There are few places in the world that can match the natural beauty of Vancouver Island’s remote west coast wilderness. And nowhere exemplifies this region like Barkley Sound’s Broken Group Islands, the jewel of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Join us aboard the schooner Passing Cloud for a sailing expedition into a sprawling archipelago of ancient rainforests and storm-carved coastlines, a magical place where bears forage on beaches while just offshore, grey whales sift the shallows and killer whales hunt for fish and seals.
Through shore excursions, inflatable boat tours, sailing, and kayaking, you’ll have a chance to explore the unique geography of this region – islands, beaches, old-growth forests, rocky intertidal zones, kelp forest communities, estuaries, and fjords.
We’ll also explore and learn about the ancient cultural history of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, who have called this region home for thousands of years. We’ll visit ancient village sites and tour shell middens, stone fish traps, and strategic defensive sites. We’ll also delve into the “post-contact” era – from fur traders to homesteaders, and from whaling stations to marine research stations.
We hope you’ll join us as we sail into one of our favourite regions of Canada’s outer Pacific Coast!
“Sometimes in life, we are lucky enough to have perfect experiences. I will hold this perfect week in my heart and soul for all of my days to come. Thanks to the crew of Passing Cloud for an exciting, delicious, and seamless journey. I hope we meet again.”
– Jennifer, Los Angeles, USA
1-Day Expedition: Ucluelet/Barkley Sound
Our expedition to Pacific Rim National Park begins with an introduction to the underwater marine life at the award-winning Ucluelet Aquarium, where we’ll learn about the amazing marine life that inhabits the waters of Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds. We’ll meet with the curator to find out more about the Aquarium’s work in progress. Afterwards, we’ll board the schooner Passing Cloud in time for lunch, settle into our accommodations, and set sail for Barkley Sound. As we sail through Macoah Passage, we’ll be on the look out for spawning herring and the grey whales, seabirds, and sea lions that congregate here to feast on this ecological bonanza. Tonight we’ll anchor in a small group of islands just outside the National Park, where we have a good chance of spotting coastal black bears. We’ll also set our prawn and crab traps for a taste of fresh local seafood.
DAYS 1–3: Broken Group Islands
This morning we’ll drift our Zodiac into a small nearby estuary and salmon stream. We’ll explore coastal forests and watch for the black bears that come here in the spring to feed on grasses, shellfish, and herring roe. This is also a great time of year to see migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Back aboard the ship, we’ll enjoy lunch as we travel into the Broken Group Islands Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. We’ll take the opportunity to sea kayak, Zodiac tour, and shore walk, exploring the old growth forest and white-sand beaches found here. We’ll visit and discuss the deep shell middens, stone fish traps, and ancient clam gardens we encounter, built by the Tseshaht First Nation over the thousands of years they’ve inhabited this region.
DAYS 4–5: Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre/Deer Group Islands
An early morning beach walk kicks off Day 4 as we take advantage of low tide to explore a world of diverse creatures, such as giant green anemones, lemon nudibranchs, bat stars, giant gumboot chitons, frilled dog whelks, peanut worms, purple encrusting sponges, and iridescent seaweeds. We’ll then heave anchor and sail across Imperial Eagle Channel to the historic fishing community of Bamfield. Here we’ll stroll the boardwalk and visit the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre before anchoring for the night in the Deer Group Islands. We are now in the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. In the past, the Huu-ay-aht drew all they required from the wilderness and wildlife of this exceptionally productive environment.
DAY 6: Disembark at Ucluelet
Looking to squeeze every last drop out of this expedition, we’ll take a final morning shore walk or Zodiac excursion before sailing back to Ucluelet, all the while keeping our eyes peeled for sea otters, whales, and seabirds as we return to port to say our reluctant farewells before disembarkation.
Expedition Dates and Availability
RETURNING in 2019
Waitlist being taken
NOTES ON PRICING
Our prices are based on double occupancy, quoted in Canadian dollars, and subject to 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). All payments must be made in Canadian dollars, by cheque or credit card. All prices are subject to change without notice.
Check out what our guests have to say about this expedition!
“Thank you for the most wonderful 5 days. I’m still chilled from being on deck watching a humpback breathe, but so warmed through and through by your hospitality, knowledge, sense of fun and enthusiasm for this beautiful Barkley Sound. We started with a grey whale, visited a black bear, travelled along with beautiful Harlequin ducks, murres, and loons. We stood on rocky windswept islands hearing stories from times past, visited fish traps and more middens than I thought possible. Our every need was anticipated, the food was incredible, and the smiles were infectious.”
— Nadine, ON, CANADA
“Sometimes in life, we are lucky enough to have perfect experiences. I will hold this perfect week in my heart and soul for all of my days to come. Thanks to the crew of the Passing Cloud for an exciting, delicious and seamless journey. I hope we meet again.”
— Jennifer, LA, USA
“We continue to be in awe of all the experiences you devise for these trips, from the big seascapes with rainbows, whales, and native villages, and ancient fish weirs, to life in small coastal communities. We loved it all, the camaraderie, superb food, and sailing at 8.9 knots!”
— Sharon and Hans, BC, CANADA
“Thank you for being such gracious and generous hosts, for sharing your passion and wealth of knowledge. What a rich experience it was to be immersed in BC’s coastal beauty for 5 days. Awesome!”
— Ursula, BC, CANADA
“Thank you all for an awesome outing aboard the Passing Cloud. Everything was amazing — the food, the company, the things I learned about sailing & sea life…the Passing Cloud took me to places that I would most likely never get to on my own. She is a beautiful schooner “Just like the pictures!”
— Maureen, BC, CANADA
“Thanks for a trip of a lifetime, Passing Cloud is one of the finest ships we’ve been aboard. Gourmet four and five course meals, the beauty of the islands, Denis: history of the area made everything so special. Russ’s knowledge of the sea and the hail in zodiac — nice black bear and beautiful weather. Looking forward to another trip on the sea.”
— Christy and John, CA, USA
“Thanks to the friendly, knowledgeable, fun-loving crew for sharing their love of the sea and sailing, and in Matteo’s case fine cuisine, with us and making us feel truly at home on the sea. And thanks to Denis for his passionate descriptions of the populations that peopled these islands so many years ago. His stories and enthusiasm made hillocks of broken shell and composted earth come alive. Thanks especially to Captain Matt for leading this crew and ensuring that the sails (including the brand-new genoa) were up every day and we were able to enjoy the serenity and peace of truly “smooth sailing”. A trip that will live forever in my mind. Thank you!”
— Anne, ON, CANADA
While you are in Pacific Rim National Park
Since you’re travelling so far to get to Pacific Rim National Park, we definitely encourage you to spend a little extra time exploring this remarkable part of the world before or after your days with us. Here are some resources and ideas for you:
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