• We apologize for the somewhat convoluted sign-up process. Due to ever-more sophisticated attacks by chatbots, we had to increase our filtering in order to weed out AI while letting humans through. It's a nuisance, but a necessary one in order to keep the level of discourse on the forums authentic and useful. From the actual humans using WCP, thanks for your understanding!

Friday July 16 - Sunday July 18 in the Southern Gulf Islands.


Jul 5, 2010
Vancouver, BC
We set off from Pacifica Paddle Sports in Canoe Cove, North Saanich, which lets you launch for a very reasonable $11.50 flat fee from a very nice launch ramp right out the back of their shop. That includes visitor parking for as many night as you need so it's a very good option for getting out in that area.
Our original ambitious goal was to paddle to Saturna and stay at Narvaez or if we were feeling energetic get all the way out to Cabbage Island on Friday.. but it was not to be.

We took a southern route to check out Forrest and Domville Islands.. We found there was some strong wind and wave action from the north part of Haro Strait, and SE winds gusting to over 20 knots (the point where I feel the paddle being torn from my hands). 2-3 foot waves kept slapping us in the face and it was getting tiring paddling in beam seas so we took a timeout at Pt. Fairfax on Moresby Island and re-evaluated our route. We decided to try to go around the north side to get some shelter from the wind and waves, and while a longer overall route, it worked out in our favour and the paddling was a bit easier though the wind and waves picked up again as we crossed over to Pender Island. Ultimately we decided to camp at the Beaumont camp site on Pender after a tiring day sturggling with the seas... it's a really nice camp site and though the overflow camping is out of service right now due to some danger trees, the rangers were very nice about it and we arranged to pitch our tent in another flat area.

Saturday we decided to take it easy and not paddle too far since our legs and core were still feeling the previous day a bit so we just paddled across Plumper Sound to Saturna and then through Winter Cove through some fun tidal whirlpools and rips and out into the Salish Sea where we took some time to explore the Belle Chain Islets. Had a quick rest stop on Little Samuel Islet where we had to kind of precariously tuck our kayaks into a little tide pool... checked out a Sea Lion colony from a safe distance and a bunch of other local wildlife... then back through the whirpools and rips again in a nice boost on the way back. Couple more hours of paddling and we were back at camp.

Sunday we decided to just do a quick paddle back to Canoe Bay. In stark contrast to Friday's conditions, the seas were like glass. We were able to just cruise along at a good clip to get back to Moresby Island and then decided to take a northern route up by Portland Island, to Pym, and then back to Canoe Bay. It was fun listening to the ferry traffic on my VHF and interesting to note that while the ferries came across loud and clear, Victoria Traffic was nearly incomprehensible most of the time. I guess it's a distance thing on the radio.

Ultimately we never got to see Narvaez Bay or Cabbage Island, nor hit our distance goals, but that's just the nature of kayaking and adapting your plans to the conditions. I guess it leaves more for another trip some day!
Thanks for that trip report!
Did you contact Pacifica in advance about the launch plan?
That sounds like a great launch option as legal parking in the town of Sidney is very scarce.
Thanks for that trip report!
Did you contact Pacifica in advance about the launch plan?
That sounds like a great launch option as legal parking in the town of Sidney is very scarce.
I did not, just showed up there the morning of, right when they opened. We stayed at the Smonećten campsite right by the ferry terminal the night before.
We had a few other backup options but they would have taken more time and driving.
Sounds like a great trip. Living in Victoria, I need to do more overnight explorations like that. Great to know about the Pacifica launch/parking option!