First Leg - Days 13-24 - Powell River BC to Port Hardy BC
The main natural and man made features encountered along this stretch of the route include: The city of Powell River, the Strait of Georgia, Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands, Lewis Channel, Calm Channel, Yuculta Rapids, Big Bay Resort, Dent Rapids, Cordero Channel, Cordero Lodge, Greene Point Rapids, Whirlpool Rapids, Johnstone Strait, the Boat Bay Orca Patrol Base, Robson Bight, Telegraph Cove, Alder Bay, Broughton Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait, and the town of Port Hardy.
My kayaking friend had some last minute errands to run this morning so I launched at 9:10am with plans to meet up later in the day at a campsite on the Copeland Islands. High tide this morning was at 9:30am so I was able to ride a rising tide creating a current flowing northwest in my direction of travel up the coast of the Malaspina Peninsula.
Just north of Powell River, I passed the local paper mill with around ten old rusty ships halfway sunk in the shallows creating a breakwater for the mills dock facility. The sight was extraordinary. Considering how clean the rest of the coast had been so far, this place looked liked a dumping ground for old ships.
Heading up the coast of the Malaspina Peninsula.
The shoreline all the way to Lund was dotted with nicely kept homes looking out over the Malaspina Strait. A campground just south of Lund with sites right on the water, would be a convenient access spot for kayakers either starting or ending a trip in this area. Lund is the last spot along this stretch of the Inside Passage route that is accessible by road until reaching Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island about an eight-day paddle away.
When I reached the Copeland Islands, I headed to a campsite recommended in one of the guidebooks for the area. This was to be the rendezvous point with my friend. After checking it out, it was obvious this site would not do. The moon was new, and the tides this evening would be close to the highest of the month. This site offered no spot to camp above high tide. I continued looking for a suitable campsite, actually making a complete circumnavigation of the largest Copeland Island, still with no luck. With the wind and current remaining in my favor, I decided to keep on going and hope to find a good site before dark.
Today’s episode was a good indication of how hard it can be to try and kayak with a partner and have plans to meet up at some pre-determined location. There are just too many things can change throughout the day. I had wasted over an hour, and paddled three miles further than I would have if I was on my own and not trying to be somewhere, someone was expecting me to be.
The beach at the North Copeland Island campsite.
As I approached the last small group of islands in the Copeland’s I spotted a small gravel beach where landing was possible. Even though there was no campsite visible, I felt it was at least worth checking out. When I got up into the trees, I was surprised to find a sign showing that it was a British Columbia Marine Trail campsite. I found it interesting there was no sign visible from the water alerting weary paddlers to the campsite. The site had two very nice tent platforms up in the forest along with an outhouse.
My tent set up on the platform on North Copeland Island.
After blowing hard all day the wind really picked up around 10pm with gusts of what I believe were around 40mph. I could hear branches being broken from the trees all around me and just hoped that no big ones fell on me while I was asleep in the tent.
I had made it to my campsite at 4pm after paddling 21 miles in around 7 hours.