Four paddlers put in from the Len Road access on a rare dry spring day, and headed off on calm waters. We picked our way through the rocks between the Bretons (staying well clear of the seals with pups) and then made the two km crossing to the Dunsterville Islands on the Read Island side of Hoskyn Channel. Circling the middle island of the group we observed many purple ochre sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers, and an abalone or two. Landing on these islands is always a challenge as there is no beach, just large rocks covered with bladder wrack. With the work of landing and securing our kayaks on a rock shelf done, we turned to survey the channel we’d just crossed and immediately spotted a few Orcas on the far side. Four Orcas appeared to be feeding and moving north. To add to the excitement, the other half of the pod, another four to five Orcas surfaced very near to our vantage point and swam past us. All eight to nine of the pod soon submerged and moved off to the north out of our line of site.
We enjoyed a lunch break on the rocks under the watchful gaze of a pair of nesting geese, explored the island/campsite, and then relaunched our kayaks with a very light rain beginning. We decided to cross towards Shellaligan Pass and then meandered along the Quadra shore noting the abundant sea stars and several more abalone. As the tide was getting close to maximum low and the surface was quite calm we were able to view the bottom dwellers very clearly as we cruised along admiring the rock formations. We were rewarded for our diligent observations with a sighting of the Valdez cave formations in the rocky shoreline.
We crossed the mouth of Open Bay and Hyacinthe Bay and soon landed on the beach, at low tide, about 200 m from our cars! Luckily we’d brought wheels and managed to get our gear to the foreshore without too much effort. Some wheel systems proved to be more effective than others! 13.0 km; 4¾ hours.
(click on photos to enlarge)