If you sail up the fjords of Clayoquot you will be surrounded by incredible beauty. Mountains rise on either side; mists hang, shrouding tops of trees. In the summer, the sky is blue and the weather can be fine. If you get the chance, it’s well worth the trip to travel up those fingers of water. It’s enchanting and we spent a bit of time just pinching ourselves because it felt a little surreal, all that magnificence. We know we got incredibly lucky on the weather. There is never a guarantee that you’ll have sun, much less that it will be so warm.The thing about sailing up those inlets that is worth knowing in advance, however, is that there are precious few areas that are protected from the considerable winds that whoosh up from the ocean, and good luck finding a protected anchorage. By the time the wind gets to the top of the inlet, it has built up a nice head of steam and can be rather gnarly. This is what happened each time we sailed up into the fjords in Clayoquot Sound. We’d have a lovely sail up the sound thinking we were going to anchor at the head where we could explore the river flats as they empty out into the salt water. Then we’d get there and two things would happen. First the wind would be blowing 25 knots, enough to make getting the sails down very exciting. Then we’d discover that we would have to anchor in at least 60 feet of water to have enough room between us and the land. Does that sound like fun to you? I know we are prone to ‘anchoring outside the box’ but no thanks. No rest for the weary and nothing to prove, we’d turn and motor into the wind back down the inlet, all in a good day’s exploration. It is times like these I am grateful for Galapagos’ girth. She glides like a river queen; confident and strong. In Bedwell sound we knew that there would be a resort that took over the river flats at the head. They also took over literally the only decent place to anchor a boat. There was one spot on the opposite side that we thought would work as the depth was pretty good, but we tried twice and couldn’t get the anchor to set. There was an old wreck of a boat on the shore right there, so, perhaps that didn’t bode well for the holding power of an anchor at that spot. Frankly, it felt like solid rock to us. Still, we did try.
We were a little disappointed we wouldn’t be able to kayak around the flats, but on the other hand I’ll bet there are plenty of mosquitoes there and I had already been bitten enough to look like a toddler who’d crawled through brambles. I tend to scratch. Maybe giving that a miss wasn’t such a bad idea. Who knows what we could discover somewhere else?
Knowing we wanted to spend the night in Bedwell sound, we had been on the lookout for possible spots on the way up to the river flats. One had a smallish sand beach next to an eagle’s nest high in a dead tree. We headed for that but it was a no-go. Too deep, too close to crunchy rocks, too exposed even for us. No sleep would be had there. I headed across the inlet to a group of islets we had seen on the way up, knowing that was as good as it was going to get if we wanted to anchor in the sound. Nosing our way behind a group of large rocks, we found the perfect place. About 45 feet of water, enough swing room for Galapagos to be comfortable and keep her butt off the rocks, and a magnificent view, plus it looked like decent kayaking. Pleased with ourselves, we dropped the hook. As I was preparing for a little cockpit siesta and Kindle time, this happened: And it just kept happening. Mom and baby nosed along the shoreline and, after checking out Galapagos per the photo above, didn’t give us another look. We were absolutely delighted. We had bear watching time for about 30 minutes, followed by more bear watching later that day and the next as two male bears made their appearances along the same route. The entire trip was worth it just for this place.
This is an unnamed cove on our GPS so we’ve named this Bumbling Bear Cove. I don’t know if this counts, but we’re staking our claim here. And there is a very small cove next to it where a shallow draft small boat could anchor nicely. We think that one should be Cub Cove.
Taking the kayak out onto the sound, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Here I am. In my kayak paddling on a fjord, watching bears from my seat on our sailboat. Wow. That’s amazing.’. And I felt very lucky, indeed.