Open water distances are frequented by summer boaters during the months of June through September. The Northern Broughton makes up the largest portion of BC’s largest marine park established in 1992. Distance of this crossing is usually 15-17 nautical miles. Given the weather cooperates we prefer to transit an area where the Humpback Whale population localizes in the open waters of QCS. Remember we stop for whales. The bulk of the islands and islets are made up of basalt rock shorelines with small calm shelled or rugged rocky beaches. We drop paddlers off at a number of different locations with an eye out for rising tides. Our drop-off destinations are used for ease of access and protection for the boat.
Beach surfaces in the Northern Portion of the Broughton are not user friendly so arriving at raising tides is an advantage. Quite often beaches are facing the sun. Some beach destinations are heavily used by kayakers, locals and sailors therefore leaving the campsite as found is important.
The Burdwood Islands, the Fox Group and the Bonwick Group of islands are popular destinations with mariners and paddlers. Select island locations have been utilized by First Nations for generations and visiting their sites is best done with a call to their band office in Alert Bay before hand. Camping spot are at a premiere most of the summer. First Nations have asked that we avoid the use of Insect Island effective in the summer of 2016.
Echo Bay is the hub of the area with Bill Proctors Museum being a must visit. Camping is available on the grass area above the tide line. Smaller bays and shorelines are populated with year round inhabitants in the region. Wildlife is in evidence amongst these passages in small numbers and prefers to stay out of sight until sunshine shows up. Boaters and kayakers use the same waterways thus a CAUTION is always advised for those of us in sea kayaks.
Wildlife is seen in few numbers along the passages into the Northern Broughton but between the islands of the Benjamin Group and Echo Bay we usually find a resident summer Humpback or two. Venturing out into the waters of Queen Charlotte Sound on a calm morning brings us within the breathing sounds of an increasing number of Humpbacks, Whiteside Dolphins and even Transient Orca.
The extension of the Northern Broughton holds many surprizes for those adventurer who dare to plod beyond Broughton. Fife Sound and the inlets that stretch to the North and East offer many passages, coves and lagoons left to be explored. Often in August when everywhere else on this coastline is fogged in, the areas up the inlet remain in bright sunlight for the entire day(s). Transport into these areas is possible with a early seasons notice given in March – April.