Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pirate's Cove - Day Four

Monday morning we woke up to slightly overcast skies and a change in the wind direction for our paddle over to Pirate's Cove in the De Courcy Group of islands. One thing that we have learned from paddling in North Gulf Islands is that they provide a certain amount of shelter from the winds. The wind forecast was calling for SE 10-15 increasing to 15-20 later in the day so we headed to our put in location at Cedar By The Sea that we scouted out the day before. Arriving at the beach we only had a slight breeze to contend with coming from the SE.  

Round Island with Link Island in the background to the right.
Our plan was to paddle over to Round Island, check the water conditions at that point then make the crossing over to Link Island. Yesterday while scouting out the trip we had seen small boats coming from between Link and De Courcy so we knew we might have a few options after the crossing was completed. The crossing went as planned and we didn't notice any ebb current coming from Dodd Narrows which I was expecting so that was a pleasant surprise. 

Arriving at gap between Mudge Island and Link Island we checked to see if there was any passage through but it became clear that this pass had become blocked many years ago with a gravel bar as indicated on the charts. We proceeded south along the west side of the Link Island and here we got to see our first massive galleries of sandstone erosion on the cliff faces. Some of the cave like hollows are so massive in scale that we could paddle under the overhangs but we kept our distance as the sandstone formations are in a continuous state or erosion.

Paddling further along the cliffs we came to the pass between Link and De Courcy Islands where we saw boats coming through the day before. Probably only used by small powered boats and of course us kayakers the gap is just that... a gap between the sandstone rocks. A small amount of current was present here but the weird thing was that we could actually stay in position between the rocks with the river like flowing under us. Why??? Another thing I need to research.  LOL

Down the east side of De Courcy we navigated through the many small islets on our way to Pirate's Cove. There are many small cottages on this side of the island and each owner have their unique way of making it theirs. Probably one of the coolest things we saw was this hot tub that was a summer project just recently completed. It can be run on propane during the dry summer months or wood during the winter months. Robyn stopped to speak to the owner who saw us and he said that they also add lavender to the the heating chamber to create an amazing aroma. Nice!!  

Arriving at Pirate's Cove Marine Park we explored the protected harbour before we headed around to our lunch stop location on the Ruxton Passage side. Here we met a couple in a tandem kayak who were from Seattle. They had come from Silva Bay through Gabriola Passage so it was good to talk to them about launching locations for our next planned trip into the Flat Top Islands. 

Lunch stop at Pirate's Cove (Ruxton Passage side). One of our future camping locations.

For most of the day it was overcast and although there wasn't much wind there was a noticeable SE swell present now at the southern end of De Courcy. We decided to head back up the west side of the island towards our put in location and even though the water was a bit sloppy at least we were going with it. Some of the sandstone formations were alien like along the way. As we got closer to the pass between Link and De Courcy Islands the swells dropped a bit so we made a direct crossing back to Cedar By The Sea. Another great day visiting a kayaking bucket list destination. :-)

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