MV Dirona


Up the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

Hecate to Nuchatlitz Inlet, Nootka Sound

Day 11: Nuchatlitz Inlet, Nootka Sound
Our next stop was Zeballos, for fuel and a tour through town.  Like Tahsis, its situated at the end of an inlet with steep mountains all around.  Its industry was once mining, but is now logging with a heavy dose of fishing, both commercial and recreational, as well as ecotourism. 
After fueling, we watched a fish boat unload its catch.  It was quite an efficient operation, with several people working ashore to kill the fish and pack them on ice as they came down the chute.  A big refrigerated truck later rumbled through town to pick it up.
We liked Zeballos a lot.  It felt very alive and habited by people who cared about their town.  This is the meticulously maintained town hall.  Its false front is typical of the buildings in town.
A real highlight was the system of trails throughout the community.  Even if you don't care much for nature walks, you can't help but be impressed by the trails themselves -- they were clearly constructed by someone who cared and knew what they were doing.  The first we found was the Little Zeballos Trail.  The trail is gravel in parts, with sturdy cedar bridges and raised walkways throughout.  After about 10 minutes of easy walking through vibrant rainforest, the trail opened onto a grassy clearing across from the public dock.  Here, two of the town's signature tables, emblazoned with the Zeballos logo, made a perfect picnic spot.  The trail supposedly goes farther, with a total length of 5K. 
We also visited the Zeballos museum.  It is small, but packed with pictures and mementos from the town's past.  It was quite impressive.
We left Zeballos and turned west down Esperanza Inlet.  En route we saw a rather unusual kayak.  We've seen two-person kayaks before, but never a two-person, one-dog kayak.
At the mouth of Esperanza Inlet, we worked our way through the tricky entrance to Nuchatlitz.  There was once a major Native village here, but like so many earlier settlements, both Native and European, it is now abandoned.  I had read the book The Flying Flynns, about a Seattle vet and his wife who moved to Nootka Island several decades ago.  The village is featured prominently in the book and its sequel, and I had wanted to see what was left.  It is sad to see these places in ruins.
With its sandy beach, protected waters, and stunning view out across reefs to the Pacific, Nuchatlitz is a popular camping place for kayakers.
Leaving Nuchatlitz, we came around into Nutchatlitz Inlet to look for an anchorage for the night.  It was really rough going in the afternoon swells and we took a bit of a pounding.  The route from the village is also littered with reefs and submerged rocks, making the trip that much more exciting. The inlet was full of sea otters, who studied us with great curiosity. We went all the way into the Inner Basin. Because it is blocked by tidal rapids, and already pretty far out of the way to start with, we were utterly alone.
The basin is quite large, and we spent an hour or so touring by dinghy after dinner.  Parts of it have been heavily logged, but none were visible from our anchorage.  Looking towards the entrance, we enjoyed another vibrant sunset.




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Copyright 2012 Jennifer and James Hamilton