Tsawwassen to Victoria...

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by DFDrew, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. DFDrew

    DFDrew New Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    Hello, new to this Forum so if this is posted in the wrong area please forgive me and let me know where it should be.

    I am looking to do a trek and cross the Strait of Georgia from mainland to Victoria and am wondering what the level of difficulty the trip is, and if there are any good books, guides etc put out by people who have done it to use for prep.

    Thanks in advance
  2. seadevilsadvocate

    seadevilsadvocate Paddler

    Jul 5, 2014
    Hello DFDrew,

    I think you are posting in the right forum.
    The trip you describe is really quite easy.
    Just ask some people and they will tell you the best way to get on BC ferries. From there I recommend you make your way to the gift shop. There are a number of wonderful guides about your trip.
    Good luck and cheers!
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    May 31, 2005
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
  4. pointbob

    pointbob Paddler

    Jul 16, 2014
    Point Bob
    I wonder if the OP, DFdrew, means kayaking from tsawassen to victoria? Like as in a kayak and paddling there lol...
  5. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

    Mar 24, 2009
    I read it to mean that DF Drew was looking for advice about paddling across to Vancouver Island. I have wondered about it myself and it would likely be weather and wind dependent and you would have to seriously consider a destination such as Saturna or Galiano to split the paddling up a bit and potentially wait out tide peaks. I recall a couple at the WCPaddler campout two years ago that paddled from Point Roberts to Portland Island in 6 hours and had hoped to return via the same route. Personally, long crossings such as these are very boring as they offer little in the way of distraction except the trough of the next wave. You will have to keep food and water accessible from the cockpit and plan to use onboard facilities while seated.

    There is potential for high winds rough seas and large boats that will not be able to see you.

    Best of luck
  6. tiagosantos

    tiagosantos Paddler

    Jul 31, 2014
    Burnaby BC
    I think Seadevilsadvocate knew what he meant but was responding in jest :p looks to me like the original question is one of those "if you have to ask.." questions.
  7. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Dec 1, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Ok, I haven't done, so this is all theoretical. Here is what I see.

    The crossing from Tsawwassen to Galiano or Mayne Islands looks to be some 15 miles. Doable distance for a skilled paddler. But this area would likely be very busy with other traffic (including big ships). And the tidal currents would be heading left or right of your desired track, probably at considerable speeds. 15 miles would mean 4-6 hours on the water, or a full tidal cycle (so not something you could time around slack). Not an open crossing I'd take lightly.

    Given these conditions, I would look for a route that had much shorter crossings, which are easier to figure out currents and the like. Given your desired start and finish times, I'd consider paddling south to Lummi island then the San Juans then across back to Canada.

    If you don't want to go through the States, then heading north provides options but at a much longer distance.

    Or take the ferry.
  8. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

    Dec 19, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    DFDrew, bottom line, via consensus, if you are very experienced, and extremely fit, hit the weather right, you can do it, otherwise, take the ferry.
    So far as being an interesting paddle, NO!
    Unsure if there would be any advice on this particular trip, as it is boring, and not for the average paddler.
    That being said, I believe one paddler that I know here did do it, but he cheated :lol: and used a sail on his kayak! This guy has also survived a Polar Bear attack, :shock: so....
    Spend $20.00 take the ferry to VI, as a walk on, it is $17.95, plus $2.00 for a kayak on a cart, then toodle off to more interesting parts, well worth the money spent.
  9. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Mar 8, 2005
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    Done this twice. The first time was a solo, 2 day crossing from Swartz Bay to White Rock beach with an overnight stay on Cabbage Island (off Saturna). Day 1 was pleasant, easy and uneventful; day two was delayed to an early afternoon start after an unforecasted very windy night and morning. I did have to time my crossing between freighter traffic, and got knocked over twice by very choppy seas in the shipping lanes. There can be significant localized current out there! I arrived tired but safe, and vowed never to do such a boring paddle again.

    A couple of years later, I guess I'd forgotten just how boring it was and agreed to do it again, this time with a friend. We did it in one day, following exactly the BC Ferries route from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. The bit to Active Pass is a nice paddle, but the Straight is deathly boring. I had never, and have never since, seen flatter waters. It truly was mirror flat without a breath of wind. The only thing to break the boredom of a monotonous paddle, apart from dialog with a good friend, was watching a distant Brown Pelican do huge circles around us, skimming inches above the water. We could see him for miles, it was so clear and flat. I haven't seen one of those majestic birds since! But I've vowed never to do such a boring paddle again. ;-)
  10. Doug_Lloyd

    Doug_Lloyd Paddler

    Feb 29, 2008
    More fun with a bit of a bump. Not too hot a day. If heading out early morning in summer there can be some chop coming from out of the coastal fiords even though you think morning are calm all things being equal. I try to head for Active Pass when I leave Tsawwassen headed for Swartz. Then hit the tide right. Not a good crossing solo if contradictory winds come up and your rudder fails if rudder dependant. I do my crossing here solo but really a good friend makes it saver normally and cyst down the boredom but I don't encourage large group crossings. Be responsible in shipping lanes. Don't go later in day if things go wrong and you can't night navigate. Solo with a cramped arm sudden bad back chaffing protective clothing wear etc can be a problem so do some good conditioning paddles first. I like June for crossings lots of daylight. Nice temps. There are no bragging rights for that crossing. Pretty pedestrian if you ask me.