S: 2011 Vancouver Island , BC and Johnstone Strait Expedition Kayak Trip
FC: Vacation to Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Kayak trip with Spirit of the West 2011
1: Our trip began on Wednesday, July 27. There were 5 Couples: Curt & Candy Door, Brian & Karen Baars, Tim & Cheryl McGrath, John & Sue Paul, Randy & Jody VantHul. We arrived in Seattle at different times so some of us were able to do a little site seeing such as the downtown waterfront and Pikes Place Market. We rented a 12 passenger van and met the challenge of getting all our luggage aboard. On Thursday we drove to Port Angeles and took the ferry to Victoria BC. We stayed at the Huntingdon which was within walking distance to town. Highlights: Tour of the Parliament building, pub crawls, and the quest for good restaurants.
2: Celebrating 33 years- Il Terrazzo restaurant, down Waddington Alley | Oysters on the half shell...one of our afternoon "appe's" on the Pub crawl. | We toured the Parliament building and learned a little bit about how the Canadian government operates.
3: After lunch at the Gardens we enjoyed a beautiful, 25 mile ride back to Victoria. We followed a trail system that took us through the country side and also through neighborhoods. | On Friday morning we split up and went to breakfast on our own. We happened to meet Brian and Karen so asked a local for a good recommendation. She suggested John's Place, which was very good. We then walked to Cycle Treks and rented bicycles. They took us to Butchart Gardens. The gardens were amazing! The size and quality of the plants were stunning.
4: On our way to Quadra Island Saturday we stopped in Courtenay and visited the Nine Patch Media Studio. Sharon Pederson and Elizabeth Reynolds showed us the Rose of Remembrance quilt and some of the other projects they are working on. | The Rose of Remembrance block Candy designed on EQ6 in 2009
5: Fish & Chips at Dicks - Campbell River | We walked from our B&B - Moonlight Shadows to Heriot Bay for our meeting with Elin, our SOW guide. Then we had dinner at the Inn. | Sunday morning we met Patrick & Elin at the boat dock, parked our van at Campbell River and rode in the SOW van for the 3 hour ride to Telegraph Cove.
6: Telegraph Cove | We loaded all our gear onto the water taxi owned by Bruce from Paddlers Inn, our destination for the last night on the Johnstone Strait Expedition. He took us across the Johnstone Strait to Hanson Island.
7: Hanson Island | At our first night's camp we became familiar with our tents and also the kayaks. Elin gave us some instruction and we even paddled into the Johnstone Strait for a while. We saw an eagle catch a fish and land on a small island near us.
8: Morning, Day 2 | We woke up to a beautiful calm, partly cloudy morning. The tide was low and we soon realized that SOW's recommendation of using the rubber boots was a good one. It was a challenge loading up all our gear for the next 4 days but we soon learned the routine and were paddling by 10:00. We headed north west around Hanson Island.
9: We stopped for lunch on the north side of Hanson Island. The tide was coming in and we had to keep an eye on the kayaks. There was a cool breeze coming off the water so we found a sunny sheltered spot in the woods to eat our lunch. We then paddled across Blackfish Sound . On the other side we waited near an island as a Disney cruise ship came into the Sound. | Paddling on the ocean was a new experience for most of us. We encountered currents between islands and learned to tell its direction by the way the bull kelp was floating.
10: Camp Day 2, Compton Island | The site of an old First Nation's Indian camp, evidenced by a beach full of broken shells. This was a beautiful camp site along a small cove with views in the distance of Blackfish Sound. We did see Humpbacks and Orcas in the distance from this site. The small channel next to our camp had unpredictable currents. At times it looked like a river. Food, again, was exceptional, topped off with Chocolate Fondue on the beach!
11: After a gorgeous sunrise, coffee, and breakfast we loaded up and paddled north between Crease and Swanson Islands. We passed some remote lodges and saw fish farms in the distance. | Tuesday, Day 3
12: This was a great day of paddling. We decided that we wanted to make it to camp and then do some fishing so we didn't stop for lunch. We had very calm water as we paddled past many small islands to the west. We crossed the Knight Inlet and around the east side of Owl Island next to Midsummer Is. We encountered a little bit of rain but it stopped before we got to camp on the north west side of Owl Island.
13: Owl Island & surrounding area
14: Owl Island We set up camp and then went fishing. The guides wouldn't let the guys go out in the kayaks by themselves so we all went paddling. We quickly had success. The guys caught Rock fish and Ling Cod. We put them on a stringer and then paddled around the area. We cooked the fish over the fire that night. It was a nice camp. We could walk over to the other side to see yet another great view.
16: Day 4 Another calm, beautiful morning. This was one of our sunniest days. Because it was so calm we paddled near the "big water" on the western edge of the Broughton Archipelago's. Wildlife- porpoises, Minke whale at a "bait ball" and sea lions.
19: Lunch stop, day 4. We beached in a small rocky area. The tide was coming in but were able to snap a few photos of the rocks, shells and plant life in the area. It was a good time to stretch our legs and take in the view.
20: After lunch we paddled past Hudson Island. There were high rock cliffs on one of the island making it an interesting paddle. From there we paddled through some very narrow passages and then back into more open water. | The Mothership Another kayak vacation option which uses the ship as a base camp. We asked them for ice cream!
21: On the way to our Tracy Island camp Elin called for the group to "raft up". She reached in to her kayak and came up with a large tarp. We rigged a couple of paddles to the tarp and proceeded to sail in the direction of camp.
22: This was a very hidden camp but once the tide went out we had more room to explore the area. Camp sites were a bit more limited due to a big hill not far into the woods. Beautiful area though. Those of us who were journaling got caught up and some of the guys wet a line from the rocks. Black bean fajitas were served for supper and the evening ended with a campfire and view of the moon. | Tracy Island
23: Day 5- We awoke to fog. After oatmeal for breakfast we loaded up, had a challenging launch between the rocks, and headed around Tracy Island only to find that the tide had not come in enough to pass that way.
24: As we paddled back around the island we took time to look at the many varieties of sea life- sea stars, anemones, etc. It was an interesting paddle through the fog.
26: Insect Island. Lunch, Day 5 A large First Nations settlement area with many "home" sites up on the hill.
27: The skies cleared and the sun came out during our paddle in the afternoon. We traveled between Insect and Baker Island and then turned east into Fife Sound along the north side of Baker Island. We then crossed Hornet Passage and paddled into Simoom Sound and found the Paddlers Inn.
28: Dungeness Crab Thanks to some crab fishermen we paddled past.
29: Since their anniversary was the most recent Curt and Candy got to stay in the "love shack", a separate building from the main lodge...all floating on massive docks. | Our last morning paddle was to visit Billy Proctor, an elderly man who has lived in the Archipelago most of his life. He had a museum of items he has collected over time and also a gift shop. We also passed Echo Bay, a somewhat busy resort port.
30: A beautiful sunset closed out our last evening at Paddlers Inn | Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! For the Lord is a great God, and a king above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:1,3-5
31: A memorable trip indeed!