Thursday, April 06, 2017

Around the Redondas: kayaking near Desolation Sound, Aug 1-6 2016 Day 1

I had prepared what I thought was an ambitious but doable itinerary around the Desolation Sound area, 20-25 km per day, launching from Lund, rounding West and East Redonda islands clockwise, and back to Lund in 5 nights and 6 days. It turned out to be not only doable, but something like ideal, and was a peak experience for both myself and my travelling companion, the wiry goon Jonathon.

Getting to Powell River from Vancouver is a bit of a hike no matter which way you slice it. We crossed from Comox, as Jon had some folks to visit in Nanaimo beforehand. Having stocked up on water (4L jugs being surprisingly difficult to find in this wee burg), fuel, and a couple last-minute groceries including some nice beers, we cruised out to the Dinner Rock campground to be close to Lund, our launch point, first thing in the morning.

After setting up the tent we headed into Lund for dinner. The transmission on Jon's borrowed car was making horrible, death-indicating noises all the way there, which put a bit of a pall on the proceedings. The owner of the restaurant helped us out by arranging for the car to be repaired while we were gone - amazing! We were better able to enjoy dinner after that. The food was middling but the setting was incredible, a calm West Coast evening with the sun going down over distant Vancouver Island across the strait.

(It turned out that the car "fixed itself" when we returned to it - seems that the trouble was something to do with the key not having been fully inserted in the ignition. Weird.)

Next morning we were unloaded and parked well in advance of the arrival of the folks who were to rent us our kayaks. With the usual first-day faffing around trying to figure out how everything fits in the boats, we were launched around 10AM up Thulin Passage, past the lovely Copeland Islands, and out toward adventure.

Lots of modern-day petroglyphs (read: graffiti) in Thulin Passage - some of it surprisingly old (dated as far back as the1930s). 

As we rounded Sarah Point to enter the Sound, we were struck by the scale of the place - ah! It's really big.

There was lots of boat traffic making the water pretty rough, and we had a big-ish crossing ahead of us, to Kinghorn Island then over to West Redonda. Traffic made it interesting and it was a bit choppy, but fine. By the time we hit West Redonda we were more than ready for lunch in the lee of the Martin Islands.

The afternoon being particularly fine, we pressed on past Refuge Cove (where we encountered the only few kayakers we were to see for the next few days: Russinvancouver from the WCP Forum and his wife, who had been beached for the past two days on account of high winds - we narrowly missed this bad weather, by happy acccident, and were able to complete our planned trip where they were not). I had planned for us to stay either at Martin Islands or (if we were feeling good) at a little site north of Refuge Cove (BCMTNA "Lewis Channel South". As it turned out we had plenty of gas left in the tank and drove on up pretty Lewis Channel, where we easily found an ideal campsite in "Lewis Channel Central."

It's a great little one-tent spot (two if you wanted to get cozy) with an established fire pit and driftwood bench, views up and down Lewis Channel, and a sheltered bay for swimming in. There's even a wee old apple tree there, a reminder (if you needed one after Hugh Hefner's yachts cruising up and down the channel) that you're not in untrod wilderness.

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