The first time we saw Campania Island was when we departed our anchorage in Surf Inlet in Northern British Columbia, heading due west on a trip to Haida Gwaii. As we passed Campania Island, we commented on how the island reminded us of the movie, Jurassic Park – the steep, knobby mountain tops and deep valleys, combined with forested areas and open spaces excited the imagination of a world yet to be discovered.
A couple years later, we had the opportunity to stop at Campania Island on our way north to Southeast Alaska. Instead of taking the commonly traveled inside route up Princess Royal Channel and Grenville Channel (affectionately known as “the ditch”), we took the less traveled outside route up Laredo, Estevan, and Principe Channels, running along the eastern edge of Hecate Strait. The west side of Northern B.C.’s coast is little traveled and remains mostly undiscovered by pleasure boaters.
While Campania Island is somewhat exposed to Hecate Strait near Caamano Sound, it is also sheltered between Gil Island to the east, the Estevan Group of islands to the west, and Banks and Pitt Islands to the north. Seas can vary from choppy, with wind against current on the southwest end of Campania, to glassy smooth for an easy cruise north. There are a number of well protected anchorages on the west side of the Island, which are incredibly beautiful. We chose Weinberg Inlet for an overnight stop as we made our way north.
Stunned by the beauty of Weinberg Inlet, we made our way through the twists and turns of the Inlet’s labyrinth of hidden bays and coves. Traveling through Weinberg Inlet is like visiting someone’s beautiful rock garden, scattered with wind-swept trees and glacier deposits of large boulders, backed by cone-shaped mountains of the Island’s interior. Smaller scarred granite mountain tops and granite rock faces are found throughout the Inlet. If it weren’t for GPS, one could get lost in this wonderland-like maze. When exploring by dinghy or kayak, be sure you have a chart plotter along to find your way back to the mother ship.
Other anchoring opportunities can be found farther south in McMicking Inlet, tucked behind the long-fractured rock finger of Jewsbury Peninsula, providing protection to the numerous coves and small white sandy beaches found here. Although there are no established trails on Campania, it is reported that hiking can be enjoyed through the rolling granite hills and scrub forest on the west side of the Island. Be aware that wolf packs inhabit the Island, along with colonies of sea birds, the modern-day version of Jurassic Park.
If you are looking for remote, less-traveled cruising grounds comparable to Haida Gwaii, consider visiting Campania Island, one of the most remote sections of British Columbia’s coastline. Those that have visited here, leave with indelible impressions.