Changing our kayaking plans from camping this weekend until next weekend we decided to head out for a day of exploring Saanich Inlet. For the benefit of our readers who may not know where this is, it is located between the Saanich Peninsula on the east and the Malahat on the west on south Vancouver Island. The inlet is about 24 km long with a maximum deapth of 225 m (738 ft.) and extends south from Satellite Channel at Saltspring Island through Squally Reach and down to Finlayson Arm in the south. Goldstream River (BC Provincial Park) feeds into the inlet and is home to a major Chum salmon run in the fall months.
Our put in location was next to the Brentwood Bay BC Ferry Terminal that operates between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay. The small beach suits us just fine for our Brentwood Bay launches but it is recommended to have a set of kayak wheels to roll your fully loaded rides down to the water. The municipality has done a wonderful job in providing a cement walkway (although steep) to the water and recently installed washrooms next to the unloading area. Parking can be a bit of an issue and it is not uncommon to park a good distance away up the main drag unless you have connections (local parking lot attendants / friends houses) LOL or arrive early in the morning to get parking close by.
|Robyn on a perfect day launch next to the BC Ferry Terminal.|
On plan today was to make our way to Spectacle Falls on the western side on the inlet and in particular visit a site known as Stairway To Nowhere. We were on the water at 09:00 and with mirror like water we headed across the inlet to check out the decommissioned Bamberton cement works. Established in 1921 the cement works operated as the BC Cement Company was a major source of cement on southern Vancouver Island until it was closed in 1980.
|Lion's Mane Jellyfish|
|No much left of BC Cement Company|
Our next goal was to make our way down to Squally Reach and then find the Stairway To Nowhere. This landmark was created for a movie 'Commandos Strike at Dawn' filmed in 1942 and was left as is. When coming around Squally Point we saw the stairway and it is kinda weird seeing it for the first time.
|Stairway To Nowhere|
|Robyn on the stairs|
|Seal colony on a beach nook|
Feeling pretty good with our paddling today we decided to check out Tod Inlet on the way back to our put in location. It was just around 3:00pm when we made our way past Butchart Gardens dingy dock and holy cow ...... the number of mega yachts, sailboats and about 2 dozen rental kayaks all trying to maneuver in such a small area. The big attraction was the Saturday night Butchart Gardens fireworks show and the boaters were all jostling for anchorage. The only thing I could think of was how the heck were they going to get out of there in the dark???? Maybe some of them would be smart and wait for daylight before trying to leave the inlet.
|A few rental kayaks and only about a 10th of the total "money boats" at anchor.|
Leaving Tod Inlet we checked out the Brentwood Bay marina and played "duck" under the dock gangways as the tide was coming in. Good forward fold yoga practice beats banging your head or catching a paddle. LOL
We arrived back at our put in location at 3:45pm (6.75 hours) and with a total of 26.70 km travelled making it our longest paddle to date. Good practice for next year when we look to head to the west coast on a multi-day trip.