Premier Listings for Yuquot (Friendly Cove)

The birthplace of British Columbia is the small community of Yuquot, also known as Friendly Cove, the site of the first contact between Europeans and First Nations people in British Columbia.

The internationally historic site of Yuquot – where the wind blows in all directions – was the summer home of Chief Maquinna and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht people for generations, housing approximately 1,500 natives in 20 traditional wooden longhouses.

First Nations people came to magnificent Yuquot over 4,000 years ago, drawn by the rich sea life and natural resources, the mild climate, and the beautiful surroundings. Those same qualities still draw visitors to this magical place today, as there is so much to see and experience.

In March 1778, Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy became the first European to set foot on British Columbian soil when he visited Friendly Cove on Nootka Island. While anchoring in Resolution Cove on Bligh Island, across from Friendly Cove, the natives hollered “itchme nutka, itchme nutka”, meaning “go around” (to Yuqout), but Cook misinterpreted their calls, believing the name of the area to be Nootka.

A Spanish trading post, Santa Cruz de Nutka, and Fort San Miguel, the only Spanish fort ever established in Canada, was maintained here between 1789 and 1795, with Nootka becoming an important focal point for English, Spanish and American traders and explorers.

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The Nootka Convention was held in nearby Tahsis in 1792 to resolve the dispute between Spain and Britain over trading rights with the people of Yuquot. The talks between Captain George Vancouver and Captain Juan Francisco de la Quadra were facilitated by Chief Maquinna. The Canadian government declared Friendly Cove a National Historic Site in 1923, with recognition of the significance of the First Nations history following in 1997.

Historically, Bligh Island, a few miles to the northeast of Yuquot, has been used extensively by the Mowachaht First Nations people, and still remains part of their traditional territory. Large Bligh Island is named for a much-maligned British Navy Captain who sailed here with the equally well-known Captain James Cook in 1778. Resolute Cove on Bligh Island is named after Captain Cook’s ship, where a cairn on the southeast cove of the island commemorates the landing. The area subsequently became a major centre for international fur trading.

On March 22 1803, while anchored in Nootka Sound, the trading vessel Boston was attacked by Nootka Indians. Twenty-five of her twenty-seven crewmen were massacred, their heads “arranged in a line” for survivor John R. Jewitt to identify. Jewitt and the other survivor, John Thompson, became two of some fifty slaves owned by Chief Maquinna. The fascinating book White Slaves of Maquinna is John Jewitt’s narrative of his capture and confinement at Nootka (1815).

Today, members of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations conduct history tours that include a visit to the traditional gathering places of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht, the site of San Miguel, and opportunities to see spectacular old-growth forest, whales, otters, and other marine life. Visitors also have an opportunity to meet some of the friendliest, most hospitable people anywhere! Few tourist destinations in the world can offer the amazing cultural, historical and natural experience that awaits visitors to Yuquot.

Population: Fewer than 20

Location: Yuquot is located on the southwest tip of Nootka Island, a large island in Nootka Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Access to Yuquot is by boat or floatplane. Closest access points by boat are Gold River and Tahsis, departure points for the MV Uchuck 111 to Yuquot.

The Captain Cook monument, a brass plaque set in concrete, is said to mark the exact location of the cannon at the old Spanish fort of San Miguel.

The original Roman Catholic Church in Friendly Cove was built by Father Brabant in 1889. The cornerstone of the church bears an inscription commemorating the spot on which John Meares, a retired lieutenant of the Royal Navy, built and launched the schooner Northwest America, the first European vessel built on the northwest coast of North America.

Whaling: For hundreds of years, a great whaling society flourished in Yuquot – a society that would produce one of the most culturally significant artifacts in Canada, the Whaling Shrine. The shrine currently resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It depicts 92 carved human and whale figures and contains 16 human skulls. It was used in whaling rituals for centuries. The Mowachaht-Muchalaht are looking forward to having their shrine returned home.

Visit the Yatz-mahs “walk around” trail that weaves through forests and along beaches toward the lagoon Tsa’tsil, “where the tide comes up and goes into the lagoon”. The more strenuous section leads you through old-growth forest and up to Aa-aak-quaksius Lake.

Every August, the Mowachaht-Muchalaht pay tribute to all peoples’ heritages with a traditional salmon barbecue and celebration.

The Nootka Lighthouse, built in 1911, is one of the few remaining manned lighthouses on the coast of British Columbia.

Explore the historic waters and stunning scenery of Nootka Sound from Gold River aboard the MV Uchuck 111, a converted minesweeper that carries 100 passengers and up to 100 tons of freight. With a comfortable wood finished lounge, coffee shop and upper deck seating, it is the perfect way to spend a relaxing day on the West Coast. Arrangements can be made to wet launch kayakers in a convenient location along the route. Day trips operate from Gold River to Yuquot (Friendly Cove) on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer (June to September).

Hiking: The Nootka Island Trail rambles between Louie Bay on the north side of Nootka Island and Yuquot (Friendly Cove) on the south. Along the way, the trail crosses exquisite beaches and tidal shelves, as well as leading inland to bypass rocky headlands and deep river mouths. This 35-km trail is gradually becoming a choice hiking destination, however, the trail is poorly marked and infrequently maintained. Be prepared to bushwhack around fallen trees brought down by the frequent, savage winter storms that pound this section of coast. The First Nations charge a landing/hiking fee per day.

Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park sits at the mouth of the Muchalat Inlet, to the east of Nootka Island, and encompasses the southern portion of Bligh Island and part of the Spanish Pilot Group of Islands. The park protects mature coastal forests and delicate marine ecosystems, and there is much to explore in this group of six islands. The 4,455-hectare park (1,584 hectares upland and 2,871 hectares foreshore) is a favourite boating and fishing destination amongst local and visiting yachtsmen. Sea kayaking tours to the Nootka Sound are available, or kayakers can arrange to be dropped off near the island by the MV Uchuck lll as it plies between Gold River and Yuquot. The park has no facilities, other than a pit toilet at Charlie’s Beach.

Premier Listings

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Nootka Marine Adventures
Moutcha Bay Resort – land based road accessible resort in Moutcha Bay, Nootka Sound, BC Nootka Sound Resort – floating resort in Galliano Bay, Nootka Sound, BC Newton Cove Resort – floating resort in Esperanza Inlet, BC Mailing Address: 168 5th Street Cliffe Avenue Courtenay BC V9N 1J4 Toll Free: 1-877-337-5464Visit Website

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Moutcha Bay Resort, Nootka Sound Resort and Newton Cove Resort operate together as Nootka Marine Adventures. Located on the pristine west coast of Vancouver Island, Moutcha Bay Resort is situated at the mouth of the picturesque Conuma River and only a 40 minute drive from Gold River. The two other floating resorts; Nootka Sound Resort and Newton Cove resort are located in the sheltered waters of Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet.

These resorts offer exceptional amenities, comfortable luxury accommodation, gourmet meals and boat moorage, along with some of the most spectacular, salmon, halibut and tuna fishing available. The Nootka Marine Adventures’ guides are some of the most experienced and professional in the area. They will help ensure that you have both a memorable as well as a highly-productive angling experience aboard comfortable, covered 28-foot boats. Take a fully-guided fishing trip or partake in the numerous outdoor activities including; wildlife-viewing, trail walks, caving, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or excursions to the historic Friendly Cove.

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Photo of Spirit of the West Kayaking
Spirit of the West Kayaking
P.O. Box 569 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Phone: 250-285-2121Fax: 1-888-389-5736Toll Free: 1-800-307-3982Visit Website

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Kayaking British Columbia is the ultimate way to view BC’s abundant wildlife.

We want you to fall in love with kayaking and our unique coast, and our passion shows in everything we do. Choose among several professionally-guided 4-8 day trips for all experience levels around Vancouver Island. ‘Glamping’ basecamp-style with wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or expedition-style paddling from camp to camp and paddling between 100s of islands through the Broughton Archipelago, famous Desolation Sound and the wild Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. Savouring a fresh salmon BBQ in the open air, explore and view fascinating wildlife and wilderness and wake up on remote islands with the sound of the whales. Unique and breathtaking.

Our adventures are for everyone and are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. We take care to introduce you to the sport in a fun and safe manner. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected. Our groups are small, ranging from 8 to 13 people, depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. We provide everything you need for a once in a lifetime kayaking adventure. We provide high-quality fiberglass kayaks, paddling equipment, camp cookware, eating utensils, and camping gear.

Our guides take care of you for the entire duration of your tour, prepare delicious, organic and local meals, and have extensive training and experience in sea kayaking and in sharing the natural and cultural history of the area.

During the Northern Hemisphere winter, we also offer kayaking trips to the glacier-fed South American wildlife paradise, the Chilean Patagonia Archipelago, and multi-day escapes to sun, sand, remote beaches and the warm crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Please contact us for all details of these amazing winter getaways!

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Reel Obsession Sportfishing
644 Millstream Lake Road Victoria BC V9B 6E9 Phone: 250-886-0315Toll Free: 1-888-855-7335Visit Website

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Reel Obsession Sport Fishing Charters offers year-round, world-class, fully-guided BC salmon and halibut sportfishing charters on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia, fishing Zeballos, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, and Victoria. We offer a variety of charter fishing packages and are quite flexible in customizing your charter fishing experience to suit your needs. Our west coast BC fishing lodge is uniquely located in the migration path of the Pacific salmon, featuring career guides steeped in the local fishery, consistent big catches, world-class service and accommodation, and great fishing all summer long.

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