The West Coast of Vancouver Island is turning out to be one of the best parts of the trip down from Alaska. After leaving Ucluelet this morning I headed over to the Broken Group of Islands in Barkley Sound. Many of these islands form part of a Marine Park and are much used in the summer months by Kayakers and Campers. The islands have sheltered coves, bays, sandy beaches and protected waters for kayaking, a beautiful area.
I anchored at Clarke Island for lunch, just off a sandy beach in glorious weather. The Canadian summer has been turning on the charm in the last week.
In the afternoon I picked up the anchor and headed over to Barkley, a small town clustered around an inlet. As you enter the inlet one of the first things you see is the store / Post Office with its own float out front. So convenient to tie up the boat and get stores, no long distance bag carrying. I took advantage of the opportunity and bought a few treats, fresh fruit, tomatoes and blue cheese. So good to see home grown fruit and veg in store and not the long life, everlasting, tasteless variety that persists up north.
I also made a contribution to Stanley Park in Vancouver, one of the best city parks in the world. I bought some Stanley Park ‘Windstorm’ pale ale. Part of the proceeds from each sale goes to support the park for future generations. The beer tastes good as well, so it’s a win win situation. Total voyage distance 1,001.2 miles.
I spent a peaceful night with no disturbances. Seclusion Harbour is well named, just the place to get away from it all. Sun rise was just after four, the animals were up and about early and making noise. The morning was flat calm and sunny as I picked up anchor and headed over to the south end of Keku Strait. We dodged a few rocky patches on the way and sea Otters were all around, it felt great to be alive on such a beautiful peaceful morning.
Keku Strait separates Kuiu Island from Kupreanof Island and is a direct route from Sumner Strait to Frederick Sound. My guide book says ‘The Coastguard removed all navigational markers to discourage its use’. That’s a bit like saying ‘this road is dangerous so we will remove the road signs and lane markers’ not a responsible thing to do. Anyway, the book was clearly wrong as all but two navigational markers were in place, one of the missing marker was a pile and the other was a buoy that had broken lose and washed up on the shore. The strait is very well marked and passage through is straightforward for any competent boat owner.
The buoyage system here is IALA B. That is to say that in general when entering port you leave the red buoy or marker to Starboard and green to Port. In the Keku Strait the tide floods from both ends and ebbs from somewhere in the middle. The markers remain the same side throughout the strait so there should be no confusion. I marked my right hand thumb with red ink as a reminder in case I became confused.
The strait is spectacular, dotted with islands and meadow areas. The backdrop is rolling wooded hills with snow-capped mountains away to the west. Half way through the strait after a twisty section called The Devils Elbow I found a spot and anchored for an hour, had an early lunch and savoured the scenery. The only other people about were a group of kayakers going north through the strait. I do like waving to kayakers as they have to stop paddling and put the paddle down before they can wave back.