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Nanaimo to Polkinghorn Island | Aug 19
It's 7 PM and we are in the Polkinghorn Islands. We were dropped off by James Willson and his water taxi "Rainbow Chaser" about an hour ago, on a rocky islet on the leeward side of the main Polkinghorn Island. From our drop off spot we had only a short five-minute paddle over to Polkinghorn Island where we are making camp tonight.
We are about one and a half hours into our week-long kayak trip and already were wondering if we're going to survive this trip. It is a trip that seems ill fated!!
We arrived in Port McNeil for our 4pm meet up with the water taxi. We unloaded our gear from the car and carried it down onto the wharf. James Willson, of Silver King Water Taxi, arrived and taxied us across Queen Charlotte Straight, crashing through the swell and over the waves. When we reached Polkinghorn Island, her nosed the boat up to an rocky islet where we unloaded. We hauled our bags around the runner boards of the boat, across the bow and onto the rock, making numerous trips until all our gear was off. Last to come off the boat were the kayaks and then we stood and watched as he pulled away and out of sight.
Left alone on the rocks, we turned to our kayaks to load up for the short paddle to camp. Rachel pulled off her hat cover and groaned. There were no neoprene gasket covers under the hard shell covers. Nothing to really make a water seal on the storage holds. Not a good start to our week long trip!
We loaded our gear in, somewhat haphazardly into the bulkheads and then ventured out. It was only 5 minutes before we were pulling up onto the beach in a small cove on Polkinghorn Island. Scott climbed out of his kayak and ventured up on to the beach small area. There was nothing that looked definitely about the tide line so he stepped into a small clearing in the salal and came out into a grassy clearing which would be our camp for the night.
We unloaded all our gear and pulled the kayaks up onto the headland. We put up the tent and then went to change out of our shorts and wet shoes. Oh no! Rachel had somehow missed packing her socks and Scott had not packed his fleece. Wow! How unprepared are we!? How did this get by us? I'll tell you how - because we were rushed. We only got home from Oregon on Friday afternoon and then we had to get our rental trailer ready for a change of tenants the next day. When that was taken care of, we did our packing on Saturday night before Rachel left for Williams Lake on Sunday morning, not to return to Nanaimo again until late Monday evening. We then finished our packing that evening (or thought we did) and went to bed. We got up at 6:30 in the morning, loaded up the car, tied the kayaks on top, dropped the dog off at the dog sitters (forgetting to take his bed for him) and then hit the road for Port McNeil.
As we were driving up the Island Highway, Rachel got out her GoPro which she had just bought an Oregon, so that she can familiarize yourself with it. As she was playing with it and going through the box and accessories, she realized that somehow the WiFi remote had been separated from the rest of the gear and left behind. Another thing left behind! As we pulled through Campbell River we stopped in at Walmart, London Drugs and Target to buy another one, but they didn’t have any.
Further up the highway, Rachel pulled out the maps and guidebook to read up on where we were going to be paddling. Before we go on a trip like this, we take these resources to Staples and we copy the sections that are applicable to where we're going to be traveling so that we don’t have to carry more than we need, and so that the originals remain in good condition. Well, Rachel began flipping through the 50 pages of guidebook to find the section on the Polkinghorn Island area, but the copies seemed to end right at that part. The guidebook seems to be organized in an non-intuitive way, jumping all around, but we were sure that we had photocopied the whole two chapters that cover the Johnstone Straight and Broughton Islands but we were apparently short of some. Scott didn’t seem to be too rattled by this, but Rachel was a little concerned.
Now that we are here, Scott is making us dinner. He lit up the stove but it isn't burning well. The flame is orange instead of blue, and the jet is not putting out much. Sure enough, he is able to fix it, but there are a few cuss words flying around and it is one more thing that's going wrong.
While Scott is working on the stove Rachel has sat down to do the journal. Out comes the phone and the Bluetooth keyboard, but the keyboard has never been paired with this phone before and for some reason the two aren’t finding each other. We've lost count now. Is that ill fate number 8? I think so: 1)dog bed, 2) WiFi GoPro remote, 3) map description, 4) kayak hatch covers, 5) socks, 6) fleece, 7) stove, 8) keyboard.
While Scott has gone off to take find his rain jacket (so he can layer up) Rachel has dug out the low tech pen and paper. Pray for us. Hopefully will make it back to Telegraph Cove alive in 6 days time.
I may have made this sound rather doom and gloom, and when we initially arrived, Rachel was certainly feeling that way. She was so anxious about the trip that she was nearly in tears. But, now that we are both on our second cup of wine, the food smells good, Rachel has on a pair of Scott’s socks, Scott is layered up with his rain jacket, and the wind has died down and we have devised a plan for dealing with the hatch covers. Things don’t seem quite so bad. We are sitting her looking out at the view toward Vincent and Percy Island, with a section of the mainland behind, and we marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. It is nearing dusk and we are now looking forward to a great week of paddling.
Kinda like Tom Sawyer, we were paid $55 to allow someone to write an article on Randsco. We are not otherwise affiliated with BoaterExam.com. This "advert post" by Zooey, is now part of an Randsco SEO experiment (write-up to come after data are collected. In the meantime ... a big "sorry" to our loyal readers who subscribe by RSS or eMail! We're not suddenly turning SPAMMY on you!
Fishing and boating are exciting family-oriented activities that can be both fun and educational. They can also be quite dangerous, especially when we lack awareness or are not properly prepared. It is for this reason that British Columbia now mandates a BC boating license regardless of boat size and other aspects. In fact, this kind of regulation is now popular throughout Canada and the United States because the statistics show that it saves lives.
Five Tips for Hiking with KidsApril 25th, 2011 · Nicole
In her first article for randsco.com, guest author Nicole provides five tips for hiking with kids. Just because you have young kids doesn't mean parents have to put away their hiking gear. Hiking with kids is a great way to combine family time, healthy exercise and teaching children about the natural world. Learn more!
Five Tips Help Make Hiking with Kids FUN!
It is definitely heart-warming to see kids bathing in bubbling brooks, climbing over rocks or boulders and appreciating the flora and fauna as they pass them by. Hiking and camping with your own kids is a great way to teach them about the beauty of nature, cooperation and healthy living.
If you’ve been taking your kids on hikes and would like to make it an even better experience (or want to and fear that they'll whine and complain) - this article will arm you with five ideas that will increase your chances for a successful outing!
In July, we caught a juvenile North Pacific Giant Octopus in one of our prawn traps. We took it back to the floating cabin for Alex to see. She named him "Ollie" and kept him as her "pet" for the afternoon. Ollie's story, with video, pictures and interesting facts about octopuses.
6-year-old Alex Meets an Octopus
One of the stories worth telling from Alex's summertime fun is the story about an octopus Alex named "Ollie".
The story begins as many of our more interesting stories do - at the floating cabin The Floating Cabin Picture of the floating cabin in the Barkley Sound. Located off the west coast of Vancouver Island and not far from the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. It's a wild, pristine wilderness area and wildlife abounds. Black bear, killer whales, sea lions, bald eagles, seals, sea otters, mink, cougar are among the inhabitants. There's oodles of sea food here too. Clams, oysters, prawn, crab, salmon, halibut, ling cod and snapper. It's an amazing area and we're lucky to be part-owners of this unique floating cabin. Click to learn more about the floating cabin (map, photos, etc). . The cabin is situated in the Barkley Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, very close to the Pacific Rim National Park. It's a wet and wild place, accessible only by boat and we love sharing it with family and friends. It was late July and Scott's folks were at the cabin. It was their second visit and they too, love the solitude, the wild nature and rugged west coast scenery.
We had taken the boat out to pull up our prawn traps, though Alex elected to remain behind at the cabin, on this particular trip. It's about a 10-minute boat-ride from the cabin to the traps and we usually check them several times a day, when we're prawning.
Pulling up prawn traps from the depths of the ocean sometimes yields sea creatures other than prawns. The most common of these creatures is also the least desirable - the dreaded slime eel About Slime Eels (Hagfish) A slime eel isn't an eel at all, rather a very primitive fish called a Hagfish. They've been around for 550 million years. Because of their unusual feeding habits and slime-producing capabilities, the hagfish is often referred to as the most "disgusting" of all sea creatures. Hagfish have a sluggish metabolism and can survive months between feedings. However, hagfish often enter and eat the bodies of dead, dying or injured sea creatures that are much larger than themselves. Lovely, eh? More of nuisance to us, however, is the slime one of these "eels" can generate if agitated inside of a prawn trap. This slime encases the eel, the trap and the prawn and can take an hour or more to remove. An adult slime eel can secrete enough slime to turn a 20 liter (5 gal) bucket of water into slime in a matter of minutes. Yuck! Click the red-underlined link to learn more about Hagfish (Wikipedia) . This time, however, as Scott manually hauled up two traps from a depth of 250 feet, we noticed a reddish octopus in one of the traps!
Since Alex wasn't with us, we thought it would be fun to show her the octopus, so we carefully lifted it out of the prawn trap, put it into a pail of seawater and took it for a boat ride, back to the cabin. We were curious to see how Alex would react to this soft, eight-armed Cepholapod.
What follows is the story about Alex's encounter with an octopus, along with some interesting facts, video and pictures of these amazing and intelligent sea creatures.
The day before yesterday, we returned home from our first cycle tour in which Alex actually pedaled a bicycle (attached to our touring bikes). We cycled from Nanaimo, up-island to Comox, took a ferry to Powell River and then cycled down the coast to Vancouver. This coastline is called "The Sunshine Coast". It's a cycle tour that's been on our list of adventures for some time.
Since we moved to Vancouver Island in 2006, we've been spending our holidays exploring British Columbia. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful Province and - so far - there has been no shortage of wilderness adventuring.
Now that our daughter, Alex, is six and a half years old, she is too big to tow in a bicycle buggy. Some time ago, we bought Alex a 'Trail-a-Bike', which allows her to sit behind our bikes, on a bike seat and contribute to pedaling. The 'Trail-a-Bike' even has a 5-gear shifter, though she hasn't quite gotten the hang of which gear to switch into at any given time.
Because we have been giving some thought to a Cross-Canada bike tour, we thought it would be a good idea to see how Alex does on a long bike trip. The trip we concocted was - "The Sunshine Coast Bike Tour" - which we did as a loop trip from Nanaimo, up to Courtenay/Comox, across Georgia Strait by ferry to Powell River, then down the Sunshine Coast, ending with a ferry ride from Langdale to Vancouver (where we dropped Alex off at her maternal grandparents house).
The trip took us the better part of five days. Along the way we stayed at a First Nations camping area, repaired a flat tire and a broken spoke, visited a salmon channel and sorting facility, swam in the ocean, cycled onto four different BC Ferries, stayed in two Provincial campgrounds ... all the time enjoying sunny weather, beautiful scenery, challenging cycling and a wholesome family vacation.
Join us on our family cycling adventure and see how Alex fared on her Adams 'Trail-a-Bike'. We hope that our journal whets your appetite for adventure and is useful to others who are thinking of a similar cycling trip. (Some time ago, Rachel and I had made a list of adventures we wanted to do and a "Sunshine Coast Bicycle Trip" was on the list. It's always nice to be able to check another adventure off the list, eh?)
Note: I updated this journal entry from our 1991 Subaru Loyale station wagon, whilst hurtling northward to check off yet another adventure off our list - a backpacking trip to Cape Scott, at the northernmost point of Vancouver Island! (Ain't technology grand?) The laptop is connected to the iPhone, the iPhone is connected to the Internet, the Internet is connected to the journal ... anyway ... it's a work in progress (i.e., photos to follow).
Table of Contents
• Start Page
• Ride Map (Overview)
• Day 1 - Nanaimo to Qualicum Bay
• Day 2 - Qualicum Bay to Comox
• Day 3 - Comox to Saltery Bay
• Day 4 - Saltery Bay to Roberts Creek
• Day 5 - Roberts Creek to Vancouver