Canadian Central British Columbia, Bella Bella to Hakai - information dump requested

Fransjb

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Victoria
We are planning on a July trip from Bella Bella. Jon/Chodups has already engaged to my great appreciation, having picked up on a question I posted in an old thread. With this said, I would greatly appreciate any more information that could be provided by those who have gone before.
Planning details:
  1. Group of 5 intermediate paddlers,
  2. Aged 15 - 60y/o
  3. Duration - planning on 14 days of paddle time.
  4. Risk appetite - low - would like to minimise/limit large crossings or exposure to Western open ocean
  5. Safety prep high (multiple redundancies, comms, meds, repairs)
  6. Capacity to self/group manage risk and respond to incident/event is good strong
  7. Booked on the ferry from Port Hardy, leaving vehicle and kayak trailer there
  8. Intention to paddle South to Hakai with return to BB for exit
Intel sought:
  1. Does the ferry/terminal have the kayak trollies that some have reported as available in older trip reports?
  2. Launch situation in Bella Bella
  3. Fresh water availability - general - also how much have people carried at trip outset? I have seen reports of 40l p/p
  4. Route options - musts, shoulds and coulds
  5. Camp sites - conditions and GPS coords if available
  6. Areas potentially recently closed through land treaty agreements
  7. Any information on rescue/evac options through local outfitters etc.
  8. Any other points not reflected above.
Thanks in advance for any advice or thoughts/considerations.

Frans
 

AlanC

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
1
Location
Victoria
That's a great trip, Frans, that I have done a couple of times! this year friends and I are paddling back to Port Hardy from BB next month...
1. One of my group confirmed with BC Ferries a few weeks ago that kayak trollies are available at Bear Cove for the northern sailing. I'm taking my wheels as backup just in case.
2. Launch beside the ramp at McLoughlin Bay; rough, rocky but very doable
3. Water available from seasonal streams in many areas (Seaforth, Calvert, Kildidt), but not on the outer islands (Goose, McMullins etc); I take 3 10L dromedaries and try to keep them mostly full
4. Goose Group from the McMullins to the north if you haven't been there (long way back E to the islands); Gale Passage south from Seaforth (tidal both ends); Serpent Group; Calvert N; it's all lovely
5. BC Marine Trails https://www.bcmarinetrails.org/ has details with some pics; John Kimantas' books on Central Coast useful, also Denis Dwyer inside passage books, website; search inside passage kayaking as lots of others have been this way
6. Just Fury Cove in Penrose Island Marine Park closed right now
7. Shearwater and Bella Bella are the local communities with marine businesses that could effect an evac
Suggest you contact Shearwater Marine (now owned by Heiltsuk FN) to confirm water taxi options in case.
Enjoy!
 

Fransjb

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Victoria
Alan - BB to PH... I am definitely going to be watching for the trip report! That sounds like a fantastic way to enjoy what looks like summer that has finally arrived - at least here in Vic. All 7 points are really helpful and address both big and small logistics - we will definitely factor them in as we draw closer to D Day. Again - thanks for the engagement, it goes a long way to making for better decision making.
 

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,210
Water available from seasonal streams in many areas (Seaforth, Calvert, Kildidt), but not on the outer islands (Goose, McMullins etc);
There is a stream that I have used on the east side of Goose located here: 51 58'20"N 128 25'18"W. Goose has very little vertical relief so the water is not high class and crystal clear which is pretty typical of Hakai water in general. Also, Kayak Tour Groups use Snipe Island as a base and sometimes they stash carboys of water around the camp. Part of my Leave No Trace ethic requires that I remove traces left by others so if nobody is using Snipe Island and any carboys of fresh water are located I am bound to remove as much fresh water as my Dromedary bags can hold. Nothing to count on but sometimes the magic works.

There is a reliable source in the Tribal Group here: 52 02'28"N 128 19'15"W. It is better quality than Goose and pretty typical water quality for Hakai.

Behind the remains of the Gale Passage cabin here: 52 13'59"N 128 22'12"W, is a stream that can be a crap shoot. I've seen it run fast, strong and reasonably clear and I've seen it nearly dry and very brown. It can usually be counted on to be a source though you may need to follow it back to where it gets impounded by logs.

In Cultus Sound there is a tidal lagoon that a stream empties into. The water is typical Hakai quality and probably not worth the effort as access in and out of the lagoon is tide dependent and it would be a real crap-place to get stuck to a tidal cycle. It is located here: 51 54'50"N 128 11'03"W.

Spider Island has a water source here: 51 51'22"N 128 14'33"W

If you do cross Hakai Passage for Calvert Island you may be able to snivel some high class water from the fishing lodge here: 51 40'51"N 128 06'48"W. There is a strategy though. First off when the weather has been dry good water is in high demand and a restaurant or fishing lodge may not be inclined to give it away. When you land on the beach don't rush up there with water bags in hand expecting them to fill them. Send one your best fresh faces up there as though they are just checking things out. Engage in friendly conversation. If they have extra water they will probably ask you if you need some. Of course you do so Fresh Face #1 can thank them profusely and return to the boats for water bags. If they don't volunteer, Fresh Face #1 can ask them if there is anywhere that he/she could BUY a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. That sometimes works if they don't offer.

The kindness of strangers isn't something to count on but folks who anchor pleasure boats up there are very friendly and outgoing. Don't avoid them. Paddle up and say Hi. They always ask if you need anything and most will have desalinators on board so fresh water isn't a problem. Obviously, expecting others to provide any water is a last ditch strategy and using my lame excuse for snaking water left by Kayak Tour Groups is as well.
 
Last edited:

Fransjb

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Victoria
There is a stream that I have used on the east side of Goose located here: 51 58'20"N 128 25'18"W. Goose has very little vertical relief so the water is not high class and crystal clear which is pretty typical of Hakai water in general. Also, Kayak Tour Groups use Snipe Island as a base and sometimes they stash carboys of water around the camp. Part of my Leave No Trace ethic requires that I remove traces left by others so if nobody is using Snipe Island and any carboys of fresh water are located I am bound to remove as much fresh water as my Dromedary bags can hold. Nothing to count on but sometimes the magic works.

There is a reliable source in the Tribal Group here: 52 02'28"N 128 19'15"W. It is better quality than Goose and pretty typical water quality for Hakai.

Behind the remains of the Gale Passage cabin here: 52 13'59"N 128 22'12"W, is a stream that can be a crap shoot. I've seen it run fast, strong and reasonably clear and I've seen it nearly dry and very brown. It can usually be counted on to be a source though you may need to follow it back to where it gets impounded by logs.

In Cultus Sound there is a tidal lagoon that a stream empties into. The water is typical Hakai quality and probably not worth the effort as access in and out of the lagoon is tide dependent and it would be a real crap-place to get stuck to a tidal cycle. It is located here: 51 54'50"N 128 11'03"W.

Spider Island has a water source here: 51 51'22"N 128 14'33"W

If you do cross Hakai Passage for Calvert Island you may be able to snivel some high class water from the fishing lodge here: 51 40'51"N 128 06'48"W. There is a strategy though. First off when the weather has been dry good water is in high demand and a restaurant or fishing lodge may not be inclined to give it away. When you land on the beach don't rush up there with water bags in hand expecting them to fill them. Send one your best fresh faces up there as though they are just checking things out. Engage in friendly conversation. If they have extra water they will probably ask you if you need some. Of course you do so Fresh Face #1 can thank them profusely and return to the boats for water bags. If they don't volunteer, Fresh Face #1 can ask them if there is anywhere that he/she could BUY a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. That sometimes works if they don't offer.

The kindness of strangers isn't something to count on but folks who anchor pleasure boats up there are very friendly and outgoing. Don't avoid them. Paddle up and say Hi. They always ask if you need anything and most will have desalinators on board so fresh water isn't a problem. Obviously, expecting others to provide any water is a last ditch strategy and using my lame excuse for snaking water left by Kayak Tour Groups is as well.
Jon, thanks for the coords, I love precision and the grid refs have been duly recorded - for this trip or future adventures. I do believe that LNT makes your action almost mandatory and the suggestions for engagement are excellent and FF#1 already appointed!
 

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,210
There are three main beaches to choose from on North Calvert Island. The fishing camp is located at the entrance to Choked Passage. Wolf Beach is the first beach you come to after leaving the fishing camp. Most folks don't go past Wolf as it is the largest beach you will have seen since putting in at Bella Bella. It's a nice spot.

To the west of Wolf is a smaller beach called No-Name or Little Wolf. Your choice. No-Name is my favorite as I travel with a small footprint but it is still plenty big. Access at low tide is not the best but depending on the timing of your comings and goings it can be really sweet.

North Beach is further west and it is one big mother. Oversized in my way of thinking though it definitely has some appeal. If bigger is better then consider North Beach. I would suggest camping at the west end.

Now regarding crossing Hakai Passage to get there......If at all possible plan your crossing of Hakai Passage to be during a flood. Whatever time of the day that is (earlier the better) as winds and swell are most likely to be in that direction. Flood against swell jacks up the swell and wind against flood can make it messy. Just sayin'.
 

Fransjb

Paddler
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Victoria
There are three main beaches to choose from on North Calvert Island. The fishing camp is located at the entrance to Choked Passage. Wolf Beach is the first beach you come to after leaving the fishing camp. Most folks don't go past Wolf as it is the largest beach you will have seen since putting in at Bella Bella. It's a nice spot.

To the west of Wolf is a smaller beach called No-Name or Little Wolf. Your choice. No-Name is my favorite as I travel with a small footprint but it is still plenty big. Access at low tide is not the best but depending on the timing of your comings and goings it can be really sweet.

North Beach is further west and it is one big mother. Oversized in my way of thinking though it definitely has some appeal. If bigger is better then consider North Beach. I would suggest camping at the west end.

Now regarding crossing Hakai Passage to get there......If at all possible plan your crossing of Hakai Passage to be during a flood. Whatever time of the day that is (earlier the better) as winds and swell are most likely to be in that direction. Flood against swell jacks up the swell and wind against flood can make it messy. Just sayin'.
Hi Jon, again thank you for the intel. Duly noted and factored in now.
 

jefffski

Paddler
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
124
We found an excellent water source near Quinoot. Tea like but plentiful.
Near here: 52°10'27.52"N 128°20'26.27"W It was audible!
 
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