Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chrome Island

Yesterday it was our last day to paddle on our vacation in the Comox Valley and it was another perfect day of warm sun and very light NW winds. After a quick breakfast we took off down the old Island Highway to the Deep Bay boat launch for a trip over to Denman Island and then south to Chrome Island Lighthouse. The owner of the boat launch said we could use the gravel bar next to the ramp for free instead of paying to use the busy ramp which we really appreciated. So we loaded our yaks and gear onto the Swagman wheels and simply rolled them down to the put in location.

Leaving the Deep Bay Marina heading north towards the spit on the right and the Beaufort Range on the left.

The low tide today was around 16:00 hrs and with our on the water time of 11:00 hrs we were able to paddle over the gravel bar on the north side of the spit. With the ebb flow I expected some current on our crossing over to Denman but other than a slight breeze in our face there was nothing noticeable at all. A few days back we were talking to the owner of Comox Valley Kayaks and she said the current would only be around 1 knot at the most.

Arriving at Denman Island, Chrome Island Lighthouse came into view as we explored the steep rocky shoreline.

A couple of conglomerate boulder buried in the loose gravel.
These were about 10 feet across and almost looked like a pile
of cement until a close up inspection of the composition.
Heading towards the southern tip of Denman Island we noticed the difference in the geology from the northern tip that we visited yesterday. We landed in small bay that looked like an abandoned early settlement of either aboriginal or possibly the Japanese at the turn of the century. On the Google map below you can clearly see what looks like established "beds" on the sandstone sea floor and there are man made water ways leading into what could have been a protected harbour of sorts. Who knows?? I'll have do dig into this a bit more.

One of the reasons for landing here was the huge boulder formations on the beach. Turns out that they weren't typical granite or sandstone in composition.

Instead they were massive conglomerate formations that lie above and below the water line were impressive with some of these rounded "boulders" 20 to 30 feet in diameter. There were no marine shells at all within the conglomerate structure which I would have expected indicating that these came from an area of origin that was far from the primordial oceans or from deep within the earth.

A very compacted mass of smaller boulders have all been bonded together in a cement like structure that have withstood the elements for thousands or millions of years.

The two boulders in the photo above and there is evidence of established beds and what looks like a protective
breakwater with an entrance on the left just above the Google scale. We actually paddled into this "harbour"
through the channel to examine the conglomerate boulders and it wasn't until I was looking at our track did I notice these.

Continuing on towards the Chrome Island Lighthouse, the contrasting white buildings with red roofs were typical of what you imagine that lighthouse facilities would look like. Except, up close their beauty is that much more stunning and obviously the keepers take pride in making sure their facility is well maintained.

After circumnavigating Chrome Island we paddled east and around the southern tip of Denman Island (Boyle Point) playing in the massive conglomerate boulder rock garden. This was the first time that we have ever seen huge red spiny sea urchins which were just below the water line on the boulders.

We made our way into Lambert Channel and from here we could see the east side of Denman and the west side of Hornby Island. Here again even though the channel was fairly narrow there was no noticeable current during the ebb flow. I guess we tend to think about the narrow channels back home and how the current really is quite evident during the tide changes. Once day we will have to return to this magical place and explore more since we only scratched the surface of the water so to speak.

Denman Island on the left and Hornby Island on the right.

Heading back to Deep bay we made a quick stop back in the little mystery harbour to harvest some oysters for dinner. The man made harbour channel was a lot more defined at low tide and the selection of oysters was amazing. Tonight would be the 5th night of dinning on (15) oysters cooked on the BBQ until the shells opened. A little butter, Tabasco and parmesan until bubbling golden brown making it the perfect way to end our vacation. 

Remember when we started this paddle and we were able paddle across the gravel bar at the spit? Look at our track below and you will see how far out we had to paddle to get around the exposed bar on the way back.

A quick calculation of our paddles on this trip totalled 64.73 km and we had fun every meter along the way! Not bad for a couple of newbies huh???

1 comment:

  1. Finally got a chance to catch up on some things including your blog. Looks like your vacation was just great. I think my favourite picture is of you with the sea lion lolling in front of you while you were fiddling with your camera. Thanks for sharing it all with us, you two. It’s an inspiration to get out to some new territory.