Day 4 - Monday - June 11 - James Bay to Blackberry Point

After an early breakfast I broke camp, got the kayak loaded up, and launched at 7:20am. Although the sky was cloudy and gray, the rain had stopped. Today’s route would take me along the northeast coast of Saltspring Island and through the Trincomali Channel. The shoreline of Saltspring Island was full of wildlife. As I paddled slowly along the rocky shore, I spotted beaver, raccoon, martin, deer, seals, eagles, and starfish.

Wallace and Secretary Islands come into view in Trincomali Channel as I pass Walker Hook.

A planned stop at Conover Cove on Wallace Island to get water turned out to be a challenge. The only shallow area in the cove consisted of thick sticky mud so it was necessary to tie up to the pier to exit my kayak. Depending how a pier is constructed it can be anything from easy to impossible to get in or out of a kayak. Luckily, this one was not bad and I was able to get out easily. Finding the water proved more difficult as the unmarked source was a few hundred yards from the dock along a trail leading to the north end of the island. The antique water pump had seen better days and I found it impossible to hold a water bottle under the outlet and pump the long handle at the same time. The only way to get water here would be to have two people operate the pump, or have a bucket to hang under the faucet while operating the pump handle from four feet away. A sign on the pump warned to boil water before drinking. As I would soon discover, all public water sources that I encountered on the trip would include this disclaimer, apparently to protect its public provider from litigation. Through out the trip, I did not boil, or even chemically treat water collected from these sources, and did not get sick even once.

Heading through the pass between Wallace and Secretary Islands.

I continued paddling along the west shore of Wallace Island and cut across at Chivers Point to follow the east coast of the Secretary Islands. After passing Hall Island on its west side and Reid Island on its east side, I headed north to Valdes Island across a mile and a half wide section of the Trincomali Channel. Kayakers in this area should stay clear of Porlier Pass except during slack tides as the currents flowing through it can create dangerous tiderips.

Looking NE toward Porlier Pass as I paddle along the eastern shoreline of Reid Island.

Shingle Point on Valdes Island was a good place to stop for a break. A grassy meadow with some abandoned buildings was all that remained of a homestead on this beautiful point of land. A small cemetery nearby held the remains of some of the areas early settlers.

Looking west across Pylades Channel from the beach at Blackberry Point on Valdes Island.

My destination on this day was Blackberry Point, where a designated camping area for kayakers has been established. Although there were a few possible sites up in the trees, I opted instead for a breezy beach site, as the mosquitoes seemed to have taken over the wooded area. Tonight’s high tide would not reach the top of the beach, so I did not have to worry about it getting to me in the middle of the night. There is no water available at Blackberry Point. A rustic pit toilet is the only amenity.

Vancouver Island in evening sunlight from Blackberry Point.

I arrived at Blackberry Point at 1:15pm after paddling nineteen miles in six hours.