Having just spent the past 12 days paddling around the Deer Group in Barkley Sound I feel qualified to tell you -- DON'T GO THERE! It's awful. Really awful. You won't like it. Seriously. You won't. It's best to leave this place off your list of locations to paddle and just go somewhere else.
So here's my 20 top reasons for not going to the Deer Group. This is just my interpretation, your mileage may vary.Reason #1
The road to Bamfield is not paved with gold. In fact, it's 80 plus kilometers are not paved at all. Your car will get dirty. Very dirty. If you got here, you need to like washing your car. For those of you who read our Bowron Lakes trip you know that my kids did the "moose" thing by holding their hands like antlers at the side of their heads whenever their photo was taken. For this trip, whales were the theme and dorsal fins were the order of the day.Reason #2
Caves, tunnels, and water. A noisy combination. Earth shattering loudness as swell surges in and out. If you value your hearing, you'll head back now.Reason #3
Awful campsites. Who needs white sandy beaches like this one at Stud Islets? Sand gets everywhere! In your tent, in your sleeping bag. In your shoes and in your kayak. Dreadful stuff.Reason #4
Creatures crawling around in the bushes. Making quite a commotion, this black bear created a lot of racket as it feasted on berries while we paddled past. It even fell down out of the bushes once. Sure, it was kind of funny, but no one needs to see this.Reason #5
Creatures crawling around on rocks. Lots of mink inhabit the islands. This little fellow was the resident caretaker at Ross Islets campsite. He'd just prance around, rolling in the sand, walking through our campsite like we weren't even there. Quite rude actually.Reason #6
Stuff stuck on rocks. Everywhere you look, something is alive and clinging to a rock. Messy stuff should you put your hand somewhere without looking.Reason #7Lots
of stuff stuck on rocks. You're out of luck if you like plain old ordinary uncovered rocks.Reason #8
The crowds of people you meet. We met a couple from Oregon and they agreed that this was an awful place too. Leaving the kids behind at the camp, we went out for an evening paddle to explore some caves on Fleming Island just to make sure that we had assessed the awfulness of the situation. It was bad indeed.Reason #9
Whales. Have you ever had a humpback whale swim past your campsite at 6:00 AM? The noise from their blowhole can really interupt your beauty rest.Reason #10
The solitude. Paddling up Useless Inlet we determined that there is just far too much space per person. If you're big on the city, you might as well stay there because this place is not for you.Reason #11
Birds! They're everywhere... chirp, chirp, squak, squak. Flying here, flying there. What an annoyance.Reason #12
Terrible beaches like this one on Edward King Island. More sand. Nothing more needs to be said except to say that there were lots of oysters in the shallow water that you could step on and twist an ankle.Reason #13
Overcrowding. Just cram them in to the smallest spot possible. What's with these barnacles? It's not like there's a shortage of space -- some life forms just like that closeness that being right next door to your neighbour can bring. Not for me.Reason #14
Obstacles to trip over. Stuff is all over the place. No one picks up objects that are lying on the beach. You could easily step on one of these -- believe me, it's a lot less painful to step on a piece of Lego. Ouch.Reason #15
Swell. Up and down, up and down. Crash on the rocks, make lots of noise. Trying to keep things on the level here? Forget about it.Reason #16
The red light district. A visit to the Bamfield Cat House will surely convince you of the vices that are only a short paddle away. The cats are strays that are fed daily by the owner of the art gallery.Reason #17
Afternoon blindness. Ever walk out of a bar at 2:00 in the afternoon? Then you know how bad coming out of a darkened environment into a bright environment can be on the eyes. Hang out in this dark cave on Edward King Island for a while before heading back out and you'll be feeling those 2:00 squinting eyes all over again. Make mine a double.Reason #18
No good place to sit. Try finding a comfortable place to sit and watch the setting sun -- good luck pal. There's nothing but rock here. No lazy boy recliners, no leather ottomans. Just rocks. Reason #19
Over ambitious children. When your kid starts saying things like "Dad, can we go out in the kayaks so that you can show me how to do a high angle braced turn?" you've got to start worrying. Now all she wants to do is show off.Reason #20
Sunsets. You have to wonder what the hullabaloo is all about -- it's just a big ball of fire setting below the horizon. Find a good vantage point and then the waiting begins. Wait for it, wait for it... wait, here it comes. OK, it's gone. Big deal. Time for bed.
Honestly, if you're looking for a stress free escape from the rat race, don't visit the Deer Group -- there's just far too many things that you need to worry about.