An unfriendly forecast changed a four-day trip to Cortes into a 2-day trip to the Octopus Islands. The two days were great, however, and with the much reduced travel time, distance paddled was probably not too far off what we would have done on the longer trip.
Five paddlers launched from the Discovery Lodge docks at 9:15 to catch the morning slack in Beazley Rapids, and after a short stop in Yeatman Bay, headed north to the Octopus Islands. Passing (with just enough water) between the two private islands, we found a fairly good campsite on the east side of Quadra and set up for the night. After lunch, we paddled around Waiatt Bay and stopped at a truly lovely site on the south shore (which we’re saving for a future trip). Our next stop involved a short and unsuccessful walk to find the picturesque ‘museum’ cabin on the southern private island. Backtracking a bit, we made an easy landing on the beach below the cabin, and visited the hundreds of signs and other artifacts left over the years by visiting boats.
Heading back to camp, we sighted the very rare Flamingo Rosa Giganteus making its stately way around the cove (apparently propelled by two attendants…). This species is usually seen in its normal habitat of Suburbia Walmartia and is previously unknown in these waters. (First day 19.2 km or 10.4 NM; 4¾ hours)
The next day after a fairly early start, we crossed to the Maurelle shore and paddled down to enter the Settlers Group at slack water. We made good time, but were a bit apprehensive about the current as we hadn’t previously paddled among these islands. All went well and we stopped for lunch just inside White Rock Passage. After much debate and listening (again) to the marine forecast, we made the reluctant decision to head home that evening, as rain and strong winds were still on the menu for Wednesday. After a short trip up the passage, we returned on the Read Island side, and crossed from Surge Point to the Lodge, arriving at the dock just before 5 p.m. At that point, we had been in the kayaks continuously for 3½ hours, and flopping out onto the dock was less than graceful (for some of us, anyway). (Second day 24.1 km or 13 NM ; 6 hours)
A good if short trip – good weather, lovely scenery, good company.
Thanks to all, Darcy Mitchell, Trip Coordinator
Thanks to Norris and Valerie for the photos
(click on photos to view larger)