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Nootka Island
Nootka Island is a large island located on the remote and rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, enveloped by Nootka Sound, Nuchatlitz Inlet, Esperanza Inlet, Tahsis Inlet, and the Pacific Ocean.

Steeped in history and surrounded by the natural beauty of the west coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka Island and the surrounding sounds and inlets provide a paradise for sport anglers and outdoor adventurers seeking to explore and enjoy the magnificent wilderness surroundings. The mountain scenery is unsurpassed in beauty, and the area teems with wildlife.

The birthplace of British Columbia is the small community of Yuquot on Nootka Island, also known as Friendly Cove. Yuquot is the site of the first contact between Europeans and First Nations people in British Columbia.

First Nations people came to magnificent Yuquot over 4,000 years ago, drawn by the rich sea life and natural resources, the mild climate, and the beautiful surroundings. Those same qualities still draw visitors to this magical place today, as there is so much to see and experience. The traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation incorporates much of the western portion of Vancouver Island.

In March 1778, Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy became the first European to set foot on British Columbian soil when he visited Friendly Cove on Nootka Island. While anchoring in Resolution Cove on Bligh Island, across from Friendly Cove, the natives hollered "itchme nutka, itchme nutka", meaning "go around" (to Yuquot), but Cook misinterpreted their calls, believing the name of the area to be Nootka.

Location: Nootka Island is located off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Access to Yuquot (Friendly Cove), the main community on the southwest tip of Nootka Island, is by boat or floatplane. Closest access points by boat are Gold River and Tahsis, departure points for the MV Uchuck 111 to Yuquot.

View maps of the area:
Map of the Pacific Rim
Map of North Vancouver Island
Map of Brooks Peninsula/Tahsis

  • Yuquot (Friendly Cove) is the birthplace of British Columbia. Historical Friendly Cove was the site of the first contact between Europeans and First Nations people in British Columbia. First Nations people came to magnificent Yuquot over 4,000 years ago, drawn by the rich sea life and natural resources, the mild climate, and the beautiful surroundings. Those same qualities still draw visitors to this magical place today, as there is so much to see and experience.
  • Nootka Sound is a paradise for sport anglers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking to explore and enjoy the marvelous west coast wilderness.
  • Esperanza Inlet and Nuchatlitz Inlet, including the finger inlets that branch off from them (Port Eliza, Espinosa Inlet, Zeballos Inlet) were gouged out by glaciers during the last ice age, and are extremely remote and sparsely populated. This isolation is enhanced by the stunning scenery, attracting anglers, kayakers, divers, campers and hikers to the wilderness area.
  • Tahsis is an unspoiled coastal village situated at the head of Tahsis Inlet, a deep fjord that cuts northwards off Nootka Sound.
  • Hiking: The Nootka Island Trail (also called the Friendly Cove/Yuquot Trail) rambles between Louie Bay on the north side of Nootka Island and Yuquot (Friendly Cove) on the south. Along the way, the trail crosses exquisite beaches and tidal shelves, as well as leading inland to bypass rocky headlands and deep river mouths. This 22-mile (35-km) trail is gradually becoming a choice hiking destination, and is a complement to the West Coast Trail. By comparison with the West Coast Trail, the Nootka Island Trail is poorly marked and infrequently maintained. Be prepared to bushwhack around fallen trees brought down by the frequent, savage winter storms that pound this section of coast. In order to avoid an exhausting amount of bushwhacking, consult tide charts for the most opportune times to cross beaches. Allow seven days to complete the hike one way. Hikers must be completely self-contained and are advised to carry a handheld marine radio, as the sole source of help is from the lighthouse staff at Yuquot. Note: There is a large population of bears on Nootka Island, and chances are good that hikers will encounter them along the beaches. At present, these bears do not associate hikers with food. Cache all supplies well out of reach of these animals.
  • Kayaking: The sounds and inlets surrounding Nootka Ialsnd provide a true paradise for paddlers. So many places can only be explored and truly appreciated by kayak; small islands, sheltered coves, rocky coastlines, remote sandy beaches and dense rainforest. The waters are rich with wildlife, including gray whales and orca whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions, eagles, wolves, cougars, and bears. Guided sea kayaking tours to historical Nootka Sound can be arranged from most centres on Vancouver Island. Expert guides know the area, the currents, the winds, and of course the best camping spots!
  • Fishing: The waters surrounding Nootka Island offer great fishing for salmon and bottomfish, including halibut, cod, and red snapper. Fishing for salmon is best in July, August and September, and April to September for halibut, rockfish and snapper. Nootka Sound area has 7 wild salmon rivers and three hatcheries, including the large federal salmon hatchery on the Conuma River, between Tahsis and Gold River. Halibut are plentiful and generally range from 15 to 50 pounds, although halibut in the 175-pound range have been caught in the area. Access to fishing camps in the area is either by boat or floatplane
  • Nuchatlitz Provincial Park encompasses the very northwest tip of Nootka Island and a large number of small island groups. Nuchatlitz Provincial Park protects a number of archaeological sites, evidence that the area has been inhabited for thousands of years by First Nations people drawn to the region by the abundance of natural resources.
  • Catala Island Marine Provincial Park protects numerous reefs, islands, islets and marine ecosystems. Catala Island itself is forested with mature trees, twisted and stunted by the strong winds blowing off the Pacific Ocean. A lake and bog area are also found on the island.
  • Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park sits at the mouth of the Muchalat Inlet, to the east of Nootka Island, and encompasses the southern portion of Bligh Island and part of the Spanish Pilot Group of Islands. The park protects mature coastal forests and delicate marine ecosystems, and there is much to explore in this group of six islands. The 4,455-hectare park (1,584 hectares upland and 2,871 hectares foreshore) is a favourite boating and fishing destination amongst local and visiting yachtsmen. Sea kayaking tours to the Nootka Sound are available, or kayakers can arrange to be dropped off near the island by the MV Uchuck lll as it plies between Gold River and Yuquot. The park has no facilities, other than a pit toilet at Charlie's Beach


Search Premier Listings
  BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja & Shelley McKay, Campbell River Listing Details 
Live, Work & Play Coastal Style
“BC Oceanfront” - ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River's Residential and Coastal Experts specializing in selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. From homes to small oceanfront recreational lots, lakefront, remote island acreages, private islands and resorts – BCO has the Coast covered!
 
  Nootka Marine Adventures, Nootka Sound Listing Details 
Nootka Marine Adventures operates the floating Nootka Sound Resort, moored in idyllic Galiano Bay off Tlupana Inlet, and Moutcha Bay Resort, at the mouth of the Conuma River. Both resorts are located in the heart of the beautiful, sheltered Nootka Sound on the magnificent west coast of Vancouver Island. These all-inclusive resorts offer accommodation, gourmet meals and boat moorage along with your choice of salmon and halibut fishing charters, ecotours and wildlife viewing trips. Nootka Marine Adventures offers accommodations to anglers with private boats, anglers looking for rental boats, or fully-guided sport fishing charters and packages.
 
  Reel Obsession Sportfishing, Victoria Listing Details 
Reel Obsession Sport Fishing Charters offers year-round, world-class, fully guided BC salmon and halibut sport fishing charters on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia, fishing Zeballos, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, and Victoria. We offer a variety of charter fishing packages and are quite flexible in customizing your charter fishing experience to suit your needs. Our west coast Lodge produces great fishing all summer long.
 
  Spirit of the West Kayaking, Quadra Island Listing Details 
Join our sea kayaking adventures around Vancouver Island, Canada's coastal kayaking paradise. Kayak with Killer Whales, paddle Desolation Sound, experience the remote north Nootka Sound, or kayak from the comfort of our 95 ft Mothership, the Songhee. Our sea kayaking trips depart from our base on Quadra Island in the BC Discovery Islands. No experience is required for our kayak tours! Our adventures are for everyone. Our trips are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. Our groups are small, ranging from 8-13 people depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. we provide everything you need to have a great kayaking adventure.
 

Guest Writer Articles:
Kayaking the Nuchatlitz by Phil Stone
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