Lots of enthusiastic comments of ‘great trip’ came from the group that enjoyed the May Long Weekend trip to Gambier Island. Lead by Nick, we all knew we were in good hands. It was a nice balance of experienced paddlers and a couple of beginners. Andrew and Catriona are real keeners. They recently started the sport and already have taken several courses and got all the equipment. Rushing to get on the water one day, Catriona expressed to Deb and me her nervousness about holding people up. Deb and I empathized with her and said we felt the same way, even though no one was worried about it. We are all there just to enjoy ourselves.
George, club president, joined us even though his preferred trips are in the north and west parts of Vancouver Island. When asked if he would sweep he at first said, “But I like to explore out front.” Nick, in his wisdom, suggested that being sweep would slow him down. George not only enjoyed it but volunteered to sweep the rest of the trip. Nick was lead. If I ever lead a trip with Nick in it, I will ask him to sweep (☺) He can sure paddle fast!
What a joy to travel with SKABC members. And what a treasure trove of information they are. People shared ideas of new equipment and ways of doing things. I particularly want to thank Kevin for helping me get started on using map.ca. Technology! - such a challenge. Iveta has hiked, climbed, biked and kayaked throughout the world. The only thing she seems to find a challenge is snakes. She managed to find 3 of them near her tent! Kapila, was like a puppy on the water. Paddling out front, to the side, to the back, and back round again checking in with folks. Showing off (I mean practicing) his bracing skills and beautiful greenland paddle. If you ever paddle with Colleen, I recommend you watch her paddle stroke. It is a thing of beauty.
The weather was perfect with hardly any wind. We left from Brunswick Beach, just past Lions Bay. (Parking is near the turn off from the Sea to Sky Highway to Brunswick Road). The beach is nice but there were logs to scramble over. With no wind the launch was easy. Took about 1 1/2 hours to cross to Halkett Point on Gambier. We stopped for lunch at the provincial park at the end of Halkett Bay. There is an outhouse and a few camp sites with picnic tables a bit in from the shore. Another 1 1/2 hour paddle brought us to Breakwater on Gambier. A big sign on the rocky breakwater says Hazard - Use at Own Risk. Behind it is a floating dock. Up from there is where Trudie V, a long-time club member, has offered SKABC members to camp and use a cabin. We pitched 7 tents and a hammock and there was room for more.
Next day we explored the southern part of Gambier and had lunch at Sir Thomas Lipton Park in West Bay. This is a neat undeveloped site with an outhouse and lots of places to camp. It can also be reached by land. Nick has taken his bike on the Langdale ferry, then transferred to the foot passenger boat to New Brighton on Gambier. Then rode his bike to this site. We paddled along the west side of West Bay but George had some serious relaxing to do back at camp so went back with a few folks and the rest of us paddled to Grace Islands. From here you can see how close you are to Langdale terminal. Walking on the ferry and then paddling from Langdale would be another option for getting to Breakwater. Water taxies could be a third option. I volunteered to lead the group back. Thank goodness Deb paddled near me and helped with spotting the breakwater.
What a wonderful place to have as a base camp. There are several options for paddles and lots of tenting space and the use of the cabin. We are so grateful to Trudie for her generosity! And to Nick, who has put in days of work into improving the site! Thank you both so much!
If you are interested in using this site, please contact Nick H for more information.
Also, remember that you can check out the map on www.bcmarinetrails.org for great information on other sites throughout BC.
The group included:
Andrew R, Catriona E, Colleen C, Debra M, Kevin A, Iveta J, Kapila J, Cynthia L, George P and Nick H
Reporter: Cynthia L