Along the west coast of Vancouver Island, there are 4 cruxes. Cape Scott, Brooks Peninsula, Estivan Point and Juan de Fuca Strait.
Our next next crux was Brooks Peninsula. Brooks Peninsula juts 20 km or 12 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. It was untouched by the last ice age and has a mountainous landscape with a rugged coastline and sandy beaches. It is a provincial park and can be accessed by boat or float plane.
Solander Island is an Ecological Reserve 1.5 km or 0.9 miles west of the Brooks Peninsula. It is closed to the public to protect the habitat of nesting sea birds. It is here that we heard we may be able to see puffins.
We planned to sail around the outside of Solander Island. The day we left Winter Harbour, we saw 6-7 Orcas playing in the waves just off Quatsino Lighthouse. It turned out to be so calm that we came close enough to Solander Island to see a huge colony of fur seals on the reefs nearby. We luckily had a flock of 20-50 puffins fly around our boat a couple of times so we were able to get a good view of them with the binoculars.
We anchored in the Bunsby Islands that night and had a peaceful night sleep after a beautiful sunset. It is here that we saw prominent sea stacks and sea otters. The following morning we woke up to a calm bay, that I decided it was time to get the stand up paddle board out again and take Maddie exploring. Not far from Arctic Loon, we found a huge Lions Mane jellyfish, which we watched for quite a while as it slowly came up to the surface. Maddie was fascinated.
From the Bunsby Islands, we headed to the Community of Kyuquot in Walters Cove. We had heard good things about Walters Cove and wanted to check it out. Sue from SV Cariba told me that there was a restaurant/cafe there with wifi so that is what I was looking forward to. Bob, Ellery’s father used to fish out of Kyuquot many years ago and so I think we were all interested in seeing the area.
As soon as we arrived in Walters Cove, we saw SV Kyrie, the catamaran we had met in Winter Harbour with kids onboard. The youngest kid on SV Kyrie was a nearly 5 year old named Megan, who Maddie had befriended and was super excited to see again.
It turned out to be a pretty rainy, windy day so we decided to stay at the dock in Kyuquot, tied up alongside SV Kyrie. We explored the little village, went to the store to get some fresh groceries and checked out the cafe but unfortunately it was closed that day. We saw a sea otter sleeping by a dock so we watched him for while. We spent more time hanging with the crew on SV Kyrie, which was great for the kids and inspiring for us as they are sailing down to Mexico and beyond.
From Walters Cove, we headed to Rugged Point Marine Park the following day to spend some time on a sandy west coast beach. We anchored in a sheltered bay and rowed the dinghy ashore, then walked a short trail to a lovely sandy beach with some small waves crashing onshore. We had lunch on the beach before walking back through the lush rainforest back to our dinghy.
Next we headed to the Nuchatlitz and anchored nearby SV Kyrie. The next morning we met up with the crew of SV Kyrie on the beach and shared some brownies we had made. Maddie loved playing with Megan and Rachel, as they caught crabs and collected shells. Maddie is really collecting her own treasures these days, which she keeps in a yogurt container.
At this point, we decided that we needed some more fresh food, showers and laundry so we decided to head to Tahsis. This meant that instead of going on the outside of Nootka Island, we would go through the inlets to Tahsis. SV Kyrie was also heading to Tahsis so the kids would get to play together again, which was totally a plus.
We tied up to the marina in Tahsis, which turned out to be our most expensive night ever at a dock. It was worth it though for a few reasons. The marina is a hub for sport fisherman and so there was lots of opportunity for Maddie to see various fish. They also had a touch tank, full of all sorts of ocean creatures like sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers and crabs. Maddie and the kids from SV Kyrie spent a lot of time in there, wet up to their elbows. There was also a restaurant on the dock where we all enjoyed beer and nachos. We had showers, did laundry, got a few fresh provisions and got some wifi! Then, the morning we planned to leave Tahsis, Bob decided he needed to leave us and was able to hitch a ride back home. We are so grateful for his company and he sure bonded with the girls!
From Tahsis we headed to Friendly Cove, back out on the west coast!