Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Camping on Vargas Island

Well I took the kayak to a place where the streets have no name alright. In fact, there are no streets there at all. Vargas Island off of Tofino in Clayquot Sound. It was awesome but humbling. It’s a bit more advanced than some of the local trips in Vancouver. There are so many factors to consider – tides, currents, waves, surf and of course that surprise fog that sweeps in and covers everything.

Notwithstanding the challenges it is without question very rewarding. Seeing gray whales feeding close by when I was in the kayak was a highlight. I stopped in and saw one of the tour group leaders I met and told him where I was going. He said on that route you’ll likely see gray whales. I was a bit nervous going whale watching from my kayak since I had heard a rumor about one coming up for air and capsizing a boat. He said not to worry, if you see one just knock on your kayak so they know where you are so that I did.

The fog rolled in and I went right past my destination on Ahous Bay. I must have been a bit far out and that fog covers everything. It was late in the afternoon so the waves were starting to pick up. I tried my first surf landing in the kayak at a beach further up and failed miserably. I thought if I cut the wave at an angle I could ride the wave like a surfer. Wrong. If you’re not straight in against the waves, the wave with spin you sideways against the wave and flip you over. That it did.

Further down I tried another spot. This time I went straight in. One wave, two wave three wave and push. I made it. Hoa! That was awesome. Same thing with putting into the surf. Straight in. One wave, two wave splash and your through Hoa. That is awesome.

I had planned on going further on to White Sand beach and exploring Flores Island but wasn’t sure about these high surf landings so I saved it for another day. After I got my fire lit, I noticed my barbeque lighter was jammed so I tapped it on the side and snapped it in two. My bad. Makes it kind of hard to light fires for subsequent dinners. I got the morning fire going from the coals the night before.

Saw wolf tracks two beaches up from Ahous. A guy camping there from Outward Bound said the wolves had found a seal carcass and dragged it onto the next beach. You do have to be careful of the wolves there. During the night and in the morning that famous fog rolled in covering the seafront. You could hear the ocean but you couldn’t see it. It’s kind of an awesome sight in the morning. I put in during the fog on my way back and hugged the coast. Very challenging in the fog with zero visibility. Not to worry, it usually clears up later in the day.

Sadly these are the only two photos I got since my camera got more water damage on the failed surf landing. The top one is from a plane that was posted on the Internet. If you do make it to Ahous Bay, land where the arrow is. The waves are much easier to land there. As I was pulling in I saw another whale in the bay. Pretty awesome.

This last one is of one of the two biggest landmarks in the area for paddlers, Catface mountain right beside Lone cone. This is the mountain they want to blow the top off of and turn into an open pit mine. That kind of greed is purely irresponsible. Their ten foot trailing pool will leak toxins into the water just like in Chile and nearby in Toquaht Bay where they recently found arsenic in the beach from an old steal mine. They just don’t care. That’s why we have to.

The Majesty of Clayoquot Sound


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