Posts Tagged pub

Paddle to a Pub

Living in the Gulf Islands we wait patiently through long wet winter months of seemingly endless grey skies crying down buckets of tears. We wait with anticipatory visions of gliding through the water in the summer heat. The reality is startlingly different when summer does arrive and all we can hope for is that the local islands will grow a mile or two higher to give some early shade as we paddle. Where is the relief from the humidity gathering in the cockpit under the spray skirt? Where can we refresh ourselves? How about on a patio overlooking the sea under the protection of an umbrella with a cold pint of amber ale in hand. What could be better than a paddle to the pub?

At low tide the cut between the two islands means getting out and pulling. Photo by Dave Barnes

At low tide the cut between the two islands means getting out and pulling.
Photo by Dave Barnes

The paddling day begins from Southey Point eccentrically placed at the northern tip of Salt Spring Island on a day the islands surrounding us would never grow high enough to cast any shade, we pointed to Penelakut Island. This island is native land and formerly named, Kuper Island. The spit near the village of Penelakut is visible from Southey Point and we chose to cruise the shallow sandbars of Penelakut. The water was still around our kayaks and in the clarity it was easy to view schools of frantic fish zigzagging to avoid our approach. Crabs nestled face down in the sand were no match for a tag-team effort between two paddle blades scooping them up at will. Dinner would be simple if it were crab, not the grog and burgers that was our prey that day.

Higher tide navigation of the shallow cut in the sandbars between Penelakut and Thetis Islands.

Higher tide navigation of the shallow cut in the sandbars between Penelakut and Thetis Islands.
Photo courtesy Peter Mede

In the heat haze on the water the white stick ahead was thought a marker of some sort, but only recognizable as a man when our group paddled closer. Walking waist-deep along the shore, but still far from shore a resident of the island was flicking up crab into a garbage bag with a garden rack with the handle cut short. We chatted and he offered some of his quarry to which we refused gracefully. Onwards around the jetty where the chop rose slightly in the confusion of water not knowing how to go, and into the cut.

We had planned out outing around the tides, something not entirely crucial in the Gulf Islands baring any needs to sneak out into the Strait of Georgia where the narrows between islands can get up to 10 knots of current. To get to the Thetis Island Marina Pub from this direction requires a higher tide to navigate ‘the cut’. This shallow groove meanders through high sandbars, once prime clamming beds in between Penelakut and Thetis Islands. At low tide be prepared to get out and push, pull or drag your kayak, and at higher water levels keep and eye out for small motor craft coming and going from the marina. The cut narrows and becomes shallow in a bottleneck forming a muddy land bridge at low tide before opening to deeper water at the marina.

Finding new friends along the way.

Finding new friends along the way.

Thetis Island Marine Pub is nothing fancy and the patio is a slender deck facing the docks but the food is great and the beer is cold, except on this day. A large pleasure boat had left the bay dragging its anchor and thus severing the underwater cable giving power to the island. The sandwiches and room temperature beer was delightful, and in the many return visits to the pub I have enjoyed much of the menu of good pub fare while sipping a cold pint. As I lazed on the patio watching eagles admiring boater life from high snags on Penelakut as though separated in time.

A rest stop on Tent Island in the sunshine. Photo by Dave Barnes

A rest stop on Tent Island in the sunshine.
Photo by Dave Barnes

The day ending with the return paddle in Stuart Channel, a belly scrapping slip in between Penelakut and Tent Island before crossing back to Southey Point. The beer refreshed us only if for a few moments as the late afternoon sun slowed our progress accompanied by digestion. We stop at Tent island for a brief stretch which resolves to be an afternoon nap. The only thing better than paddling to a pub is the kayak nap soon after on cool pebbles.

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A Paddle to a Pub

A Paddle to a Pub

One of the joys of travelling anywhere by kayak is the fact that you have arrived under your own steam. Whether it be a day paddle to a small beach only accessible by water, or exploring rugged wilderness regions, or to a local pub. From Salt Spring Island there are a few choice secluded beaches, and places, though fewer where you will feel a sense of wilderness, and of course there are a few local pubs within easy day trip distances.
One such pub is at the Maple Bay Marina on Vancouver Island, the Shipyard Restaurant and Pub offers great food and friendly service inside or out on the patio.

A pleasant fall paddle leaving from Burgoyne Bay on our way to Maple Bay. Photo by Dave Barnes

A pleasant fall paddle leaving from Burgoyne Bay on our way to Maple Bay.
Photo by Dave Barnes

If leaving from Salt Spring Island you have a pair of options as to where to put your kayaks in the water. One is at a shallow beach we call Baders Beach. Leaving Ganges drive up Rainbow Road to the top of the hill and then down again, stay to your left and follow Collins Road until you reach the water. There you will find a beach that is a bit of an issue at lower tides as it is mucky, but at mid to high it is a great launch site. From there, paddle southwards towards Burgoyne Bay and cross at the over-head power lines. Stick to the shoreline as the bay itself can become bustling with incoming and outgoing floatplanes and boaters. You will pass the village of Maple Bay but keep going into the sheltered alcove of the bay and paddle by the yacht club. To enter the marina stay to the outer limits and round at the end where there are several uniquely designed floating homes. Sadly, at the marina there is little for the kayaker to land upon. There are rocks you can attempt to deal with, but we opt for the dinghy dock. Find a spot with room enough to scramble out of your kayak and there you can tie off to the dock.

The second option for the day is to drive from town southward on the Fulford/Ganges Road. So named for the obvious reason that this highway connects Fulford to Ganges. Coming down the hill into the valley with vineyards on either side take Burgoyne Bay Road to its terminus at the Government wharf. Parking can sometimes be an issue here so do your best. I often unload and move the car higher up or in the park parking area. Using this route allows for a completely dry feet experience as you will be travelling from one dock to another.

A young seal was curious about our kayaks in Maple Bay.Photo by Dave Barnes

A young seal was curious about our kayaks in Maple Bay.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Burgoyne Bay is a gem with Mt. Sullivan on one side and the best known Salt Spring Island landmark of Mt. Maxwell on the other. Cross the bay and follow the southern shore until the crossing at the opening of the narrows. Check your tide tables and don’t enter the narrows. On the opposite shore there can be some turbulence so be mindful of your course. It sounds worse than it is. Once across it is a short paddle up the shore and around the corner to your left into the bay. Crossing from either launch takes a little over an hour with little to be concerned about other than water traffic.

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