Friday, May 18, 2012

Royston Wrecks Expedition #1

Well here we are on vacation for 10 days in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. We have chosen Bates Beach RV Resort just north of Courtenay and Comox as our base camp as it is situated right on the Salish Sea and has spectacular views across to the mainland coast mountains. From this location we can plan our day trips or simply paddle the waters  right on our back door so to speak.

Today we headed south to the small community of Royston where the famous Royston wrecks are located. Our put in location was less than 1 km from the wrecks and most of the hull remains could be seen above the  water.  It was just turning to the flood tide as we wheeled our kayaks down to the water and headed towards the remains of  the steel sailing ship Riversdale that was built in Liverpool (1894) and became part of the break water in 1961.

Unfortunately the the winds from the south east picked up pretty good and it wasn't long before we were sloshing around in 10 knot winds and it didn't look like it would ease up any. We paddled closer to shore and checked out Frigate HMCS Prince Rupert (K 324) which was built by Yarrows Ltd. (Esquimalt, BC) in 1942. The Prince Rupert was built specifically to serve during WWII as an ocean escort and during its very short service assisted in the sinking of German submarine U-575 on March 13, 1944. Prince Rupert was decommissioned on January 15, 1946 after only 4 years of service and she was positioned at the Royston breakwater in February 1948.

The remains of HMCS Prince Rupert after almost 65 years at Royston

The SE winds continued to pick up so we decided to head back to our put in location and drive down towards Deep Bay to check out locations to launch from this week. We talked to a couple of local kayakers about heading across to Denman Island which we will attempt to do if the winds are in our favour later this week. And of course we had to stop at Fanny Bay Oysters to pick up a dozen oysters for the BBQ later in the day.

Heading back to base camp we checked out the Comox Valley Visitor Center which is an amazing facility. Inside is like a mini museum highlighting the many activities and places to visit in the area.  Yes that is a Delta kayak.:-) Outside is a RCAF Snowbird (#5) CT-114 Tutor which is an awesome way to acknowledge their west coast training at 19 Wing Comox.


  1. Great pics, Mark. Back in the mid-Eighties, while posted at Cold Lake, I got a regular "ride" in the right hand seat of Tutors out of Base Flight and AETE - pretty cool. Brought back fond memories! Enjoy your time away. Duncan.

    1. Hi Duncan, now that must have been cool to "ride" in the Tutors. Glad I could stir up those memories for you.