We had to move our camp last night to a proper sand box tent pad, in mosquito-ville. So it was a quick get up in the morning to load up the kayaks on the logs escaping the bugs and getting on our way. After one rest day, it seemed like we had been in Poets Cove for days. I loaded up my kayak on the logs and then used my foam rollers to it roll down into the muck of low tide. Over the cockle clams, oysters, ulva, muck and ooze. The foam rollers worked like a charm, despite the mating whale noises they made with all that mass being rolled over them from my fully loaded boat. The tide was still outflowing as we left camp paddling under the bridge between South and North Pender, A beautiful bay. I made an overconfident map reading error taking us on a half mile run down into Beaumont bay. From now on I will take extra care and double check with my gps, when in doubt. We paddled against current in the drizzling rain all morning and then all day long. Rounding North Pender Island at Razor point was quite beautiful with several grand old docks with fishing shacks on platforms and beautiful homes along the way. We fought the current all along Navy Channel but after a food stop and leg stretch on Mayne island at dinner point,(Lunch and a pee at dinner point), we shoved off again to cross Active Pass between Mayne and Galiano island. We decided to go wide so we could see down the pass and take advantage of the Northward flow of the flood that appeared at LAST! We crossed just after one BC ferry and before a second smaller one. Perfect timing all around, smart navigating as well, since the fog was looming in the rain, but even so you could see around 1.5 miles. The rest of the afternoon we continued down Trincomali channel towards Wallace island. On our way we passed small Wise island and its unique rocks with dead trees on them looking quite magical in the foggy weather.
Wallace island was beautiful. Sandstone cut outs covered in moss and lichens, wildflowers and succulents in bloom. I saw my first Indian paintbrush in the mix. The island has a wide variety of tree species of all ages including snags – quite beautiful. We passed on by a couple of amazing camp sites that were occupied, Canada day holiday weekend. If it was not so cold and rainy I am sure there would be many more people on the water. The North end of Wallace island camp area must have had a dozen kayakers in there – We coasted on by – not wanting to answer a hundred questions from weekend kayakers. Still a flood Northward current, so we began to push towards Reid island. This would be 30 plus mile day. Why Not?? We were wet and cold, perhaps in another hour or two the sun would make a showing??
We continued on next to the beautiful Secretary islands towards Reid. Traci’s book said there was a camp site there on the East shore. We made it to Hall island and finally Reid!! I decided to ask a man who was in his fishing skiff just in front of his home where the camp site was located. He informed me; “No camping on Reid,” but we could camp on the rock with the trees just South of the island. His wife said it was quite nice. So back we turned. Thankfully, the current was not flowing anymore, (high slack). We started circling the rock – No landing sites, just high rock ledges galore. It was not looking good. Then we met John standing out on a ledge, drink in hand, he told us of the great camp site just 10 feet above our heads. With his help, holding off our kayaks, we unloaded in the water standing on a small rock shelf, tossing our gear up onto the island. First my kayak and then Traci’s. Then we dragged/carried the empty kayaks straight up the rock face. I have no idea how long this all took. After 30 plus miles I was just glad to be off my ass! My boat got dropped by John in the lifting, but only suffered several surface scratches. Then it started to pour down rain again as we set up the blue tarps and tent. Oh well, we were on land!
But then the sun came out, so we started to hang everything out to dry. We ate split pea soup and smoked salmon in dry clothes. What a view! Up above on the wonderful rock looking North into the setting sun – drying out. When we felt organized enough we walked over to visit Rita and John enjoying their campfire amazing view and mixed drinks, Rita’s Keetankomen (ginger ale, cranberry juice, alcohol and rum), they even had ice!.
This Crown Islet was just beautiful with arbutus, juniper trees, Gary oak, shrubs wild flowers and succulents in bloom. So many flowers in bloom, and oh so many thistles and seeds stuck into all of our clothes. Oh well, what else do we do??? – lots of time for picking seeds out of clothes, socks, sweaters, etc, drying out all of our gear, charging up batteries with solar panels, repacking, Not even time to journal!
The moon came out to the South as we visited with our lovely islet hosts and passed on an offer of some BC pot, hand rolled. The Keetankomen drinks would have to suffice, I am not one for smoke in my lungs.
Total miles: 128, Eden Island
Conditions: cool and misty in the morning, fog, rain off and on; sun in the evening; barometer 1015
We had a slog fest in the morning. Left Poet’s Cove – felt like we’d been there FOREVER – and set forth. Passed under the bridge connecting north/south Pender islands. Very scenic. We left when we thought we’d get a push from the incoming tide, but we were fighting some current most of the morning. Rain off & on. Might as well be paddling.
We stopped for lunch, and I ripped the tape from my paddle. I made a strategic error, wearing gloves on the first day of this trip. I thought I’d be protecting my hands, but instead the gloves gave me blisters. I should have used the raquetball gloves, which have been useful in the past – but no, I used fingerless gloves that I’ve taken on shorter paddles. Those got dropped after the first day, but I still had the bicycle tape on my paddle. In sprint paddling, and surfski paddling in rough/wet conditions, a light wrap of cloth bike tape helps one to keep a loose, positive grip. Well, here it was just chewing the heck out of my hands. Off with it!
When we reached Active Pass it was quite grey and gloomy, and the cloud/fog level was getting low – but still off the water. The BC ferry had just cleared going west, the current was picking up in our favor, so we crossed under pretty darn near perfect conditions. We cruised along the west side of Galliano Island, appreciating the increase in speed. Followed the rocks to Wallace, and skirted the east shore. Very beautiful island, also very popular with kayakers. Holiday weekend (Canada Day) so we saw many boats at the campsites. We decided to push on to Reid, where Miller’s book said there was camping allowed on the east side. Miller lied (or conditions have changed), but we were directed back to a little rock island on the SW shore. Ready to set up camp, we headed over and were greeted by a rocky chunk of land. Great. We circled around looking for any likely pull-out, and encountered a man above a moored boat, drink in hand. He suggested back at the north end where there was a small rock ledge just under water. John (our new friend) helped Tracy land and unload her boat, then I came in and did the same. Gear was tossed haphazardly on the next dry ledge above the water. Unloaded, we lifted the boats up to a flat grassy spot just above the rocks – perfect camp site. Of course the rain let loose as we were setting up camp, but we persevered and got dry clothes on. At least we were on the lee side of the island and out of the wind! We got a covered area set up to cook, had hot split pea soup, and went south to visit our benefactors.
John and Rita have been coming to the island for 22 years, setting up an amazing site for two weeks away from civilization with all the comforts of home. Sleeping tent, gear tent, food tent, solar lights along the walkway, ice chests, booze, grass…! We visited by their campfire and enjoyed the setting sun and rising moon, then went back and crashed for the night.