Log #59t Tofino to Ucluelet

March 20, 2016 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Kartchner State Park, AZ

Feb. 20, 2016

Hi Folks,


This Log #59t takes us to Barkley Sound, the southernmost inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, to Ucluelet, with some interesting pictures of the Pacific Rim National Park. We are nearing the end of our passage down the west coast of Vancouver Island in late August of 2015.


Presently we are in Kartchner State Park, noted for the Kartchner Caverns which we will be visiting tomorrow. We have been dry camping for the past several weeks and this is the first time we have had water and electricity for quite a while. We are happy with our two 85 watt solar panels which work quite well in this hot sunny climate. Dry camping on BLM land is … interesting. I love the isolation and the scenery. We had a bumpy ride to get the trailer on top of this lovely location with spectacular views. Here are a few views of Superstition Mountain from our free BLM land campsite in Bulldog Canyon in the Tonto National Forest.



Trailer site on hilltop in Bulldog Canyon with Superstition Mountain




Trailer on hilltop of Bulldog Canyon 




Panorama from our trailer site


Our most recent site was in the grasslands of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area by the Coronado National Forest as seen in the picture below.




This is our trailer site in the grasslands of Las Cienegas.


 Note the red bucket filled with water as a safety precaution against grassland fire from our bonfire. That is a mesquite tree behind the trailer. I enjoy the views and isolation of BLM lands; quite a contrast to the maritime pictures of Log #59t of Tofino, Ucluelet, and the Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

All the best,



Log #59t Tofino to Ucluelet

(Clayoquot Sound to Barkley Sound)

Bulldog Canyon BLM land

Apache Junction, AZ

March 13, 2016

From Hot Springs Cove, we left Aug. 14 to head for Tofino on the southern mainland tip of Clayoquot Sound, wending our way inside Flores Island to avoid the open waters outside. Again it was motoring all the way, but we were favoured with sightings of harbour porpoises feeding as we approached Hayden Passage separating the NE tip of Flores Island from the mainland, and again as we motored down Millar Channel. Continuing through inside passages we rounded Vargas Island to make our way to Tofino, the first small city down the west coast of Vancouver Island. It seems to have wide open water between the offlying islands, but we had to navigate carefully as there are large tidal covered shallows between several of the islands and one has to observe carefully the buoys marking the channels.

We had been to Tofino and Ucluelet (pronounced You-cloo-let) last year with our trailer to enjoy the temperate rain forest of the Pacific Rim National Park in the middle of the Ucluth (Ucluelet) Peninsula.

Tofino has an active waterfront with small ferries, local runabouts, fishing and whale watching boats as well as float planes plying the shore facilities. The community has a full range of marinas, chandleries, fuel dock, restaurants, boutiques, hardware and grocery stores. It is a thriving tourist destination with dive shops, boat and kayak rentals, as well as hotels, lodges and cabins available. Several First Nations communities in the area use it for supplies and schooling. There is a spacious, modern, attractive, suburban housing development on the outskirts of town for First Nations. We were back in civilization.

After refueling we went alongside the 4th Street Pier for the night (49 09.204N, 125 53.957W). In the morning we wandered over town to find the library and use the internet. Judy gave a set of her Dad’s books to the library. After a delightful lunch overlooking the water we departed early afternoon to head in to the offlying islands to find a tranquil anchorage in Lemmens Inlet of Meares Island, just four miles north of Tofino. It was a warm clear sunny day, and all was right with the world, except we had to watch our navigation closely as there are large grassy tidal flats that are covered at half tide or higher. (See the chartlet of Clayoquot Sound below.)

Clayoquot Sound




Pacific Rim National Park

After a quiet night at anchor we left next morning, carefully wending our way through the shallows and shoals, past Tofino and out into the Pacific Ocean to make our way down the coast, past the Pacific Rim National Park, staying well offshore to avoid the many off-lying shoals. Below are some pictures we took when there in our trailer a couple of years ago.

Shoals off Pacific Rim Park

The temperate rainforest was draped with moss from the humid conditions, with the sun’s rays filtering through the branches.

Moss draped trees

Wide sandy beaches rivaled those we saw up at Calvert Island, including bleached logs washed up on the shore. The sunsets looking west across the Pacific Ocean were spectacular.

Wide sandy beaches Logs strewn at high tide marks

Spectacular sunsets

This stretch of coast between Tofino and Ucluelet is well known for whale watching. Although we didn’t see any on our way down, we were favoured with a view of seals basking on the rocks as we rounded Amphitrite Point heading up into Ucluelet Inlet.

The town is located on the south side half way up the small inlet. Ucluelet is the only Canadian Customs reporting station on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We saw an American tall ship alongside the customs dock while we were there.

Tall ship at the Customs dock

We motored up Ucluelet Inlet, past the main part of town to anchor (48 57.076N, 125 33.440W) in a shallow bay just beyond a fish packing plant. There were several other sailboats anchored there as well. The distance from Tofino to Ucluelet was only 30 miles. We were close enough to town that we could dinghy over to the town docks to wander around town and get a few supplies. The town has an excellent Maritime Museum. I was intrigued by a live octopus plastered on the glass wall of one of the aquariums, and its translucent body changing colour as it slithered down the wall to blend into the bottom features of the tank. Many of the homes around town have fantastic views across the waters of the inlet and on the other side of the peninsula overlooking the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The town is at the northwestern point of Barkley Sound, the most southern of the major sounds on the west coast. Each of the sounds has beautiful scenery, interesting islands, good fishing, and are indented by other inlets and rivers. The Alberni Inlet extends 25 miles up to Port Alberni in the heart of Vancouver Island. The Broken Group Islands in the middle of the sound are part of the Pacific Rim National Park and a holiday in them is considered by many northwestern boaters as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. This group of islands has a similar allure as those of Desolation Sound and the Broughtons on the other side of Vancouver Island.

Our trip into Barkley Sound with fascinating pictures and around to Esquimalt to complete our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island will be the topic of my next log.