Friday, April 07, 2017

Around the Redondas: kayaking near Desolation Sound, Aug 1-6 2016 Day 5 & 6

Friday dawned overcast and calm, perfect paddling weather. We struck camp and retraced north before setting off for Desolation Sound proper. We still thought we were at Lloyd Point and thought we might find some corroborating evidence at mid-tide. At the landing to the log handling area we thought we were onto it, but that recent logging operations had obliterated the old campsites. Whoops. Finally, checking the GPS on my InReach device (I've never used GPS before & hadn't thought of it earlier), I saw we seemed to be south of the coordinates for Lloyd. Since it made no difference and we had some miles to make before Kinghorn Island, I tucked that thought away and we lit out for the park as the sun began to peek out.

Yachts! So many yachts! Big ones, little ones, attractive old-fashioned wooden ones, ugly Jetsons-looking ones. The place was crammed with them, and with clothes hanging from lines, and with kids jumping off rocks into the water - I could see how people would enjoy that community feeling, and especially the kids, in this calm, exceedingly pretty place - but we felt like we'd been dropped onto the streets of New York City after the isolation and wild beauty we'd experienced just to the north of here. We paddled through Prideaux Haven but felt like grubby bums walking into Tiffany's.

Onward, then, past Melville and Otter to the Curmes for lunch, where we finally encountered a few other kayakers, the first we'd seen since Russ and his wife on Day 1. The Curmes are a great spot, well deserving of their reputation as a destination and a staging point. But I've never encountered wasps that were as aggressive and persistent as these bastards. They came right up to snatch the food out of your hand, and dive-bombed your head. We bolted our lunch and got out of there pronto.

Onward again, past Mink Island, which took both our votes for "if you had your pick of one place around here to settle, which would you choose?" It has it all - beaches, caves, cliffs, forest, a lake and running water, varied topography - a real gem. And of course it's private property, with a real unfriendly-to-travellers mien and the colonists giving you the stink-eye from their outdoor hot tubs as you pass. Unnervingly, we heard gunshots coming from up-island.

Reaching the west end of Mink and contemplating the crossing to Kinghorn, the wind had whipped up a nice frothy crop of whitecaps. It was a moderately rough crossing - about as bad as our experience in Sechelt Inlet a couple of years ago, but this time we were prepared for it - and we were better paddlers, too, by now. Still, it was a relief achieving Kinghorn, and of course the wind died off just as we got there. We asked a fella who was moving rocks around on the east beach (actually, the same dude who'd rented us our kayaks in Lund) where the campsite was, and he pointed us to the north side of the island. There are actually two distinct campsites there, on either side of a rocky promontory. The west site was the first one we found, and it was the cozier of the two, well set up for a small handful of tents and sheltered from the elements. The east site is in open level forest and would be suitable for quite a large group of campers - I bet you could fit 30 in there. I can't believe I didn't get a better photo of our campsite than this, but taking pictures is always an afterthought for me.
We had a good long hike to the west end of the island, where we failed to find Kimantas' much-vaunted "humorous commemorative plaque", but where we did enjoy some stunning views and a potential site for rock ledge camping if the group sites happened to be crowded.
 Kinghorn could use some caretaking - it's heavily used and a few established trails wouldn't go amiss to keep destructive bushwhacking to a minimum.
I loved it here - there's a real beach-bum vibe to it, at least while the sun was shining, and I could happily have stayed for days lounging, hiking, and watching the world go by.
Saturday morning, after a brief squall, the sun came out and we made a leisurely, uneventful paddle back to Lund. The highlight was a young eagle on the south shore of Kinghorn hunched over and all puffed out, drying his feathers in the sun.
All in all, an ideal trip - the ideal length at the ideal rate with an ideal companion, with just enough challenge and danger to keep us on our toes but nothing that would have put us in real peril. I feel like I could travel the exact same route again and see and do things that would make it a completely different trip, and I'd especially like to try for a night at the Toba Islet campsite, weather permitting. You can bet I'll be back.

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