Two Multi-day Lodge-based Trips

posted Oct 22, 2012, 3:04 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Oct 22, 2012, 4:12 PM ]
The prior post described our trip to Prince William Sound, an opportunity that appeared at the last minute. Before that outing, we spent 5 days kayaking while staying 5 nights at the Otter Point Villa on Cortes Island. Then, after the Alaska trip, I spent another 5 days kayaking while based at Discovery Islands Lodge on Quadra Island. This post will cover those two lodge-based trips.

Cortes Island Trip - lodging the nights of July 28 through August 3, 2012
Otter Point Villa is a 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom, 2 story house located on the water in Gorge Harbour. With a large kitchen featuring 2 refrigerators, eating spaces inside or out on the deck, and Intermittent Internet connectivity, it was nicely set up for our group, consisting of 3 couples from the Nanaimo area, another from Montana, and Eli and me from North Idaho. It takes 2 ferries to get to Cortes, starting from Campbell River. Once on the island, it is easy to get around by car, so we could choose launch sites in addition to that at Otter Point.

Sunday July 29

Eight of us launched from the Squirrel Cove Store beach around low tide (~9:30 AM). Hugging the shore we worked our way clockwise past Boulder Point and stopped for lunch in the next bay. Four of us then retuned to the launch site for the outdoor market while the others headed for the Squirrel Cove lagoon hoping for high enough water to enter the lagoon. They were soon joined by late arrivals, Anna and Brian. Eventually they made their way into the lagoon before returning. Meanwhile Bob, Dana, Eli, and I went for a swim in Hague Lake.

Dominique and Audrey provided a splendid dinner back at Otter Point:
  • BBQ Salmon, sausage
  • roasted potatoes, salad
  • dense chocolate-quinoa cake with fruit salad
Monday July 30
Today's plan was to start by escaping Gorge Harbour. The entrance to this harbour is somewhat high-walled and narrow, but with no major turbulence. The tidal currents can purportedly reach up to 4 knots, so choosing a time for traversal makes a difference. Once we traversed through the windy notch we were greeted by seas too lumpy for our taste. So we ten returned to the sheltered harbour and chalked up 6.2 nm before lunch back at Otter Point. After lunch, Brian, Anna, and I returned to the harbour entrance for another peak outside. It was still lumpy, but we had a fun 6+ kt ride back in.

Steve and Trish provided another fine dinner:
  • shrimp, chicken tortillas
  • guacamole, quinoa, beans
  • margueritas
  • carefully selected chocolates
Tuesday July 31
Today we ten escaped the harbour heading more or less north, snacked at Whaletown Harbour, and continued to Coulter Bay where we had lunch. We took some point-to-point shortcuts on the way back, but also stopped for a swim off Shark Spit. Along the way to our 14.4 nm trip total, we saw seals, oyster catchers, bald eagles, bonaparte gulls, and a porpoise (which I missed).

An exceptional mediterranean-themed evening feast was provided by Dana and Bob. After dinner the musicians jammed.

Wednesday August 1

Steve took today off to go fishing - he had brought his dinghy and secured the appropriate license. The rest of us paddled to Manson's Landing and back, a trip featuring eagle, sea star, and seal sightings.

Anna and Brian provided a wondrous dinner, but my inadequate record keeping (now later in the trip) has no description of the assorted dishes.

Thursday August 2

After abandoning a lumpy launch at Coulter Bay, we headed for a more sheltered launch at Cortes Bay and headed up island along the shore. Once more exposed, we ran into rough seas and worked hard to get to Tiber Bay. Coincidentally, Ralph Garrison (a friend of Eli's from her Vashon Island days) was just exiting the bay, sailing with friends and relatives. We lunched on his home's deck in his absence, before our return.

Eli and I provided lasagna and accompaniments for dinner.

Friday August 3

This would be our last day, so all of us (other than Anna and Brian) opted for a fresh water tour of Hague and Gunflint Lakes. We launched from the east end of K'was Bay Road putting us on Hague. It was an intentionally late launch so we very soon stopped for lunch at Goose Poop Beach (GPB). Subsequently, we squeezed through the narrow passage to Gunflint. After its circumnavigation we squeezed back into Hague which we also circumnavigated. Finally, we stopped again at GPB and did some self and assisted rescue practice.

Having run out of cooks, we had dinner at Gorge Harbour's 'Floating Restaurant'. The fare was quite decent, although a cut or two below our home-made dinners of the previous five nights. After dinner we stepped down to the fireplace at the water to hear three musicians from Victoria - bass, guitar, and mandolin/guitar.

Saturday August 4

With our kayaks already loaded (and fresh water rinsed from the lakes), most of us caught the 7:50 AM ferry to Quadra and then the 10 AM ferry to Campbell River. On our way down island, we visited the Filberg Festival in Comox with Dom and Audrey. There we listened to some music, ate Greek food, and looked at the arts and crafts.

Further Cortes Island photos:

Quadra Island Trip - lodging the nights of September 19 through September 23, 2012

The lodge photo above is from last year and doesn't show some improvements made by the owners.

Doogie Dowler above Whiterock Passaga
Looking NE toward Doogie Dowler

I took this trip without Eli, who was in New Mexico awaiting the birth of her first grandson. For some of the trip there were ten of us from North Idaho, but Audrey came up from Nanaimo to paddle Saturday and then Sunday morning. We stayed at Discovery Islands Lodge, which Eli and I consider our favorite. I drove over from Sandpoint with Matt. He and I shared a room with 2 bunks, a queen-sized bed, and a spectacular view. The trip wasn't organized in a lockstep fashion, so not everyone stayed for the same time span. As it turned out, our group were the only occupants of the lodge until two fellows returned from a ten day expedition for our last night.

We had light rain one night, but it was otherwise dry with unusually calm conditions throughout our stay. Some hadn't been paddling much this summer, so I was surprised at how strong they paddled. As he has been doing all summer, Matt practiced his rolls - but now with a semi-loaded boat and in salt water.

Wednesday September 19

Matt and I reached the lodge just before noon, unpacked and were on the water by 1:15 PM. We paddled into Surge Narrows near slack, then worked our way along the shore of Maurelle Island until the entrance to Whiterock Passage. The Surge Narrows currents built during our break so our ride back, even though down current from Beazley, was still rather stimulating.

People in our group were drifting into the lodge with Pam and Kerry being the last arrivals.

Thursday September 20

Landing Just Before Whiterock Passge  on Way to Rendezvous Islands Provincial Park
A break spot at just before we enter Whiterock Passage.

The day's target was the Rendezvous Island Provincial Park, a healthy 13,5 nm round trip. Along the way, we saw
  • seals
  • cormorants, herons, bonaparte and other gulls
  • sea stars from bright purple to the large, orange, many-armed
Friday September 21
Finally, They're All Gone
Well Camouflaged

The Surge Narrows currents were propitious for a 12,3 nm round trip to the Octopus Islands i.e. we were slackers both ways. We stopped at Yeatman Bay, to and fro. In addition to yesterday's critters, we saw a group of loons (who even cried for us) and kingfishers. Audrey arrived at about 8:45 PM from Nanaimo, bringing our nighttime fog and drizzle.

Saturday September 22

Sandpoint Meets Nanaimo

There was no rain at dawn and the fog dissipated. The Gervais left in the morning, leaving nine of us. We headed more or less south to Village Bay, via Crescent Channel (around Bold Island). We saw many sea stars of many varieties along the way. After lunch at the north end of Village Bay, we headed straight back to the lodge, accruing a total of 10.8 nm for the day. We did see a Western Grebe and once back, a sea lion, from the lodge.
Lunch is Over at the North End of Village Bay
Lunch at Village Bay

Sunday September 23

Audrey was only paddling a half day so she and I toured the nearby marine park. We were rewarded with many colorful urchins, sea stars, the diminutive and graceful Bonaparte gulls, a few mergansers, and even porpoises. The current built so that we got to fight currents and ride currents - a fun morning.
There are More Solar Panels on the Roof

Monday September 24

Matt and I drove to Nanaimo and stayed overnight at Dominique's and Audrey's on a rough stretch of the Nanaimo River. Matt, an old white water paddler, was impressed by the river's configuration just out the door, but below the cliff. We caught the early ferry to Tsawwassen the next morning.

Further Quadra Island photos: