Hello Nature Adventure Tours-4

One of our favourite ways to discover British Columbia’s natural beauty is by kayak. On a recent adventure-filled week to Vancouver Island’s west coast, we booked a guided kayak tour with Hello Nature Adventure Tours around Ucluelet, taking in the gorgeous scenery of Ucluelet Harbour and Barkley Sound.

The team normally offers a good range of half-day, full-day and multi-day themed kayaking tours (yoga retreats, UNESCO biosphere, bioluminescence and spring whale migration outings), however due to COVID-19, they’ve pared down to a few daily Ucluelet Harbour tours.

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While we all look forward to a return to normal (and will be avoiding travel until the new ban is lifted), owner Kevin Bradshaw is busy updating his floating business office and kayak deck, as well as producing content on his social media platforms.

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On our morning paddle, we’re lucky to spot a lone black bear wandering out of the forest by the shoreline.

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Kevin points out several returning sea star species that had previously been wiped out due to sea star wasting syndrome, a bacteria that appeared due to the slight warming of our waters.

Sea lions, Bald eagles, sea otters, harbour seals – even a curious raccoon on tiny, uninhabited Lyche Island – all make an appearance on this beautiful weekday morning.

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The team of knowledgeable guides are passionate about the outdoors as well as BC’s coastal history; they also respectfully operate on Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations territory.

Below is a little video with Kevin explaining Bald eagle behaviour as well as sea kelp life!

Hello Nature recycles, reuses, and composts all materials on their trips, and donates a portion of their profits to local environmental groups to support their work in protecting our planet. A few of the organizations include the Rotary Club, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Ucluelet Aquarium and Surf Rider Foundation Pacific Rim. Even Kevin’s own kids participate in regular beach clean-ups.

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They also work with The Tribal Parks Allies, a community of businesses committed to supporting the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s vision of achieving a socially and ecologically just conservation economy. Every dollar spent supports the ecological protection and restoration of the Tribal Parks ancestral gardens and the resurgence of Tla-o-qui-aht culture and governance.

All kayaking equipment, plus dry bags, paddle jackets, PFD, spray skirt, paddle booties and gloves are provided.

Hello Nature Adventure Tours

Coastal Explorer Hike

If you really yearn to get off the beaten track and challenge yourself physically, this guided hike through old growth temperate rainforest paints a stunning portrait of Ucluelet’s natural surroundings. For thousands of years, these undisturbed areas have existed pretty much the same way as they do now (evidence suggests that people have inhabited the west coast for over 6,000 years).

We meet Kevin at the Wya Point Resort parking lot and follow in our car to the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Nation campground about a five-minute drive further into the forest.

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Tides, weather and guest preference dictate the scope and design of this tour. As we’ll be exploring both beaches and coastal rainforest, we’re asked to wear shoes that can get and muddy. Our walk begins along a pebbled beach, with Kevin providing some background info on the area and the history of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ peoples and their historical significance in this remote region. Hello Nature donates a portion of the tour cost to the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Nation.

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What’s so unique about this trail is that you’d hardly know where to find it! The start is a tiny crevice opening at the far end of the beach that opens to a beautiful continuance of forest.

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We definitely get out of our comfort zone on a few occasions, but Kevin’s come prepared with a long length of rope that’s looped to provide step-ins for your feet as we descend a couple of steep spots.

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Much of the trail is easy to navigate though, and we soon to learn to rely on rocks and branches to steady our feet, the reward being one gorgeous view point after the next.

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We learn that Sitka spruce trees not only break up the wind along the coast but provide a fundamental barrier for sea salt (this species of tree has adapted over time to withstand salt). Trees – and the forest itself – work in tandem and some of the stories that Kevin tells during our tour are mind-blowing!

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As we get treated to a mesmerizingly colourful view of a kelp forest from high above, we learn that sea kelp clears 60% of carbon dioxide and creates 50% of our air’s oxygen.

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[Kevin pointing out the finer aspects of the life of a Banana slug]

Our final spot, through a walk along the basalt rocks above the coast, is a quiet beach from where Ucluelet gets its name (“safe harbour”), via several rock formations that cut off the strong current here.

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It’s a stunning morning and this brings us to the last part of the trail, as we head back into the forest and wind up along a gravel road leading back to the parking area.

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We highly recommend this walking tour for its impressive variety of scenery and Kevin’s team looks forward to welcoming visitors once it’s safe for us to travel again.

Private excursions can be arranged for groups of four or more.

Hello Nature Adventure Tours

Hello Nature Adventure Tours is located on the Ucluelet Small Craft Harbour at 200 Hemlock Street in Ucluelet.

Our tours were provided courtesy of Hello Nature Adventure Tours for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, are our own.

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