Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#39 Hot Springs Cove and Bottleneck Cove

On Wednesday, we left Bligh Island at 5:30AM to get a jump on good conditions for rounding Estevan Point. The Point protrudes out into the ocean a bit, not as much as Brooks Peninsula, but we know that early morning boating means less ocean swell and wind waves. On the way out pulled our prawn trap which had been soaking overnight, and to our surprise, the trap contained GIANT prawns. The count was less than the legal limit of 200 per day per license, but then again the commercial prawners have already been through the area and scooped up most of the catch. We will have surf and turf tonight!

Today's first destination is Hot Springs Cove for a good sulfur soak, one of the more popular stops along the west coast. Then its to nearby Bottleneck Cove for the night.

Today's route around Estevan Point to Hot Springs Bay.

The Estevan rounding was a bit rocky. The wind was down but lumpy seas remained from the previous afternoon's blow. When the ocean gets bumpy, Wild Blue's autopilot can't seem to deal with it, so hand steering is required. Dick and Alex shared the helm for the 4 hour cruise. By 10AM we were moored at Hot Springs Cove dock, donned in swimsuits and towels ready for our bath.

Moored at the Hot Springs dock, wary of river otters.

We've seen river otters make a mess of the docks and decks. That's why we always close the cockpit doors when we leave the boat and at night. Like other territorial creatures, they seem to want to leave their scent. These guys are great at leaving a pile, and kind of mushing it around, making a bigger mess. Oh sorry! This photo just happens to be a nice dog out for a swim.

Once ashore, we paid a small fee and began the 2km boardwalk to the Hot Springs. The boardwalk has been around for years and is well-maintained. There is a tradition of carving one's boat name into a board on the walk. The carvings range from rudimentary to elegant. There are hundreds of them, but thousands of boards to fill. We enjoyed walking and reading the boat names, but didn't have the tools or the talent to leave Wild Blue's mark among them.

It's a long boardwalk! Maybe that was 2 miles instead of 2 kilometers?

"Windward", "Harmony", and "Tub Toy" left there marks on the boardwalk.

We arrived at the hot springs pretty worked out and quite ready for a soak. We were early and for awhile had the springs to ourselves. That ended in about 30 minutes as a tour boat dropped off dozens of tourists looking for a soak.

Now we've been to other hot springs: Bishop Bay in northern BC, White Sulfur Springs in SE Alaska, Hotspring Island in the Queen Charlottes, and Warm Springs Bay on Baronof Island, Alaska. You could say we are a connoisseur of Pacific Northwest hot springs. But this Hot Springs Cove is way overrated. None of the other springs have the elaborate dock, pier with rental cabins, and extensive boardwalk approach. A big budget was expended to create the access and, probably because of its location nearer population centers, Hot Springs Cove is by far the most utilized of the other hot springs. However, the other springs have improved the spring themselves making them far more user friendly than Hot Springs Cove. Here you have to walk over sharp rocks, wedge your body into small, uncomfortable spaces, and share tiny pools with the crowd. It would be easy to construct human friendly pools or tubs making this hot springs way more enjoyable.

OK, wait your turn folks. It's OK if you want to sit on my lap!

After our brief soak, we walked 2 miles back to the boat and cruised over to Bottleneck Cove. This Cove was calm waters without a sole in sight. There were hardly any birds, let alone eagles, in this cove. A great place for solitude.

Entering Bottleneck Cove.

We're in need of civilization again and plan to head directly to Tofino tomorrow. See you then.

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