Princess Louisa Inlet is a well known destination for boaters in BC. Chatterbox Falls lies at the end of Princess Louisa Inlet and helps make the inlet especially beautiful. George Hill and I, Alex Wharton, set out on a four day expedition at the beginning of Labour Day Long weekend with the aim of kayaking from Egmont through Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet and then back to Egmont. I had contemplated attempting the trip in two or three days by taking a water taxi partway up Jervis Inlet and thus reducing the total paddling distance, but the cost of the water taxi was surprisingly expensive, and, thus, we opted to attempt the trip in four days.
George and I set out very early on Saturday morning to catch the 7:30 am ferry to the Sunshine Coast. We arrived at the terminal at about 5:30 am and already there was a long line up of cars. Thankfully, although we were feeling quite exhausted from the early wake up, we made it on to the ferry and then drove to Egmont to start our trip. That day we were planning on kayaking quite an ambitious distance of about forty kilometers to reach our campsite from Egmont. After arriving in Egmont and packing our kayaks, we left Egmont and began paddling in Jervis Inlet. As the afternoon wore on, Jervis Inlet became quite windy. We attributed the wind to the sun warming the land up the inlet and thus the cooler air blowing into the inlet. George noted that the wind and waves were so strong that he should sometime bring his dad to the inlet for windsurfing. Naturally, we were very glad to be going up the inlet and to be assisted by the wind instead of going down the inlet and fighting the wind! As the day wore on, we continued and continued to paddle (forty kilometers is quite a long ways in a kayak!). Suddenly, after surfing some particularly large waves, my paddle snapped in half. I had to switch to my spare paddle, but my spare paddle slowed me down, because its blades were substantially smaller than those of my regular paddle. Going a little slower now, we continued on, and we eventually thought that we saw our campsite in the distance, on the shore of Jervis Inlet. As we approached the supposed campsite, we eventually realised that what we thought were tents on the shore of the inlet were actually buildings and that we were actually approaching a fish farm, not a campsite. We chatted with the workers at the fish farm, and they were kind enough to give me some duct tape to fix my broken paddle; finally, I was able to kayak fast again! Just as dusk was falling, we reached the real campsite. At the campsite, we were very quick to eat dinner and erect our tents. I think we both fell asleep very quickly after such an early rise that morning and a very long and strenuous forty-seven kilometers of paddling.
Just as on the first day, on the second day of our trip the wind was very favourable. We had a slow start that day and, assisted by the strong wind, made quick and easy progress to Princess Louisa Inlet. We easily passed through Malibu Rapids at slack current. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have enough time to go the end of Jervis Inlet as well as the end of Princess Louisa Inlet, but we could almost see the end of Jervis Inlet from the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet (as we looked ahead farther up Jervis Inlet, the inlet curved around a corner and then went out of sight – all of the maps show that the inlet ends very shortly around that corner, so, although a little disappointed that we didn’t have time to paddle all the way to the end of the Jervis Inlet, we were convinced that we could almost see the end of Jervis Inlet). At the end of Princess Louisa Inlet we walked to Chatterbox Falls and then swam in the ocean. Then, finally, at the end of the day, George paddled to our campsite, in the middle of Princess Louisa Inlet, while I briefly returned to Malibu Rapids to check out the rapids at their peak before returning to the campsite. We slept very well that night.
On the third day of our adventure, we began our journey out of Princess Louisa and Jervis Inlets back to Egmont. We were very fortunate on our trip and especially on this day, as on this day the wind (the physics of why unbeknownst to us) blew quite strongly out of the inlet. The night before we were a little worried about not being able to kayak very far should the wind gust strongly up the inlet as it had that day and the day before, so we were quite relieved and a little bit surprised that the wind was blowing out of the inlet. We again made good progress that day and before we knew it, we were at our campsite in Vancouver Bay. We swam in the ocean before retiring to bed. Vancouver Bay was a very, very beautiful campsite.
Our final day of our adventure consisted of a relatively easy paddle back to Egmont. The wind was dormant as we enjoyed a leisurely paddle to Egmont. Paddling to Egmont reminded me of my kayaking adventure a few weeks earlier in which we crossed Sechelt Rapids. Thankfully, crossing Sechelt Rapids was not on this trip’s agenda.
We would definitely recommend this trip to other paddlers. It’s sometimes easy to forget that mere hours outside of Vancouver are magnificent inlets, and it’s really magical to spend time in such beautiful places. I think adventures like these are among the most fun and rewarding parts of life, so hopefully this trip report will inspire someone else to venture to Princess Louisa Inlet!
Until next time!