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Gulf Island Paddle 2012

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Launch Point Bennett Bay Mayne Island
Max Difficulty: SKIV
Paddle Length/Time/Distance The trip as outlined on the map was 9 day paddle for a total of approximately 87 miles.
Tide/Current Station See Tides and Current Information Page
Destination Gulf Island

The Gulf Islands are the northern extension of the San Juan Islands and are great place to paddle. There are multiple routes you can put together to access the whole chain of islands. Wind can be a problem in this area and it is not unusual to get afternoon winds in excess 15 kts when this occurs wind waves can become 1-2' ft in areas. We had great weather, sunshine daily and only one afternoon with significant wind.

We took BC ferry to Mayne Island permitting us to paddle the northeast side of Mayne and Saturna Islands.  We even paddled through Boat Passage... some of us twice, second time the current was starting to build up speed.  Our first night camp was on Cabbage Island, the west side of the island has quiet a few campsites and there is a nice sandy beach.

Day 3 we paddled to Beaumont Provincial Park on South Pender Island.  Our route took us through Tumbo Channel, be sure to plan your paddle here as this Channel has significant currents during max flow.   We stayed 2 nights at Beaumont Provincial Park.  I did a day paddle here paddling up the channel between North and South Pender Islands to Browning Harbor.  The channel does have significant current during tidal changes, so plan your timing for passing through. Poet's Cove Resort at the south end of Bedwell Harbor has groceries, pool, and a restaurant.

We paddled west out of Pender and headed for Portland Island.  The paddle route does include a 2+ mile crossing to Moresby Island.  Portland Island is part of the BC Marine Trail and is a very pretty island. We did have a thunderstorm on Portland Island during the night but that did not cause us any issues. 

From Portland Island we paddled to Prevost,  we had a down day planned there and used it to go into Ganges to enjoy the Saturday Market, showers, and restaurants.  We had a windy paddle out of Ganges, probably a 15 kt breeze blowing down the harbor pushing some 2 ft waves,  this PM wind is pretty common.  We had some light rain that evening and the following morning.  The skies cleared later and we had sun  as we paddled north to Princess Cove on Wallace Island, this was our northern most destination.  Watch out for Raccoons!  I had a raccoon sitting on my boat before I could almost exit it!! We spend 2 nights at Wallace doing a day paddle on our "down" day.

From Wallace we headed to Montague Maritime Park on Galliano Island the next day.  Nice park bit of a hike/climb to the camp sites.  Try to catch the bus to the Humming Bird Pub for a great dinner and a fun bus ride..  no charge for the ride..catch it at the main gate around 5.. it runs till late in the evening.

Our last day, we had a cloudy paddle down to Village Bay crossing Active Pass, watch out for ferries, this is the main entry for boat traffic into and out of the Gulf Islands.  We saw Orca while rounding Saturna and again while waiting for the ferry back to Tsawassen.  Great Trip!


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Copyright 2015 Chuck Hemphill. All Rights Reserved
Last Updated:  June 02, 2015