The Broughton Archipelago, Sep. 2014

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
The Broughtons…..it never gets old.

This is the third time we’ve made the trip to paddle in the Broughton Archipelago. The first time we only went to Mound Island, the second we taxied to Insect Island and made our way back to Telegraph Cove, and this time we again used a water taxi and got dropped off at the Burdwood Group. This time we also had two friends from Dallas join us for the trip. We left Vancouver, picked up their rental NDKs at Comox Valley Kayaks, and made our way to Port McNeill for the night. Woke up early to rain, which thankfully let up soon after, and we headed down to Telegraph Cove in time to do a little exploring before our taxi picked us up at noon.







We normally take our kayak trips in late June and early September as there tended to be fewer people on the water. The last couple of years though it seems to be getting busier. We were surprised by the number of people preparing to go out when we got to Telegraph Cove. By the time noon had rolled around we had watched 3 commercial groups leave the cove.



Our taxi showed up a few minutes before noon (Silver King Ventures, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them) and in no time the gear and boats were loaded and we were on our way. Saw lots of humpbacks as we travelled along the western edge of the islands. We unloaded at the main campsite in the Burdwood Group and got started setting up camp. Plan was to stay here two nights.





It’s a beautiful site with views all around. The way the weather was that afternoon, sometimes sunny, sometimes overcast, the view always changed with the light.







The next day we had planned to go see Billy Proctor’s Museum but the wind had come up so we only made it as far as The Paddlers’ Inn. Pretty cool looking place. Didn’t stop and check it out but did talk to another couple later that had stayed there for two nights and were really impressed.



We spent some time meandering through Scott Cove on our way back and watched a whole bunch of salmon jumping near the river mouth that feeds into the cove.

Next day we packed up and paddled through the Burdwood Group and made our way to the NE corner of Baker Island. We were taking a short break and got treated to a humpback passing by. Sometimes it would dive and we got a good look at the flukes and other times we just watched its back as it led us through a small channel between Baker and Ragged Islands. No pics of it as I can never get a decent shot of a whale. They always turn into a typical tourist shot….’see that black spot in the pic….it’s a whale/bear/sasquatch”, it just never works.





We explored the Benjamin Group for a bit, paddled down the west side of Insect Island and then bee-lined it to the southern-most island in the Fox Group. Another beautiful campsite with unbelievable views.





Day four we headed west through Arrow Passage and explored the areas around Hudson, Angular and Crib Islands. The shoreline of Angular Island is a favorite spot of mine. Weather was perfect, cool in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Love paddling in this area with all the clusters of islands on one side and then the openness/vastness of the Strait on the other side. Paddled through the small passage between Tracey and Mars Island and then headed back to camp……..to find a commercial group of 12 setting up where we were camped. Caught us a little off guard but they were a really nice bunch of people. Some from as far away as England and South Carolina. Keep forgetting how far some people travel to visit our neck of the woods. Small world too, we met Leah, one of the guides of this group, who we found out was also a guide with the NOLS group we had met in Nuchatlitz last June.











To be continued..

Doug
 

paddlesores

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Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Part II

Day five was a moving day again so we packed up and headed down Arrow Passage again, this time turning south and exploring the islets off the west side of Bonwick Island.







Made our way to Owl Island for a lunch break and got treated again to another humpback sighting as one made its way down the passage between Owl and Cedar Islands. Finished the day’s travel by paddling between Swanson and Crease Islands and then heading to our next camp at Mound Island. Next day was just spent relaxing around camp and enjoying the weather.











Saturday afternoon four small rowing/sailing boats showed up at camp. Two I think were termed Wherries, and two were called Double Enders. Fantastic looking boats. They had all been built by the guys who rowed them in. Interesting bunch to talk to. One of the fellas was Eric Hvalsoe, who designs and builds these boats down in Washington. (I can see a wherry build in my future…after the Black Pearl build……… and the Chestnut canoe restoration)
Sunday we took a day paddle over to Village Island for a quick look at the old site and the fallen totem pole. While there we got to watch as the four boats showed up under sail.











Winds were forecast to build on Monday so we got an early start and crossed Blackfish Sound. We were caught in some of it and had to fight our way up along Hanson Island. We made our way to Weynton Point on the western tip of Hanson and decided to spend the night there. Fantastic views up and down Johnstone Strait from this site. We woke up around 2:30 in the morning to some humpbacks playing in the area so we walked out to the point but had missed them by then. We did sit there for a bit and listened as a pod of Orcas passed by. Never saw them but it was cool listening as they made their way across the strait.









Tuesday morning came and we packed up for the last time and crossed Johnstone Strait and got back to Telegraph Cove.





Doug
 

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Final bit:

Last thing we did on this holiday was a quick trip to Alert Bay. If anyone is in the area, Alert Bay is well worth the time. We only had a few hours there on Tuesday afternoon but we were able to visit the U’mista Cultural Center. Lots of history and a huge number of artifacts from the last potlatch are on display. The cultural center is located right next door to the old residential school. The cultural center had an area dedicated to the history of the school, along with short, personal stories written by some of the children who attended it. Good stories and sad stories both. You can stop at the visitor center in town and they will give you a map of the area with all the historical spots noted on it. It makes for a really interesting walking tour.













We did see a lot more paddlers on this trip than we expected. I think the word must be getting out about how nice an area this is. Still wouldn’t hesitate to return again sometime down the road, maybe next time heading around Broughton Island itself.

Thanks,
Doug
 

paddlesores

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Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Would have been fun to take the SOF but I don't think the rest of the group would have been too receptive to packing most of my gear for me. :D
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
you mean your username didn't come from previous groups beating and beating you for just that reason?
 

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Now I understand the beatings and why I've got to go to Dallas looking for paddling partners.

Maybe I'll need to build a SOF version of your SnG Seal Pup so people will paddle with me again Mick.
 

Dan_Millsip

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Mar 8, 2005
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9,297
Location
Beautiful BC
:big_thumb

Excellent trip report! Many of your photos bring back great memories for me (and some not to old yet, either).

Can't wait to get back to the Broughton myself.
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
Yah, I just love that whole area (& sealpup'd want to stay and play). Thanks for the evocative pictures. I've got to get up there for an extended stay again. I recall one of my most memorable night paddles was up there in the late fall with the northern lights dancing away in a dead calm night.
By any chance was the carving room still in the basement of the old residential school building?
 

paddlesores

Paddler
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
226
Location
Nanaimo, BC
The school's in pretty rough shape and not open to the public now. I can't remember where I read it but there had been some talk of fixing it up so it could be opened but there was just too much damage to follow through with it.











Doug
 
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