Trip Report – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

This trip was rescheduled from August in hopes that Desolation Sound would be less busy in September. It probably is, but still busy enough in this exceptional pandemic summer, especially at the Curme Islets campsites. Compared with our usual paddling destinations, there were a large number of young people (well, young being anyone under 40…), many of them in rental kayaks, and some in more unusual craft. Notable sightings (of creatures human and otherwise) are described below.

Day 1 – Tuesday:   Four of us launched from Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island about 11 a.m. on Sunday, having lined up around 8 a.m. to catch the 9:05 ferry from Heriot Bay. The weather was calm and sunny for our crossing to the Martin Islands where we stopped for lunch. From the Martins, we headed to the north end of Mink Island and around the top to the Curmes. We had a little wind and chop on the crossing. We were somewhat taken aback to find two of the three campsite locations full by early afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to nab three of four remaining tent pads on East Curme. All the sites in Desolation Sound Marine Park have designated tent pads, an outhouse, picnic tables and/or benches, and (on the mainland sites, bear caches). Access in the Curmes is awkward in most spots on most tides. After setting up camp, some of us went swimming in the warm – slightly soupy – water, and all made an early night. One of the consequences of the younger demographic was a certain amount of partying, although with darkness by 8:30 and no campfires, things settled down about 9:30 or 10 (which is quite late on kayaking days!). The stars were absolutely dazzling.  13.7 km; 4 hours.
Notable sighting: A group consisting of two senior lady paddlers and two couples in doubles came looking for a tentpad about 5 p.m. and spent some time paddling about before the two singles took the last site on East Curme and the others disappeared to seek their fortune elsewhere. Like us, they hadn’t expected the crowds….

(click to enlarge photos)

Day 2 – Wednesday:   We headed out about 9:30 for a day trip to Prideaux Haven and beyond. Exceptionally calm, almost glassy conditions, and hot (although not the hottest yet). Very pleasant paddling through the islets, with a break at Laura Cove (where we were serenaded by a boat owner playing his violin). Then on to a rocky outcropping just beyond Price Point for lunch, and back home (taking the route outside Eveleigh Island and back though the gap between Otter Island and the mainland). More swimming, dinner, and planning for the next few days. By this point we had decided to order a water taxi to return us from the north tip of Malaspina Peninsula to Squirrel Cove, as three of us needed to be back fairly early, and it looked like a longish slog through open water. This later proved to be an inspired decision.  20.0 km; 6 hours.
Notable sighting: Half an hour before dark, a young couple paddled up in an inflatable double (about as wide as it was long), accompanied by their cat. Fortunately, some parties had moved off West Curme, and they were able to find a tent pad.

Day 3 – Thursday:  Off about 9:00 a.m. to Hare Point on the northeast shore of Malaspina Inlet, about 2 kilometres from Zephine Head. Another hot still day. Quite a bit of room at the campsite, with a fairly decent beach, although the canoe/kayak run is only wide enough for one boat at low tide. The tent pads are located on either side of the cove, with outhouse/bear cache/picnic table for each group. The westerly, more scenic area is up a fairly steep trail – we defaulted to the lower group of tent pads – still a bit of a scramble up the rocks. The afternoon was very hot – we spent much of it looking for shade.  Two of us practised self-rescue (and have the bruises to show for it). This activity generated quite a bit of amusement for other kayakers: “Oh gosh, there she goes, right over the other side.”  Much quieter location than the Curmes. Early night.  9.6 km; 2 hours.
Notable sighting: Ultra light aircraft on pontoons flew over us en route to Hare Point. Took a while to figure out what it was.

Day 4 – Friday:  Off about 9:30 toward Grace Harbour for a day trip. Not such a warm day, with the smoke beginning to move in. Grace Harbour is a popular anchorage, although not very busy when we were there. Only 2 or 3 tent pads; probably not too much privacy in summer with boaters marching through toward Black Lake. There is a creek at the head of the bay, east of the campsite. We walked up to the lake through a pleasant cedar forest, with the remnants of logging operations in a few places. About 15 minutes walk each way. There is a small cleared area for swimming access but slippery on the rocks. After lunch, we paddled back to the campsite and passed on the way a colony of Steller (and possibly also California) sea lions. We had seen Stellers fishing in the cove, and occasionally popping up rather close to our kayaks. Back about 4 p.m. More rescue practice – more bruises….  16.0 km; 5¼ hours.

Notable sighting: A young couple on standup paddleboards with gear strapped fore and aft arrived at the campsite about 5:30. The operation looked slow and a bit hazardous, but they apparently like it.

Day 5 – Saturday:  Away at 9 a.m. In order to have time to visit the Copeland Islands and still be picked up Sunday morning by the water taxi, we upped stakes at Hare Point, and nabbed tent platforms at Feather Cove (about 45 minutes paddle). Feather Cove has a decent landing beach, although exposed to waves and wash. Another 2-part campsite, with tent pads on the hill, and back among the trees down by the beach. This site is on the Sunshine Coast trail, so is used by both hikers and paddlers. In very thick smoke, we paddled to Sarah Point, down the peninsula toward Bliss Landing, and across to the most northerly of the Copeland Islands. For the first time on the trip, we had some significant wind (in our face, of course). There are at least two and possibly three campsites in the Islands. We entered North Copeland Island through a small gap into a shallow bay with easy landing. At this large site, there are three sets of tent pads; the most westerly grouping is very scenic but with what looks like trickier access. Quite a few empty pads. After lunch, we paddled by the next island with tent pads, and around a larger island with several small notches and coves for anchorage. After darting across Thulin Passage between cruising and fishing boats, we headed north again, with a stop at a lovely sandy beach just north of Bliss Landing. An old homestead with some remnants of buildings, the site has a very productive collection of old fruit trees. Some of the apple trees were about 40 feet high. Unfortunately, it was very obvious that this is a place beloved by bears, whose reach is about the same as ours. Back to camp about 5:30, having enjoyed the following wind and a bit of a favourable current.  22.9 km ; 7¼ hours.
Notable sighting: A young couple in rented kayaks showed up about 6 p.m. with an astonishing amount of gear tied to the decks of their boats, including a five gallon water container (full). As they were leaving to find a campsite at Hare Point, one of us was unable to resist suggesting to them that the location of the water container was not the best of ideas…. Not sure how this advice was received, but one has to try. Notable non-sighting: About 2 o’clock in the morning, distant shouting and banging were followed by splashing and loud snorting. The bear (as we assume it was…) did not arrive in our locale. Judging by the trail of water leading from the beach up the hill behind our tents, we concluded that the bear had been chased off the hillside tent area, ran down to the water, splashed across, and took off heading south.

Day 6 – Sunday:   Up early to be ready for the water taxi to arrive at 9. Very, very smoky. We were relieved not to have to make a 3+ hour trip in near zero visibility. Duncan Pollen from Lund delivered us safely to Squirrel Cove, and helped carry the kayaks up a very steep ramp. We reached Whaletown shortly after 11, and one of us was lucky enough to be shoehorned aboard the 11:50 ferry. The others left on the 1:50 sailing. Everyone home by mid-afternoon. Notable sighting: While we were waiting on the beach, a Steller sea lion showed us how to catch fish. Grab the salmon, shake it violently, and gulp it down head first. Worked for him (or her).

As mentioned above, this trip was quite different from our more usual paddles to less accessible and popular locations. It was mostly more relaxed, with shorter distances.  The scenery is lovely, of course, the water is warm and having some basic services at the campsites is convenient. Almost certainly, COVID is responsible for the large number of paddlers, some of whom appeared to be out for the first time. Fortunately, the weather was very calm, and presumably there were no problems with overloaded boats or less-than-seaworthy conveyances encountering challenging conditions. We did hear from the skipper of the water taxi that there had been more than the usual number of kayakers in trouble this summer. We enjoyed our time together as always.

Darcy

A couple of useful links for trip planning:
http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/desolation/camping.html
https://www.bcmarinetrails.org

Thanks to Norris and Val for the photos!

Multi-day kayaking – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

Trip Report – Sandy Island Marine Park – 3 Sept 2020

Five club members were joined by three paddlers from Campbell River for a pleasant trip on a calm, sunny day. Leaving from the Union Bay boat launch about 10:00 a.m., we crossed to Sandy Island and stopped for lunch, before paddling to the end of the sandspit. We enjoyed the sight of many seals and their pups on the beach and in the water. It was a hot afternoon when we returned to Union Bay, just after low tide.  15.3 km; 4¾ hours.

Darcy

(click on photos to enlarge)

Kayaking – Sandy Island Marine Park – 3 Sept 2020

Kayaking – Sandy Island Marine Park – 3 Sept 2020

Activity Kayaking
Destination Sandy Island Marine Park
Date 3 Sept 2020, Thursday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info 250 923 5540; mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com
Description Day paddle to Sandy Bay Marine Park (Tree Island) at northern tip of Denman Island.
Meeting Place Union Bay boat launch
Departure Time About 10:00
Difficulty
Easy to moderate depending on conditions
Costs Ferry, transportation costs, and $5 boat launch fee
Trip limits 8 paddlers
Dogs? no
Notes: You will need to follow the QIOC paddling guidelines. This trip requires a sea kayak with spray skirt and floatation and all required equipment. The deadline for registering for the trip is Aug 31st.

Check last year’s trip report for this outing:
https://qioutdoorclub.org/2019/08/01/trip-report-sandy-island-marine-park-31-july-2019/

 

Multi-day Kayaking – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Desolation Sound
Date 8 to 13 Sept 2020; Tuesday to Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com; 250 923 5540
Description Multi-day paddle to Desolation Sound, launching from Squirrel Cove. Itinerary dependent on participant interests and weather.  Here is the link to kayak campsite information: http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/desolation/camping.html
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up, Heriot Bay
Departure Time 8:00 to catch 9:05 Cortes Ferry
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Cost Ferry costs and nightly costs for camping within the Desolation Sound Marine Park
Trip limits Minimum 4 – maximum 6 to 8 depending on number of tents
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants must observe club paddling guidelines including demonstrated ability to perform assisted and self-rescue.  If you are interested in this trip, please contact the coordinator no later than September 1. Pandemic protocols will be observed.

Trip Report – Sandy Island Marine Park – 31 July 2019

Our group of eight kayakers left the Union Bay boat launch shortly after 10:00.  The morning was a bit dark, but mild and gentle.  We paddled out and across Baynes Sound to Denman Island and the Longbeak Point sand spit.  We arrived at a particularly low tide (0.4 m) on the day of a new moon, so that the sand spit connected Denman with Sandy Island.  In fact the White Spit continued all the way to the Comox Bar entrance, about 2.5 NM.  This gave us an excellent opportunity to observe the intertidal life:  moon snails, clams, barnacles, sand dollars, and sand anemone, as well as admire the variety of shells.  On the other hand, it wasn’t a good day to paddle around the islands and islets.  Oddly, a large search and rescue helicopter landed on the Island without any apparent emergency, as we paddled by Sandy Island.

We continued on to a shell beach and stopped for lunch.  Les spoiled us again, this time with garden fresh berries and whipped cream for dessert.  A few in the group explored a bit more or practiced kayak self-rescues before we headed back under a clearing sky.  On the way, we stopped for a walk around the lovely beach at Sandy Island Marine Park and then paddled back to the boat launch with a slight breeze at our back.  Although the tidal range was 4.5 m that day, the current during both crossings was minimal.  (13.9 km; 3½ hours)

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Marie for the photos

(click on photos to view larger)

Kayaking – Tree Island – 31 July 2019

Trip Report – Hornby Island – 18-22 Feb 2018

Day 1: Nine members left Quadra on a clear and sun-filled day, however, when we reached Courtenay we hit snow. On arrival at Hornby Island, the snow was quite deep, we drove to our guesthouse at Tribune Bay on unploughed roads. Unfortunately, the power was off and the four bedroom guesthouse was freezing. We soon got a fire going after chopping wood and finding kindling. A quick snack and all out for a hike at Helliwell Provincial Park. This is one of the finest walks on Hornby, through old-growth Douglas fir forest and along weather sculpted sandstone cliffs, glorious views of the mainland, Texada Island and Lasqueti. Another treat for us was watching listening to the sea lions, eagles etc….all waiting for the herring. It was such a lovely day and we soaked up the beauty of this trail. Returned to the guesthouse and all decided to keep our coats on, although it had warmed up a little. Dinner Team 1 soon got cooking in the kitchen before the darkness fell, the smells from the kitchen were divine. We ate a delicious meal in candle light, most still wearing our warm coats. After dinner we shared some of our favourite books and travel stories. The fire was kept going all night to keep us warm. Power back on at 11:30 p.m. but not the heat.

Day 2: A wonderful sunrise. After breakfast we met Joanne (our Hornby Island trail guide) and she took us onto the Mount Geoffrey Forest Trails. There are countless trails and we were pleased to have a wonderful guide to follow. We broke trail in the deep snow climbing quite steeply and eventually picked the Cliff Trail to hike along the bluff overlooking Denman Island. We also had spectacular views of snow-covered mountains on Vancouver Island. Worked our way back down and returned to the guesthouse for lunch. The afternoon trail that we chose was to explore Big Tribune Bay. It was low tide and we could walk out along the beach, scramble over rugged sandstone boulders and investigate the beautiful formations. Joanne was invited for appies and dinner. Dinner Team 2 prepared a fantastic dinner. Joanne shared many stories of Hornby and we learned a lot about the island and its residents. All to bed. It was starting to get warmer inside……yeah!

Day 3: The morning was overcast with light snow falling with sun in the afternoon. After breakfast, we headed to Shingle Spit near the ferry dock. This picturesque, mainly forested trail is sandwiched between a spectacular conglomerate rock face on one side and bluffs overlooking the water on the other. We walked to Ford’s Cove and all enjoyed looking at the boats before walking back. We stopped for a delicious lunch at the Community Hall, many residents come each Tuesday to enjoy the food and company. It was lovely to talk with the locals, most soon knew that Quadra people were visiting the island. The afternoon hike took us to Heron Rocks. We hiked down to the rocks that gave us spectacular sandstone formations and tidal pools. Best of all was watching and listening to the sea lions plus all the various waterfowl and numerous eagles, all waiting for their annual herring feast on Hornby. Dinner Team 3 prepared another delicious meal. After dinner some played a new game and others read/chatted.

Day 4: Light snow fell most of the day. After breakfast we drove to the Bench Trail, part of the Mt Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park. The trail climbed steeply in places, but not difficult. Passing many arbutus, several large fir and a number of maple. The trail took us to the edge of the bluff with a couple of viewpoints, although unable to see far due to the light snow falling. This was a pretty trail enjoyed by all. On returning to the guesthouse some stopped at the Co-op store, what a lovely treat. Socks, scarves etc. were purchased, we all agreed the downstairs area of the store was like stepping back in time, plus the display of all the magnificent quilts created by the Islanders. Lunch back at the guesthouse and then some members went out to either Big Tribune Bay/Little Tribune Bay/Ford Cove and Heron Rocks. Dinner Team 4 prepared another delicious meal, followed by the sharing of stories along with lots of laughs around the table.

Day 5: A beautiful sunny day. Everyone up pretty early. Some of us actually ate quiche/chocolate cake for breakfast from the previous night’s dinner. Everyone packed and into our cars by 9 a.m. A final hike at Helliwell Park. We decided to turn left at the junction, giving us different view points. Walking through beautiful open forest containing enormous old-growth fir, cedar, large maple and alder. On emerging from the forest we found ourselves at the edge of the water. We were again entertained by the barking of the sea lions and waterfowl. We continued walking along the edge of the spectacular cliffs, fantastic views and many, many eagles. Creatures still waiting for the huge herring feast that happens in early March. We took our time because hikes come no better than this one. Caught the noon ferry to Denman Island, some continued onto the ferry and others hiked at Boyle Point Provincial Park. Took a short trail to Eagle Point and walked to the viewpoint of Chrome Island Light Station. The island was originally named Yellow Island because of its light colour. Chrome Island’s main claim to fame was a spectacular shipwreck, which took place during a gale on Dec 16th, 1900. Back on the road and caught the ferry to Vancouver Island, catching the 3:30 p.m ferry for home. What made this trip so enjoyable was the beautiful hikes on a lovely island, magnificent wildlife, delicious dinners and most of all a group of wonderful people. In every walk with nature, one receives far more than they seek.

Margot

The bird and mammal list follows the photos

(click on photos to view larger)

Thanks to Norris, Stephen and Diana for the photos

Bird List

Common Loon Bald Eagle
Horned Grebe Black Osytercatcher
Pelagic Cormorant Black Turnstone
Double-crested Cormorant Mew Gull
Great Blue Heron Glaucous-winged Gull
Canada Goose Marbled Murrelet
Mallard Northern Flicker
American Wigeon Downy Woodpecker
Harlequin Duck Pileated Woodpecker
Surf Scoter Northwestern Crow
White-winged Scoter Common Raven
Common Goldeneye Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Barrow Goldeneye Pacific Wren
Bufflehead American Robin
Common Merganser Varied Thrush
Red-breasted Merganser Song Sparrow
Red-tailed Hawk Red-winged Blackbird

Mammal List

Steller Sea Lion River Otter
Californai Sea Lion Deer Mouse
Harbour Seal Mink
Black-tailed Deer

Multi-day Hiking – Hornby Island – 18-22 Feb 2018

Multi-day Hiking – Hornby Island – 18-22 Feb 2018

 This trip is full.  You may contact the coordinator to waitlist.

Activity Multi-day hiking
Destination Hornby Island
Date 18-22 Feb 2018, Sunday to Thursday
Trip Coordinator Margot Wood
Contact Info margotw@gicable.com; please contact the coordinator as soon as possible.
Description A multi-day trip on Hornby Island. We have secured a lovely beach house right on Tribune Bay. Magnificent views/walks on the beach & beyond, set on 17 acres, close to Hornby Co-op Store. The house can sleep 8 individuals, with two per bedroom.  It may be possible for some people to stay less than the four nights, but to be most affordable, priority will be to have the bedrooms full each night.  If fully booked the cost per night will be approximately $50/person, but may be less.
Trails on Hornby: Mount Geoffrey Nature Park, Helliwell Provincial Park, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park, Tribune Bay Provincial Park …..also lots of new bike trails. We will be hiking approx. 4-6h per day.
Margot will organize car-pooling & dinner preparation teams. Each is responsible for their breakfast & lunch.
For accommodation info:
http://hornbyisland.com/accommodation/absolutely-the-perfect-spot-on-tribune-bay-spray-point/
For a map of Hornby Island trails:
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.5192004,-124.6418233,14z
Difficulty Easy/moderate
Dogs No
Trip Limits 8
Costs Accommodation, ferry costs, fuel
Notes Please contact Margot a.s.a.p.
I will research trails on Hornby, ferry schedules to Hornby Island.
Further info to follow to individuals on booking.
Smiles, Margot

Trip Report – Savary Island – 7-9 Aug 2017

We took advantage of Cyndy’s generous offer to visit Savary Island. Getting there can be a challenge, but there are many ways to do it. We came by boat and anchored off Indian Point at the west end of the island. On Tuesday we walked along the beach taking advantage of a very low tide in the middle of the day. The heat of the day was reduced by the smoky haze clouding the coastal skies from inland BC fires. Savary is famous for its sandy beaches and shallow shoreline. Starting at Indian Point, we walked east appreciating the interesting intertidal life. We stopped at the spring, the mermaid rock, admired the burrowing anemone, sand dollars, crabs, snails and shells. After lunch on the beach, we crossed the island on trails in the undeveloped central lands. We passed by the disused airstrip and continued on to the south shore with sand dunes and high bluffs. We met Jen, whose family has had property on Savary since 1930. We made a side trip to the spirit tree before continuing along the shore where some families were enjoying the beach. After checking out an antique store, we returned to Indian Point on the Sunset Trail. Cyndy’s local knowledge made a huge difference in exploring Savary. 16.6 km; 6½ hours.

Debbie

(click on photos to view larger)

Multi-day trip – Savary Island – 7-9 August 2017

Multi-day Kayaking – Nuchatlitz Prov Park – 20-28 Aug 2017

 This trip has been cancelled.

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Nuchatlitz Provincial Park
Date 20-28 August 2017
Trip Coordinator Kathryn Manry
Contact Info 2103 or kamanry@gmail.com. Please contact the coordinator by July 1.
Description We will take a water taxi in both directions between Zeballos and Nuchatlitz Prov Park. We will spend nine days paddling and camping as conditions permit. Likely destinations are Catala Island, islets in the provincial park, and Mary Basin
Meeting Place Zeballos
Departure Time TBA
Difficulty
Expect some challenging conditions: fog and wind are likely
Costs Transportation and one night in Zeballos
Trip limits Participants on this trip need to have been on a previous multi-day kayak trip with the Outdoor Club. Good paddling skills and good equipment are essential. Space is limited by the water taxi and by accommodation in Zeballos.
Dogs? no
Notes:

Camping, Hiking, Kayaking – Savary Island – 7-9 Aug 2017

Activity Camping, hiking, kayaking
Destination Savary Island
Date 7-9 August 2017, Monday to Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info 250-285-3575; Please make arrangements with the coordinator well in advance of the trip.
Description
Savary is a jewel of an island surrounded by white sand beaches.  We will hike or kayak on Tuesday.  Cyndy’s place is off grid with two outdoor composting toilets, a wood fired sauna, and indoor propane cooking facilities.  There is a solar panel for lights and charging cell phones. Water is hand pumped.  Remember that August is the busiest time of year and Monday is a holiday.
Getting there: Your own boat (kayak, motor or sailboat).  There is no moorage on a dock; you can anchor. Other options are a water taxi from Campbell River, or a water taxi combined with truck taxi from Lund.  These can be shared.  There is also a 15 minute reasonably priced float plane ride on Coralair from Campbell River that will land you close to the cabin, weather permitting, if you reserve ahead.
Meeting Place Cyndy’s place, Savary Island
Departure Time Arrive Savary on Monday, Aug 7 and depart on Wednesday, Aug 9 on you own schedule
Difficulty
Easy to Medium…Hiking or kayaking would take most of one day
Costs Cost of transportation to Savary Island
Trip limits 10 people
Dogs? Yes if hiking; No if kayaking.  Dogs love Savary Island, but you must pack water for them.
Notes: Please bring your own gear for camping, cooking and boating, as well as your own food.  Kayaks are not available to rent on Savary, so you need to bring your own if you want to kayak.  We ask that you take your garbage off the island when you leave with the exception of burnables and compost.