Thursday, July 1, 2010

#32 Cape Cook, Brooks Peninsula, and Kyuquot

This morning, with high hopes, we set off to round Brooks Peninsula. Brooks is an arm of land, a peninsula, that sticks out some 10 miles into the Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island's northern west coastline. It's quite easy to see this on any map or chart of the Island. This arm causes currents, seas and winds to join forces for some nasty conditions.

Brooks Peninsula juts westward 10 miles into the ocean from Vancouver Island's shore. Its currents and winds cause dangerous seas.

Today's weather calls for light winds from the southeast until noon, then building westerlies. Our 6AM departure should get us around before any BIG weather changes happen and we hope the seas cooperate. Inside Klaskish Basin there is no breeze. We won't know what to expect until we're in the ocean. Our course takes us down the top of Brooks Peninsula close to shore in 20 fathoms (120 feet). This route is supposed to minimize the ocean swells and wind waves.

Our route from Klaskish Basin around the Brooks Peninsula to Kyuquot.

It takes about 30 minutes for us to realize there is no breeze, no waves, no swells and little current. You couldn't pick a better day to be around Brooks Peninsula. The ocean is near flat and visibility is 20 miles or more.

Just before approaching Cape Cook, named after the explorer who first sited the Peninsula, we spotted several whale spouts in the distance. The whales take several breaths, causing spouts, then descend to the depths for 20 minutes or so, only returning to the surface for more air. So Dick and Alex are relaxed, patting each other on the back about the weather, excellent route planning, etc. when suddenly a whale surfaces near Wild Blues port bow. This would be nothing unusual, so Alex grabs the camera, except ...... the whale turns toward the boat and accelerates forward! The camera man takes one shot, then quickly throtles back, as the whale sticks his big tale in the air, looming over us. The panicked cameraman missed one awesome photo!

"Torpedo in the Water!" Whale bears down on Wild Blue just before diving deep right next to the boat! Panicked cameraman missed a great "tail in the air" shot.

Cape Cook and Solander Island mark the northwest point of Brooks Peninsula. Note the calm winds and ocean. This water looks like the Inside Passage.

Once we reached Cape Cook, we turned inside Solander Island viewing the Island's Sea lion rookery.

The entire rounding was uneventful. By 9AM we cleared the southwest corner of the Peninsula. The seas were flat and the winds remained calm. We steered a direct course for Kyuquot. On our approach many sea otters came out to greet us.

Welcome to Kyuquot

The fishing village of Kyuquot from the Main Street Trail.

Kyuquot is a small fishing town. It caters to sports fisherman: salmon, halibut and rockfish saturate the area and attract the anglers who support the town. Several fishing lodges dot the local coastline such as Walters Cove Resort and Walters Cove Lodge. We spoke to several fisherman, mostly Canadians, who said the fishing has been terrific so far this year. The town has a cafe. Dick and Alex found it: it was closed for relocation across the harbor. Oh well, it's wieners and beans again!

We walked the town which has a rustic and rugged path connecting all the buildings, businesses and homes. This would be unheard of in the USA as ADA requirements would create a lawsuit bonanza and the town would die. But here in the remote BC west coast wilderness, reasonableness prevails, as it should.

Dick enjoys the trail that connects Kyuquot: this town's Main Street.

Tomorrow we move on to another cove further down the west coast. We'll let you know which one when we decide. Goodnight!.

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