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Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for camping?

explorer777

Paddler
Joined
Sep 3, 2013
Messages
62
Location
Langley BC
Hi gang, I'm hoping to get out for an over night trip in the next week or two and am planning to visit the Galiano / Wallace / Valdes area...just wondering if anyone has any input on the best places to visit and best area for camping up there. I know 'best' is subjective but any feedback would be appreciated. I know Dionisio is potentially the most challenging to access given the fact that Porlier Pass can be hairy but I will plan to go through at slack time. Thoughts anyone?
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

It's all good. Wallace is the easiest to get to if you launch from near the government dock at Fernwood on Saltspring. Plus, it has a decent trail down the length of the island. Just make sure to camp either at Chivers or Cabin Bay -- avoid Conover Cove.

I like Blackberry a lot, but it's a longer paddle, if that concerns you. Watch for poison oak. You can follow logging roads up to the ridge and the cliffs.

Dionisio is great, but timing the current means that you have fewer escape options should weather turn against you. Great sandy beach, though. I don't like the official kayak campground, as the landing is a rock shelf that becomes tricky in any wind. I'd stick with the main campground.

Have fun!
Andrew
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

Explorer,

Depends on your launch location, but Tent Island is worth considering, also, and a short distance from Wallace. Chivers on Wallace is pretty nice.

A launch from Chemainus could link up Tent, Wallace, Blackberry pretty easy loop.

Never been to Dionysus.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

Pirate's cove on Decourcy might also be worth looking at. Was there in mid april and had the entire campground to myself.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

Its been a few years (10yrs...that's a sad statement) but took the kids at 9 yrs to all location a few times. Access to the North end of Wallace can be challenging and mucky at low tide. Arrive early to get a good spot. Its a great hike down the spine of Wallace! Try to position your site upwind of the outhouse.

Dionisio is nice. Camping is like BC Parks with crushed rock pads. A great walk at the old first nations village. The north end is ragged so great exploring. As stated by others Porlier can run to 8 knots but do you homework and calculate slack and it will be gently swirls. In some conditions you can get breaking waves on the beach....I wish I could tell you which wind conditions but forget. I imagine a NW wind.

Blackberry is great, lots of good campsites along the shore. I understand there has been logging recent years.

Decourcy is pretty plush with composting toilets, tent pads. Watch out for pillaging packs of brazen raccoons.

These are all great for novice paddlers. Easy access, mostly calm waters, Porlier is a good exercise in slack water prediction. You'll usually have 20 minutes of less than 1 kt current.

At all spots, except Wallace, there were motor-boat day-trippers who would anchor their boats. 10 meters off shore with a line to the beach and picnic for the day. This was mid-summer

One of our trips was;
Depart Cedar by the sea, over night at Decourcy,
Day paddle through Gabriola Pass
Overnight at Decourcy
Paddle to Blackberry overnight
Paddle to Dionisio overnight
Attempted to paddle to Wallace but had to turn back due to heavy winds
Overnight at Dionisio
Paddle to Wallace
Hike the length of the island
Overnight at Wallace
Paddle to some island near Chemainus Can't remember the name
Overnight
Paddle to Chemainus and shuttle back to Cedar to pickup cars.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

lilydipper said:
Blackberry is great, lots of good campsites along the shore. I understand there has been logging recent years.
I was there last fall- I didn't see any recent logging along the shore and back through the campsites. There are a few 'widowmakers' (snags and half-dead arbutus trees) that could actually use some falling, along the shore campsites. A local guy came in, in his skiff, and told me that a falling tree/branch 'almost got' a tenter in the last couple of years. So, definitely look up!
Also, watch your step on the ramp to the toilet...the plywood is getting a bit 'flexible' ...

lilydipper said:
Decourcy is pretty plush with composting toilets, tent pads. Watch out for pillaging packs of brazen raccoons.
aka Pirates Cove?
I don't consider tent pads 'plush'...absolute PITA, IMO....the ones I saw were the wood plank 'deck' style
I heard about the raccoons as well. It can be buggy, too. And crowded...


lilydipper said:
Overnight at Wallace
Paddle to some island near Chemainus Can't remember the name
Overnight
Paddle to Chemainus and shuttle back to Cedar to pickup cars.

Tent Island?
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

Yup. Gotta be Tent. Pretty short, easy shot from Chivers Cove N end Wallace to Tent. Parking at the ramp at Chemainus is on street. Lot at ramp is not for overnight use.

We landed at Chivers at lower mid tide, and some muck, but no big deal. Truly a beautiful site, sheltered, but with good vistas north. Hiking the trail down the spine of the island is worth doing. Ditto a circumnavigation of the island by kayak.

Tent has lots of sites, poor sanitation in 2010, but the principal cove is open, some of the points have rudimentary sites. Not developed at all, in 2010. Good vistas several places from the shoreline. Spit on N end at very low water might be a walk to Penelekaut (new name). Tent favored by the party crowd, weekends in the summer, but it was not obnoxious. We stayed there 3 nights, day tripped several locations, including Wallace and the Secretaries, and a shot through the dredged channel separating Thetis and Penelekaut. Channel passage actually very scenic. Some nice beaches east side of Penelekaut. North shore Saltspring an easy gunkhole from Tent, also. The Penelekaut band asks for a donation if you camp. Pit toilets would be a good idea.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

great info - thanks guys! I'm thinking about launching from either Galiano or maybe Southey Point on Saltspring...Southey point puts us closer to the destinations that we want to visit but it takes over 32 hours to get there whereas Galiano is the first stop on the ferry...

Also concerned about the Chemainus first nations dispute and blockade issue...I didn't see any updates in the thread about that and there don't seem to be any updates that I could find on the web...
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

explorer777 said:
great info - thanks guys! I'm thinking about launching from either Galiano or maybe Southey Point on Saltspring...Southey point puts us closer to the destinations that we want to visit but it takes over 32 hours to get there whereas Galiano is the first stop on the ferry...

Also concerned about the Chemainus first nations dispute and blockade issue...I didn't see any updates in the thread about that and there don't seem to be any updates that I could find on the web...

That should have said it takes over 3 hours (not 32) to get to Southey point since Salt Spring is the last stop on the gulf Islands ferry...could maybe launch from Montague on Galiano...not sure if there is a good launch spot further up Galiano...
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

explorer777 said:
explorer777 said:
great info - thanks guys! I'm thinking about launching from either Galiano or maybe Southey Point on Saltspring...Southey point puts us closer to the destinations that we want to visit but it takes over 32 hours to get there whereas Galiano is the first stop on the ferry...

Also concerned about the Chemainus first nations dispute and blockade issue...I didn't see any updates in the thread about that and there don't seem to be any updates that I could find on the web...

That should have said it takes over 3 hours (not 32) to get to Southey point since Salt Spring is the last stop on the gulf Islands ferry...could maybe launch from Montague on Galiano...not sure if there is a good launch spot further up Galiano...
1. Other thread: natives indicate they are really only interested in blockading fishing vessels.

2. Yes, you can launch at the crude ramp, or adjacent beach, within the campground at Montague. Not sure what the parking situation is just outside the CG. We did day trips, and left vehicles in our campsite, years ago. No, there really is not a good launch site further up Galiano, at least one I could find.

3. Possibly an easier access is launching at Chemainus, using the Tsawassen Duke Point Ferry, and probably only another hour or so total time, compared to Galiano. Also more ferry sailings, to facilitate each way. Head for Tent, or go all the way to Wallace, and then head north to Blackberry or wherever. Southey Pt launch is a little rude, but OK. Parking tight. Drive time on the islands is high, owing to low speed roads, versus the drive from Duke Point to Chemainus, mostly on high standard highway. Assume you are coming from Vancouver.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

I've launched from Chemainus a couple of times. Good launch, but the crossing over to Penelakut is more exposed than it looks and can get quite choppy in SE winds. I've felt those winds on occasion, and I know a paddler who got stuck on the other side and had to walk on to the Penelakut ferry to get back to the Chemainus launch. No big deal for strong, experienced paddlers, but if you're on the newer side of the equation, I would exercise some caution.

Parking at Southey Pt. is very limited. As I said above, a better launch is at Fernwood government dock or just farther north at Hudson Pt. (not on any map, but there is a dirt road down to a rocky beach that puts you 15 mins or less from Wallace).

Pirate's Cove used to be lovely, but years ago (10+) the neighbours complained about campers' noise, so the Parks folks moved the campsite to the east side of the beach, where it is now crammed up against a steep slope. Less aesthetic for sure.

Launching from Galiano is certainly an option, but you are a good couple of hours from Wallace if you start at Montague. There are some beautiful cliffs to pass on your right with nesting cormorants, but it can seem like a long slog (ask Sheila P!).

Lots of options. Once you figure out these waters you have a lifetime of trips small and large ahead of you.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

I agree with Andrew. The shot from Chemainus to Thetis/Penelekaut can encompass some rough water when the wind is up. Pretty good fetch both north and south. The same might be said for the waters separating Montague from Wallace. Whereas, Southey Pt or the Government Dock on Saltspring are a very short distance from Wallace. I have seen that area pretty rough at times, also, but you can see what you are getting into from the Government dock area, and make an informed choice.

Thanks to Andrew for bringing this up. My oversight.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

Great suggestions guys - thanks!

I didn't realize there was a gov't dock at Fernwood and N Beach Rd and Walkers hook area...that looks like a good spot to launch...looks like a I can park on the side of the road there as well. Looks like a short crossing to Wallace from there...getting up to Blackberry pt looks farther but I really want to check that area out...could do a loop up from Wallace for 1st night to blackberry for 2nd night and then maybe around Thetis and Penelakut to Tent island 3rd night then back to the fernwood dock...so many options in such a beautiful area :)
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

That sounds good, explorer. Some chance of becoming windbound at Blackberry, but little chance at Wallace or Tent. East side of Thetis and Penelakut a bit more scenic than the west side.
 
Re: Dionisio or Blackberry point or Wallace Island for campi

I think you've about got it, explorer.

I second launching from Fernwood area and heading to Wallace. We camped on Wallace and then did the various loops to the other places as day trips. Some were longish but it's a great area to paddle. Only issue was the first day to Wallace...strong winds with very choppy seas...but we went anyway and all the other days were perfect.
 
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