If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2016: Post 19 – Introduction to Kayak Camping

The overnight 'Introduction to Kayak Camping' club trip occurs at Pinchgut due to its very sheltered topography.  However, this year Hazen and I decided to lead participants into a more challenging and interesting location... we decided on Great Colinet Island in St. Mary's Bay on the weekend of July 9th and 10th, with nearby Pinchgut as our alternate location if the weather did not cooperate.  Great Colinet Island is certainly above Level 1 conditions for exposure and landing sites... I would put it at Level 2 and into 3 for parts of the trip. 

As the weekend drew near the winds were within Level 1 allowances, and with the depth and breadth of experience and skills of many paddlers within the group, and half of the group having been to the island previously, we decided the trip was a go.

Red arrow points to Great Colinet Island in St. Mary's Bay

Sixteen paddlers of various skills and experience unloaded kayaks and loaded up camping gear on the beach in Admirals Cove.

Hazen generally likes to have a little talk before leaving the beach when he leads club paddles.  As for me, I just figure people already know what they need to know via the e-mails that are sent out before the trip starts...  I just like to get going and let things develop as we paddle along...

There was a Beluga whale that had been hanging around the beach and we were well entertained by it's friendliness while we waited for everyone to get on the water.

The locals have named this little guy Dave

We made a bee-line for Bluff Head on the northern end of the island, only about 1.5 kilometres away, and then paddled into Regina Cove.  It was lunch time and we pulled up on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine while we ate.

After lunch we headed back to Bluff Head and turned south into Colinet Passage, with the bit of wind in our backs giving us a little push.

One of the ladies in our group had a connection to Mosquito Cove so we made a stop along the way to our campsite at the south end of the island.  Before long we rounded Wild Head and paddled into Wild Cove.  Wild Cove is quite exposed to the south and I can well imagine in a good south wind with unlimited fetch the cove is aptly named.

Taking out in Wild Cove

There's lots of room for tents along the beach and it didn't take too long to get camp set up.

Someone suggested we take a walk out to Wild Head and so off we went...

Looking back toward the campsite
When we walked back to the campsite it was Happy Hour and we lounged around for a while...

... until it was time to get some supper on the go.

Later in the evening we all pitched in to gather up some driftwood and had the customary fire, complete with a few drinks, roasted wieners, and some joke-telling.

The next morning was calm in the cove as we were protected from the northerly wind. Breakfast ensued and we watched as a couple whales (I believe they were Minke) feeding on the caplin that were hanging around, not quite ready to come ashore to spawn just yet.  Then we got the kayaks loaded up and paddled out of the cove, with the plan to round South Point and paddle on the west side of the island.

As we rounded South Point I wondered how the newer paddlers would fair with our bows pointing into the wind.  People were just fine but one of the ladies was in a shorter, slower kayak and so some of us decided that we would get a tow going just to keep her moving at a better pace, as well as for the practice.  It was actually more of a half-tow as she kept paddling, and the distance was only about six kilometers, but it was good experience for some people to get an idea of what is required for a longer tow.

Some guys figured the lead tower
should be doing all the work

We changed out towers as we went along and towed until we reached Back Cove (just before Dalton Point at the north end of the island) where we took out for a light lunch and a little rest.  We would have a beam wind as we paddled across Regina Cove and across the passage and so towlines were put away.  

We finished lunch and got into our kayaks for the last leg of the journey.  Everyone was in good spirits and nobody seemed to be in any real hurry to get back across Colinet Passage to the waiting cars.

After we had the kayaks pulled up on the beach, Beluga Dave came to ask about our trip. Some people took to the water to try to get some underwater pics of him, or to just look at him underwater as he swam around...

All the cars were loaded up with kayaks and gear and good-byes were said and off people went, very pleased with having been on the trip, thankful for the weather, and giddy with the chance to have been so close to whales.  

Well, that's another Introduction to Kayak Camping club trip in the books.  I hope people enjoyed this years location, but I mostly hope the newer paddlers were challenged and learned some stuff about kayaking and kayak camping that they did not know before... after all, this trip is as much about learning as it is about the social aspects of paddling and camping.

Thanks to all the participants... you each had a part in making this a most enjoyable trip.

--> Just a couple things to keep in mind in regards to safety on future trips:  Be extra careful around the campfire, and don't lift loaded kayaks by yourself. 


  1. This was such a great trip! The Beluga, the fun paddle down to wild cove, the amazing view from the top of the hill.
    Awesome choice Dean and Hazen!

  2. That's a sweet trip I loved the video and pics!!! Thanks for posting!!