Circumnavigating Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 12 | Columbia Cove to Rugged Point to Nuchatlitz

Today looked like the last day of calm. We’ve quickly grown spoiled by the windless days in the ocean and we decided to use this last day of calm to jump down the coast to Esperanza Inlet and Nootka Sound. This meant skipping the Bunsby Islands and Walters Cove. We didn’t wantto skip them, but several factors weighed on our minds. We’re running a bit behind schedule after the weather days in Port Alexander, which would be no big deal except that some people are swapping crew in Tofino and already have flights booked. And the previously mentioned weather! When it’s this calm, why wait for it to get rougher?

We didn’t want to entirely skip Kyuquot Sound though, so we planned to stop for a few hours at Rugged Point Marine Park. We’d hike to the beach, then continue south to Nuchatlitz. From Nuchatlitz, we’d spend several days in Esperanza Inlet and Nootka Sound—protected inner channels—so it wouldn’t matter if the wind was blowing outside.

The three-hour trip from Columbia Cove to Rugged Point was gorgeous. We watched the sunrise, navigated through a few small fog banks, and weaved between rocky islets.

Sunrise at anchor, Columbia Cove

By late morning we were at Rugged Point, where we headed ashore and spent a few hours wandering along beautiful sandy beaches.


A little after noon we pulled anchor and continued south via Clear Passage. The gentlest of swells rolled under the boats, the wind was calm, and the ride comfortable. We even saw a few humpbacks. Another perfect day on the ocean!

Given the lack of smoke recently, we’d kind of forgotten about the forest fires that continue to ravage British Columbia. On the way into Esperanza Inlet, the burning hillsides surrounding Port Eliza reminded us. Smoke filled the air and acres of blackened forest were visible.

On the way into Nuchatlitz, Epoch spotted a small group of orcas near the entrance to the harbor. The rest of us were already anchored, so we quickly got in the dinghies and headed out to watch. Four orcas, including at least one youngster, splashed and waved their fins and slapped their tails for us. Watching whales is always a thrill, and watching from a dinghy amplifies the experience. Nothing like sitting in a 200-pound rubber boat watching 12,000 pound animals nearby!

We gathered on the Safe Harbour/Airship raft for happy hour, during which we saw a bear foraging onshore!

The weather has been great, with little fog and calm seas. The group is friendly, funny, and compatible. The boats are working well. And today we’ve seen humpbacks, orcas, and a bear!

Today’s route: 39.6 nautical miles, 5 hours 41 minutes underway
Flotilla total: 411.3 nautical miles, 57 hours 2 minutes underway

Columbia Cove to Nuchatlitz (with a stop at Rugged Point)