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Hotham Sound

In the main body of Jervis Inlet, heading north, you have the choice of going up Hotham Sound or the reaches of Jervis Inlet.  When we did our initial cruise we headed to Hotham Sound first.

From the mouth of Hotham Sound to the end at Baker Bay is approximately 8 miles (12.8 km) and it is a quite sheltered, beautiful cruise.  Coming around Syren Point you look right up the Sound to two bays at the end – Lena Bay is on the right and Baker Bay is to the left.  It is a very dramatic sight with the Parker Mountain range towering 3600 feet (1100 meters) on the west side of Baker Bay.  We anchored in Baker Bay which proved to be a bit tricky.  Some books say that it is not advisable to anchor there because of poor holding conditions but I had read an account of an old timer on how he had done it and it worked for me after a couple of tries.


We anchored on the west side close to shore, looking up a valley where a seasonal river flows.  The beach is covered with shale-like pebbles and layers of oyster shells.  Hidden in the bushes at the east side of the bay is an old homestead completely overgrown.

In 1912 a copper mine was started at 1500 feet above the bay.  In three years, 330 feet of tunnel had been dug but not enough mineral was found to make it viable and the mine closed in 1916.  There is a very overgrown road that heads toward the mine site but we never made it to the mine and I’m not sure if you can get to it.

We did explore the unusual dry river bed that runs up the valley.  This was July and near the ocean a wide fan of rounded large river rock fanned out through the trees, quite a distance from the main river bed, indicating that large and powerful amounts of water carried the rocks there.  However, when we walked the river bed we had to go up more than a mile before we found any water flowing at all and even then it was just a small stream.  The only way to account for the size of the river bed is a heavy snow melt in the spring.


This entire area of the coast was carved out by the glaciers from the last Ice Age and evidence of the glaciers can be found in the huge erratics (rocks left behind after the glaciers melted) found along the shoreline of Hotham Sound and Jervis Inlet.  What makes it interesting in Hotham Sound is that some of these jumbles of erratics have become dens for seals.  While kayaking along the shoreline we found a couple of spots where seals were obviously denning (the smell was one tip off).

On the east side of Baker Bay is a wonderful lagoon, easily accessible by kayak.  When the tide is low the water warms up and it is a great place to swim.  The sheer towering cliff overlooking the lagoon makes an impressive backdrop.


More shíshálh (Sechelt) pictographs can be found around the point from the lagoon.  These are very faded and hard to decipher.

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9 comments

  1. Thanks for writing. Yes, the entire area is quite amazing. I had passed through this stretch of water many times in my life by ferry and I was always intrigued by the seascape and dreamed of exploring the hidden bays and inlets. I was just approaching 60 when my wife and I got our boat and finally got our chance. It was one of those rare occasions when the results actually did exceed the anticipation. We returned quite a few times and it never disappointed.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes, Canada does have a very diverse and beautiful landscape. Being a bit biased, I’m particularly fond of British Columbia which has the wild west coast surf, the desert of the Okanagan, high mountain ranges, deep carved canyons, long narrow fjords, etc. A great place to live!

  3. Ken, your photographs are outstanding! Congratulations on locating the Hotham Sound pictographs, which have yet to be added to the Archaeology Branch site registry.


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