My Adventure Story
Jedediah Island Provincial Marine Park is in the Salish Sea between Lasqueti and Texada Islands.
This is the third time Rob has proposed a trip idea with a destination on my secret bucket list. He was padding south from Desolation Sound, Savary Island, and the West Coast of Texada. I was to paddle north from Nanaimo and meet him at Home Bay on Jedediah Island. About 30 miles each way from Nanaimo to Home Bay.
The forecast was for northwest winds. Hoping to make miles in the early morning calm, I left early and rounded Jesse Island before 7:30 AM. By the time I passed Neck Point Park it was blowing. It wasn’t scary rough, but blowing in my face enough to slow forward progress to 2.1 mph. I was happy to take a lunch break on Maude Island. I took 2 hours to cover the 3.75 miles to Yeo Island. I hadn’t planned to stop there, but I was crashing, probably from dehydration. Because I was battling the wind I couldn't drink from my water bottle without losing momentum or getting pushed back over feet I’d fought hard to win. I landed on Yeo, ate an energy bar, and downed a bunch or liquid. I didn’t feel good, I clipped my painter to my still on spray skirt and laid flat on my back. After a 15 to 20 minute nap, the calories and fluids kicked in and I felt better. The three miles to South Ballenas’ north beach wasn’t so bad. For the day I’d done 17.4 miles in 8.4 paddling hours. At a normal paddling speed of 3.5 mph I should have done 30 miles. Bummer, I’d done the work of a 30 mile day, but only cover 17 miles.
The anchorage at South Ballenas was a little crowded and I was impressed by how much protection North Ballenas provided. I landed, rested and set up my camp close to the trail that leads to the abandoned orchard. Skiffs were coming and going, a young girl after graduating from rowing, and training from a grandpa, was allowed to solo with motor power. She looked pretty pleased with life. I did a little exploring and found concrete ruins on the east coast. As the pictures show by this time, 6:00 PM, the wind had died and the water was flat. A late start would probably have made for an easier day on the water. By dark the anchorage was empty.
I got an early start and passed the North Ballenas Light about 7:30 AM. The crossing to Sangster Island was tedious, against the wind, taking nearly 3 hours to cover 6.5 miles beach to beach. On approaching Sangster from the south, If you look closely you can see how Elephant Eye Light got its name. After a lunch break at the beach just north of the light and on the east side (protected side in NW wind), I headed east. The paddle from Sangster was a little easier, as the NW wind was astern at first then blocked in some sections. Being close to the shore also made it more scenic and mentally easier. There is something about crossings that makes them mentally challenging. I saw a big crowd at Codfish Bay and was feeling discouraged about finding room at Home Bay. Home Bay was empty, the tide was in, and I had my camp set up by 1:00 PM. Just after I got set up, the crew from Comox Valley paddled across the bay moving their camp from near the homestead. My day 2 paddle was 12.8 miles done in 5 hours for an average speed of 2.5 mph.
Rob arrived the next day around noon. We rested, read, explored and visited with the guys from Comox. They were into a beach version of Bocce. We saw goats and sheep, and the top of Gibraltar. I did a counterclockwise circumnavigation of Jedediah, 6.4 miles, 1.9 hours, average 3.4 mph. Home Bay is popular with kayakers, and boaters walk over from Cod Fish Bay to swim and sometimes bring tents to stay the night.
After watching the Comox crew launch at low tide. We woke early the next day and had an easy launch. We headed southwest, took a break on Sangster then crossed to Ballenas. This crossing was much faster and easier with Rob beside me. Average speed was only 3.6, but it felt faster. We landed at the lighthouse and sampled the blackberries. We went down the west side of North Ballenas and debated whether to overnight on South Ballenas. We decided to try for Southey Island, the wind came up and pushed us south. Because of the wind at our backs and progress we’d made we briefly discussed carrying on to Nanaimo. An hour later we were happily camped on Southey. We were tired, but drawing energy from the beautiful spot, and clearing sky. We did 18.5 miles in 5.3 hours for an average speed of 3.5 mph.
The next morning didn’t stay calm long and the NW wind blew us down the coast to Neck Point. It was blowing just enough to be fun without being too scary. I was loving the Feathercraft Surf Rudder I’d installed on my Epic 16X. Final day, with the wind at our backs, 12 miles in 3 hours for an average speed of 4 mph.
Jedediah Island is a beautiful spot, and the crossings made it seem like I’d been somewhere.