Of the five main sounds on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka stands out for its history – the centre of the Pacific fur trade, the home of the fabled Mowachaht Chief Maquinna, the site of a Spanish and English dispute that almost erupted into war, the location of the only Spanish fort built in North America, and where both Captain James Cook anchored to repair a storm-damaged boat, and where several years later Captain George Vancouver based his explorations. This history can’t help but infuse any visit here with a sense of place unlike any other.
In later years, fishing and logging have become the mainstays of Nootka Sound, and is reflected in the way the sound has been developed – log dumps, log camps, fishing lodges and recreational fishing boat traffic are never far away. Fortunately, Bligh Island Marine Provincial Park protects an entire archipelago. It can serve as a holiday destination for those who want a simple West Coast experience, while others will find it a great base for visiting the many and varied features of the area. Recommended is Yuquot (central to most of the history mentioned here), south Nootka Island and ventures south (and out of this mapsheet to the area covered in mapsheet #206) to locations such as Escalante Point. All are sublime locations.