Taking a page from Bernie's last trip in Mill bay, I gave myself a few choices of some places to go for today. I had a look at the wind models and it was clear anywhere to the west of Saltspring was going to be a bathtub. I wanted a bathtub today, because frankly I was feeling lazy. One nice thing about calm water is you can go a lot further before you start to tire out. So the choices were Mill Bay to Cherry point, Genoa bay to Sansum point or Cowichan Bay to Musgrave landing. I had one look at the moon phase and threw out both paddles in the Sansum narrows. So it would be Mill bay to Cherry point today and as I drove over the Malahat things were looking very promising.


I rushed out of the house today and forgot my lunch, so I stopped at Thrifty's before I hit the water. I heard a lady speaking with her friend as I was looking for the deli and she said, "No they're not coming today, they're worried about it snowing out here today." I kinda hoped that wasn't on the cards today... I grabbed lunch and headed down to the beach a little south of mill bay where I could basically park the van forever.


It's another fan-tas-tic day on the old wavy blue thing. Mild temps, bathtub calm and no sign of snow. I noticed more birds than usual and they all seemed to be upset about another of its feathery brothers stealing their food. I pushed off and headed north without hesitation. Cherry point is about 10km from this launch, so it was going to be some quality time with my little boat.


Little cat paws drifted across the water as the wind veered east and started coming through Satellite channel. I headed right for Whisky point on my way out. The shallows around this point are neat. The water is very clear and you can see all these large, algae colored rocks littering the sea floor. It's one of those places that if you gawk at the stuff in one direction, you'll narrowly miss the partially covered giant rock on the other direction. The tide was quite high on my way out, so I slid right over a number of boulders marked on my chart.


The shoreline north of mill bay is covered in vegetation and houses. In some areas, the houses are just built in between some of the trees, in other, the houses are dropped by a crane onto the scorched earth with a teeny, tiny fun park at the bottom of the boulevard just to remind the folks who live there the reason that they bought property in the boonies. A few of the houses had active orchards and vineyards attached to them - this is the Island's wine country after all.


Somewhere among all the headlands I passed, there was a strange shipwreck. A 20 foot tall yellow tower was sticking out of the water with a marine winch mounted at the top. Along the beach was strewn all manner of wooden planks and boat pieces, all firmly stuck in the gravelly shoreline. Some of the boat shell looked like it had burned to a crisp, too.


Hatch point was an interesting bit of shoreline.. on one side, expensive homes, on the other a large, modern dock with a floating breakwater to the east of it. The dock looked a bit high for pleasure craft, so perhaps a fishing facility. (Nope.. it's operated by Chevron for barges - Thanks, internet). Cherry point was just off in the distance, which surprised me a little - I was early, so I sped up my cadence a little and got there to see how close to Cowichan bay's little city I could get.


I passed Cherry point and continued down into Cowichan bay as far as I could until the clock hit 2:30. No matter what, I was turning around at 2:30 since I didn't feel like paddling around after dark. I saw the Harbour about 5km off in the distance. This will definitely be a summer paddle with some friends, so we can stop and have lunch in the little city around the public wharf.


Heading back was serene and even calmer than I remembered. The sun had slipped below the hazy clouds and was now turning everything in the world gold and purple. The headlands gave me a chance to get a nice rhythm going. This is the longest I've been in my kayak for quite a while. I had a little stretch on some beach in the middle of nowhere, ravaged my lunch while looking out toward the Saanich peninsula and pushed back into the sunset.


I came around the last point before Mill bay and started snapping off photos of the golden hour. I was joined by eagles, swans, huge Herons and all kind of different ducks. Mill bay is a total haven for birds. I found a couple of houses I could totally work with. A few of them even had kayak racks already. I have no idea who or why, but the air was suddenly filled with laughter and yells. Yes folks, it's never too cold to wakeboard. A power boat went zipping by with a dude in tow. I can't even imagine the cold.


I had a pass of the Marina and went out to look at the boats on moorage. I found a really ugly bit of hull there. The whole thing was an offence to the eyes. From the paint job done with a half chewed popsicle stick to the hundred years of mildew, I was wondering how the hell it was still afloat. I think it may have been the world's ugliest sailing vessel. I paddled around a number of other long forgotten and terribly neglected boats out on a hook or mooring and headed for the take out as the sun went down. Overall a very nice paddle with lots to see and do and a really nice introduction to some new areas. I'll have to try the Sansum narrows paddles in the near future.

Trip Distance: 22km

YTD: 53km

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