Day Paddle to Wallace Island Marine Provincial ParkMarch 28, 2016
We are planning on canoeing 1,000 km this summer with our kids. We’ve been talking about it for months now. We are committed to the plan, but when I heard my husband telling a friend today, out loud, it seemed a little farfetched. The friend was skeptical. “That’s ambitious” he said.
We have two training goals. We need to get ourselves physically fit to do the trip but as importantly, we need to get the kids to buy in. We’ve been upselling canoeing and camping and camping with the kids, but we need to get them out doing it too.
My day job is an accountant so this time of year is not beginning of spring in our house, it’s “tax season”. It means I’m working a lot and our training is being put on the back burner. The training is important but so is working if we want to fund this trip. This weekend, the last in March, Dwane put is foot down and told me I needed to take a day off so we could go canoeing.
Since we are getting over the flu we decided to take it easy on the paddling side, but it was great opportunity to have a lot of fun and get the kids excited. We drove to the north end of Salt Spring Island to launch our canoe. The nice thing about living on a little island is that there are a lot of put in spots so we can explore different places before we have to repeat any routes.
For our first crossing we picked a channel that didn’t have any ferry traffic. Our crossing was actually completely traffic free except a sail boat way off in the distance and a motor boat that drove by after we had made it across.
The kids had been given paddles since our last day out so they were very excited to use them. We asked them to keep their paddles in the boat for the crossing because we wanted to get across as quickly as possible but for the rest of the day they were happy dragging them in the water. I gave Molly a lesson how to paddle properly and we were very proud to see that she caught hang of it right away. As it was harder than dragging the paddle it didn’t last long, but it was promising to see that she could paddle properly.
On the other side of the channel we paddled up to some seals lounging on the rocks. The more we looked the more seals we saw. When we turned around we realized there were a hundred seals behind us. They must have swam under our canoe as we approached. Looking around there were little seal heads looking at us for as far as we could see. Seals are a common sight in our waters, but we’ve never seen so many, possibly a few hundred, seals in one place!
We let Molly find a beach to stop at. She was thrilled to have found a beach that Dwane & I missed paddling past. We stopped for a nice long lunch break. We ate, beachcombed and explored tide pools and holes in the rocks. We could see sail boat masts further down the island so we got back into the canoe to check out the anchorage. We landed at the dinghy dock at northern-most anchorage on Wallace Island. We went for a short walk, but realized there was a trail over the whole island so we will have to come back another day to explore more.
Afterword: Wallace Island is a provincial park with two anchorages for boaters and 3 campsites. Part of our reason to paddle there was to explore the park for a possible camping trip. One thing we saw was that there were a lot of racoons on the island. Speaking to a friend today they talked about how the troublesome racoons had chewed holes in their tent. As a result we have decided not to camp there, especially with our nice new expedition tent. We will go back for another day trip. We had a full day out but the trip was only 40 minutes each way. Read more about Wallace Island here.