fine summer weather, breathtaking scenery, the great crew of the MV Uchuck lll and a destination that was tiny, remote and serenely lovely.
Our journey with Get West Adventure cruises (an adjunct to the cargo deliveries performed by the packet freighter) commenced very early on a perfect summer morning, when 16 of us straggled on to the dock at Gold River, traipsed downstairs with our luggage and settled in for the day-long trip to the minute fishing village of Kyuquot. Elaine, the cheerful queen of the full-service kitchen, had coffee and breakfast options ready, and away we went, chugging along at 12 knots an hour.
While the overnight trip involved two pretty long days on the water there was never a lack of things to do and see. The scenery all the way up the coast, through Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet was nothing short of spectacular. We made many freight drops during the course of the day, delivering food to fish farms, supplies to remote fishing lodges, equipment to isolated log-sort operations – the list of stops was endless and engaging as we watched the skillful crew hook and lower a huge variety of goods to waiting recipients.
And, of course, our fellow passengers were a source of interest. Lazing on the comfortable benches on the upper deck or below-decks in the indoor lounge we found ourselves talking to folks from England, France, New York, Seattle and many Island locations.
There was plenty of wildlife to enjoy along the route as well, including a whale, black bears, bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, seals, otters and, at one of the freight drops, hummingbirds.
Although the weather was sunny and warm it was fairly windy, which meant when we hit open water for the final couple of hours to Kyuquot things got a little rough. We were hitting 10-foot swells on a pretty consistent basis, so Gravol was the order of the day at that point. A few of our fellow passengers were sea sick, but we managed to survive the rough water.
Just before 5:30 p.m. we pulled into Kyuquot, were introduced to our respective hosts and were whisked off to our accommodations for the night – some went by small boat, while we sauntered up the wharf and briefly along the waterfront to the very comfortable and welcoming home of Mike (a retired fisherman) and Judy Sharpe.
At 6:30 we all assembled at the old school house, now a restaurant, and enjoyed an extraordinarily good meal, served family style. Post-supper some of us wandered back along the waterfront trail, exploring beaches and pretty vistas and enjoying dusk in this stunning, remote location. Kyuquot reminds me of what Tofino was like 40 years ago when I first ventured there – just a simple, lovely spot perched on the edge of the wild Pacific, unencumbered by commercialism, traffic or the intrusions of cell phone service or internet.
Early the next morning we were on the deck with Judy and Mike with coffee, enjoying a peaceful waterfront sunrise and a generous breakfast, then it was back down the hill to the Uchuck and heading out for the long trip back to Gold River. There were more freight drops on the way back, along with pick-ups of kayakers and passengers from a remote camp. By 5 p.m. we were back on solid land with hundreds of spectacular photographs and memories to last a lifetime. I am so thankful that Get West Adventures offers such a unique experience – if you don’t mind roughing it a bit, and if a little ‘wild’ is your idea of a good time you will never regret making this trip.
More information on Get West Adventures can be found at the website:
Get West Adventures is located at the wharf about a 15 minute drive from Gold River.
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.68033966169039 Long. -126.11745544683521
N 49 40.820 W 126 07.047