Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Heriot Bay, Quadra Island BC

BC Ferry Terminal at Campbell River. Looks like someone let a sasquatch walk on board lately :-)

We're on vacation so what's with setting the alarm clock to go paddling??? Well that's what started our day off as we blasted out of base camp at 07:00am and headed for the 08:30am Quadra Island Ferry leaving Campbell River. Our goal today was to launch out of Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park and paddle around scenic Heriot Bay and the many bays and islands close by.

Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park looking north from the boat launch.
Drew Harbour on the left and the entrance to Hoskyn Channel on the right

Rebecca Spit is an amazing geological formation providing protection for Drew Harbour and Heriot Bay from the exposed SE winds as we would later find out. Launching into Drew Harbour we paddled across and explored the coast line on our way into Heriot Bay.

Heriot Bay is a very small village with an inn, marina, grocery / post office and is the ferry terminus if you want to go to Cortes Island. The many rustic buildings made me think that time kinda slows down here. A great lifestyle I'm thinking.

Heading north we paddled through the narrow channel between Quadra Island and the west side of Heriot Island. One of the places that we wanted to visit today was the Breton Islands group which is home to a large seal rookery. As we crossed Hyacinthe Bay the SE winds started to pick up significantly just as we made it to Hyacinthe Point. At this point we were in a pretty good two foot chop with white caps noticeable a little further out. With Open Bay just around the next corner (which we could have possibly found shelter in) we decided the best course of action was to head back towards Heriot Bay. As it turns out .... that was a good decision but ...........

as we approached the northern end of Heriot Island the SE winds really started to howl and heading back around the east side was out of the question. Simple really ..... head back through the narrow channel we paddled through a few hours earlier but .........

Where did all the water go????

Every time we head out on the water we get to experience something new for the first time so why would this trip be different?? In this case our first portage was in order if we wanted to get back to our put in location. See the little hut in the distance? That was the starting point of hauling our yaks and you ask why didn't we just use our wheels??? Well... they were back in the truck because we figured we didn't need them on this paddle. Lesson learned we got'em ... take'em. LOL.

Anyway there is always a upside to everything that gets thrown in your direction and in this case after shuttling the yaks in stages we explored the exposed channel bottom which turned out to be covered in the most amazing oyster bed we have seen. Thousands of sand dollars, lots of red rock crabs (soft shells though) and even a Cailifornia sea cucumber. One thing I did check on before we headed out today was the the PSP levels in the area and so it was oyster harvest time for tonight's dinner.

Rebecca Spit Earthcache. Simple... picture at the coordinates
read the geological information provided on the cache listing
and send answers to the cache owner to get credit for it.
We headed back over to Rebecca Spit and another first for us as the next thing we were paddling in a rain squall along with cresting wind blowing one foot chop. It's a good thing that fetch of Drew Harbour isn't that long as the wave height probably would have been much greater. It was a bit of a slog to reach the spit but once there the rain stopped and we landed on a beach for lunch. As many of you know we like to Geocache and doing so by kayak makes it that much more of an adventure. Rebecca Spit is home to an Earthcache (Geological feature no hidden item) and a couple other regular caches.

Quathiaski Cove Ferry Terminal
After 5 hours on the water it was time to head back to the put in location and make our way to the ferry terminal to get back to Campbell River. One day we must come back to this magical place and maybe even spend a week over here exploring the many other great places to kayak around Quadra Island. Surge Narrows???? Who knows .... maybe one day.



  1. Replies
    1. Hi Sheila, We left it back at base camp (Bates Beach) as it is too big and trouble to haul around on day trips. However .... we are thinking that we might need to spend a week sometime camped on Quadra Island to take advantage of all the cool places to paddle there.