We are officially paddling across Canada!

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Trip Stats:

  • Shortest paddling day = 1 nautical mile from Hudson Point, Saltspring Island to Wallace Island.
  • Longest paddling day = 23 nautical miles from Gerald Island to Qualicum Bay
  • Favourite piece of gear at present: Spirit Sail… a slick system!
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  • Average cruising speed without sail = 3.3 knots (6 km/hr)
  • Top speed reached with sail = 5.9 knots (11 km/hr)
  • Least used item: sunscreen
  • Most trusted resource (aside from charts): John Kimantas’ Wild Coast Series
  • Most valuable item chewed by Taq: map case
  • Least valuable: bailing bucket

So far, so good!

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We have had a great trip along the Sannich Peninsula, through the Gulf Islands, and along the Vancouver Island side of the Strait of Georgia. What an abundance of marine life, and rain…

We’ve learned a great deal about the ocean: especially patience. The tides, currents, and particularly the wind, determine our schedule, not us.

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We take some time to view a portion of our route from Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island.

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Big meets little when we beached at Departure Bay (Nanaimo) ferry terminal for a coffee and chai tea latte.

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Taq decided he wasn’t getting back in the canoe when we were leaving Wallace Island so we pretended to leave without him. He quickly decided that he would rather be with us than marooned on the island. We wonder if he learned a lesson?

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One of those magical moments as we passed the Chrome Island lighthouse (on our starboard side) just south of the Comox Valley and across from Deep Bay. Denman Island on left and Texada Island in background.

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Philip and Heather Pettyfer were kind enough to let us stash our canoe and gear for the night at their Ship’s Point home in Baynes Sound, south of Comox. Philip was interested in our Spirit Sail so we put it up to have a demonstration. Thanks Philip and Heather!

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The Snowbirds Demonstration Team (431 Squadron), flying their Canadair CT-114 Tutor Jet Trainers, put on a show over our heads that seemed like it was choreographed especially for us when we were canoeing past the Comox Air Base. What a front row seat!

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Thanks to Gary Willis, we have now been able to christen the canoe with a name: Suzie Jack. It is in honour of Stompin’ Tom Connors and his song, Gumboot Clogeroo. We didn’t break a champagne bottle on the canoe (those who know us, know we would never waste good champagne) but we sang the song in its honour instead.

Gary also made and applied the white canoeacrosscanada.ca decals as well. If you see a red canoe pass by with 2 people and a big white dog, please don’t be afraid to wave us in for a chat!

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We stopped for a picture in Comox with our website sponsors, Regenesis Holistic owners Mary and Glenn Fidler and Alisha Cole, who has been instrumental in the design and construction of our website and newsletter. We stayed with Mary and Glenn for 4 nights and were picked up and dropped off at various beaches each day until our distance was too far away from Comox.

Some local media coverage:

Thank you:

We have planned extensively for the wilderness aspect of our trip, but were unprepared for the warmth and kindness of the people we have met along the way. We have received emails of encouragement, offers of accommodation (including a hot tub!), and have eaten excellent home-cooked meals:

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  • Katy, Bob, and Peter Macdonald for coming to Victoria to see us off. We can’t tell you how much that meant to us. They waited out the weather, walked Taq, and provided us with great food, nice wine, and warm soft beds. Katy and Peter crewed us from Victoria to Saltspring Island – it was wonderful to see them at the end of each day.   A big thanks to Peter for driving it to Provost and taking us (and our large pile of Gear) to Victoria.
  • Thanks also to Dave and Sharra Hinton of Weedman Winnipeg for lending us their big Ford truck to travel to the coast.
  • Wendy Harrison surprised us with a large bouquet of flowers and a bottle of local wine on Saltspring Island. What a treat! We carry the card with us still.
  • A big thanks to Glenn and Mary Fidler for opening their home to us. Not only did they ferry us to and from the water for four nights, they also made a big “Welcome to Comox” display in their Regenesis store window.

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  • Bev and John Wolsey even gave us a paddle necklace carved from a bone (by John). We promise to introduce it to the Atlantic!

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  • Thank you to the following people for allowing us to store our canoe and gear at their home when we were fortunate to have friends to stay with inland. They saved us a lot of time and effort:
    • Dean Hardy (and his neighbour whose name we unfortunately did not write down – apologies!), Lantzville
    • Philip and Heather Pettyfer, Ship’s Point
    • Roy and Gert Frelone, Courtenay
    • Bev and John Wolsey, Comox
    • Gary Willis and Linda Foster, Comox
    • There were a few places we stayed (hot water and electricity!) that were kind enough to give us a break on costs:
      • Blue Ridge Inn, Victoria
      • Sea Breeze Inn, Saltspring Island
      • Newcastle Island Caretakers
      • Qualicum Bay resort, Qualicum Bay
      • Our first bug gear purge occurred at Phil and Veronica Harrison’s home in Lantzville. Thank you to Matthew for helping us unload gear and to Veronica for driving us to the bus depot to mail the box. We cooked some delicious meals in their beautiful home alternating hot showers and laundry.  A welcome break!
      • Finally, thanks to Kevin for coffee and tea on De Courcy and Ceil and Larry for buying us beer at the pub on Salmon Point – Cheers!
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