Requesting info for Port Renfrew to Sydney trip please

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by laj, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. laj

    laj Paddler

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    Hello paddlers,

    It's been a long time since I have been on this forum and I have missed it. I have already been down four threads....yikes, gotta stay focused....=)

    I am trying to plan a one way trip from Port Renfrew to probably Sydney in the last half of July 2019. Plan is to either drive or wheel on to the ferry to Victoria or Sydney from Washington state. The ideal would be to wheel on to a ferry to Sydney or Anacortes, hire a shuttle to PR, paddle to Sydney and wheel on to the ferry back to WA. Otherwise, it would be drive multiple cars and do the shuttle ourselves. I would really appreciate any and all information re:

    possibilities for hired shuttle for gear/kayaks for up to six people;
    parking in either Victoria or Sydney if pro shuttle isn't possible;
    kayak camping places along the way and especially at PR and Victoria/Sydney.

    A kind outfitter in Victoria told me on the phone that between private beaches and few provincial parks that can involve difficult boat carrying/launching problems there is essentially no camping along this route until you reach the Gulf Islands. (That is pretty much our situation on the south side of the Strait JdeF). But I keep reading about people doing circs of VI so they must be camping SOMETHWERE.

    Please help!

    Thank you,
    Lisa J.
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Lisa-
    What attracted you to the Port Renfrew to Sidney route?
    There are so many 'nicer' routes to choose from that I would listen to the negative advice about the Port Renfrew to Sidney (the Sydney's are quite a bit further.. :) ) route.
    The few V.I. circumnavigators I've talked to, have rated the stretch from Barkley Sound to Victoria as challenging with few 'legal' campsites along the way.
    A few years ago a local paddler did the Port Renfrew to Victoria paddle and gave a talk about it. He is a strong paddler, so could crank out the miles but he still had to resort to 'stealth' camping where it was forbidden.

    Have you checked the John Kimantis books and charts, and the BC Marine Trails Website? They are excellent resources for trip planning.

    There's camping at Thrasher in Port San Juan but the main beach tends to be full of West Coast Trail hikers.
    Commercial campground in Port Renfrew.
    No legal camping in East Sooke Park.
    Camping on Discovery Island (Oak Bay).

    I don't know of any shuttle services that can carry kayaks.

    Pacifica rents kayaks out of Canoe Cove (near the SwartzBay ferry terminal).

    Parking is a perennial problem and gets worse every year. Sidney municipality and the National Park aren't concerned.
     
  3. laj

    laj Paddler

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    Hi John,

    Thank you for your reply!

    What attracted me.....I've done most of the west side of VI and a little bit on the east side. When I paddle the Strait of JdeF--Cape Flattery is one of my favorite all time paddles--I always look aross the Strait and wonder what it is like, especially Sooke. I've seen pictures and know a few people who have done it but haven't had a chance to talk to them yet. One lives out of state now.

    The lack of campsites is the main reason why I haven't done the US side and from the sounds of it the Canadian side is about the same. I and my carefully chosen paddlers are also strong and experienced and will do whatever mileage is necessary (I've done 35 nm in a day) to get to the next campsite. But I'd rather not have to, especially coastal paddling, even more so if it is rough or foggy which is normal for July. Maybe I should consider doing the US side first where I have more resources. I will be doing a short section of it in April anyway.

    I have the older versions of John K's books and still need to look through them. (Maybe I just should have started there! =-D) But I wanted to get some more possibly updated local knowledge first. You have been a great help...thank you!

    Does anybody else have any input?

    Thank a bunch!
    Lisa =)
     
  4. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I'm not familiar with the area but looking on the marine trails map it looks like there are few possibles between Pt Renfrew[ie say Thrasher Cv just opposite] and French Bch. And then across the populated areas as usual, there's not anything other than day use until Discover Is [abt that 30+ nm!]. And then you've got options to Sidney.

    some sites from Pt Renfrew to French Bch:
    PtRenfrew-Sooke.jpg

    For the populated areas and if you're into sleuthing and planning, one idea might just be to follow [on the map that is] the Victoria-Circle route [https://oceanriver.com/victoria-circle-kayak-route/] and see if there are any locations along the way that might store your kayak&gear [say ocean river sports]overnight while you walk to a B&B [or nearby motel, hotel] for overnight. Might work . . . and then you'd halve [or so] the 30nm to Discovery. If you do find something like this, let us know how it worked out.
     
  5. laj

    laj Paddler

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    Thanks Mick! Yeah, I did see this on the BCMT map. There are options on the west side but just not looking good around the corner heading east. This will be a club trip and up to six of us so I'm not comfortable with the stealth camping, especially when we are guests in another country. (I LOVE Canada and Canadians! =)))) I have tossed this back to my paddling buds and we are discussing alternatives. I still have yet to get around Cape Scott--had to turn back years ago--so I may make another stab at that one. I know that the Port Hardy around the Brooks P with a shuttle has gained in popularity but that is one trip I have serious reservations about unless I have the right crew.
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Port Hardy to Coal Harbour would be worth a look, IMO.
    It's a cheap taxi ride back to the cars in Port Hardy.
    Or the reverse - there's paid parking at the seaplane base in Coal Harbour.
     
    chodups likes this.
  7. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Should you plan to have a car in Sidney, I wouldn't count on any "on street" parking. However, there is a long term parking lot a few blocks up (walking distance) from the WDOT Ferry dock in Sidney (Anacortes to Sidney route). I don't know the exact address but I'm sure locals and storefronts would point you to it.
     
  8. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    Good route. Very convenient.