We hit Victoria for the typical tourist scene. The food was fantastic, the weather was still nice, and we got to sleep in real beds.We skipped tea at the Empress, but had a similar experience (at half the price) at the Gatsby Mansion.
It was a great end to an amazing vacation. We drove over to Sidney to take the ferry to Anacortes. We arrived home exhausted and happy. Now back to dog running and nursing school.
Day 6 we headed west along Vancouver Island back to Telegraph Cove. Every day, we had to break down our camp. We put everything that we could into dry bags (they aren’t cheap or spacious) and drag the boats to the water. If it is low tide, that can be quite a ways. It is a tedious procedure and not something that we looked forward to every morning.
Prepping for the paddle.
We made it back to civilization and washed our hands. In a sink. With warm water and soap. Half of the reason I like being outside is so that I can appreciate the fancy things in life. Things like sinks. We had to carry our own fresh water. We each brought 3.75 gallons of fresh water in our boat. That was enough to drink, cook food, let the dog drink, and brush our teeth, but that is about it. It was nice to be back in the “real” world. We drove to Campbell River. That is my favorite spot to fish for salmon. This whole trip, I was dragging a herring fly behind my boat. Well, maybe not the whole time. Only when it wasn’t too dangerous, or I wasn’t watching whales with my mouth open. I was looking for Coho salmon as I have never caught that species, yet.
Campbell River always has a healthy run of Pink Salmon. That seemed to be my consolation prize.
2nd place trophy.
Dat kype tho’.
My good friend has an awesome house in an fantastic location with an incredible family. This is part of his oasis. That is all I can say about that.
Little slice of Canadian heaven.
We really enjoyed Campbell River. It has a lot of fly fishing history and still has a huge fishing community. Everything seems to be better when fish are involved.
Blackney Passage is a very popular shipping lane. There was a lot of logging in the area. Combining shipping and logging is a feat that amazes me still.
A lot of logs.
We woke up on the day that was supposed to have the worst weather. The currents were very strong. We were forced to stay within a paddle length of the shore of the islands. We couldn’t get very far. We tried to paddle along Hanson Island to the Orca Research Centre, but we couldn’t make it. We were forced to sit in the kelp and watch our new friends play.
Sea lions watching Amanda.
We paddled until we found a place that we thought would be a good campsite for the night. Unfortunately, companies can buy the rights to nice areas and kick people off the best spots. They set up giant tents, a small kitchen complete with barbecues, and composting toilets. It is fun to use the facilities and then leave before they get there. It reminds me of being a kid and going to the fancy resorts, using the waterslides, and not being a paying guest.
Poaching the private hammocks.
We found an abandoned cabin that had been made mostly from materials found on the island. It was a bit creepy. There was canned food on the shelves as if someone had gone crazy and just left. Or maybe they were murdered and the killer was silently waiting for unsuspecting tourists just in the shadows. Amanda thought all of these things and I had to tell her that she was being ridiculous. She doesn’t know that I was expecting to find a half rotten corpse in any of the shacks. Either way, we set up our tent and had awesome views as long as we didn’t let the creepy ideas into our head.
Another day in the life.
The wildlife was as impressive as always. This black tailed deer came to check us out. He checked in our boats for snacks before eating seaweed at low tide. We had a full moon for our trip and the tides would rise over 16 feet. We really had to think about where we tied up our boats at night. I woke up a few times and looked out of our tent to make sure our boats were still there. You really doubt your knots at 2am with no way of getting back to civilisation.
Luckily, we stumbled upon the coolest campsite of our trip. It was a little hidden as you can see in the picture below. In fact, at high tide, you could paddle between the island and not see the fire pit or flat tent area.We were surrounded on 3 sides by water. This allowed us to sit and watch the wildlife.There were Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, birds galore, orcas, and humpbacks everywhere.
Wine while camping, yes please.
In the middle of the night we were woken up because the whales were so close. We could hear them breathing and talking to each other. The full moon made it easy to see them as they swam through Blackney Passage singing to each other.
Our view onto Blackney Passage.
We were alone with just as and the animals when we were startled by a small boat that came cruising by. It had a few people on it, but they were watching the big screen and didn’t see us or the whales.
We woke up ready to paddle. Well, actually to pedal. The kayaks that we borrowed are equipped with a virtually hands free propulsion system. See the video below.
This allowed us to fish, take pictures, and pet the dog, all while making forward progress. Speaking of the dog, of course we brought him. The other advantage to these kayaks is that they are sit on top kayaks instead of sit in kayaks. Sit on top configuration does not go as fast and is definitely not as stable as the sit in kayaks. However, we were able to bring all the gear we wanted and have a vacation with our dog.
Leaving Telegraph Cove in the late morning seemed fine. We got our tide and current chart and asked for someone to decipher it for us. There was a bit of concern that we did not have a VHF radio or marine charts. The winds were low and everything seemed doable. We got breakfast to go, loaded the boats, and pedaled out of the small marina.
The calm after the storm.
We made it about half way across Johnstone Strait before the currents got the best of us. At first it was kind of funny watching the currents pushing us from left to right. Then the waves got bigger. Then there was a big whirlpool. After 30 minutes we weren’t moving. The waves were coming into the boats. We had no radio. Boats were intentionally avoiding the area. We might be in trouble. It took our remaining strength and composure to swallow our pride and turn around to head back the way we came.
Safety on shore.
Once we were safely back on shore, we found a beautiful campsite and set up our house for the afternoon. We were down, but not out. We looked at the map to try and figure out if we could camp on the side of Vancouver Island without crossing Johnstone Strait.