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Are you ready for the Van Isle 360?

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial (odd year), 580 nm. point to point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, B.C. Sailed in a series of legs the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight legs through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet. Now in its 20th year the race will reach Port Hardy on Wednesday, June 5th. During the lead up to this event we will be posting information about the competitors.

Meet the next round of competitors:

Serenite Details on this years campaign to come!

The Serenite.

Sail #: 93

Skipper: Victor Mushkatin

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

Type: Beneteau Oceanis 46

Designer: Berrett

Builder: Beneteau

ORC GPH: 617.0

LOA: 13.700m

Beam: 4.302m

Draft: 2.029m

Shearwater is based out of Orcas Island, having been purchased on the East Coast in 2011. Shearwater is a pelagic bird that spends most of its life as a nomad travelling the seas. In 2018 we sailed Patos Island, Swiftsure and Southern Straits in preparation for our 2019 Van Isle 360.

The Shearwater.

Sail #: USA 120

Skipper: Christina & Justin Wolfe

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Orcas Island Yacht Club

Type: J/120

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: TPI

ORC GPH: 583.5

LOA: 12.244m

Beam: 3.67m

Draft: 2.168m

Back Again! This will be Steve & crew’s 8th consecutive Van Isle, starting out on Flash and last go round entering with Smoke. The secret behind being able to endure 8 consecutive Van Isles is their incredible shore support tea of one. Never complains, always there to assist with a big smile and a “how can I help”. Oh and a consistent group of “young crew” ensures outstanding camaraderie. Smoke will be one of 4 TP52’s competing in this years race, the other 3 being Glory, MIST and Sonic.

The Smoke.

Sail #: 52005

Skipper: Steve Travis

Province/State: Washington (Honorary British Columbia)

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: TP52

Designer: Botin Carkeek

Builder: Del Pardo

ORC GPH: 446.1

LOA: 15.850m

Beam: 4.372m

Draft: 3.176m

Sonic has recently arrived in Seattle via the Great Lakes. This will be her first go round the Rock, with many of the crew previous Van Isle veterans. Sonic will be one of 4 TP52’s competing in this years Van Isle, the other 3 being Glory, MIST and Smoke.

The Sonic.

Sail #: USA 52725

Skipper: Marek Omilian

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: TP52

Designer:

Builder: Cookson

ORC GPH: Application in process (446ish)

LOA: 15.850m

Beam: 4.372m

Draft: 3.176m

Surfider   About us: Still to come.

The Surfider.

Sail #: CAN 1015

Skipper: Greg Johnston

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: Santa Cruz 50

Designer: Bill Lee

Builder: Santa Cruz Yachts

ORC GPH: 506.9

Length: 13.310 m

Beam: 3.682 m

Draft: 2.394 m

Ultraman lll, is presently on her way from Hawaii to the Pacific North West via freighter. Arrival is estimated for January 18th in Seattle. Looks like Jason and crew will be a little busy getting her ready for the usual slate of spring racing.

The Ultraman III.

Sail #: JPN 6288

Skipper: Jason Saunderson

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: S-40M OD Naval Force

Designer: Joubert/Nivelt

Builder: Maree Haute

ORC GPH: 541.4 (2013)

LOA: 11.970m

Beam: 2.970m

Draft: 2.398m

No more “Caw Caw”, Ian Lloyd is a veteran of the Van Isle and decided to move from Raven in 2017 to Wraith, an offshore capable Grand Prix 26 built in 2008 to the GP 26 Class Box Rule. The boat has both masthead and fractional asymmetric spinnakers. Carole Speck will be the logistics coordinator for a 5th time!

The Wraith.

Sail #: 18

Skipper: Ian Lloyd

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: West Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: Grand Prix 26

Designer: Brooks Dees

Builder: Brooks Dees

ORC GPH: 618.0

LOA: 7.840m

Beam: 2.438m

Draft: 1.878m

The NOR was barely dry when the first entry for 2019 race arrived, almost hand delivered to Winter Harbour by Zulu. Findlay and the Gibbons lads will be back to defend their 2017 Division 2 second place podium finish and their first place finish in Division 2 in 2015. If you are in need of an electrical consultation prior to the race, please consider contacting Trevor Gibbons, owner of A-Sea Marine, a terrific sponsor of the race.

 

The Zulu.

Sail #: 74391

Skipper: Findlay Gibbons

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: Jespersen 42

Designer: P. Gartside

Builder: Jespersen Boat Works

ORC GPH: 586.7

LOA: 12.780m

Beam: 3.946m

Draft: 2.162m

 

Van Isle 360 is Just Around the Corner!

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial (odd year), 580 nm. point to point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, B.C. Sailed in a series of legs the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight legs through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet. Now in its 20th year the race will reach Port Hardy on Wednesday, June 5th. During the lead up to this event we will be posting information about the competitors.

Meet the next round of competitors:

Third time around the Island for Hana Mari, their sail past just before the Nanaimo start is a treat not to be missed….literally! Same old hands, some new crew but the same enthusiasm for adventure we always have. In 2017 Ged was recognized by the skipper of Oxomoxo for his local knowledge in assisting Doug Frazer to a first place finish in Division 3. May karma be good to you Ged and your crew in this years race.

The Hana Mari.

Sail #: 79026

Skipper: Ged McLean

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Type: Wylie 43

Designer: Tom Wylie

Builder: Schooner Creek Boat Works

ORC GPH: 579.9 (Test Certificate)

LOA: 13.215m

Beam: 3.778m

Draft: 2.198m

Tuna is one of two CS 36 Sailboat operated by the Royal Canadian Navy’s Naval Fleet School Pacific. Her mission is to provide Sail Training Opportunities to summer students and students waiting for formal trades training. HMCSTV Tuna was commissioned in 1985 and served the East Coast since joining her sister ship Goldcrest on the West Coast in 2017. Tuna raced and trained extensivley taking part in races to Bermuda, St John’s and St Pierre as well as Chester Race Week and Marblehead. She is the second RCN ship to hold the name Tuna. The first Tuna was the sailing sloop Seeraubertaken which was transferred to the RCN as a war prize from the German Navy after the Second World War.

The HMCSTV Tuna.

Sail #: KC2372

Skipper: LCdr Christopher Maier

Province/State: British Columbia – Actually Canada

Yacht Club: Canadian Forces Sailing Association Esquimalt

Type: CS 36

Designer: Raymond Wall

Builder: Canadian Sailcraft

ORC GPH: Application in progress (680ish)

LOA: 11.130m

Beam: 3.510m

Draft: 1.930m

We have been preparing Image for our planned offshore events, and our experiences on Oxomoxo. Looking forward to the race.

The Image.

Sail #: USA 79175

Skipper: Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski

Province/Stat: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle/Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

Type: Catalina 38

Designer: Sparkman Stephens

Builder: Catalina Yachts

ORC GPH: 655.5

LOA: 11.610m

Beam: 3.610m

Draft: 2.070m

Iris is A brand new Jeanneau that will have a very experienced Time Bandit crew on board including Bob Brunius. John has been racing for over 30 years and is looking forward to his first Van Isle.

The Iris.

Sail #: 75

Skipper: John Sheppard

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Quartermaster Yacht Club

Type: Jeanneau 51

Designer: Philippe Briand

Builder: Jeanneau France

ORC GPH: Application in process (570.0ish)

LOA: 15.380m

Beam: 4.700m

Draft: 2.500m

JAM is returning after sailing in the 2015 Van Isle under stunning conditions, which of course will happen again in 2019! Over a period of 12 years, Bill sailed a Catalina 27 in out of Quadra Island, opposite Campbell River in Discovery Passage. This may be the boat to watch for local knowledge from Mittlenatch Island up to Hardwicke Island whre the fleet will be challenged with the vagaries of the currents in the Inside Pasage.

The JAM.

Sail #: 18

Skipper: Bill Fox

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Gig Harbor Yacht Club

Type: J/160

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: TPI

ORC GPH: 529.6

LOA: 16.002m

Beam: 4.426m

Draft: 2.778m

Lodos relocated from the East Coast to her new home in Seattle in July 2016. She has been racing extensively locally and 2019 will be her first Van Isle 360. Most of the crew have done at least 2 Van Isles before, and we know that the competing with the other boats will challenge our skills and competitive spirit while reinforcing our friendships. We look forward to the adventure and getting to meet a lot of other folks along the way.

The Lodos.

Sail #: 171

Skipper: Tolga Cezik

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: J/109

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: TPI

ORC GPH: Application in process (607.0ish)

LOA: 10.757m

Beam: 3.524m

Draft: 2.127m

MIST is one of 4 TP52’s in this years race, along with Glory, Smoke and Sonic. Steve has sailed in 7 Van Isles with White Cloud, and this will be his first with MIST. The balance of the crew have at least 2-5 Van Isles so experience is no issue. In 2017 Steve and his crew stood by 65_Red Roses II when she lost her rudder off Port Hardy. If ever there was a time for some positive Karma, perhaps it is this years race for MIST after coming back from a dismasting in the 2018 Swiftsure race.

The Mist.

Sail #: 52

Skipper: Steve Johnson

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: TP52

Designer: Bakewell/White

Builder: Stevenson

ORC GPH: 453.6

LOA: 15.846m

Beam: 4.288m

Draft: 3.219m

Team Mojo is keen to participate in the 20th anniversary Van Isle 360. This will be the second time around The Rock on Mojo after thoroughly enjoying the 2017 race. Mojo also won her division in 2017 narrowly beating out Zulu. Oh, and Zulu is back, and come to think of it so is Serendipity who placed third. Looks like Div 2 could be a bit competitive with some of the new contenders as well.

The Mojo.

Sail #: 237

Skipper: Mark Hansen

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Vancouver Rowing Club

Type: J/109

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: TPI

ORC GPH: Application in progress (608ish)

LOA: 10.757m

Beam: 3.524m

Draft: 2.127m

This will be the third Van Isle of Nirvana, and her skipper and crew are looking forward to competing with some of the best sailors in the Pacific North West.

The Nirvana.

Sail # CAN 47071

Skipper: Dmitriy Minenko

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Vancouver Rowing Club

Type: Beneteau 40.7

Designer: Farr

Builder: Beneteau

ORC GPH: 583.3

LOA: 10.757m

Beam: 3.524m

Draft: 2.127m

Returning from a first place finish in Division 3 in 2017 is Oxomoxo. Doug and his team also competed in the 2018 Vic Maui where he earned the distinction of “Turtle Man” for temporarily heaving to in order to save a sea turtle which had become entangled in plastic. Consensus is so long as Bob returns as tactician Oxomoxo will be competitive.

The Oxomoxo.

Sail #: 39118

Skipper: Doug Frazer

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: Swan 391

Designer: Ron Holland

Builder: Nautor

ORC GPH: 630.1

LOA: 11.975m

Beam: 3.826m

Draft: 2.244m

Last time a boat named RIVA sailed the Van Isle was 2013, along with two other boats named Diva and KIVA. Looks like the wait has been worth it with a brand new J/121 speedster. The crew of 5 has significant offshore experience.

The Riva.

Sail #: 11211

Skipper: Scott Campbell

Province/State: Oregon

Yacht Club: Portland Yacht Club

Type: J/121

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: CCF Composites

ORC GPH: Application in process (568ish estimate.)

LOA: 12.19m

Beam: 3.746m

Draft: 2.522m

Returning to defend her 2015 first place finish in Division 3 is Rubato, with some of the same crew from 2015 and the balance will be new crew from the Vancouver Area Racing Circuit (VARC) divisions 3 & 7.

The Rubato.

Sail #: 74408

Skipper: Steve Blaine

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Vancouver Rowing Club

Type: Hanse 400e

Designer: Judel/Vrolijik

Builder: Hanse

ORC GPH: 608.1

LOA: 11.990m

Beam: 4.042m

Draft: 2.022m

Serendipity is back after its first Van Isle in 2017, eager to improve its third place finish, in the ultimate test of sailing skills on the West Coast.

The Serendipity.

Sail #: CAN 258

Skipper: Tom Sitar

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: J/109

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: TPI

ORC GPH: 609.2

LOA: 10.757m

Beam: 3.524m

Draft: 2.127m

Van Isle 360 Meet the Boats & Crews

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial (odd year), 580 nm. point to point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, B.C. Sailed in a series of legs the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight legs through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet. Now in its 20th year the race will reach Port Hardy on Wednesday, June 5th. During the lead up to this event we will be posting information about the competitors.

Meet the next round of competitors:

When we first acquired Fortuna direct from the factory, the plan was to just cruise. Funny how a race develops whenever two boats meet up, and so we entered the realm of racing. Smith Island was our first race, where we learned a lot! Oregon Offshore was next to get a feel for offshore legs, and now we are focused on getting Fotuna ready for Van Isle by stream lining for a crew of six. We are looking forward to the adventure.

The Fortuna

Sail #: 62

Skipper: David De Lanoy

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

Type: C&C 115

Designer: Jackett

Builder: C&C

ORC GPH: Working on it – about 595ish

LOA: 11.5m

Beam: 3.654m

Draft: 2.052m

This will be the first Van Isle for Freja and her team. We are looking forward to the event to provide a test of our preparations for offshore events.

The Freja

Sail #: USA 2

Skipper: Jonathan Cruse

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

Type: Aerodyne 43

Designer: R. Martin

Builder: Aerodyne Marine

ORC GPH: In the works (estimated 549ish)

LOA: 13.027m

Beam: 4.304m

Draft: 2.454m

This will be the first Van Isle for the skipper and Crew of Galmegi. We know she knows the way around the Island having won her division in 2013, and wish Jeremy and his crew all the best.

The Galmegi.

Sail #: 69307

Skipper: Jeremy Hale

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Vancouver Rowing Club

Type: Ross 930

Designer: Ross

Builder: Hopwood Yachts

ORC GPH: 617.8

LOA: 9.290m

Beam: 2.810m

Draft: 2.078m

One of 4 TP52’s competing in the Van Isle 360, Glory will join MIST, Smoke and Sonic on the start line. John has been racing boats in the Pacific North West for over half a century.

The Glory.

Sail #: 88008

Skipper: John Buchan

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Seattle Yacht Club

Type: TP52

Designer: Judel/Vrolijk

Builder: Goetz

ORC GPH: 447.4

LOA: 15.850m

Beam: 4.440m

Draft: 3.191m

Goldcrest is one of two CS 36 Sailboats operated by the Royal Canadian Navy’s Naval Fleet School Pacific. Her mission is to provide Sail Training Opportunities to summer students and students waiting for formal trades training. Goldcrest was commissioned 3 May 1985 and has served the West Coast since. She has participated in many prominent races in the Pacific Northwest throughout the years
In 2018 she was joined by her sister ship Tuna which was recently transferred from the East.
She is the second RCN ship to hold the name Goldcrest. The first was the sailing sloop Dontaff which was transferred to the RCN as a war prize from the German Navy after the Second World War.

The Goldcrest.

Sail #: KC2355

Skipper: Kevin Greenwood

Province/State British Columbia – Actually Canada

Yacht Club: Canadian Forces Sailing Association, Esquimalt

Type: CS 36

Designer: Raymond Wall

Builder: Canadian Sailcraft

ORC GPH: Currently underway (estimated at 670ish)

LOA: 11.125m

Beam: 3.505m

Draft: 1.890m

Having purchased Gusto less than 2 years ago, we decided to forgo a Vancouver Island circumnavigation cruising adventure for the 2018 Pac Cup, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Now in 2019 we look forward to racing around Vancouver Island, perhaps making a few notes for a return cruise.

The Gusto.

Sail #: 44119

Skipper: Holm Albrecht/Beth Miller

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle

Type: Swan 441

Designer: Ron Holland

Builder: Nautor Swan

ORC GPH: Working on it (625ish estimated)

Length: 13.520m

Beam: 4.060m

Draft: 1.980m

The Countdown to Van Isle 360 is on!

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial (odd year), 580 nm. point to point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, B.C. Sailed in a series of legs the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight legs through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet. Now in its 20th year the race will reach Port Hardy on Wednesday, June 5th.

Meet the next round of competitors:

The core crew of Boomerang are also part owners in a J/24, it was a toss up which boat to bring since the crew is very comfortable bunking together and the accommodations below are similar. The team is very excited about circumnavigating the rock and look forward to the camaraderie and adventure.

The Boomerang.

Sail #: 9680

Skipper: Greg O’Byrne

Province/State: Washington

Yacht Club: Corinthian Yacht Club Seattle

Type: Cal 40

Designer:

Builder: Jensen

ORC GPH : In the works!

LOA:

Beam:

Draft:

This is a brand new all carbon fibre cruiser/racer catamaran, and so far, the only multihull entry. We competed in the 2003 and 2005 Van Isle’s with the original Cheekee Monkee.

The Cheekee Monkee.

Sail #: 1036

Skipper: Marc Owen-Flood

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Type: Dufour 335

Designer: Umberto Felci

Builder: Dufour Yachts

ORC GPH: In the works! (around 656)

LOA: 10.045m

Beam: 3.54m

Draft: 1.920m

Discernment

The Discernment.

Sail #: 1036

Skipper: Marc Owen-Flood

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Type: Dufour 335

Designer: Umberto Felci

Builder: Dufour Yachts

ORC GPH: In the works! (around 656)

LOA: 10.045m

Beam: 3.54m

Draft: 1.920m

Having competed in the 2016 Vic-Maui, Expresso is looking to compete with a “mature crew” all over 60, perhaps with the exception of a bow person yet to be recruited. Awesome to see a boat from the Nanaimo Yacht Club competing again.

The Expresso.

Sail #: 18373

Skipper: George Bishop

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Nanaimo Yacht Club

Type: Express 37

Designer: Carl Schumacher

Builder: Alsberg Brothers Boat works

ORC GPH: 617.8

LOA: 11.305m

Beam: 3.530m

Draft: 2.244m

This will be the first Van Isle 360 for Flow, though many of the crew raced together on Syrena in the 2017 Van Isle. Despite the vomiting and leaking holding tank, we had so much fun (must be Canadian eh?) we had to come back. The goal, as before, is to have a good time and enjoy some friendly competition whilst circumnavigating Vancouver Island.

The Flow.

Sail #: 707

Skipper: Stuart Horak

Province: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Bowen Island Yacht Club

Type: Dehler SQ

Designer: Judel/Vrolijk

Builder: Dehler

ORC GPH: Working on it (Around 637ish)

LOA: 10.972m

Beam: 3.522m

Draft: 1.984m

Van Isle 360 is Coming!

The Van Isle 360 is a biennial (odd year), 580 nm. point to point race circumnavigating wild and rugged Vancouver Island, B.C. Sailed in a series of legs the course provides inshore, offshore and overnight legs through some of the most stunning and challenging waters on the planet. Now in its 20th year the race will reach Port Hardy on Wednesday, June 5th.

Over the next month we will be introducing you to the the competitors in the 2019 Van Isle 360.

First up we have

65_Red Roses coming back after losing her rudder of Port Hardy in the 2017 race. Skipper and Crew were well prepared for the mishap receiving positive comments from the Canadian Coast Guard Lifeboat Cape Sutil for their seamanship. The team is pumped and looking forward to the 2019 race.

Sail #: CAN 38

Skipper: Bruce Chan/Alex Smyth

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: West Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: J/111

Designer: Johnstone

Builder: J-Boats

ORC GPH: 572.9

LOA: 11.085 Meters

Beam: 3.266 Meters

Draft: 2.221 Meters

 

Next on our list is The Alegria X , she returns to the Van Isle after finishing second in her division in 2015.

 

Sail #: CAN 4501

Skipper: Eberhard Heinzemann

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Type: Dufour 45e

Designer: Umberto Felci

Builder: Dufour

ORC GPH: 581.4

LOA: 13.6m

Beam: 4.3m

Draft: 2.318m

The Back Bay is returning for her second go round is a passionate rabble of sailors from Alaska, Anacortes, Vancouver, Albuquerque and Oakland who have sailed and raced together over the last 5 years on this classic Cal 39. The goal is to keep improving on every race!

Sail #: 8939

Skipper: Peter Schoenburg

Province/State: New Mexico

Yacht Club: Berkeley Yacht Club

Type: Cal 39

Designer: Lapworth

Builder: Jensen Marine

ORC GPH: 633.5

LOA: 11.841m

Beam: 3.847m

Draft: 2.168m

Blue was built in the Pacific North West in 2013, where she raced for a few months before heading to the Great Lakes for 5 racing seasons. Blue returned to the PNW to prepare for the 2018 Pac Cup. After successful Southern Straits, Swiftsure, Round the County and Pac Cup, we look forward to the 2019 Van Isle 360.
Sail #: USA 1717

Skipper: Michael Schoendorf

Province/State: Wisconsin

Yacht Club: South Shore Yacht Club

Type: Riptide 41

Designer: Paul Beiker

Builder: Betts Enterprises

ORC GPH: 485.9

LOA: 12.539m

Beam:4.008m

Draft: 2.913m

The Blue Joy sailed from Portugal to Cost Rica and spent some time enjoying the warm waters. She is enroute to Vancouver via container ship for her first circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Sail # GBR8416R

Skipper: Trevor Treharne

Province/State: British Columbia

Yacht Club: Vancouver Rowing Club

Type: J/120

Designer: Bob Johnstone

Builder: J Composites

ORC GPH: 594ish – in progress

LOA – 12.244 m

Beam: 3.670 m

Draft: 2.169 m

 

Outdoor Adventure Tourism in Port Hardy

tex lyon trail

Descend into cold depths of the emerald sea, explore in and around tall trees, and expect the unexpected from Port Hardy. Whether you enjoy diving in world renowned cold waters, catching salmon of a lifetime, or hiking amongst various terrains –– Port Hardy has many outdoor adventure tourism experiences readily available.

Hikes and Walks

Follow the footsteps of the Kwagu’ł ancestors on the Commuter Trail (also known as Fort Rupert Trail), which takes you through first and second growth forests. Take a leisurely stroll through the Quatse River Nature Trail, along the Hardy Bay Seawall, or Storey’s Beach. If you’re feeling ambitious, then challenging the Tex Lyon Trail would be a great option. Learn more about these hikes and trails on our previous blog post.

Diving

The Queen Charlotte Straits is known as the best cold water diving in the world. This was proclaimed by underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, who said, “the best temperate water diving in the world and second only to the Red Sea”, while talking about Vancouver Island, including Port Hardy. The only way to understand Cousteau’s bold claim is to experience it for yourself with a diving charter or lodge. For it is a whole different world, under the dark blue ink of the Pacific Ocean, and into what is known as the Emerald Sea.

Fishing

Port Hardy was recently titled as the best place to fish in Canada by Expedia. This is rightfully so because there’s a lot of fishing opportunities, fresh water and tidal, within the nearby Port Hardy waters. From salmon, halibut, and other bottom fish, such as red snapper and lingcod in the open water. Also, various trout within nearby rivers and lakes surrounding town. Our local sport fishing charters know all the gems

Learn more about water adventures on this page.

Port Hardy Walks and Trails

Port Hardy has a few lovely walks and trails to offer, within town, for those of all experiences! From leisurely paced walks of Hardy Bay Seawall or the Quatse River Nature Trail; easy hikes like the Commuter Trail; challenging all day hike of the Tex Lyon Trail. There’s an adventure awaiting for everyone!

Hardy Bay Seawall
Difficulty: Easy
Length: less than 0.25km

This leisurely, yet scenic waterfront walk starts in the heart of downtown Port Hardy. Not only does it provide scenic views, but various park options such as Rotary Park, Carrot Park, and Tsulquate Park. Along the route are interpretive signs of local wildlife, the Japanese Garden for our sister city Numata, the cenotaph in honour of those who served our country, and entrances to the rocky beach. This seawall walk has perfect photo opportunities, such as the giant ‘Welcome to Port Hardy’ sign, giant wooden carrot, and various bird life.

Quatse River Nature Trail & Estuary Trail Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.5km Loop

Another leisurely stroll in Port Hardy is the Quatse River Loop. This nature trail is easy terrain with a mixture of gravel and boardwalk surfaces. You can extend this walk by going under the bridge and continuing with the Estuary Trail. During the spring and summer months this area is a haven for various birds, such as ducks, geese, ravens, great blue heron, eagles, etc. When the salmon run occurs, the estuary and river area becomes abundant with wildlife.

Commuter Trail (also known as Fort Rupert Trail)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 3.7 km

The Commuter Trail, also known as The Fort Rupert Trail, is a historic walk through Kwagu’ł territory. This route was used to commute between villages at Tayaguł and Bear Cove. Nowadays it is a beautiful hike through first and second growth forests; keep an eye out for culturally modified trees. The Commuter Trail has two trailheads, located off Beaver Harbour Road and Bear Cove Highway –– both have local First Nations artwork at each entrance. The trail includes boardwalk and a gravel type surfaces, and some uphill terrain.

Tex Lyon Trail
Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 12km

The Tex Lyon Trail is most difficult trail within Port Hardy. So, if you’re looking for a challenge and have the time –– this trail is for you! The trailhead starts at the north end of Storey’s Beach and goes out to Dillion Point. While a round trip can be done in eight hours, it is recommend to allow 12 hours for a return trip, and to watch the tides. Along with this timeframe, it is recommended to be well prepared with proper attire, food, water, first aid kit, and knowledge of tide charts. Although, the Tex Lyon Trail can be challenging, it does have rewarding views of Beaver Harbour and the Queen Charlotte Straits.

We have more resources, on these trails, available at the Port Hardy Visitor Information Centre. Lastly, it is not uncommon to encounter wildlife on these trails. While adventuring make sure to have your presence known – either talking with your hiking buddy, humming a song, or take a bear bell with you.

Here are some online resources on how to be bear aware and safe. Also, about Leave No Trail practices.

Bear Smart – British Columbia

Staying Safe in Bear Country

Black Bears – Wild Safe BC

Leave No Trace

 

Article written and photographed by Sarah Étoile. First Nations Storyteller and Steward based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

First Nations History and Culture

Gilakas’la,

The community of Port Hardy is situated within traditional Kwagu’ł First Nation territory. It is also recent home to the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation. In 1964 this amalgamated tribe was forced to relocate from their traditional territories by the federal government, for ‘administrative’ reasons. The tribes were told that it would cost less for education, easier for medical help, and the government would help with housing, but it turned out to be a hidden agenda designed to assimilate the two tribes into Canadian society. Several years of threats and promises later, the Gwa’sala and ‘Nakwaxda’xw reluctantly gave in to the relocation, but the government didn’t keep their promise for adequate housing. There were five homes for over 200 people on Tsulquate Reservation. The Gwa’sala traditional territory is Smith Inlet and surrounding islands. ‘Nakwaxda’xw traditional territory is Seymour Inlet, the Deserter’s Group, Blunden Harbour, and surrounding islands.

Every corner of the Port Hardy region is enriched with culture and history. Starting with the two totem poles in Carrot Park, both carved and replicated by Calvin Hunt, a Kwagu’ł artist who is based in Tsax̱is. From here and along the seawall are interpretive signs with Kwak’wala words for various wildlife, such as salmon, bear, wolf, and orca. At the end of this walk is Tsulquate Park. From here you can see across the Queen Charlotte Strait; the ocean highway and lands of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw.

After the end of the seawall walk, you can backtrack and head into the museum, which has exhibits on local First Nations history and art. Including 8,000-year-old artifacts found at Bear Cove, near the present day ferry terminal. This is the oldest archaeological find of human habitation on Vancouver Island (circa 5850 Before Common Era.) Along with the museum exhibits, there are books regarding the history, arts, and local plant life of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw and surrounding nations.

A ten minute drive from downtown Port Hardy, in the neighbouring community of Fort Rupert, is the village of Tsax̱is. This is the current home of the Kwagu’ł First Nation. Here lies elaborated totem poles and the big house; a venue where First Nations ceremonies take place, such as the potlatch. The potlatch is a First Nations constitution that determines our politics, our government, our education, our medicine, our territory, and our jurisdiction. Potlatch is a complex event with several ceremonies, which are still practiced in buildings like the Tsax̱is big house.

On the front porch of the village of Tsax̱is is Tayaguł (Storey’s Beach). Along this waterfront were several villages, which are depicted on map (pictured below) by Mervyn Child, a Kwagu’ł artist. Across the way and middle of K’ak’a (Beaver Harbour) are Atłanudzi (Cattle Island), Ḵ’ut’sa̱dze (Peel Island), Ḵ’a̱msa̱x̱tłe (Shell Island), and Uxwiwe’ (Deer Island). Once the words are broken down and translated; the names of these islands are unique to their environment, as they’re part of a story which belong to the Kwagu’ł.

Despite the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw being the most studied ethnic group in the world, those research papers use past tense descriptive words. The Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people, culture, and traditions are very much alive. Very little has changed since Captain George Vancouver ran aground on Map’eg̱a̱m (Deserters Island.) Perhaps a few place names have changed & villages (now called reservations) relocated, but the stewardship, culture, and people are still thriving.

“The ‘Kwakiutl’ are one of the most described and, hence, most widely known ethnic groups in the world. Yet, increasingly, people write about us and, apparently, think about us in the past tense. We are told that the Kwakiutl ritual art, technology, and religion were colourful and complex. It is as if our culture were gone. But we Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw are very much alive, and we abide in our traditional lands. Our culture retains many aspects of the ‘old ways.’ Because research should lead into understanding as well as to knowledge, we feel it is important, at the outset, to provide readers with our own perspective on our lands.” – Gloria Cranmer Webster.

About the author and photographer:
Gilakas’la. Nugwa’am Sarah. Gayutłan lax Dzawada’enuxw glu ‘Nakwaxda’xw. I’m a First Nations Storyteller and Steward, based on Vancouver Island. I take pride in being both Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw and Nuučaan̓uł. Website.