Kyuquot, Canada

A couple of weeks ago, a group of friends and I took a little trip up to a tiny fishing village in Canada called Kyuquot. The trip required a bit of travel with a flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle, then onto Campbell River, Canada where we stayed for the night then drove four hours to meet the boats that would take us to the village in Kyuquot Sound (there are no roads to the village).

The whole trip was absolutely beautiful with lots of opportunities for photography, so this particular entry is jam-packed with photographs for my friends on the trip.

I thought that this aircraft was on display at the NASM in Washington, D.C., so this could either be a reproduction or on loan from the National Museum. Regardless of the provenance of this particular aircraft, it represents the first aircraft to fly around the world, non-stop and un-refueled.

We missed the shuttle to the executive terminal at Boeing field, but got there in plenty of time to wait for our flight on Kenmore Air, a wonderful company that has been in the business of providing transportation throughout the Pacific Northwest since 1946. While waiting, the laptops came out and we got in the last bits of Internet connectivity we could before setting off for the remote Pacific Northwest. Little did I know that thanks to a school in Kyuquot, we’d get another chance to connect to the outside world at the fishing lodge.

The trip North to Campbell River out of Seattle in a Cessna Grand Caravan was as smooth as can be. The Cessna carried all of us and our gear in comfort and stability, reinforcing my admiration of the aircraft. One is not surprised that Federal Express (who worked with Cessna to develop the aircraft) among many other civil and military operators have used this aircraft to great success to transport people and cargo around the world with tremendous economy and safety.

Spending the night in Campbell River allowed me to get up early at low tide to go down and poke around the tidal flats for starfish, crabs and more. Salmon jumped and fed on the rising insects while sea otters played in the kelp beds and the crabs were so numerous in some areas that the hair on your head stands on end as you step over a rock only to see the whole ground beneath you suddenly shift with a scuttling noise.

The put-in where we parked and met the boats was about a four hour drive up the road from Campbell River over dirt roads. We dodged logging trucks careening down dirt roads while marveling at the unbelievably beautiful scenery with bears, eagles and many species of trees that Bill helped point out. Bill owns a company called The Botanical Gardens, Inc. that specializes in custom landscaping of just about anything you might want, so having him as our resident horticulturist was a treat.

What was the deal with the Santa? Who knows, but I had to take its picture when I saw it posted, overlooking the dock where we transferred to our boats.

We all jumped on the boats from Murphy’s Sport Fishing for the trip up the coast to the village of Kyuquot and reveled in the beautiful weather with a slight, but warm breeze and calm seas. Murphy’s Sport Fishing is an outfitter in Kyuquot, a village of approximately 275 people in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. All of the animals associated with the Pacific Northwest can be seen in and around the village with bear, an amazing diversity of fish species, eagles, sea otters, sea lions and more. In fact, there were so many birds, I truly wish I had brought more appropriate lenses for wildlife photography. Needless to say, the next trip will involve hauling some heavier glass…

As soon as we got in, it was a rush to drop all our gear off and race back to the boats to get an evenings fishing in. Our guide, Bill ran us out to just offshore and we fished in the most beautiful evening on the ocean I’ve ever seen. I caught my first wild ocean salmon that evening, but would have been perfectly happy to simply sit and enjoy the evening. The light was amazing and it is days like that where the prospect of sitting in a kayak out on the sea just being a part of it that resonates deep in your psyche.

The next day became considerably more rough out on the ocean with 8-10 foot seas and 9-30 knot winds which are not so bad until you figure that we were in 23-foot boats. Of course trawling speed is not much of a problem, its the sprint back into port that beats you up. Nevertheless, our guide Ed showed us a good time and we loaded up on the fish. I might add that having a nice lodge to come back to for a hot shower and a most tasty meal in the company of friends is precisely how a fishing trip should be. I’ve done my share of post-fishing, shivering in a cold tent after getting rained on all day and there is a place for that kind of trip, but this little bit of luxury really does make a difference.

The next day was rougher still with 9-15 foot waves and winds gusting to 35 knots, but it was a riotously good time. I limited out on my salmon catch this day and Paul O. caught a 115lb halibut and worked tremendously hard to bring it up. That fish alone should provide a couple months of fish for him and while the seas were rough, just about everyone did well with respect to fishing.

The evening back in the village of Kyuquot turned out to be a lovely evening, slightly cool, but pleasant and after a steak dinner, we retired to a well earned nights sleep and I dreamt of boating across the harbor to Java The Hutt, a local place on the water with an espresso machine.

Interestingly, I also got my Canon 1D Mk III thoroughly doused in gallons of water as waves poured over the bow and down into the cabin during the run into port late in the day. The camera paid for itself with that as it appeared none the worse as the weather sealing kept out all the moisture, much to my amazement. I was initially horrified as my previous Canon 20D had some problems with moisture before on the nighttime streets of Nagoya, Japan, but the Canon 1D Mk III did not even blink.

The final day of the trip, the weather cleared again and Junior took us out to finish out our catch. As I had limited out on salmon the previous day, I sat back to take photos while Randy and Johnathan fished. Honestly, this was a wonderful experience as Junior took us over to see eagles, sea lions, humpback whales and more. Another boat with Jeff and Christian in it even had a huge orca whale swim underneath the boat which must have been a thrilling experience.

It turned out to be a wonderful trip with new friends and fond memories. Thanks to all my friends who shared this trip and I hope that these images are a reminder of good times.

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