Put In and Parking for Gulf Island Trip

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by paddlesores, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Hi all,

    We are going to be making a trip into the Gulf Islands in the latter half of June and are looking for recommendations for put-ins with available parking. The basic route of the trip will be heading down the west side of Saltspring, then onto Rum, Saturna, Cabbage, Prevost and possible Wallace.
    Going by the BCMT site there looks to be reasonable access from Crofton and Chemainus. Does anyone have local/current knowledge, suggestions or recommendations about these sites? Any other put-ins come to mind? We will be coming over from the mainland.
    Thanks for the help,

    Doug
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    So why don't you park yr car at Tsawwassen, cart your yaks onto the ferry, get off at Swartz, roll over to the dock, and paddle up to Saltspring W and stay your first night at Musgrave Pt or Cape Keppel NW . . . and then continue your trip as you laid it out and take one of the other ferries back?
    That seems like fun to me!
     
  3. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Hi Mick,
    We need a vehicle on the island after the trip.
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Just a note: Last time I was past (in the fall) squatters had 'established residence' at Keppel NW . Musgrave was OK, but the slog uphill hadn't changed!

    For put-in - At Crofton, there is a commercial RV campground south of the ferry dock. Some (5-6?) years ago we paid to park there and launch off their beach. Much nicer than the rocky put-in at the ferry. I don't know the status of that campground now, or whether they would allow parking. It was off-season when we were there.

    Farther north, Cedar (see BCMTN map) is a good launch and I have left my car there for a few days.

    NB:My car is old and not a big temptation for thieves. Off-topic: I asked a lady in Zeballos about leaving my car at Little Espinosa Inlet. She took one look at it and replied: "With that car, I wouldn't worry. If you had something newer, or a Mercedes...." :)
     
  5. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Was there last year (SaltSpring). When heading to Wallace and points north, I usually park at the end of Abutrus Rd. When heading south to Prevost, I park at Long Harbor boat launch at the end of Eagle Ridge Drive/Ontario Pl. Guide books list another launch on SaltSpring in Ganges at the end of Churchhill Rd But the path to the beach is blocked to vehicles so you have a bit of a carry (and a 90 degree turn down short stairs) for gear and your boat.

    If possible, plan your trip so you have some shore time on SaltSpring on a Saturday. Their Saturday Market with fresh bakes breads, pastries, pizza slices, fruits, veggies, is not to be missed.

    On SaltSpring there is camping at Ruckle Park. By "not drive up" they mean you park and carry your gear to a site. But they provide wheel barrows at the parking lot so you can load your "overnight" gear in and wheel it down - doesn't have to be very far.

    Last but not least - showers. There's a public swimming pool on Rainbow Road. But timing is important. On one or two days of the week (I think Sunday) the cost is only $2.00 (Canadian). I think that's also the price after 6 pm. But on the other days/times of the week it's $6.00! Now that wouldn't be bad if it were an actual shower with maybe soap/sampoo dispenser or towel provided. But you need all your own stuff and the "shower" is just that trickle you get when management wants you to take a shower before getting into the pool. It's sort of a pass-thru on the way from the locker room to the pool. You have to push a button many times as the pour interval is short.
     
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  6. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    I might suggest Amherst Park Beach in Sidney. No more than 4 hours parking there, but just 2 blocks up, you can park on third ave. We have gone for 3 days or so, and no problems there. It is street parking, but is an easy launch. It is a bit south of the ferry terminal. At Amherst Ave and 3rd St. You would park on 3rd As far as currents go, Samsun Narrows on west side of Salt Spring can be a bit of a slog. Timing your paddle is best through there. I suggest, from Amherst, hit Portland Island, then head to Rum and points beyond. This will make you skip Salt Spring, but if you want, just head up then back down again...https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Am...1cc3e5b8410c8!8m2!3d48.6579055!4d-123.4029851
     
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  7. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Saltspring, right?

    'sores, you are getting a lot of really great advice/info from the throng. Most of this beta is gold. And not readily available in the usual guidebooks. I think access from the small ramp at Chemainus away from the marina is worth considering, despite demanding your vehicle be parked there. If Tent Island is back in play as a campsite, the exit day from Tent to Chemainus is pretty easy.

    Parking at Arbutus Point on Saltspring is very limited, though it is extremely convenient if you really want quick access to Wallace, and truly must leave a vehicle on Saltspring. Ganges is a zoo, summers, and overnight parking can be problematic. [Is there reasonable cost extended overnight parking anywhere near Ganges?]
     
  8. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I don't think its a good idea to publicize Amherst as an overnight parking option.
    -I don't think long term parking is actually allowed on Third St; though it seems to be tolerated for now.
    -The Amherst area launch parking has been problematic, with neighbours complaining about parking by day paddlers.

    Sidney is firmly in the 'NOT kayak friendly' category, and apparently wants to stay that way. And Parks Canada has its 'head in the sand' about the access to the water problems - they make it pretty clear that they would be happier if nobody used the Gulf Islands Park (oops- 'Park Reserve'), leaving it to the flora and fauna.
     
  9. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    John, That is news to me. although every , and I mean EVERY marina is NOT kayak friendly, I found that area not a problem. If that has changed, I did not know.
     
  10. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Thanks everyone for all the info. John, I'll try to contact that RV campground and see if they're willing to let us park there for a fee. I don't mind parking fees if I believe it'll help keep a vehicle a little more secure. We've seen the issues they've had at Little Espinosa. Our vehicle, like yours, wasn't worth the effort but the pickup trucks beside us evidently were. Dave, we need the vehicle on Van Island after the trip, not Saltspring. Back in 2012 we also ran into an issue with a marina in Sidney. We had phoned ahead a couple weeks before a trip and had the OK to use their facility to launch from and park at but when we arrived they said we couldn't. It took quite a bit of talking but they eventually did let us use the marina but there was no question of that being allowed to happen again.
    Doug
     
  11. Man in qajaq

    Man in qajaq Paddler

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    The Amherst launch in Sidney is a great launch but not friendly towards kayakers by the residents. I was legally parked on Third St and a resident from a building came out and 'requested ' that I don't park there. I questioned her about the parking legalities, and pointed to the signage that confirmed I was allowed. She huffed and told me again to park further down the street and stormed back inside.
    I've also heard a local story about fisticuffs exchanged between a resident and a paddler with the police eventually called.
    I agree; Sidney is not kayak friendly
     
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  12. Man in qajaq

    Man in qajaq Paddler

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    I have parked overnight on Resthaven and launched from the beach access on Roberts Bay multiple times without any problems .
    This is just a little north from the Amherst location which I no longer use.
     
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  13. designer

    designer Paddler

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    We found out about the shower situation on SaltSpring because, though the marina's had showers we were told by management they were definitely NOT FOR KAYAKERS.

    Closer to Ganges, at the Long harbor launch site, there is side of the road parking; much more than at the end of Abutrus Rd. It's not "in Ganges", but not too far away.

    On Sidney, we were advised NOT TO PARK ON THE STEET. That lot between 1st and 2nd streets on Bevan. It is absolutely designed for long term parking - definitely multi-day. There's a ramp at the Tulista launch with a pebble/stone "beach" to the left (facing the water). It's just down from the ferry dock to Anacortes. There are bathrooms at the park.

    When I considered going to Portland Island, it looked like there was parking and launch at the end of Canoe Cove Rd - though it's sort of indirect to get there. Some guide books describe a "path" access when wheeling your boat on a cart. Via car, you have to head away from the Canadian Ferry terminal, exit on at an overpass to cross over the main road and head back to the terminal, then take an exit just before you are back at the terminal. Google Earth and various map apps are your friend.

    Mini-trip report: We launched from Long Harbor to Prevost. On Prevost there is only one picnic table/flat campsite to the left of the beach (facing the land), but there are numerous flat sites on a trail from there. Problem is, if you get that "choice" site, you may have traffic through your area from the other sites. There's a big field just up from the beach and those who don't explore the alternatives camp there. I'm pretty sure there is one fire pit/enclosure near the beach (we didn't use it so fuzzy in memory), but there is an excellent solar powered composting toilet (we did use) that even has toilet paper on both sides of the throne (for left or right handed people). Using a hammock can be a little challenging, especially if you want to be in the same "site" at your paddling partner's tent. Steve and I have meals together but have no problem sleeping several sites apart. With a per-person fee, it doesn't matter if we use one or two sites. Of course we'd never use two if it were crowded - but Prevost was empty after the first night and when we landed on Sidney Spit (leaving from Amherst) a day after the Canadian holiday, we had all 30 sites to ourselves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I think that's the Tulista launch ramp, not Amherst?
     
  15. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    That field looks like a meadow, but was plowed years ago and the furrows are still there, so it's 'bumpier' than it looks!
     
  16. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I see it was Tulista - I was lazy this morning. Looks like the parking lot was between 1st and 2nd street on Bevan.

    With a hammock I'm not so concerned about "bumpy" :) There were campers in that field but we didn't investigate much when they left. We had a flat site up the path from the prime picnic table site. I had two trees across from Steve's tent area. The next day, the person at the table site left and Steve picked up his tent and moved there. I could have used some trees at the new site, but it would have crowed Steve so I stayed where I was. Instead of investigating the land, we paddled around the island.

    Special treat - the plum tree a little left of the beach (leave some for others).
     
  17. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Even in the late 1990s, the residents in Sidney were hostile towards overnight parking by kayakers, an attitude which seemed reinforced by the dearth of signage identifying "allowable" access points for launching. I turned to friendlier areas of Vancouver Island for most paddletrips, and to more distant locations on Saltspring for access to the Gulf Islands. Ladysmith became one of our fave small towns on the east side of Vancouver Island. We always felt welcome there, both as paddlers and as powerboaters, in the 2000's.

    Giving Sidney residents their due, having a number of parking spots normally used by residents taken over by tourists is aggravating. Here in Oregon, all the beaches are public and open to all. One only needs to locate one of the accesses with upland signage. The confusing status of "Crown lands" to us was always a puzzle.
     
  18. dut

    dut Paddler

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    I noticed that Sidney has posted a list of kayak launch locations:
    http://www.sidney.ca/Things_To_Do/Recreation/Kayak_Launch_Locations.htm

    As you can see there are a number of launch sites but are time limited. Actually Sidney, to their credit, have pretty good access to the water for pedestrians. It is not necessarily for kayaks but access none the less. They seem to be spaced 200 to 300 m apart.

    Barry
     
  19. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Barry-
    Thanks for that link- certainly useful for folks who want to get out for an hour or two.

    That web page starts off by touting the great kayaking 'day 'and overnight trips 'possible' from Sidney, and below that is a list of launch spots - with 4 hour or day parking. The only spot that allows overnight parking is Tulista and that is for a fee, and the number of spots is limited.
    So, lots of room for improvement, if there was any interest in it.
     
  20. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    You can also try Pacifica Paddling, they have an office at the Canoe Cove marina, not far from Swartz Bay ferry terminal (a 5 min drive). Peter, the owner let me parka dn launch from his place for a weekend trip (2 nites), as he has some parking available in the marina. There is also a pretty good diner, and pub too, for apres paddle. Give Peter a call...his is a nice guy, and may be able to accommodate you. That way you are somewhat "secure" for your vehicle also.