Previously published on Rancho Vignola
We know many of our customers have interesting and diverse businesses and it’s always fun for us when we get to visit some of you in person and find out more about you! Our customers, Bruce and Josée McMorran, originally based on Cortes Island, have been selling Rancho Vignola products for quite a few years. In addition, they operate a seasonal resort in a remote corner of the BC coast — The Paddler’s Inn (formerly Buffer Zone Resort) — offering wilderness immersion and guided kayaking tours. Having come to know each other a little over the years of doing business (especially Josée and Richard with their shared French Canadian background) and after much encouragement from Bruce and Josée, last July we decided to make The Paddler’s Inn our destination for a family vacation.
Our family group of ten gathered in Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island for the rendezvous at the dock with Bruce and his water taxi. As we unloaded our vehicles and piled up the huge amount of baggage that 10 individuals can manage to amass, I had a slight feeling of anxiety that Bruce would frown upon our “mountain.” But when he pulled up to the dock, Bruce was totally unfazed by the load and, with the welcome words, “You can never have too much stuff!,” began cheerfully and expertly loading everything onto the boat.
Our two-hour journey deep into the Broughton Archipelago saw us skimming over waves, with the salty breeze moistening our skin and putting smiles on all our faces. Located in Simoom Sound, BC, The Paddler’s Inn is a rustic oceanside wilderness resort, roughly 1 km from Echo Bay Resort and Provincial Marine Park. The accommodations may be called rustic but they are extremely comfortable and spotlessly clean, with quality bedding and towels provided, hot showers available and even a flushable, albeit outside, toilet…..
Read the complete article as a downloadable PDF
For adventure seekers and avid anglers, the draw to B.C.’s floating lodges can prove irresistible.
Floating lodges are exactly that: accommodations saddled on top of water, anchored to nearby land. They can range in scale from small to huge, and in style from luxurious to rural man-cave charm.
Many are only accessible by float plane, allowing anglers to avoid over-fished areas. Though historically float lodges have been perceived as boys’ clubs, some now offer spas and children’s activities in order to attract more women and families.
For those who prefer raw wildlife thrills over luxury, Paddler’s Inn in Simoom Sound is the place for kayakers and paddling enthusiasts. The emphasis here is on wildlife tours and hiking more than fishing. Don’t forget to pack your bear spray….
Surprisingly, we were the first to arrive that morning at Alder Bay (near Pt. McNeil, Northern Vancouver Island). The arranged time was 9:15 with a departure at 11:00. Chris, the adventure leader, arrived with the two six-man outrigger canoes in tow. Now the task was to unload the heavy outriggers. Amas and iakos untied from the racks were laid out on the grass ready for rigging. The destination, the Broughton Archipelago paddlers’ Inn on Gilford Island, was possibly seven hours of continuous paddling through uninhabited islands. This of course, depended on the ebbing tides and if the winds were gentle. We stowed our equipment, then paused to watch the Slopes in this leg of the Van Isle 360 Race ghosting through the channel. A pod of Orca surfaced and breached as if they were following….
This is an article from WaveLength Magazine, available in print in North America and globally on the web.
By Matthew Bowes
Sprawled out on Bill Proctor’s dock amidst a mess of charts in the afternoon sun, I am absorbed in a scene framed by the image of the freshly painted “Ocean Dawn,” a beautiful classic troller built for open waters by second generation Vancouver shipwright Morris Gronlund. The boat is set against a backdrop of glassy water and homes perched along the densely treed, steep, rocky shoreline of Proctor’s Bay.
I have known Bill casually for about eight years since I began bringing my kayaking groups into Echo Bay as a guide on commercial sea kayaking trips in the Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait. A visit to Billy’s Museum situated on the Proctor homestead is always a highlight of these trips. Lining the floor and shelves are artifacts, or what he calls “junk,” collected during a lifetime of logging, fishing and beachcombing. The scene always reminds me of Martin Alderdale Grainger’s Woodsmen of the West description of the shops on Cordova Street in Vancouver in the early 20th century: You come to shops that show faller’s axes, swamper’s axes—single bitted, double bitted; screw jacks and pump jacks, wedges, sledge hammers, and great seven foot saws with enormous shark teeth…
SEPTEMBER 5TH TO 9TH, 2009
Submitted by Richard Bird
We, being nine Cowichan Kayak & Canoe Club members, visited the Broughton Archipelago, stayed at Paddler’s Inn and had a fine time. The Inn is located on the site of a former small community shown as abandoned on the chart we used. The name of the community was Simoom Sound. There is a body of water named Simoom Sound, the entrance to which is about five miles north of the Inn. The explanation for this confusing state of affairs is that there was a post office at a village beside the body of water. The post office moved to Gilford Island without changing its name. Later the post office closed.
The Inn is on the northwest side of Gilford Island near Baker Island. Broughton Island is not far from the Inn. None of us, the participating members, had paddled in the Archipelago before. We and our kayaks were carried from Port McNeill to the Inn by a motor boat. It was operated by Bruce McMorran, a kayaking guide & enthusiastic paddler. While en route we enjoyed grand, somber views of many islands and crossed Johnstone Strait and Knight Inlet.
July 6, 2012
Posted By: Rod Stiebel
Way too much to fit in one sitting, but I will try. MAKE SURE you read the story about the hummingbird near the end, best story ever! as they say…
So the Broughton Archipelago is on the east side of way north Vancouver Island. Some of you may have heard of Telegraph Cove, the start of our adventure. A short 6 and a half hour drive from Victoria, then we jump in a water taxi and another 2 hours with kayaks on racks and gear we head out to the Paddler Inn. As the pics tell, no electricity, unless solar, gas lites, hot showers, thanks gas!! Bears on the beach most mornings, if tide is low, and not a sound but the ravens clucking. The inn is just a half hour paddle from Echo Bay, a bit of a yacht marina and general store, once had 350 residents, now only 6 stay over the winter, and Billy Proctor is the main guy. Billy is in his seventies, was a logger, fisherman, general woodsman. He has lived here all his life, from age 5. He has a museum, with artifacts he has collected off beaches and so forth over may years, and still beach logs today. Last year, he salvaged over 500 logs from around the sound, yeah just like Relic of the Beachcombers, but the REAL thing. Touch as nails, life is not easy here, even in our modern times. Billy has a cel phone, but still heats with wood, hunts for all his meat, and even builds little projects over the long boring winter, like the new trappers shack in the pics below. He took about 2 weeks to build it, from ONE LOG, with an axe and a bag of nails, he did it to show how it was done back then. This man is a living legend. He was once the type of guy just to “blow away” what he saw, as a hunter and logger, this is what you do, sort of…but at one time in his life, he noticed less deer, less fish, fewer whales, and he decided, with some help from friends, to be a steward of the land. He is now good friends and neighbours of Alex Morton, the driving force in this province and all of Canada to get to the bottom of lice on salmon and how fish farms cause damage to the natural state of this wonderful place….