Part 3 of 3: Barkley Sound, the last and final part of our wonderful August 2015 paddling on the west coast of Vancouver Island. For this part, we left Ucluelet and made an approximate 12km open crossing to the Broken Group. It was nice and calm on the way out. We spent a couple days in the Broken Island group paddling around its maze of little islands, the tranquil lagoons between the islands and around the neat sea caves and arches on the outside islands. When we were leaving however, a storm was rolling in. It was apparently one of the worst storms in southern BC in the last decade. We knew about the storm and actually decided to head back to Ucluelet for this reason, instead of continuing up Alberni Inlet to Port Alberni where we were originally going to be picked up. However, as we woke up on Friday morning, we would not have attempted the 12km open ocean crossing back to Ucluelet in the blustery winds in any other day…but we had a pickup in Ucluelet the next morning so we had to paddle it. It was a fast and wild paddle; the wind was to our back and side so we basically tacked our bodies into the wind and sailed ourselves across at record speeds for us but it was still choppy waves that threatened to tip us over at any minute. We went fast but we couldn’t stop for the two hours that it took to get us back onto the beach at Francis Island 14km away. That means no snacks, no water, no pee breaks, no stretching breaks, just 110% focus and paddling as hard as we could for two hours. We camped at Francis Island just outside of Ucluelet and then the next morning, the storm was here. The usually protected Ucluelet Inlet had white caps. As we paddled back to Whiskey Dock in downtown Ucluelet, the rain started to pour and it’s interesting to see how the heavy rain flattened the waves causing a low mist to form on top. A thrilling end to an amazing adventure.
A map of our route, campsites and highlights – google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zxwVcRnji0Qw.kpqJpDjGaz7g&usp=sharing