Easter Weekend, West Redonda Island

AlphaEcho

Paddler
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
162
Location
Courtenay, BC
This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my kayak being stolen from my apartment's underground parking area. It was that raw and personal violation that crystallized my decision to leave the city and begin on this path, making possible my adventures here in the Discovery Islands (and the trip reports here on WCP). It makes me shake my head in wonder. Like whacking the side of the vending machine in frustration because your candy bar got stuck and having 4 fall into the pick-up tray beyond all reason.

This trip was almost on theme. We shuffled through a bunch of different options for this holiday weekend. Blackfish Sound was our first choice, but after looking at all the extra driving time and the wind forecast, West Redonda Island popped to the top of the list. Looking at the chart, I was intrigued by the squiggle of Waddington Channel meandering up to Dean Point. Yeah, sure, let's check that out.

2021-04 WRendondaIsland.png Going widdershins 'round West Redonda Island. Start and End at Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island.

Day 1 - Our first day was a short 8.6 NM to Roscoe Bay along the south shore of West Redonda. Desolation Sound and the Redondas (East and West) are hugely popular. In any other year, there would be other groups of kayakers and plenty of holiday weekend traffic on the water. As it was we crossed over to Refuge Cove alone and unmolested. We luxuriated in the peace and quiet of a truly desolate sound.

We launched at 1 pm and wandered into camp around 5 pm after logging photos of sea stars along the shore for the Tracking Starfish Wasting & Recovery project on iNaturalist.

Somewhere along the shore on the way to Marylebone Point, you'll spot a rock formation that looks exactly like the shape of our province. It was to me exactly like finding an image of the Virgin Mary on your toast (surely an appropriate comparison as it was Easter).

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-01.jpg Squirrel Cove
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-02.JPG Ochre Sea Star, Vermilion Sea Star, and Giant (California) Sea Cumber
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-03.jpg Along the south shore of West Redonda

If you look at the satellite images of Roscoe Bay on Google Earth, there are typically a dozen power boats moored there. We had it all to ourselves. Though the site is on the east side of the island, the setting sun on the trees and then peaks around us was sublimely beautiful.

The BC Marine Trails map shows the campsite is next to a creek on the north shore about 500 metres from the head of the bay. If you land there at low tide, look for the boat run cleared of oyster shells. It's stinky mud, but not truly disgusting. This is a "backcountry" site with no outhouse or food cache. If those are important to you, camp at the BC Parks campsite located at the head of the bay. It's a little less picturesque, but hey, there's facilities.

Mind the very slimy algae on the hard mud/soil/rock at the high tide line. My friend slipped and had a hard fall. She was alright but could have sprained her wrist badly.

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-04.jpg Roscoe Bay
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-05.jpg Roscoe Bay
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-06.jpg This is the view rewarding those who climb the bluff above the campsite

Day 2 - Our second day dawned grey and cloudy. We kept to our meandering ways and paddled north up Waddington Channel. Though the ebb was running against us, we didn't really feel it following the shore of West Redonda. We investigated the channel between Allies Island and West Redonda in hopes the notes on the BCMT map were incorrect. Alas, the channel does dry out. However, even if it didn't dry out, would be no point using it because the bay on the north side of Allies Island is one giant shellfish farm lease. You're not getting through that tangle short of wielding a lightsaber.

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-07.jpg Allies Island channel

Side note: @adm posted about their trip to climb Mt. Addenbroke on East Redonda, adjacent to this adventure. I have to concur that the views are awesome. I was very much entranced looking down the long finger of Pendrell Sound on our way up Waddington Channel.

Our goal was the campsite at Gloucester Point, which is only a few miles past Walsh Cove Provincial Park, aka Gorges Islands. The clouds closed down onto us and we paddled past Doctor Bay in a gloom that felt like our paddle to Whale Passage back in February. When the rain started drizzling that sealed our decision and we camped on the Gorges Islands. Mileage for the day: 9.7 NM.

We arrived at low tide and it was a slithery climb to get up to the campsite on the NW islet. Mind your step and avoid the algae covered rocks.

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-08.jpg Approaching Walsh Cove
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-09.jpg Morning at Walsh Cove
IMG_0673.jpg

Looking south, down Waddington Channel from Walsh Cove

Day 3 - Despite the bright sunshine, this was probably my toughest day of the weekend. We had mileage to make up and our goal was a campsite on Lewis Channel that would make for an easy day back to Squirrel Cove. We reached Dean Point and turned west on Pryce Channel. The waters turned choppy and rough. It was the classic case of wind against the tide. On Pryce Channel things can get even a little more chaotic because winds and currents collide there coming from Homfray Channel, Toba Inlet, Raza Passage, and Deer Passage.

My paddling partner motored through it all, but I struggled to find a stroke and a pace I could settle into. I think I overstrained myself in that first hour of paddling and put myself behind the 8-ball the rest of the day. I distracted myself looking at the eagles, seals, and sea lions we passed along the way. We did 14 miles in 7 hours. I'm OK with that pace. I was in control of my boat and I didn't tear any muscles or tendons. A bad day is a bad day. It's still better than a day injured.

By the way, there is no good camping at Gloucester Point. It was the site we were aiming for the previous day, so we stopped in to check it out. The BCMT site notes say "Undeveloped. Several sites could be readily brushed." That would only be true if you were "brushing" with a chainsaw and a small excavator.

There are two campsites on Lewis Channel (approx. mid-way between north and south, West Redonda shore). They both have decent landings, "kitchen" areas, and really nice views. Users should be aware of them both as neither are overly spacious. You could probably get away with 2-3 tents in each if you squeezed.

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-10.jpg Pryce Channel
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-11.jpg Sea Lions on Pryce Channel
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-12.jpg Camping on Lewis Channel


Day 4 - The weather gods blessed our final day with sunshine and light breezes. We returned to a calm pace and wandered along the shores of Teakerne Arm to check it out. If you haven't been, there are some very pretty waterfalls at the far end of the arm. On the way down Lewis Channel going back to Squirrel Cove, keep an eye out to the east for views of Mt. Crawshay and Dudley Cone, last seen from the campsite at Roscoe Bay. If you paddle from the Lewis Channel campsite directly back to Squirrel Cove, it's approximately 6.5 NM. With the detour into Teakerne Arm, it's a little over 11 NM.

The total mileage for the circumnavigation is around 45 NM depending on how closely you hug the shore and which detours you take.

All in all, this was a good long weekend trip. I got to see some really beautiful new territory, stretched my skills, and learned something new about myself (trust your instincts and stick to your pace). I recommend this trip for summer paddlers ready to brave Pryce Channel and expedition paddlers wanting to stay tuned up in the shoulder seasons.

2021-04 WRedondaIsland-13.jpg Teakerne Arm
2021-04 WRedondaIsland-14.jpg Squirrel Cove

Our launch (and return) was at Squirrel Cove. Unload your boats and gear at the public dock. Take the trail down to the beach on the right of the pier. It's easier than on the left. You likely won't find parking at the pubic dock, but you can park on the shoulder of the road above the parking lot.

The question of direction came up and we opted to go anticlockwise. We later found that we got lucky with the tides and currents, riding the floods and ebbs in the directions we were going already. You'll want to stack the deck in your favour by planning accordingly when you do this trip.

You don't have to do the full circumnavigation to enjoy West Redonda Island. You can launch at Squirrel Cove and explore Teakerne Arm on a regular weekend. There's a lake above the falls that is a popular swimming hole in the summer. You can also make it more epic if you launch from Okeover Arm or in Lund.

Unlike many routes on the BC coast, this one has reasonable access to fresh water. You will find many creeks along the way. Check your charts and plan accordingly.
 
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adm

Paddler
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
37
Location
Pacific Northwest Coast
Great trip report - looks like a great way to spend the long weekend locally!

LOL I love the description of Gloucester Point 'campsite'! A few years ago I pulled in there late one evening in the hopes of finding something cleared....I ended up clearing a space in the driftwood and getting up early to avoid getting wet! Great views down Toba though :)
 

AlphaEcho

Paddler
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
162
Location
Courtenay, BC
Hey thanks neighbour! I decided it would be a great drinking game. Every time you see "needs brushing" in a BCMT site description, add "with a chainsaw and excavator" and take a drink.

I have to say a major factor in my reaction to Gloucester Point is that it's a really beautiful location and it has a creek right there. The only thing missing is an actual, you know, campsite. There's little point in mentioning the place if it's not ready for people to use. The beaches are stony, true, but usable at all tides and can you really say that generally about landings in the region? I hope it gets on the list of sites that get developed at some point. It is well positioned as a primary site for paddlers exploring the area. Walsh Cove is great, but there need to be viable alternate campsites to avoid the issues brought on by overuse and crowding.

Gloucester Point, West Redonda Island
Gloucester Point Beach - in case it isn't obvious from the tangle of drift logs, this is a lee shore.

@nootka - correcting deficiencies in site descriptions on the BCMT map is one of my goals. The organization needs a proper feedback loop making it easier to (a) log user observations on sites and (b) have those reports reflected back to users.
 
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Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
My wife and I were planning on staying at Gloucester Point this July. Although our 21ft tandem carries a hefty load, a chainsaw and heavy equipment will not fit in any hatch. Maybe MSR has a titanium, backpack skip loader.
Does anyone know if the campsite at Hepburn Bay is more accessible for tent use?
 

pryaker

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Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
262
Location
Powell River BC
Does anyone know if the campsite at Hepburn Bay is more accessible for tent use?
If that's the bay to the SW of Hepburn pt. I've looked there and didn't stay. It's an old logging site and theres probably a spot to put a tent but not )in my opinion) very hospitable. We camp on the beach in Toba; due north of Channel Island. It's somewhat small at high tide and there can be lots of bears there but they never have been a problem. I've heard that somewhere along the beach there is a "developed" site, possibly for guided tours or fishermen; we've never seen it though. Also another couple options; down homfrey a bit we found a minimalist one tent bluff camp, you have to use your imagination to find this one. and then at homfrey creek theres an old log deck that you could camp on. Only problem there is theres no beach, you'd have to unload on the rocky shore or use the old dock.
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,489
There's at least one clear site at Gloucester after someone has done a little of that brushing:

WRedN-Gloucester_sitesm2.JPG


maybe with a little more 'work' - brushing euphemism - another could arise. I believe there are quite a few logs often at Gloucester,

but the Hepburn area seems to offer a bunch of [optimistic] possibilities and with a little more shelter from log buildup.
I haven't checked these all out on the ground - maybe some time, but mapping, experience, and heli-shots appear interesting:
Note - 'appear' interesting, not checked. What's interesting to me covers a wide range of site and landing situations. Open white triangle typically means challenge of some type:

ERedN-W.jpg
 

RFT

Paddler
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
20
Location
Vancouver Island
We have been rounding W Redonda a few times each year, both directions for many many years. Was there 3 weeks ago, ccw Sq Cove-Sq Cove. Great trip, again. Be extra cautious with wind and weather in Lewis channel! Have fun, Be safe.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
Hello RFT,

Can you elaborate on the wind/weather in Lewis Channel. With ferry crossings from Campbell river, we most likely will launch near mid day, head to Tekerne arm for the night, then head head north up Lewis to Deer passage.
What are your thoughts?

Brian


We have been rounding W Redonda a few times each year, both directions for many many years. Was there 3 weeks ago, ccw Sq Cove-Sq Cove. Great trip, again. Be extra cautious with wind and weather in Lewis channel! Have fun, Be safe.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
Hello Pryaker,

Why, in your opinion, would Hepburn Bay not be hospitable? Would Attwood Bay be a good option? According to BCMT, there is camping there. Do the logs at Gloucester make access difficult?

Brian

If that's the bay to the SW of Hepburn pt. I've looked there and didn't stay. It's an old logging site and theres probably a spot to put a tent but not )in my opinion) very hospitable. We camp on the beach in Toba; due north of Channel Island. It's somewhat small at high tide and there can be lots of bears there but they never have been a problem. I've heard that somewhere along the beach there is a "developed" site, possibly for guided tours or fishermen; we've never seen it though. Also another couple options; down homfrey a bit we found a minimalist one tent bluff camp, you have to use your imagination to find this one. and then at homfrey creek theres an old log deck that you could camp on. Only problem there is theres no beach, you'd have to unload on the rocky shore or use the old dock.
If that's the bay to the SW of Hepburn pt. I've looked there and didn't stay. It's an old logging site and theres probably a spot to put a tent but not )in my opinion) very hospitable. We camp on the beach in Toba; due north of Channel Island. It's somewhat small at high tide and there can be lots of bears there but they never have been a problem. I've heard that somewhere along the beach there is a "developed" site, possibly for guided tours or fishermen; we've never seen it though. Also another couple options; down homfrey a bit we found a minimalist one tent bluff camp, you have to use your imagination to find this one. and then at homfrey creek theres an old log deck that you could camp on. Only problem there is theres no beach, you'd have to unload on the rocky shore or use the old dock.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
There's at least one clear site at Gloucester after someone has done a little of that brushing:

View attachment 12355

maybe with a little more 'work' - brushing euphemism - another could arise. I believe there are quite a few logs often at Gloucester,

but the Hepburn area seems to offer a bunch of [optimistic] possibilities and with a little more shelter from log buildup.
I haven't checked these all out on the ground - maybe some time, but mapping, experience, and heli-shots appear interesting:
Note - 'appear' interesting, not checked. What's interesting to me covers a wide range of site and landing situations. Open white triangle typically means challenge of some type:

View attachment 12358
Hello Mick,

Just to be clear, camping in those places is an okay thing to do? I, maybe incorrectly, assumed that campy was designated onnly to the sites listed on the BCMT map. Is it his an incorrect assumption?

Brian
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,489
Yes, it's just back-country camping:
I just looked, and the land status is either crown or unassigned - using publicly available info.
'ERedW16a-HepburnBay' [my designations for simplicity] northwards is crown, southwards shown are on unassigned land.
 

pryaker

Paddler
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
262
Location
Powell River BC
Hey Brian, regarding the beach at Hepburn, if i remember correctly (it was 6-8 years ago) it was a low slope cobbly beach with some upland clearings under alder. Kinda damp and slimy though this was likely because it was May. We just didnt get a good feeling and continued on into Toba to check there and liked it. I've been back by the Hepburn site at least once since then and it didn't seem any better. There's probably a place you could sleep if needed, it's just not the kind of spot we like to camp. Attwood was more or less the same; we'd seen the reports that there was camping spots there but didn't see anything that made us want to stop.

Btw, where are you in Sonoma countty? I spent a lot of time as a kid at our Russian River cabin in Monte Rio.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
Yes, it's just back-country camping:
I just looked, and the land status is either crown or unassigned - using publicly available info.
'ERedW16a-HepburnBay' [my designations for simplicity] northwards is crown, southwards shown are on unassigned land.
That is great news. Where did you find this information? Not all maps are clearly marked.

Thank you so much.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
Hey Brian, regarding the beach at Hepburn, if i remember correctly (it was 6-8 years ago) it was a low slope cobbly beach with some upland clearings under alder. Kinda damp and slimy though this was likely because it was May. We just didnt get a good feeling and continued on into Toba to check there and liked it. I've been back by the Hepburn site at least once since then and it didn't seem any better. There's probably a place you could sleep if needed, it's just not the kind of spot we like to camp. Attwood was more or less the same; we'd seen the reports that there was camping spots there but didn't see anything that made us want to stop.

Btw, where are you in Sonoma countty? I spent a lot of time as a kid at our Russian River cabin in Monte Rio.
Hello.
I appreciate your insights on these spots. At least they are options. Maybe it's my Sierra Nevada influence, but want to avoid bears as much as possible. So most likely will chicken out from camping in the Toba inlet.
I live in Sebastopol, not far from Monte Rio. What brought you to this area from PR?

Brian
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,489
Where did you find this information?
Imap is one to use: https://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/imap4m/

for example, you can see the ownership for this parcel in the area - and just click on any adjacent. And there's no obvious PID for the southern areas as shown:
00-ERedN-W-status.jpg
 
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RFT

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Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
20
Location
Vancouver Island
Hello RFT,

Can you elaborate on the wind/weather in Lewis Channel. With ferry crossings from Campbell river, we most likely will launch near mid day, head to Tekerne arm for the night, then head head north up Lewis to Deer passage.
What are your thoughts?

Brian
The wind can rip thru Lewis Channel and change sea conditions in a hurry from both N. and S. From the N. it can really trash Teakerne inlet. As usual, Respect the Weather and the Sea. Great area, hope it is not too crowded for your visit now that the season is on. We do our Redonda trips always in the off/shoulder season. Our last one was 3 weeks ago, we had all our camp spots to ourselves again.
 

Brian D.

Paddler
Joined
Feb 4, 2018
Messages
23
Location
Sonoma County
Hello Pryaker,

Congratulations on escaping crazy town. Powell river seems like a very beautiful place. 2019 we were camping on the Copland islands when a boat pulled up near shore and released two skiff loads of teenagers for an overnight camp. Our first thoughts about a dozen plus teens next to us were less than joyful. They were awesome! All from the high school in Powell River on an environmental camping trip.
 
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