Day 23 | West Side of Vancouver Island Flotilla | Nettle Island to Robbers Passage

Sam left the Nettle Island anchorage early this morning and headed for Robbers Passage on Fleming Island. Port Alberni Yacht Club has an outstation there where they welcome non-members (for a fee, no reciprocals), but because it’s a weekend we were worried it might be full, so having an early scout was helpful.

The days have been getting shorter for quite a while, but recently it’s seemed particularly noticeable. Today it didn’t even feel like we got up early, yet we got to watch the sun rise:

The cruise across Imperial Eagle Channel was calm, with little noticeable swell.

Calm morning in Imperial Eagle Channel

There were a couple of yacht club member boats on the dock at the outstation, but they made room for all of us and were very friendly and accommodating. Thank you, Port Alberni Yacht Club, for the hospitality!

Robbers Passage, view from Port Alberni Yacht Club outstation

After we all arrived, a group of us hiked over to the beach on the Trevor Channel side to find a sea cave we’d learned about from one of the yacht club members, and to watch the humpbacks that appear to have taken up residence there since last year.


We found the cave, and most of us scrambled up into it a little ways so we could peer in and see the glittering gold, green, and silver ceiling.

Scott heads into the sea cave

Three of us headed further in with flashlights, and by further in, we mean crawl-on-your-knees and squeeze through a narrow entrance into what then opened up into a standing room inner cave with fabulously textured walls, and much, much more of the glittery crystallization inside.

David takes in the sparkles (kind of hard to see in these photos, but look at the gold on the rocks above his head…)
Emerging from the cave
Back on the beach, Roberta out on the point  
Forest trail

Back on the dock, several folks went out to explore by dinghy. This area is rich with rugged coastline and more sea caves only reachable by boat.

Cool cloud textures

First, we headed back out into Trevor Channel to get a closer look at the whales.

Humpbacks in Trevor Channel
Humpbacks in Trevor Channel
Humpbacks in Trevor Channel

We continued down around the bottom of Fleming Island, into Marble Cove, then a little ways into the Chain Group of Islands. So many caves!

Exploring the rocky shoreline by dinghy
Drive-thru sea cave
Julie and David from Dog Star photographing the shoreline
Another sea cave
We poked our nose into this cave while the swells were mellow
Inside another sea cave
Rugged shoreline near Marble Cove

We spotted some oystercatchers on the rocks and went in for a couple photos. They’re so comical-looking, with their bright red-orange beaks and eyes!

Oystercatchers on the rocks
Oystercatchers on the rocks
Remains of a longhouse on shore
Scott from Impulse checks out the old dock structure
Next boat restoration project?
Floating log boom has a cool shape!
The flotilla on the dock at Port Alberni Yacht Club outstation

Such a fun day! The weather cooperated so we all met on the dock for grill night. Fresh salmon, chicken kabobs, potatoes, green beans, rice, and Roberta’s homemade macaroons (dipped in chocolate!) for dessert. We stayed outside chatting after dinner until it got dark, and even brought out a little lamp so we could continue a bit longer. Later we discovered some very bright bio luminescence that responded nicely to us dragging a boat hook through the water (live sparklers!!!) but we’ve yet to learn how to photograph it!