Quadra Island

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  • #19848
    David Murray

    Hello all,

    Hope your summer is going well.

    Planning trip to Quadra Island mid-September with friend, both of us are intermediate paddlers.

    I have option of (i) 3-night camping trip in and around Quadra and surrounding islands or (ii) Series of day trips from sister’s place near Quathiaski ferry.

    We will have vehicle.

    Anyone have any suggested iteneraries for either  option.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #19997
    Allan Edwin

    Hi David,

    Glad to hear you made it back safe from your adventure. I was very surprised to hear that you ran into a logjam on the ferry leaving Quadra. Typically it is quiet after Labour Day.

    I wasn’t kidding about the whales at Frederic Point (Whale Passage).

    Sorry you had trouble with the launches and landings. It is the cross we bear up here and in a way I am glad for it, as it discourages the “minnows”.


    David Murray

    Allan, I have returned from Sept 14-17 Circumnavighation of Read Island.

    We chose the Moulds Bay parking/launching option you suggested, which I have pasted below for others.

    Option 1: You can park and launch at Heriot Bay Harbour. It is pay parking, but the pay machine is broken (and has been for over a year) and no one has been towed (including me). Follow West Road from Quathiaski Cove to the Heriot Bay Ferry, turning left at Cramer Road (across from the Firehall). Turn right at Antler Road to get down to the parking lot. I recommend launching your kayak on the right side of the harbour causeway instead of on the beach to the left.

    Option 2: You can launch from the end of Valdez Road on Moulds Bay. This adds a 30 minute drive beyond Heriot Bay and the last 3 KM is on gravel. Follow Cramer Road, it will put you onto Hyacinth Bay Road, which will in turn change into Village Bay Road. Follow Village Bay Road to where it turns to gravel. The right turn to Valdez Road comes right after that change. This is street parking and I have parked there for the weekend before. You can load/unload at the very end, but do NOT park there. It’s rude to block access to the beach. 

    Day 1: We went clockwise and experienced the very very  strong winds on the paddle across to Read Island that Sarka referred to in “Short Notice Paddles”. We stopped at Freedom Point for lunch and considered calling it a day, but we pushed on with a nice break from the wind as we went through Whiterock Passage, but faced strong winds again on the leg to North Rendezvous campsite, where we spent the night.

    Day 2 was calm and sunny as we made our way down to Whale Passage. Several humpback sightings enroute and from Frederic Point, where we spent the night. Winds picked up and intense rain started in the wee hours.

    On Day 3 we woke up to pouring rain and strong wind, packed up quickly and made our way back to Moulds Bay (2.5 hrs.) for a somewhat rough landing at low tide on large and slippery rocks.

    Throughout the trip we didn’t have much luck with arrivals and departures on mid-high tides, meant there was a lot of hauling up and down on large and slippery rocks.

    Ferry: I wasn’t prepared for the mass exodous from Quadra Island on Friday afternoon, we ended up queing up 1.5 hrs. prior to our 10-minute sailing to Campbell River.

    Thanks again to you and Sarka for your advice.


    Allan Edwin

    You’re welcome. Local knowledge is very handy.

    David Murray

    Thanks Allan, I was aware that you live on Quadra, so was hoping you would weigh in.

    Very much appreciate the level of detail and useful tips in your response.

    Allan Edwin

    Late to the party here. I live on Quadra. I see you are leaning towards the option to circumnavigate Read. That’s what I would have recommended.

    It is roughly 31 NM starting/ending at Heriot Bay to go all the way around Read Island. The map I linked to breaks it down into 4 legs. Those athletic (and masochistic) types could do it all in one day, but that would be 10+ HRs paddling. You could do it in 2 days with a rest day between. I recommend doing over 4 days (3 nights), which allows you to stray off course and poke into places like Von Donop Inlet (on Cortes) or the islands around Surge Narrows.

    You can go clockwise or widdershins; it is the same either way, but you would do well to consider the tide tables and wind forecast to put conditions in your favour. On this side of Quadra, the tides flood north and ebb south, mostly.

    If the tides work out right, you can launch from Heriot Bay and paddle on the flood north to Freedom Point (8 NM), lunch there, the paddle through Whiterock Passage at the slack, and ride the ebb north (yes, I said that) to North Rendezvous Island (6 NM) to camp there. It’s a tidy way to get almost half your journey done in 1 day. This is your best option as well if there is a SE wind pattern, since it limits your exposure to getting across Heriot Bay to the shelter of the Read Island shore. Do take care not to lollygag too much on your way up as it is no fun arriving at North Rendezvous at low tide. At high tide, the water laps at the foot of the campsite which is much preferred to hauling your gear and boats across the oyster beds.

    If the wind is prevailing NW, going counter-clockwise is better. You launch from Heriot Bay, paddle up to Big Breton Island, head over to Viner Point, and then follow the Read Island shore up to Whale Passage camp (aka Frederic Point) or one of the camps in the Penn Islands. Again, it is best to time your arrival at a mid to high tide. Landing at low tide anywhere in the Discoveries will put a damper on anyone’s day.

    Bring your own water. Full stop. Yes, there are streams to be found on the shores of Read Island and surrounds, but this has been a very dry year and there are no guarantees any of them will be flowing by the time of your trip.

    I very much recommend to anyone in the club considering trips up here to look to the shoulder season months — April/May, September/October for the best experiences. By September the crowds will have largely abated. The days are long enough to avoid paddling in the dark. All of that said, review my map (or the BCMT map) for your camping options. North Rendezvous Island, South Rendezvous Island, and the Penn Islands are all popular sites and you may arrive to find them full. Know your options and give yourself time to paddle on if necessary.

    You can email me if you have any questions. If weather, tide, or a desire for solitude affect your plans, I can point you to other places to paddle that would be a better fit.



    David Murray

    Thanks John, I assume you are referring to Freedom Point campground.

    I may be leaning towards a circumnavigation of Read Island.

    John McIntyre

    Would highly recommend a trip to Octopus Islands.  There is a camp site on Read Isl just across from Discovery Kayaks Lodge on Quadra.   It is a good staging area to go through Surge Narrows.  You have to time your trip north through Surge Narrows so that you are not fighting the current, i.e. going through at slack tide.  Camping on Octopus Islands may be problematic as it is fairly exposed, when looking for a place to go to the bathroom.  At that time of year, there should be relatively few motor boats and sailboats.  It is a favorite spot for boaters.  If you go, you will understand why.

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