Third times a charm.

It was my first attempt to get to White Cliff Island that sits alone and exposed out in Queen Charlotte Straight. Because of this exposure, the water conditions can be turbulent, and that was the case on this day. The wind and waves were starting to kick-up; the sea was getting angry, so I was looking for an alternative campsite I had read of; a safe port in the storm.
I came upon a small bay with a cobblestone beach, matching the description of the camp I was looking for and so I landed. I poked around the tiny cove, but there was no area to set up a tent; this wasn’t the right beach.

I bushwhacked down an overgrown ‘path’ that led from the beach up through the dense woods. After a hard-fought hundred yards, I arrived at another beach filled with huge driftwood logs and a deep narrow bay. Behind the logs, a small area was scratched out for one tent. This was the camp I was looking for.

Port in the storm

Camp – Plan B -Port in the storm

I was feeling lazy, so even though the sea conditions were worsening, I decided to kayak the short distance instead of making multiple trips through the woods carrying all my equipment. (Plus I don’t like having my kayak out-of-sight so far from camp.) I launched and paddled out of the bay and around a point and into the wind. The wind and waves were manageable at first, but that quickly changed. The waves increased with no rhyme or rhythm; the water was foaming and the wind was gusting in my face, I couldn’t turn around even if I wanted to in this mayhem. Great; now because I was too lazy to hump all my gear, I’m going to get bashed on the rocky shore. I can see the headline now “lazy kayaker pays the price”.
I took a deep breath. It was chaotic but not catastrophic; I powered through to the calm cove. It was a tiny beach littered with massive driftwood, I dragged my kayak onto the logs to keep it out of the approaching high tide and set up camp.

Kayak on the driftwood.

Kayak on the driftwood.

The next day as I made a second attempt to get to White Cliff, it was a little choppy as I headed out. The landing on White Cliff is said to be tricky, you have to land on a rock ledge, like a granite ramp. I would only attempt this in good conditions but again the weather worsened. So I aborted the second attempt and headed for my plan C campsite.

So I landed at Owl Island; it was nice, but now I was obsessed about getting to White Cliff. I wandered the island and caught a view out into the straight, the water was calm and the wind had died. I ran back to the kayak and launched for attempt  number 3.
It was only a few miles to the island and in the calm conditions it didn’t take me long; third time’s a charm. Now I just had to figure out how to land. The shore was rocky with white vertical walls. I searched for the elusive landing site and found a sloping, off-angle ramp with a wall on one side. I paddled hard, slid up the ramp, put my hand on the wall and jumped out of the kayak; easy.

landing ramp

landing ramp

I have heard that this was a amazing place to camp and it did not disappoint. The campsite was on the top of a hill and had a 360 degree view of Queen Charlotte Straight; beautiful. I slowly unpacked the kayak and set up camp. Before long, a humpback whale passed along the shore and then another, over the course of the afternoon, ten whales in total passed by.

Camp

Camp on White Cliff

It took a few days, some bad weather and three attempts, but it was worth it; A beautiful day, a great campsite on a small island in the middle of a whale highway.

Sunset over White Cliff Island.

Sunset over White Cliff Island.

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Categories: Broughton Archipelago, BC - September 2014 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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