Paddlers' Inn - mid September 2018

posted Sep 23, 2018, 7:43 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Sep 23, 2018, 8:20 PM ]

In late summer of 2018, we rented five nights of lodging at Paddlers’ Inn, within the Broughton Archipelago, more or less NE of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. The Inn is owned and operated by Bruce and Josée McMorran. The Inn lies in a small, rather narrow bay open to the west and just north of Echo Bay on Gilford Island. The area lies in unceded land, belonging to the First Nations. The Inn consists of

  • the floathouse lodge with dining area, full kitchen, and bathroom – accommodates 10 people

  • the floathouse cabin with kitchenette, bathroom, and sauna - accommodates 2 people

  • the cliffside cabin (also floating), with kitchen, and bathroom - accommodates 2 people

  • the Blue Room (also floating) with adjacent bathroom and sauna - accommodates 2 people

  • the shoreline cabin (on land) with kitchen and bathroom - accommodates 6 people

Our group of 10 occupied everything except the floathouse lodge. Fortunately, the latter was unoccupied so we were able to use it for communal dinners and occasional breakfasts by splinter groups.

Our Cabin

Floathouse Lodge on Left

Our plan would allow us 4 days of lodge-based kayak trips. We were to park our automobiles at Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island and travel to the Inn via the water taxi, owned by Bruce. A few days prior to our arrival, Bruce informed us that the water taxi transmission had died, but that he had arranged for an alternative water taxi, operated by his friend Larry. This was fortuitous for us (not for Bruce) because the water taxi got us to the Inn about 1 PM, allowing an unexpected early day of paddling.

Paddling weather gets chancier as fall approaches, more rainy and potentially blustery. The weather could have shut us down for several days, but somehow we were granted 5 days of very calm water. One day had maybe an hour of light rain, another a half hour. We were definitely on the far side of lucky.

Diane in Calm Water

Dick in Calm Water                                                    

On the water taxi ride to the Inn we saw whales (even up close), basking sea lions, and dolphins. As far as wildlife on our day trips we saw various creatures including

  • seals and sea lions

  • sea stars

  • numerous kingfishers

  • oyster catchers

  • herons (one resident near the Inn)

  • harlequins

  • surf scoters

  • porpoises

and heard one loon.

The 4th day included a stop at Billy Proctor’s Museum. Billy, at 84, was present and ready to talk. He also had his shop open with a few items for sale, including 3 of his books written with coauthors. These books are well worth reading to get a sense of local history, more or less starting with the onset of the Europeans. But it is a sad history which exposes the grim exploitation by corporations with the full cooperation of the Canadian government. Until then, life albeit rough had a more sustainable flavor. But corporations eventually brought in careless large scale logging, disease ridden and stinky fish farms, and the like.

On our day trips (except for the first) we would find a lunch spot, several on middens, deep with shell fragments. Perhaps the prettiest was in the Burdwood Group:

Burdwood Midden
Eli at Burdwood Midden

We averaged about 8.7 nmi per day with 12 nmi being our longest effort. So it was a very mellow pace, providing opportunities to see what was there. We had no capsize events or any other crafty excitement.

Each evening we gathered for dinner as prepared by whichever pair was assigned to that night’s meal.

  • Steve and Trish – meal #1

  • Dick & Eli – meal #2

  • Diane & Pam – meal #3

  • Carole & John P – meal #4

  • Audrey & John O – meal #5 from leftovers, they also organized hors d’oeuvres.

Steve served G&Ts each night as far as I recall. Wine was readily available from various boxes, carefully chosen to frighten any wine connoisseur. Trish and Audrey occasionally graced our ears with tunes from fiddle and mandolin.

The kayak day trips were splendid. The Inn itself was perfect for us, rustic as expected but exceptionally clean and with all hoped for necessities. Two members even arranged for massages from Bruce, who is well trained and skilled. This was not camping! Not all our participants knew each other at the start, but as the trip evolved we discovered that we had a convivial lot. By trip’s end, Bruce’s water taxi was up and eager. Heading back to Vancouver Island, we again saw many Humpbacks, particularly as we neared Telegraph Cove