Nuchatlitz planning question

eggabeewa

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Joined
Dec 12, 2019
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41
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Greater Vancouver, BC
I've never been to Nuchatlitz but recently have been thinking about the logistics for a future trip. I didn't find a lot of information on wcp but have gleaned from various sources that most people taxi in from Zeballos or Tahsis, but according to Heather Harbord it is a reasonably straightforward paddle from either of those points, except for additional travel days. Does anyone have any recommendations opinions? Maybe taxi one way. I would personally like to paddle at least one way or both. Tahsis seems the best for driving access but Zeballos maybe better for padding aspect. I would anticipate a trip of at least 7-10 days so sufficient time and the group would probably include several intermediate paddlers but also several experienced ones. Thanks in advance.
 
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mick_allen

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May 15, 2005
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What about starting from little Espinosa?
 

a_c

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Dec 23, 2014
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106
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Victoria, BC
If you don't want to spend money on a water taxi, Little Espinosa is the best option, as mentioned above. From there, it's only a couple hours paddle to the 'good stuff'.

It's a long, boring paddle in/out of Zeballos (IMO) and it can be a bit of a slog. The various turns and twists in the inlet cause the winds to funnel in odd directions; a NW wind at your back when heading towards Zeballos becomes a headwind a few points down the inlet. The fog can really sock things in, too, especially in August.

I've been to Nuchatlitz three times (most recently in 2021), always via Zeballos so I can't speak to the Tahsis route. I've always opted for the water taxi in/out, though we did exit via Little Espinosa one time, having arranged with a local to drive us back to the village to pick up our car. I would have no issue with starting/ending the trip from this spot.
 

nootka

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May 26, 2007
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Campbell River
I'd suggest a paddle around Nootka Island. This gives you a wide choice of starting points. The paddling is not difficult. If needed, you can avoid afternoon winds via early starts. Surf at Third Beach & Calvin Creek can be avoided with a bit of knowledge & planning.
 
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AM

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Jan 30, 2006
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Vancouver
I’ve only launched from Tahsis. I’ve done that twice for solo trips: one to Nuchatlitz and back, the other around Nootka Island counter-clockwise (which, as @nootka said above, is a nice trip).

Here’s what’s good about Tahsis:
- since I’m coming from Vancouver, there are good options to overnight along the way to break up the trip: Buttle Lake campground in Strathcona and the hotel in Gold River. I like the hotel option in GR, as I can grab a pub meal and good sleep the night before, then get up early to arrive in Tahsis at a decent hour.
- the gravel road from GR to Tahsis tends to be well maintained and travels through some beautiful country.
- ample parking in the community lot across from the boat launch.
- Sally’s Grill is right beside the boat launch for pre- or post-trip caloric intake.
- it’s only an hour or so paddle to Tahsis Narrows, which is a really pretty spot to paddle through and features little communities like Ceepeecee and Esperanza.

Here’s the bad about Tahsis:
- once past Hecate Channel, it‘s a long slog to Garden Point or Rosa Islet. Definitely doable in a day, but it’s inlet paddling. For a more scenic experience, the north side of Esperanza to Catala has some interesting features.
- well, it’s an inlet…so, wind.

I’d do it again. I don’t mind the slog: it’s dues I pay to get to cool places.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

eggabeewa

Paddler
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Dec 12, 2019
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Location
Greater Vancouver, BC
Thanks all of you for your info. It's not the taxi cost. I would like to explore at least one way at paddle speed. And the group would not be interested or appropriate for a circumnavigation of Nootka as we've all hiked the trail at least once or more. Thanks.
 

Tangler

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Sep 5, 2016
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131
Location
Nanaimo, BC
It is only a 3-4 hour paddle from Little Espinosa to the Nuchatlitz if the winds are amenable...
If there is a strong inflow then Espinosa is a grunt and crossing Esperanza is the crux. You may have to camp part way.
If the conditions are appropriate then the North shore of Esperanza out from Espinosa is the most interesting route but you are more exposed to the conditions when you cross to Rosa.
If you take a taxi out you will have to paddle back to where the taxi came from or arrange a shuttle so you can paddle in Little Espinosa which I always find to be a very pleasant end to the trip. (I haven't paddled up to Zebellos so maybe it is also very pleasant...)
I have left the Nuchatlitz in the morning and been back in Vancouver in the evening but it is a bit of a rush. :(
 
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