Explore the wild and rugged West Coast

Explore the west coast on board the MV Uchuck III

Neil Havers

Special to the Mirror

 

The coves and inlets of the rugged northwest coast of Vancouver Island are home to remote logging camps, fishing resorts, fish farms and coastal communities – all of which have little or no road access.

These outposts rely on Nootka Sound Service and its MV Uchuck III as a critical lifeline. The MV Uchuck III delivers a variety of freight including groceries, fish farm feed, fuel and more to remote location in Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet and Kyuquot Sound on a weekly basis.

The MV Uchuck III is a 140’ wooden hulled vessel built in 1942 as an American Minesweeper and has been navigating Vancouver Island’s west coast for more than 50 years, delivering cargo and passengers to remote destinations.

This historic vessel has been carefully reconditioned with a comfortable wood-finished lounge, coffee shop and spacious seating on the open-air upper deck – the perfect front-row seats to Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast.

The Kyuquot Adventure Cruise departs every Thursday from Gold River to its final destination of Kyuquot, returning to Gold River on Fridays. Guests aboard the MV Uchuck III enjoy watching the crew deftly moor the 140’ vessel up against docks in remote coves along the coast.

At times, with high winds and running tides this can be a very challenging maneuver. Once secured, the crew offload cargo from the hold using a union purchase crane system to get it on the dock.

The real highlight is the voyage itself as stunning remote maritime scenery is revealed as the vessel navigates the inlets of Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet and Kyuquot Sound. Heading out from Gold River guests settle in on the top deck to take in the scenery of the inlet and its rugged forested cliff faces that plunge into the sea as the MV Uchuck III heads up Muchalat Inlet. Pods of kayakers hug the shorelines, eagles cruise overhead, diving down to grab fish close to the surface. Cameras are working overtime.

The MV Uchuck III continues up Tahsis Inlet (home to colonies of inquisitive sea otters) and Esperanza Inlet, dropping off supplies and at times, kayakers along the way. At this point it has been smooth sailing in relatively calm waters. Leaving Esperanza Inlet it’s open-ocean cruising to the remote village of Kyuquot for an overnight stay.

Humpback and killer whales can be spotted at times in these waters as well as a variety of sea birds, eagles and sea otter colonies. This is a good time to hunker down in the galley with a good book and enjoy the home-made hearty fare served on board.

Kyuquot is a truly remote maritime village. Raised boardwalks and trails hug the shoreline of small islands and rocky outcrops allowing for access to small cabins and docks along the rocky, moss covered shoreline. Towering Douglas fir and cedar trees create an impressive backdrop. The misty evening atmosphere adds to the mystique of the Sound.

Returning the next day, following the same route, guests continue to enjoy basking in the natural beauty of the West Coast. This is a time to be still. Time to let your mind wander while enjoying the stunning scenery.

Time to read a good book, take incredible photos or simply sit back and really catch up on things with your partner, friends or new-found friends on board. Gold River may be the final destination but it will surely be the beginning of your love affair with B.C.’s Wild West Coast.

For more information on Get West Adventure’s ‘Kyuquot Adventure Cruise’ and other scheduled cruises visit www.getwest.ca