MV Dirona


Up the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

Jarvis Island to Lemmens Inlet, Meares Island, Clayoquot Sound

Day 5: Lemmens Inlet, Meares Island, Clayoquot Sound
We left early the next morning in a light fog to pick up fuel at Ucluelet.  We could have easily spent many more days in Barkley Sound, but since its close, we'll be back.  This is a picture from the fuel dock  at Ucluelet looking north.  This guy came in with a fairly loaded Zodiac and still with room for passengers.
After fueling, we tied off at a public dock to walk into town.  A long, steep stairway led to the road from the dock.  It's called 52 Step Dock, but there are apparently 53 steps.
The village was just waking up, as it was still quite early, so most stores were still closed.  Outside one shop were some very creative sculptures.
A large fish processing plant was operating though, although one beside it looked permanently shut down.  It's good to see some business still working though.  Some pretty scary-looking goo was coming out through these pipes.
Looking back towards the public dock from town, the fog was thickening. 
In the Ucluelet Small Craft Harbour, at the north end of town, the permanently-moored steamship Canadian Princess is the centerpiece for the sportsfishing resort of the same name.  From 1932 to 1975 the ship served the Canadian Hydrographic Service as the hydrographic survey ship William J. Stewart.  It was purchased for the resort and renamed.  The vessel, which originally cost more than a million dollars, was almost lost in July of 1944 when it struck Ripple Rock, in Seymour Narrows just north of Campbell River.  Many vessels have come to grief there.
It started to rain pretty heavily, so we returned to Dirona to begin our second exposed coast run, from Barkely Sound to Clayoquot Sound.  Conditions were quite calm, the fog cleared, and the rain soon stopped.  En route we saw several humpback whales.
For a large part of the run we were opposite Long Beach, part of the Pacific Rim National Park.  We also passed several sailboats, enjoying a nice run down the coast. We were heading for Tofino, a town we had visited by car from Victoria, but never from the water.  We were having an amazing day so far.
This is the Lennard Island lighthouse, established in 1904, just off Tofino.  Looks like a pretty lonely place.
With mounting excitement, we turned north into Templar Channel towards Tofino.  We felt we'd entered a time warp at the sight of the 188-foot barkentine Concordia heading towards us.  The ship is one of the several educational vessels that run the west coast in the summer.
Tofino is a bustling port town.  This is the view approaching from the west.  We tied off to the 1st Street Pier, visible in the left of this picture.  It is quite exposed to passing wakes, but we were only stopping for a few hours.  There is a larger, more protected public dock farther along to the east.  On the far left of the shot, the well-equipped Tofino Coast Guard station is barely visible.
We toured around town for a bit and then stopped for lunch at the Sea Shanty restaurant, which overlooks the waterfront.  We had to wait a bit for a table on the deck, and the service was a but unorganized.  But the food was good, with Piper's Ale on tap, and the was view astounding.  This picture was taken from our table, looking across to the Native Reserve at Opitsat with Lone Cone in the background.  It's a busy waterway.
Leaving Tofino, we headed north towards Opitsat and turned east and north into Lemmens Inlet, the westernmost of the two inlets that indent Meares Island.  We were originally planning to anchor in Adventure Cove, where the ship Adventure was launched in 1793.  It is now a National Historic Site.  But there were two floathomes permanently moored there, plus a boat at anchor, so we continued north and tucked into the southern nook of the westernmost cove at the extreme head of Lemmens Inlet.  This is the view looking east from the anchorage into Lemmens Inlet.  It was a lovely anchorage, which we had all to ourselves.




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Copyright 2012 Jennifer and James Hamilton