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Weeklong Trip Vancouver Island

sbourgoin

Where the paddle takes me
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
96
Location
Port Alberni, BC
Afternoon
Looking for some recommendations for a weeklong paddling trip 100-150km intermediate somewhere around Vancouver Island as we are based out of Courtenay.
We did Kyuquot last year Fairharbour to Brooks and Desolation Sound. Broughton Archipelago the year before. Already scheduled to do Broken Group in July. Looking for an epic 2023 kayak adventure. Thanks for sharing. Shawn
 
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If you've already done Kyuquot Sound, Desolation Sound, the Broken Group, and the Broughtons, you've already picked off the best places Vancouver Island has to offer! You should just do one of those again!

For a week-long trip somewhere new on Vancouver Island, I might suggest, in approximate order of kayaking quality:
  • Clayoquot Sound to Hot Springs Cove, with a loop of Meares Island;
  • Port Hardy to Cape Sutil and back by way of God's Pocket;
  • Nootka Island circumnavigation;
  • Loop around the rapids of the Discovery Islands, including Dent, Yaculta, Okisollo, Seymour Narrows, and Hole-in-the-Wall (consult Youtube for amazing videos of these rapids);
  • Loop around the southern Gulf Islands out of Swartz Bay, to Portland Island in the west, Active Pass in the north, Cabbage Island in the east, D'Arcy Island in the south.
There's also Calvert Island and other points of interest in Queen Charlotte Sound, although that's starting to push against the high end of your 100–150km limit. Still, you want something "epic" ...

Alex
 
There's also Nuchatlitz, one of my favourite destinations. Maybe not in the 'epic' category, but a real nice place to spend a week. Lots of options, including a circumnavigation of Nootka Island (as mentioned above) if the weather is favourable.

Coal Harbour, out through Quatsino Sound and to the northern Brooks might be interesting. And obviously Port Hardy to Coal Harbour fits the 'epic' category but a week is probably not enough time.
 
I'm looking into Nuchatlitz area but want to avoid a water taxi. How is the paddle out from Zeballos or Little Espinosa Inlet? Is the road from Zeballos to Little Espinosa 2WD?

Thx
There's also Nuchatlitz, one of my favourite destinations. Maybe not in the 'epic' category, but a real nice place to spend a week. Lots of options, including a circumnavigation of Nootka Island (as mentioned above) if the weather is favourable.
 
I'm looking into Nuchatlitz area but want to avoid a water taxi. How is the paddle out from Zeballos or Little Espinosa Inlet? Is the road from Zeballos to Little Espinosa 2WD?

Thx
When we did the main road to Zebellos in 2021 it was fine for 2-wheel drive. We drove out to Fairharbour also and I don't recall there being any issues. Have a spare tire and secure your bow and stern. We had a tragic accident when we parked at Fairharbour...our S hook on the bow came detached from the vehicle frame and the line went under the cars tire...major crack to a Seaward Passat G3 but Comox Canoe & Kayak made her new again with some magic "plastic surgery". One of the outfitters out there rented us a Tandem and we were able to continue with our planned trip. I have switched out my S Hooks with Carabineers. If you can make it out to Rugged Beach...check out the Sauna at the Creek! After 7 days of paddling it was AMAZING!
 
I'm looking into Nuchatlitz area but want to avoid a water taxi. How is the paddle out from Zeballos or Little Espinosa Inlet? Is the road from Zeballos to Little Espinosa 2WD?

Thx
Road is usually fine.
Haven't paddled from Zebellas but have put in many times from Little Espinosa. Last time it took about 4hrs to get to the outer islands. Obviously the viability of the journey is dependant on the weather as Espinosa can get interesting inflow winds. Also crossing Esperanza Inlet could be dangerous if conditions are bad. There are places to camp in the inlets but they are not awesome (unlike many other places once you get out there). Water is the main issue out there.
 
I've water taxied out from Zeballos twice, and put in from Little Espinosa once. I'd have no hesitation using Little Espinosa as a starting point. I wouldn't view the paddle out from Zeballos as a great option; it's ~25 km to Rosa, and the NW wind tends to funnel and bend in odd ways through the inlet, making it a tough slog.

You could check with Zeballos Expeditions about piggybacking on an existing drop off, it can sometimes work out well and is worth the cost, IMO. There seems to be a lot more people going up that way these days.
 
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