We chose the location of our Hanson Hide-Away base camp to serve as the best home for our four day base camp tours and as an occasional one night stop on our longer nomadic trips. It is ideally located to explore the northern coastline of Johnstone strait, Blackfish Sound, allow easy access to areas of high tidal flows of Weynton Passage and Blackney Passage, and act as a gateway to the Broughton Archipelago.
Location – Its everything!
The base camp is beautifully located between two small beaches on Hanson Island, on the far side of Johnstone Strait about a 10km paddle from Telegraph Cove. The camp area is hidden and protected from the wind behind a rock bluff which provides a naturally elevated ‘look out’ where we have created the ‘Orca Lounge’. This is the ideal spot to sit on the simple driftwood benches and take some afternoon sun while you gaze out over the water. The rocks provide a great platform and easy access to deep water should you wish to take a shot at fishing. Remember to get a fishing license, they are available in Telegraph Cove prior to departure. There are also some great rock-pools to poke around in.
Our route to, or from, camp is an ideal day paddle away from Telegraph Cove as we can explore either the Vancouver Island or Hanson Island coastline, looking for bears and intertidal life, spending time drifting while we watch the Dalls Porpoises feeding, Eagles fishing or the Orca hunting for salmon in the kelp forests. Paddling choices from camp are plentiful, from a short half day excursion to a trail head where we can go hiking to a long day circumnavigating Hanson Island and everything in between.
The amazing wildlife
Hanson Island sits as the heart of the Northern Resident Killer Whale summer range. This area is protected by the Federal Government of Canada under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) as ‘critical habitat’ for these spectacular mammals.
The camp provides easy access to the high tidal flow areas of Blackney and Weynton Passage that border Hanson Island. High tidal flows tend to create concentrations of food and this in turn causes high concentrations of hungry wildlife. It is not uncommon to see Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, dolphins, porpoises, eagles or sea-lions from the benches that form the ‘Orca Lounge’.
The spectacular view
We look out over the Strait to the rugged coast of Vancouver Island in the distance. From our elevated position we can see over to Robson Bight or back up towards Telegraph Cove and everything in between. There is always something to look at when you are by the water, be it gulls floating by, resting on a log, or a cruise ship heading to Alaska. The spectacularly clear deep water just off shore means that we frequently look down on the Killer Whales or Humpback Whales from above. This provides an incredible, non-disruptive way to enjoy these animals.
It also has spectacular moonrise, sunrises and sunsets. There is no light pollution, except maybe our camp-fire so star gazing is a great evening pastime.
Our camp is located on land we lease from the ‘namgis first nation whose ancestors have lived in this area for countless thousands of years. Our agreement with them includes that should we leave tomorrow, the forest could reclaim our site as if we had never been there. This does not mean that we cannot provide great facilities, just that we need to be very aware of our impact. You will find,
- Spacious tents you can stand up in, already pitched on prepared platforms.
- Large covered area used for dining and lounging.
- Established camp kitchen with stove, BBQ & picnic tables.
- Beach fire pit for evening campfires.
- Composting toilet.
- Driftwood benches to sit and relax.
- A library containing books on local plants, animals, insects and local history.
- Various games and pass-times.
“…outstanding experience. The camping environment is beautiful.” Chelsea