This was a chance to get out surfing in Vancouver Island with two of my best friends, Steve and Dave and my brother. At first we had planned to climb Mt Colonel Foster, in the heart of the Strathcona but weather looked bleak so we changed our plans and decided to take a long weekend surfing in Raft Cove Provincial Park. I’d been up to the North Island before on a past trip but its difficult to remember that from Nanaimo to the Island’s tip is almost 450km! Dave and Steve pick myself and Chai up at Nanaimo at 7pm and then we’re off. The trip starts inauspiciously as heavy rain hits us as we’re rigging the tents to have a snooze at Nimpkish Lake. I then find that I’ve brought the wrong poles for the Bibler so it rigs like a tarp. Chai ends up sleeping in the van on top of Steve’s nice new light beautiful Jimmy Lewis slalom windsurf board. Here’s a map which shows Nimpkish’s location as well as Raft Cove.
The hike itself to Raft Cove is slippery and tricky. Cork Boots for slippery trees and gaiters for deep mud-holes are recommended. So are board bags for surf boards as well balancing skills. The hike itself is just 45 minutes or so. However, we are blessed with gorgeous weather for our hike; this stays with us on our entire trip. Not being car – accessible, the beach is relatively deserted. Right away, Dave and Steve grab the boards and head for the waves in the river mouth. Swells are coming in from a low off the Oregon coast and are about 3 feet which makes for decent longboarding. Since we only brought 2 boards we have to share.
Steve and Dave arguing about who has the most style. It turns out that the water is so warm hoodies aren’t needed. The beach is beautifully sandy and the sun quickly warms up everything.
Some campers have played modernist with seaweed and a massive trunk cast-away on the shore.
Our campsite sheltered from sea-breeze.
Sausage-fest with the boys. Later we pull out the Luckys!
The beach is still NOT teeming with masses of surfers. What a treat it is to not have to fight for your turn on a wave.
Obligatory gorgeous sunset picture looking north.
The next day its even sunnier and warmer. Chai and I grab the morning session. Here is Chai playing closer to the beach.
Dave grabs the next session but the waves get lighter as the day wears on so we go for a hike.
You can hike for about 2 km north of the Raft Cove trailhead in lowtide – there’s some neat stuff to see including a natural arch, tidal pools and of course this giant woodie.
We then return to catch an afternoon session of surf, have more food, consume more Lucky’s and watch Chai build a Mayan pyramid.
The next day it’s high overcast clouds and its time for us to pack it in anyhow. We stop at Nimpkish Lake and slog around for a bit thinking the wind might pick up for some sailing but nothing’s going.
Chai and I miss the last ferry back to Vancouver. What’s an island trip without a missed ferry? We get back the next day totally cooked but really happy.