Posted by: cherylyoung | January 30, 2013

In Bamfield BC to cross between the two sides of town,you call a water taxi


Bamfield, a tiny resort hamlet nestled

quietly in a protected inlet on the south

shore of Barkley Sound,

is best known for its superb salmon fishing adventures.

This tiny fishing and harbour village, heavily populated

by marine biologists, is a quiet, unassuming village

where the love of the land and sea prevails.

The Bamfield community, with a population of around 200,

is surrounded by Crown land, Indian Reserves, and portions

of the Pacific Rim National Park, ensuring protection of

unspoiled marine environments from excessive development.

Being part of the Pacific Rim, Bamfield offers a challenge

for the explorer, nature lover and experienced hiker.

Despite its size, Bamfield boasts a variety of well-equipped

shops, restaurants, galleries, equipment rentals and

accommodation, and is an enchanting place to begin kayaking,

canoeing or scuba diving.

Bamfield is divided into two sections, separated by abou

t 200 yards of the Bamfield Inlet.

The west side of Bamfield is linked by a waterfront

boardwalk that connects all the homes and docks on

the harbour side.

The east side of Bamfield contains most of the businesses,

including a pub, a market and café.

To cross between the two sides of town, you can call

a water taxi.

The Nuu-chah-nulth people occupied large villages

in the Broken Group and Deer Group Islands and a

t Execution Rock, Cape Beale and Grappler Inlet.

Prior to contact with Europeans, the native population o

f Barkley Sound is estimated to have been between 3000 and 5000.

Village sites, middens, fish traps, culturally modified trees,

lookouts and fallen longhouses remain as part of the rich

cultural heritage.

Bamfield had its beginnings as an outpost for fur trading

and a fishing community in the late 1800s.

Shortly thereafter the Pacific Cable Board chose Bamfield

as the Eastern terminus for their trans-Pacific cable, sponsored

by the Commonwealth governments who wanted a reliable and

secure means of communication.

The Bamfield Cable station was constructed in 1902, with an

underwater cable laid in October of the same year, spanning

nearly 4,000 miles of the Pacific from Bamfield to Fanning Island,

a tiny coral atoll in the mid-Pacific.

From there the cable ran to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

In 1926, a second building was constructed (which now serves

as the main laboratory for the marine station), and

at the same time, a duplicate cable was laid to Suva, Fiji.

In 1953, the two cables were extended up the Alberni Canal,

and on June 20, 1959 after 57 years in operation, the

Bamfield Cable Station was closed. In 1965, the old wooden

buildings and surrounding houses were demolished leaving

only the concrete cable station (designated a historic site

and monument in 1930), two cable storage tanks and adjacent building.

The West Coast Trail runs for 77 kilometres along the

west side of Vancouver Island between the hamlets of

Port Renfrew in the south and Bamfield in the north,

and lies within the southern boundaries of

Pacific Rim National Park.

The trail was originally created in 1907 to assist in the

rescue of shipwrecked passengers and crews who ran

aground in an extremely rugged area that has deservedly

earned the reputation as one of the graveyards of the Pacific,

with more than 60 ships lost over the past two centuries.

As harsh today as then, less-endangered people willingly

subject themselves to this legendary trail’s test

of endurance.

Such a reputation adds a wild spice to adventuring here.

Venture with care and you’ll come away with wonderful

memories of your time spent by the shoreline, where many

creatures live in splendid harmony with the ocean’s deep rhythms.

Population: 200

Location: Bamfield is located in the heart of the Pacific

Rim National Park on the West Coast of Vancouver Island,

56 miles (89 km) from Port Alberni and 77 miles (123 km)

from Lake Cowichan.

Bamfield is reached from either of two directions, both

of which require several hours drive on gravel logging roads.

You can drive to Bamfield on black top as far as Port Alberni,

and thereafter over 56 miles (89 km) of well-maintained

gravel roads south of Port Alberni to Bamfield, or along

a 77-mile (123-km) route west of Lake Cowichan via Nitinat Lake.

The gravel logging road takes about two hours to travel, and

is mostly used by logging trucks during the week, so

caution is required.

Visitors can also fly by chartered floatplane from several

locations on Vancouver Island, including Port Alberni,

Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver on the mainland.

The most scenic way to get to Bamfield is to travel on

board the MV Frances Barkley in Port Alberni and

sail down the Alberni Inlet to Bamfield.

The route leads through the Broken Group Islands in

Barkley Sound to the fishing ports of Bamfield and Ucluelet.

In the course of a day’s trip the sturdy wooden packet

freighter drops mail, groceries, supplies, and the occasional

passenger along the way at float homes and the Secha

Whaling Station.

View maps of the area:
Map of the Pacific Rim
Map of the Pacific Rim / West Coast Trail

Take a pleasant stroll along the Boardwalk that runs along

Bamfield Inlet past old weather-beaten houses and native

plant gardens, and visit what the locals call downtown

– the General Store, the Coast Guard Station, Post Office,

and a Cappuccino Bar.

From the Boardwalk you can watch the boat traffic on

the waterway, the main street of Bamfield.

The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, a biological

research station and training centre with scientific

and historical displays, is open for tours on summer

weekends and a variety of drop-in lectures and classes

where you can explore the world of marine biology.

The marine station was established in 1972 by a

consortium of five western Canadian universities.

Cape Beale Lighthouse southwest of Bamfield and

Amphitrite Point lighthouse near Ucluelet guard the

entrance to Barkley Sound.

Captain Charles William Barkley, of the Imperial Eagle,

named Cape Beale after his purser, John Beale, who wa

s killed by First Nations people when he went ashore close

to Destruction Island (named as such by Barkley after this incident).

Bamfield has two government wharfs that provide boaters

with amenities and services.

The northern terminus of the world-famous West Coast Trail

is located at Pachena Bay, 2 miles (3 km) south of Bamfield.

The trail is a 7- to 10-day adventure trek, and a sought-after

trophy that draws hikers from around the world.

The challenging journey is more often begun from

Port Renfrew to the south in order to clear the steepest sections first.

However, for those who wish to sample a smaller section of

the trail, you can hike from Pachena Bay to the Nitinat

Narrows (strenuous; 40 miles/64 km return) and back

in three days.

See our Parks & Trails section for more information.

There’s wilderness camping on open beach or nearby in the

Reserve at Pachena Bay Campground, about 3 miles (5 km)

south of Bamfield. Fashion your own rough campsite here

on the sandy surf beach at the north end of the West Coast Trail.

Be sure to bring a tarp or two (plus plenty of rope) to help create

a dry shelter for yourself.

The campground is operated by the Huu-ay-aht (Ohiaht) First

Nation in Bamfield.

Transportation from Bamfield to Pachena Bay is also arranged

through the Huu-ay-aht (Ohiaht) First Nation Administration

office in Bamfield.

Several other great hiking trails lead to incredible beaches in the Bamfield area. Enjoy the short walk to Brady’s Beach or hike father to Cape Beale Lighthouse or to Keeha and Tapaltos beaches.

Venture with care and you’ll come away with wonderful memories

of your time spent by the shoreline, where many creatures live in

splendid harmony with the ocean’s deep rhythms.

In the centre of Barkley Sound, 12 km west of Bamfield,

are the Broken Group Islands – over 100 of them – home

to killer whales, gray whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions,

sharks, river otters, cormorants and eagles.

The popularity of these islands with paddlers and boaters

has soared over the past decade. One of the main reasons that

the Broken Group Islands are so popular for ocean kayaking is

that they provide a true west coast experience in sheltered water.

Barkley Sound is not normally subject to the extreme ocean

conditions farther west in the open waters around Ucluelet and

along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The ease with which less-experienced sea kayakers can reach

the Broken Group Islands on the MV Frances Barkley from

Port Alberni and Ucluelet contributes greatly to their allure

and charm.

The clear waters of Barkley Sound and the surrounding waters

reward scuba divers with shipwrecks and abundant

intertidal life.

The many old shipwrecks in the area provide great reefs

for marine life.

Whale watching: Grey whales, Humpback and Killer whales

migrate the coastal waters, and porpoises, seals, sea lions,

and elephant seals are viewed along the coastline.

Fishing: The Barkley Sound offers more tyees than anywhere

on the west coast! Salmon aren’t the only fish in the ocean

– halibut and cod also promise thrilling catches.

The Broken Group Islands and Bamfield Harbour also offer

good angling for salmon, rockfish and halibut.

In general, the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound offer

year-round fishing. Salmon school in the inlet before

ascending to the spawning grounds.

Large runs of sockeye from the Stamp/Somass River system

and Henderson Lake, and chinook from the Robertson Creek

Hatchery, swim past Bamfield on their way to Alberni Inlet rivers.

The Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island is a long, narrow

flute that leads 25 miles (40 km) inland to Port Alberni

from the open ocean of Barkley Sound and the Pacific Ocean.

In February and March herring gather in large numbers

to spawn on the northern shore of Barkley Sound, particularly

Vernon Bay, drawing resident feeder chinook into the

deep-water holding areas.

Bamfield is renowned as a bird watching area, with a wid

e variety of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and herons,

and the endangered marbled murrelet and spotted owl.

Mushroom aficionados and wild mushrooms newbies alike

won’t want to miss the annual Bamfield Mushroom Festival,

a treat for all ages. Bamfield’s annual celebration of all

things fungal is held in October.

Storm watching near Bamfield in winter allows visitors to

experience the raw power of the mighty Pacific Ocean, as

ferocious waves roll in from Japan and pound the shores of

the rugged west coast – nature in all it’s fierce majesty!

The magnificent Pacific Rim National Park is the only

national park on Vancouver Island, providing protection

for substantial rain forests and an amazing marine

environment on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The full force of the mighty Pacific Ocean mercilessly

pounds the constantly changing shores of this rugged coastline.

The territory now occupied by the park has a significant

history, having been inhabited by the Nuu-chah-nulth people

for thousands of years.

A rich natural heritage evolved as Vancouver Island became

isolated from the mainland, retaining a great diversity

of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish species.

This unique park encompasses a total area of 49,962 hectares

of land and ocean in three separate geographic units

– Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail.

Features of the park include long sandy beaches, an island

archipelago, old-growth coastal temperate rainforest and

significant Nuu-chah-

Major Music Festival Coming to Bamfield

Follow the olympic torch

This blog is brought to you compliments of

Cheryl Young, Realtor



Victoria B.C


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