Vargas Island to Cow Bay, July 9th 2009.

The morning started beautifully with clear skies, a few puffy clouds and calm water. Not the rainy drizzly Pacific Northwest we had planned for! I couldn’t stand hanging around on the beach, so as soon as I was packed up and ready do go I launched. I hung out in the bight within visibility of the camp and photographed kelp and rocks until everyone else was ready to go.

We paddled across the top of Vargas Island and turned down the west side. Part way down this side we turned and crossed over to Blunden Island. Most of the group wanted to stop for a break, but Ken Kelton insisted on continuing since we had just had a break on Vargas recently. I volunteered to go with him and the two of us went rock gardening around the south side of the island. Everyone else tried to land on a sheltered beach but where chased off. Apparently this island is First Nations property, we are not allowed to land there and there was someone on the island to enforce this. So everyone else caught up with Ken and I before we traveled very far.

The plan for the day was to go far enough southwest to see Clealand Island while the seeing was good. This is a low rocky island on the outside of Clayoquot sound that we might not get to see later if the conditions are rougher when we come by here on our return. Clealand is a big bird rookery and it was covered with screaming birds. Some of us went through a channel in the middle of the island, which is really just a collection of little islands. Others turned back and started heading north to look for our campground. We got kind of spread out all over the sound.

We found a nice rock garden to poke into on Bartlett Island and then hopped from one small island to another called the Gerrard Group. Just as we arrived at Cow Bay, we saw Ken Kelton waving is paddle at us from far offshore. Is he in trouble? No, he found a pod of gray whales. We zoomed back out to watch the whales spouting, humping and fluking for a while.

It was late in the day when we got to Cow Bay, our intended campsite for the night, and it was already packed with kayakers. There were two large groups at the south end, so we worked our way north. John Somers pulled ahead and we contacted him by VHF radio. But he passed up several other beaches without stopping. Finally we caught up with him at a smelly kelp-covered beach. It had been a long day and we are too tired to go back to a nicer beach. There was plenty of room to camp above the kelp line, so we staed there the night.

All text and images Copyright © 2009 by Mike Higgins / contact