A magical overnight journey on the venerable Uchuck lll

Uchuck III, Gold River, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThis post is an ‘encore presentation’,  filed again (with some updates) because the trip on the Uchuck III was one of our most memorable and delightful.  Anyone with a taste for a bit of the wild in their travels should consider it.

  Our many travels on Vancouver Island have taken us to a wide variety of locations, but a 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.

Scene3ry on Uchuck III voyage, Gold River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Spectacular scenery abounds

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.

Log sort during trip on Uchuck III, Gold River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The voyage includes stops at all sorts of remote enterprises, including logging camps

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.

Interior of Uchuck III, Gold River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The comfortable interior of the Uchuck III

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.

Uchuck III berthed at Kyuquot, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Berthed at Kyuquot

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 our hosts.

Evening stroll at Kyuquot, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

An after-dinner stroll in Kyuquot

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 45 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.

Daybreak in Kyuquot, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Daybreak in Kyuquot

Early the next morning we were on the deck 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.

Kayakers waiting for the Uchuck III in Esperanza Inlet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The Uchuck III routinely picks up kayakers durings its travels

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


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.

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