MV Dirona


Up the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

Matilda Inlet to Young Bay, Sydney Inlet, Clayoquot Sound

Day 8: Young Bay, Sydney Inlet, Clayoquot Sound
It was foggy again the next morning, but not too bad.  Our next destination was famous Hot Springs Cove, which is opposite the western shore of Flores Island on the map above (just off the left side of the map).  We wanted to visit the hot springs before all the boats full of tourist did, so we left right away.
There were two possible routes.  The inside, sheltered route is along the east, north, and west shores of Flores Island.  The exposed, but more direct route is along the south and west shores.  We chose the outside route for speed.  The fog really thickened here though, visibility was 1/4-1/2 mile, so we had to run quite slowly.  The swells were big too - maybe 3-6 feet. Outside Richard Channel the waves were 6-8 feet, breaking and steep.  This was likely caused by an ebb current in the shallows.  All in all, not a boring run.
We could not see either side of the entrance to the cove, but the fog was a lighter inside.  The Pacific Grace was tied off to the dock, looking perfectly suited to the place and time.   Vessels such as this once dominated these shores.
We were planning to anchor, but one of the buoys was free, so we took it instead.  This was our first experience with the west coast buoys, which are designed to hold several fishing vessels safely through the huge west coast storms.  These things are monsters, quite different from the small, recreational buoys in the marine parks.   
Once we'd settled in, I overheard someone say "Morning James," and James respond with "Morning Bob."  It was Bob and Jean Miller on Loon Song, one of the few cruising powerboats that we've seen.  They are friends from the Bellevue Sail and Power Squadron, who were traveling in the opposite direction.  I found the greetings quite amusing--although we hadn't seen each other for weeks, the two men sounded as if they'd parted company the night before.  We went over for coffee on Loon Song before they set off for the day.
On to the Hot Springs.  They are considered a highlight of any West Coast cruise.  The walk in is impressive--a boardwalk leads 2-miles south from the park to the hot springs at the peninsula tip.  It is a lovely walk, through healthy rainforest with views out to the ocean.  The walk alone would have been worth it, even without the springs at the end. For decades, it was a tradition to replace the boards with one carved with the boat's name and date of visit, along with other personal information.  People worked over the winter and brought a board with them to replace an existing uncarved one.  The original boardwalk was replaced, but the tradition continues.  There are hundreds of them, some very creative.  The most impressive was that of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club's Millennium Cruise 2000.
The springs flow at 122F over small cliff, creating a hot-water waterfall, and into several large pools before hitting the ocean.  We had a wonderful long soak -- highly relaxing.  (And no, we don't get a lot of sun.)  We got there about 10am.  A few people were there already, more arrived while we soaked, and we passed many coming in on our way back out.  It is a busy place.  High-speed eco-tourism boats bring people in by the dozen.
We left Hot Springs Cove in search of a quite anchorage for the night.  This is the view heading north in Sydney Inlet, which runs along the west shore of Flores Island and farther north.  The fog had completely lifted and it had turned into another stunning, sunny day.
We found a secluded and empty anchorage in the inner basin of Young Bay, about halfway up the inlet.  A sailboat later joined us, but there was lots of room for both boats.  This is the view looking west across the anchorage .
A pilchard reduction plant once operated here, and the ruins are still obvious.




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Copyright 2012 Jennifer and James Hamilton