Gulf Island Beauty

We look out towards some of the Gulf Islands from our deck and had done some looking at where to camp on a multi day trip so wanted to do a bit of exploring first to become a bit more familiar with the area. The islands, especially during low wind, provide a lovely protected area to explore and enjoy.

So yesterday we got close up and personal with DeCoursy Island group and loved it. It was picture perfect conditions – sunny, no wind and high tide so no worry about lots of water flow.

We quickly crossed Stuart Channel, saying hello to a seal that popped up a couple times, and then did the shortest portage ever (thank you high tide) over a beach between Mudge and Link Islands to get to the other side of the island group. It was a popular spot – kayakers, kids playing on the beach and families enjoying the weather. On my walk to a bathroom break I noticed that the rocks around here had the most interesting erosion patterns. That piqued my interest!

Well, it just got better. We made our way along the coast of the island, entering small channels that would not have supported a boat at low tide, and enjoyed the many interesting rock formations. They were beautiful.

This side of the island had this interesting coastline, with well-treed slopes coming to the water. We took a break at Pirates Cove a favourite haven for sailboats and cruisers to moor and made a surprise visit to Allison & Craig! Thanks for indulging me! And then we continued around the island. There is camping on the other side which could be a good spot for a multi-day trip. They are first-come, first served and were empty but I suspect the weekends would see higher competition for these spots.

The west side of the island was the highlight of the trip. We were in awe of the sandstone cliffs, admiring the houses atop the cliffs that had spectacular views across the strait back to Vancouver Island ‘mainland’.

But what was more interesting were the spectacular sandstone formations. Some were sculpted, rounded and smooth. Others had a ‘honeycomb’ erosion pattern that looked like lace placed over the rock. Some googling provided an explanation that these were formed by rainwater percolating through the sandstone and then evaporating at the surface. Not sure how that creates the patterns but we just enjoyed the unique environment. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

We slowly (lots of pictures taken!) made our way down the coast

Finally we struck back out across the strait back to our starting point. The water was almost glass smooth, and with the sun sparkling on the water and and no motor boats, the hour or so paddle was magical and peaceful. Looking towards the Island, we are still struck by how mountainous it is. Today the peaks were just profiles, softened by the late afternoon light. All in all, a wonderful 16km paddle in a new area that we truly enjoyed and made us want to see more of the Gulf Islands!

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