Summertime Cruising in Nootka Sound
Story & Photos: Neil Havers and Lynne Richard
My wife and I enjoy visiting the Gold River area annually for some golf, hiking, camping and of course, cruising aboard the MV Uchuck III. We’ve usually taken the Friendly Cove cruise. We both enjoy the cruise and in particular the beach and trails at Friendly Cove. This year we decided to take the Nootka Sound Day Cruise.
We departed on a misty morning, the inlet shrouded in fog, silhouetting ridges of Douglas Fir backlit by the mist, a true west coast image. First stop was Nootka Island Resort in Tlupana Inlet where we watched the crew drop off fuel, propane and groceries. As we cruised to Critter Cove Marina to drop off more groceries the sun came out, burning the fog off the islands, bringing out their beauty. We were rewarded with a sunny warm cruise for the rest of the day.
Departing Critter Cove we made our way up Tahsis Inlet on our way to Nootka Sound Logging in Kendrick Arm. To get there we had to pass through the very narrow and beautiful Princesa Channel. Skipper Spencer deftly navigated the Uchuck though the channel. What’s interesting is the fact that the MV Uchuck III has no GPS navigation on board. All navigation is by eye and using charts. An inquisitive otter watched us pass by his domain. After dropping off parts and supplies at the logging camp we made our way down Kendrick Arm, a stunningly beautiful section of the voyage.
Next stop was Nootka Island Lodge for more offloading of freight. As an added bonus the MV Uchuck III also picked up a couple of kayakers directly from the water the same way they pick up freight. They dropped the loading platform over the side into the water and had the kayakers paddle on to it, hold on the ropes and get lifted out of the water onto the deck. An enjoyable activity to watch for sure!
Heading back up Cook Channel on our way back to Gold River we stopped at a few Grieg Seafood fish farms to drop off fuel. The return cruise gives you time to reflect on how beautiful Nootka Sound is. The crew are very engaging, passengers are allowed to visit the wheelhouse and the on-board food service is excellent.
We got back to Gold River with a ton of photos to process and a rekindled appreciation for what an amazing experience it is to cruise Nootka Sound aboard the MV Uchuck III.