Posted by: cherylyoung | December 20, 2012

Hakai offers some of the most varied and scenic coastline in BC

North of Port Hardy at the confluence of the Burke

Channel and Fitz Hugh Sound is an abandoned

cannery called Namu, meaning place of high winds,

or whirlwind.

Established in 1893 as a fish-processing plant and

cannery, a fire levelled the community in the 1960s.

The cannery was subsequently rebuilt and

operations continued until the late 1980s, when high

transportation costs and low fish prices forced the

plant to close.

You can still see structures built on wharves over

the water, interconnected by boardwalk.

A short trail leads to nearby Namu Lake, which has

long expanses of sandy beaches and good fishing.

When European explorers arrived on this coast in

the 18th century, it was inhabited by Natives from

several cultural groups.

Although hunters and gatherers like the tribes of

the Interior, the coastal natives were able to

establish permanent villages due to their abundant

food supply.

Their complex cultures were distinguished by an

emphasis on wealth, a refined artistic tradition,

and a rich spirit life.

Travel along the coast was accomplished by dugout

canoes that could be impressive in their length.

Although there’s nothing more inspiring than to see

one of these massive canoes in action, they are

only brought out for ceremonial occasions, such

as a paddle trip to Vancouver or the Olympic

Mountains in Washington.

View map of the area. Location:

Namu is located on the coast of central BC, north

of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, at the

confluence of the Burke Channel and Fitz Hugh


Many parts of the Discovery Coast are relatively

unknown to kayakers.

It will appeal to resourceful paddlers who seek a

sense of pioneering, which includes laying some

groundwork, discovering new fishing spots, wildlife

watching, dealing with unknown tidal currents, and

finding new campsites.

Approximately 130 km north of Port Hardy and

10 km west of Namu is the Hakai Luxvbalis

Conservancy Area, British Columbia’s largest

marine park, and one of the better-known paddling


This 123,000-hectare area encompasses a large

archipelago of outstanding natural beauty and

recreational value.

From fully exposed shorelines to rolling, forested

hills and 1000-metre peaks, Hakai offers some of

the most varied and scenic coastline in the province.

Special features such as lagoons and reversing tidal

rapids, beaches, all-weather anchorages, tombolos,

and an intricate network of coves, inlets, and

channels make it an ideal area for boaters, anglers,

scuba divers, naturalists – and experienced

sea kayakers.

The recreation area has no developed facilities, and

offers wilderness sites for camping only.

Over 100 species of birds have been identified in the

park, ravens and ospreys among them.

Feeding flocks of gulls, auklets, murres, and murrelets

are numerous in the waters of Kildidt and Queens


Black oystercatchers, pelagic cormorants, surf birds,

and both black and ruddy turnstones are also


Diving: The waters of the Hakai Provincial Recreation

Area are amongst the finest in the world for underwater

exploration, with exceptional viewing opportunities


There are wrecks along virtually the entire Central

Coast, making it a magnet for divers.

Three good wrecks are just off Atli Point, near

Shearwater, and Namu is particularly popular.

Liveaboard dive charter vessels are available, which

are outfitted with diving tanks and wet suits, and are

based on the Central Coast between June and


Hakai Pass in the Hakai Provincial Recreation Area is

world-famous for its salmon fishing, particularly for

chinook (spring), which are commonly caught on

cut-plug herring.

The area has a number of commercial floating fish

camps and resorts.

Besides salmon, there’s good fishing here for halibut,

lingcod, and rockfish.

If travelling on the Queen of Chilliwack, the most

stunning scenery is between Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

With the setting sun behind you, the monolithic rock

formations looming over the narrow Burke Channel

give the cruise a European flavour.

You’ll get an even better look at the scenic Dean

Channel during daylight hours if you board the

ferry in Bella Coola for the southbound sailing.

Weather permitting, the ship’s two upper decks are

an excellent vantage point from which to watch for

the logging camps, barge houses, and abandoned

settlements that indicate a human presence on this

rugged coastline.

Although Natives have inhabited the area for

thousands of years, the inhospitable terrain has

limited development and exploration by European

settlers until comparatively recently.

Wildlife viewing – the ferry slows for orcas – is

another bonus of this trip.

Don’t forget your binoculars. Facilities aboard the

Queen of Chilliwack include reclining sleeper seats,

a cafeteria, and small licenced lounge, a gift shop and

– a boon for kayakers – pay showers.

Those taking the Discovery Coast Passage should be

aware that, depending on their departure time and

length of trip, they may have to ‘camp’ one night

aboard ship.

A sleeping bag or warm blanket will enhance your

comfort in one of the reclining seats.

Alternatively, bring along a camping mattress and

stretch out on the floor.

A small number of cots and blankets are available


Hardy types are also permitted to pitch their (self-

supporting) tents on the deck.

See the best of BC when you embark upon one of the

many circle tours that take in Vancouver Island, the

Discovery Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the interior

winelands or the remote Northern British Columbia.

The coastal tours involve exciting rail, road and ferry

trips, which is half the fun of travelling in British


Scenic highways flank the coast, taking you through

charming beachside communities, rolling farmlands

and majestic mountain ranges.

Start your journey here and now, by selecting from

one of the Circle Tours, designed to assist you in

planning your journey by road through beautiful

British Columbia.






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