About us

DOUG TAYLOR - former officer in the Canadian Forces (36 years) and manager at Osgoode Hall (7 years), retired to the Comox Valley in 2004. Can be found in my NDK Explorer HV, when not having a coffee at Rhodos or hanging out at Comox Valley Kayaks where I teach Paddle Canada courses.

JONATHAN REGGLER - Ex-British Army medical officer, became a civilian GP in the United Kingdom for 11 years then immigrated to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, in 2003. Sea kayaking since 2004. Family physician in Courtenay.


Click on the link to maps.google.com in the latest post and follow our progress.

A message sent in the evening means we have been paddling and have reached a new place. A message sent in the morning means we are staying put.

If there is no SPOT message for a few days do not panic! SPOT is new technology and a glitch or two may happen. We have loads of back-up with VHF radios and EPIRB.


Doug and Jonathan love the fact that so many of you are following their progress but they also enjoy reading your comments when they have access to the internet. The links are at the end of the Spot message for the day. To read the comments: click on the Comment link. To leave a comment: click on the Envelope. They even answer some of them!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Winter Harbour

This has been an eventful and interesting leg of our trip including the milestones of the northernmost part of the island (Cape Sutil), and the feared capes of Scott and Russell.

The stay in Port Hardy had allowed us to gather more information about the stretch of paddling that we were about to face. Thanks to Pat and Jackie Kervin, and Kyook.

We had some hard paddling to get to the north of the island. The Tatnall Reef, the southern part of the Nahwitti Bar, was tough going with significant currents (only a brief slack) and daunting waves. We finished the day with a flypast by a Coastguard helicopter which seemed to be checking on our progress as he overflew us twice more, the last time being when we had made the beach at Cape Sutil. The pilot waggled the helicopter from side to side by way of greeting as he passed directly over us. It was a pretty gloomy day with low cloud and choppy seas. We were pleased to have made it but amazed that despite all our effort we had come less than nine miles.

The Cape Sutil to Nissen Bight section was very testing. The wind was not especially strong where we were but offshore there had been strong winds and this was reflected in size of the swells. We battled through the biggest seas that either of us have paddled – it is an awe-inspiring experience to look down 10 feet from the crest of a wave to the other paddler in the trough. Some of the waves were 12 to 15 feet in height. Getting off the water was always going to be one of the hardest parts of the day. We selected an allegedly sheltered cove but found when we reached it that it was rocky and definitely not sheltered because of the size of surf that day. We decided to land in Nissen Bight. The surf was very big and we both ended up being turfed out of our boats and swimming them to shore. There were four guys on the beach who helped us get our boats above the high water mark, got Doug (who was very cold) into fresh fleece and warmed us up with a very welcome cup of tea. Thanks to Curt Usherwood, Bob Gilbey, Earl Sontag and Dan Baudin who were hiking the new North Coast Trail. Curt and Earl had cleared the Cape Scott Trail as a BC Centennial project in 1972 as members of the Canadian Forces stationed at CFS Holberg.

Our next paddling day was a very significant one. At 1025 hours we turned our bows south for the first time as we rounded Cape Scott. After our adventures two days before off Nissen Bight we were prepared for a real battle but the day was a glorious one and although the sea is never still, and there was always the sound of waves crashing on rocks, it was a very benign paddle, and we were able to get close to the shore and wend through the reefs of Cape Scott and Cape Russell, taking care to avoid boomers (rocks that are mainly submerged but against which the largest swells smash, creating huge bursts of frothy water). We made 18 miles and reached San Josef Bay.

Our expected day of arrival in Winter Harbour was May 27 but when we reached our intended campsite in Grant Bay the realization that another three hours push would allow us to beat the promised rainy and windy weather the next day gave us extra strength. We managed a 28 mile day and arrived tired but looking forward to a two day stopover.

Winter Harbour is a quiet little community that was much more on the map when the fishing industry was stronger. We met up with a group who are here for a fishing trip and were invited in for a lunch of the most fantastic chowder that either of us have tasted, prepared by Adrian Lepitre for fishing buddies Ron Greene, Robin Rooke and Bruce (“Pockets”).

Very many thanks to both Anne Reggler and Don Lockwood for making the long trip out to Winter Harbour from the Comox Valley in order that we were resupplied and also fed a fantastic chicken curry and a full English breakfast.

We are leaving Winter Harbour on Thursday morning. Ahead lies the Brooks Peninsula. Next update will be from Tofino but we are not sure when – the Brooks can only be tackled in good weather.


Anonymous said...

Greetings from Heather & Jay Magee and Ty, the dog. It was nice talking to you both on the beach north of Raft Cove. We'll follow your progress. Cheers!

Clive said...

Whew. Gruelling. But nothing the Full English Breakfast can't conquer. Others can have their sappy pastries and coffee but The Full English Breakfast...don't get too giddy...
Take care.