Log #59s Nootka Island to Clayoquot Sound

March 3, 2016 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

 BLM land, Alamo Lake, AZ

March 3, 2016

Hi Folks,

I am not sure if I can send this as an E-mail message or have to put it as an attachment. The issue seems to be if I can insert pictures in the text as I am attempting to do here.

We are dry camping in an isolated part of the desert on BLM land, just south of Alamo Lake. I love it! There is not another RV or house in sight. We are perched on a shallow rise overlooking a wide wash. Dry camping means no water power or sewage hookups, and we have to be self-sufficient for our five or six days out here.

As you can see from the picture we are comfortable, with our awning out, solar panels charging, a fireplace just forward of the solar panels and my inversion table just behind the trailer. I use the inversion table at least twice daily for ten minutes at a time for gentle traction on my spine, to ease the problem I had with sciatica last November while in China. It is also interesting to use it at night time in the parallel position to watch the stars. Needless to say, the stars out here are fantastic, as there is no haze or light pollution to interfere with the clear night sky. Before or after star gazing, I light a fire for an hour of brilliant flames. As the dead wood on the ground is very dry it burns readily, with minimal smoke.

Our solar panels keep our batteries charged up quite nicely with all the hot sun. The temperature range goes from 32 C midafternoon to 8 C before dawn (about 90 to 40 F). I am writing an article Dry Camping in the Desert, which I will send along when completed. It will contain pictures of desert life, flora and fauna, as well as those dramatic sentinels of the desert, the saguaro.

Our trailer behind the saguaro

Desert Camping 1 the trailer  

 We came up from Yuma last week to spend a couple of nights at Alamo Lake State Park before coming here. Our next destination will be more BLM land near Lake Havasu City, whwre I hope to send this from a local library internet. I am still using my old ASUS laptop with Windows 7, as I do not like the Windows 10 on the new one.

 Log #59s Nootka Island to Clayoquot Sound

This Log #59s gets us into some long inlets into Nootka Sound and down to Clayoquot Sound. These are beautiful cruising areas as good as Desolation Sound and the Broughtons on the west coast of the mainland.

 Desrt camping 2 three Suguaro

Future Plans

All is well with us. We will be touring southern Arizona until late April when we will return to Rusty,s RV park in southwest New Mexico. We will leave the Yukon and the trailer there for a year or so while we are away in Veleda. Before joining Veleda we will be taking another Holland America cruise ship from Fort Lauderdale through some Caribbean islands and into the Panama Canal. From there it will come up through some Central America countries and a few US west coast cities before we disembark in Victoria to rejoin Veleda May 20th. This season with Veleda we will go up to Haida Gwaii, then down the west coast right down to the Mexican Baja for a year or so.

With this nice isolation, I might even have time to get caught up on my logs, and write other articles for sailing and RV magazines.

All the best,




Log #59s Nootka Island to Clayoquot Sound

Alamo Lake, Arizona

Feb. 28, 2016

After our berry picking at the abandoned native village, on returning to Veleda around the headland we saw an eagle, a deer and a couple of black bears. It is always enjoyable to see these birds and animals in their natural habitat. Speaking of enjoying nature, on moonless nights, the stars are fantastic as seen in isolated anchorages with no or limited sky glow from “civilization”. Last night we enjoyed the starry spectacular for an hour or so as the Perseid meteor shower was passing through the diamond studded firmament. We spotted 10 meteors during that period of time, and incidentally saw 5 satellites passing across the spectral sphere as well. Quiet clear nights whether at anchor or under way are a dramatic, humbling, even “spiritual” experience, contemplating the cosmos displayed in all its glory overhead. (On a more mundane note, Judy was interested in astronomy at university, but the spherical trigonometry “done her in”.)

We weighed anchor at 1100 August 12 to head up Esparanza Inlet, then up Zeballos Inlet to the hamlet of Zeballos at the head of the inlet.

Veleda at Zeballos

It sounded interesting from the description in the Waggoner’s Guide, but after wandering around for an hour or so, we found it to be just a small, sleepy, uninteresting community with a fish processing plant and a small sheltered marina with minimal or no facilities for transient boaters. The store had no fresh supplies and little else. All we bought in the way of supplies was some Coke, and a bottle of catsup. However, the mountain tree clad setting and the sports fishing in this northern tip of Zeballos Inlet make this an attractive venue for many.

Chartlet-from Queen Cove to Zeballos, Tahsis and Hot Springs Cove

We left at 1440 (2:40 pm), 90 minutes after we arrived, to head back down the inlet to Hecate Channel. It was a clear sunny day (one of the few so far down this coast.) and the mountainside scenery was spectacular. We saw the large humpback whale which had inhabited the inlet for several days apparently, according to one of the inhabitants at the store.

Looking back at Zeballos

Unfortunately a large fish farm dominated acres of a shallow indentation of the shoreline in this otherwise pristine mountain fringed inlet.

Fish farm in Zeballos Inlet

It was getting late in the afternoon.as we went through the dramatic scenery of Hecate Channel and Tahsis Narrows (no problems) into the upper third of the 15 mile long Tahsis Inlet.

Approaching Tahsis Narrows

We elected to head 5 miles up to Tahsis, even though there was no anchorage indicated and we would have to go into Westview Marina and lodge. We tried to contact the marina on channel 06 and 16, but got no response. It was before 5:00pm and it should have been open, but no one responded. As we approached there was no one on the docks, which seemed to be full with various pleasure craft. From outside we could not see the layout of the marina docks and all the slips seemed to be full of boats. We did not want to enter and have to maneuver around a strange marina with possible tidal currents complicating the evolution. As we drifted slowly by the outer breakwater, there was no one around we could hail for any information.

We went back down the shoreline to the public wharf, to find that the outer portion of the floating dock was for “4 hour max load or unload” zone, and the inner portion was too shallow. Another long dock further down had lots of depth, but was for seaplanes.

It was now almost 1800 (6:00 pm) and near sunset. There were no other anchorages until 15 miles down the inlet, by which time it would be dark, and it would be unwise to try anchoring in any of the anchorages at the south of the inlet. We went back to the public dock and alongside the loading only zone.

Nuts on it, if they wanted us to leave, an official would have to come down and kick us off!” We tied up in a slight southerly tidal current and I went ashore to look for any information about other restrictions, or a contact number for the wharf manager. Nothing! We had a late supper, and wandered the shore afterwards. We talked to another boater on a small fishing boat inside the floating dock to find out he had been here for a week and that the outer dock was seldom used so we should have no trouble staying overnight. Ashore we went through the local RV park to talk with the friendly manager about recreation in the area, mostly fishing. At least this area can be reached by land highways and roads. We didn’t feel like walking the mile or so into town and just returned to Veleda for the night. At least we found a garbage skip to get rid of garbage we have had on board for several days. This is a lovely setting and excellent fishing in this Tahsis Inlet. It is a 15 mile long stretch extending southerly inland down to Nootka Sound, separating Nootka Island from the mainland.

Morning Routine

Next morning the boat was rolling with the waves set up by the sports fishing boats going out at sunrise. Judy, unable to sleep, got up and got Veleda under way by herself before 6:30. I lazed in bed for another half hour before getting up and getting breakfast ready for the both of us. I generally am the first to get up and I usually make our breakfasts, with a thermos of coffee for me and a pot of tea for Judy. Judy does not like cooking while under way, as even the minimal motion of the boat causes her to feel unwell. So when we get under way, Judy takes the helm while I get our breakfasts and clean up down below.

Our original destination for the day was down the inlet from Tahsis to Santa Gertrudis Cove at the southeastern tip of Nootka Island. However, we were off the cove by 1005, and thought we might as well make time in the good weather, as we had to make an Ontario 32 rendezvous by Sept. 12, and board a Holland America Line cruise ship in Vancouver by Sept. 24, bound for Singapore. So we headed out of Nootka Sound around the open waters of Hesquiat Peninsula, going over to the popular Hot Springs Cove. The weather held out but closed down to thick fog after we rounded the peninsula and were crossing the open bay to Hot Springs Cove. We had our radar on for the last hour of the trip.

The entry to the cove was not simple as there are a couple of islands off the point and several tour boats including some high speed catamarans that we had to look out for in the dense fog. As we entered the cove, the fog eased up and we anchored past the government docks at the far end of the cove.

When the fog cleared we saw we were anchored (49 21.918N, 126 15.910W) about 100 metres off an interesting renovated tug boat, the Innchanter, which now serves as a bed and breakfast and adventure centre for those who wish to explore the area by canoe or kayak. It was an 8 hour 44 mile passage from Tahsis to Hot Springs Cove.

Bed and Breakfast boat

We dinghied around the cove and went over to the government dock to check out the trails going to the hot springs. However it was a 2km (1.3 mile) walk which we didn’t feel like making. We have been to several other hot springs, and didn’t feel the need to hike to this one. The park fee was $3.00 per person, and dockage was $ 2.00 per metre (about $0.70 per foot). We were happy at anchor. Along the dock was another interesting enterprise, a semi-permanent moored fish boat and a luncheon café on the pontoon.

Fish boat Café

This is an extremely popular area for bathing, hiking, fishing, and kayaking, with tourists brought in by water taxis, tour boats and high speed catamarans. Located in the northern part of the large Clayoquot Sound this area abounds in dozens of islands, inlets, bays and passages. The main resupply community in the sound is Tofino, our next destination.