Discovery Island - Trip Description
From Cattle Point: 5.3 km (3.3 mi)
From Oak Bay Marina: 5.8 km (3.6 mi)
From Cadboro Bay (Gyro Park): 6.9 km (4.3 mi)
From Telegraph Cove: 7.5 km (4.7 mi)
Coordinates (WGS 84):
Launch location (Telegraph Cove): 48 27.845 123 16.795 WGS84
Camp site (Rudlin Bay): 48 25.424 123 14.017 WGS84
Baynes Channel currents can be calculated by using current charts for Race Rocks. Multiply the Race Rocks current speed by 0.75 and subtract 15 minutes.
- No. 3313 Small-Craft Charts: Gulf Islands (various scales)
- No. 3424
Canadian Topographic Maps:
Located just south of Oak Bay and downtown Victoria, Discovery Island is an easy get-away for anyone looking for a quick paddle or overnight destination. The north side of the island, along with the neighbouring Chatham Islets, are part of a native reserve, and trespassing is not permitted above the high tide line. But the camp site, located on the south side of the island at Rudlin Bay, is shielded from Victoria by the rest of the island, and has the feeling that you could just as easily be days away from the city. The distant lights of Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State flicker across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at night, and the occasional freighter or cruise ship is the only reminder of civilization.
The island's lighthouse has a rich and interesting history, and can be explored by sea or by land through a series of walking trails around the island. The camp ground is a large, open field - wonderful on those warm summer evenings. There are a few pit toilets on the island and picnic tables are scattered throughout the field, but there is little else in the way of facilities. There is no fresh water available on the island.
Caution: The currents in Baynes Channel can be very strong, and have left many paddlers stranded on Chatham Island over the years. Requests for assistance are often heard over Coast Guard VHF channels in the spring and summer, as unsuspecting boaters misjudge the strength of the current or their own abilities. When mixed with opposing winds, these currents can create conditions that can be difficult for even the most experienced paddlers to compete with. Be prepared to spend more time if you have to wait out a strong ebb, and study tidal charts carefully before you plan your trip!
Ample parking is available at Cattle Point, although overnight visitors would be wise to confirm that vehicles are permitted to be parked for days at a time. The same holds true for Willows Beach and Gyro Park, which offer sandy shores to begin your journey from (although both beaches can be quite busy in summer months).
Telegraph Cove offers minimal on-street parking but a sheltered, more private launch spot so long as Baynes Channel is not overly turbulent.
Trip Date: Jul 30 - Aug 1 2005
Weather: Sunny, calm winds but considerable currents in many areas.
Water condition: Flat but fast moving
Submitted by: Mark Schilling
Images copyright: Mark Schillling