I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning with my first thought being of the weather. I quickly go online and saw a “mixture of sun and clouds”. As good as it sounds, I know that I live in Raincouver and that the weather changes faster than anywhere else.
I quickly double and triple and octuple all of the gear that I’m bringing and stuff it all in my hiking bag for the long commute to Deep Cove. As a group, we did not have enough drivers for everyone, so a handful of us (including me) were lucky enough to begin our journey on a magnificent bus ride. This bus ride in particular was probably the most stressful part of this trip. I had to take two buses to get there and the buses lined up so that one left as the other arrived. Luckily it worked out in the end as myself and a couple of other girls walked off the bus with relief.
We all gathered outside of the kayak rental shop to quickly make any final adjustments and go over the standard kayak safety. A few of us ran back to the cars to quickly drop off any extra baggage that we won’t be taking. When we all got back, it was time to cast off.
When we got in the water, the weather was quite acceptable. Not too cold and not too hot; we paddled in comfort. As we rounded the corner and waved our good-byes to to the wandering tourists on Quarry Rock, I began to realize how far we had yet to go.
As we paddled, we started to catch sight of white jellyfish or as some of us explained it as: cracked eggs in water. Although they were beautiful, we dared not stop for the fear of losing the speed we paddled so hard to gain. As the paddle went on, more and more of us got into a steady rhythm in paddling and enjoyed the magnificent views around us.
As much as I love watching the mountains and forests, it was also quite entertaining to observe the houses and properties as we paddled on. The farther and farther we went, the larger the gaps were between properties and eventually you start to notice that no cars were present and that the only access point was by boat. These properties made me dream of myself in these houses and having the Indian Arm as my backyard. A perfect getaway.
As we neared halfway, we stopped at the rocky shores of Camp Jubilee for our lunch. As soon as I leave my boat, I turn around and see that our fearless leader: Koby, decides to take a quick shower by doing a full 360 turn in his single kayak. Although it did the job of waking him up, it still left him cold and wet for the rest of our lunch break.
As soon as everyone refueled, we hop back into our boats and paddle across to the other side towards the old, abandoned, power house that looks like a castle.
We kept on paddling until we hit 18 km and our jackets are dusted with sea salt. We made it to Granite Falls, our camp site. Before unloading, we decided to paddle further to the estuary that connects us to the Indian River. Due to low current, we decided to paddle up the Indian River. We struggled through strong current in some areas. I may have temporarily lost my water bottle during a battle with the current. Eventually we got to a point in the river that not even our daring lead: Zack could complete. We cruised back down the river where we found my water bottle and got back to the estuary and paddled back to the campsite. Our campsite was at a beautiful location with a breath-taking waterfall in the background.
Once we all set up and settled into the campsite, we sat around and did a classic potluck for dinner. Our delicious entrees included anything from pasta to chili to stew. Our bellies were all full and we somehow had space for amazing deserts. That is when it began to rain, nothing too dramatic, but enough to make it uncomfortable. The bad weather finally caught up to us.
For the rest of the evening we all sat together and talked and laughed and shared stories before slowly, one by one, we sauntered off to bed. Some of us stayed way past our bedtimes and didn’t make it into our sleeping bags until a crazy hour of 9pm.
My muscles thanked me as I snuggled into my warm sleeping with my fleece pants and down jacket. That night was one of the best sleeps I’ve had.
The next morning we all woke around 8am to find that all of the clothes we left to dry outside, were soaked. Luckily we brought extras! We all made nice warm meals for breakfast before packing up and getting our boats ready. As we were lifting our kayaks back down to the beach, we noticed that one of the kayak hatches had a missing top. As much as everyone tried to look, we could not find it. It became the mystery of the missing hatch top. We decided to leave without it and let the consequences unfold when we got back.
Our paddle back was quicker due to the wind and tide being on our side and pushing us along, or because of our strong muscles as I like to think about it. We all paddled hard and fast in order to get back early so that we can study, or to get to the fresh, delicious donuts at Honey’s. We made it back in record time, in my opinion, of 1:30pm. We gathered our stuff, packed our bags, and grabbed our donuts as we said a tearful farewell. Honey’s donuts were the reward of the hard work we put into this amazing kayak trip. As I ate my doughnut, I stood at the bus stop waiting for the ride back home, thinking how memorable my first VOC trip has been. Cheers to many more.