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Circumnavigation of Texada Island

A great day or overnight trip from the Sunshine Coast is a trip to or around Texada Island. Now we did this trip in July but thought I should get around to a quick post – mostly due to a more pressing issue – the pending use of Texada as a trans shipment facility for coal export.

Texada Island is the largest island in the Strait of Georgia. The southern tip is about 10K from Secret Cove. The island is about 50K long and and 10K wide at the widest point. So – we planned for a trip of 150 Kilometres in total.

First the concerning news:

Lafarge Texada Quarry Docks
Lafarge Texada Quarry Docks

The island still has a few quarries and docks for loading aggregate and stone. This is the Lafarge Dock where it has for many years loaded Texada Rock for shipment. It qualifies as a deep sea port and has recently been approved by the BC Ministry of Mines to load coal for export to asia. This coal will arrive by rail from Montana at the Fraser Surrey Docks where it will be loaded onto barges to Texada, stockpiled and then loaded onto ocean going vessels. The approval for this transhipment comes without any review and oversight by any body other than the Mines Ministry (who approve gravel pits) – no review of transport, land and marine environment, climate or health consequences.

Shelter Point
Shelter Point

Just a few kilometres from the Lafarge dock is Shelter Point Regional Park.  There are no docks but the beach is huge, shallow and sandy.   Easy to unload but a 100 meters or more to our tent site. Its a gorgeous site and a popular park.  The camping filled up very quickly. Strange think about this huge island is that other than in Vananda, docks for recreational boats do not exist.  The main settlements are Gillies Bay, Blubber Bay and Vananda.

Shelter Sunset
Shelter Sunset

The view from Shelter Point Is almost due west – past the Lafarge docks; and across the Strait toward Comox.  Fabulous sunsets but the exposure to the open Strait may be one of the reasons a dock has not survived here.

Gillies Bay
Gillies Bay

Just around the corner from Shelter Point is Gillies Bay.  Its a large bay with a long and very shallow and sandy approach.  Again, no docks.  We drop the anchor and walk across sand for almost a kilometre to the beach and community.  The “Ravenous Raven” is supposed to be a great place to eat, but we we’re too anxious about swimming back with full stomachs and against a rising tide.

Venanda
Venanda

Finally! A dock!  This is the dock at Venanda. Its the old Union Steamship dock, but hasn’t seen any steamship action in a few decades.  From here we came to the realization that we’re only about 10K to the Westview Marina in Powell River, directly across the Malaspina Strait.   It’s hot and I think I hear the Townsite Brewery calling my name….

Our little commute is often spectacular

Every trip to the Sunshine Coast means a 40 minute trip, out of Horseshoe Bay; around Bowen Island; across the base of Gambier Island and Howe Sound; and finally into the Langdale dock. It’s good once in a while to get my head out of a book – and to actually take a look.

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My Crab Traps are Safe, The Navy is Here

Put the traps down in Buccaneer Bay this afternoon.  Always a little nervous. Never know if there are poachers out there.   My fears were relieved when the Navy responded to my request and delivered four Orca Class cruisers to the Bay for “trap surveillance”.

Cougar and Moose, Orca Class
Cougar and Moose, Orca Class

OK. Probably not there for my traps.  It was kind of cool to see four of these 108 ft surveillance and training cruisers raft up for the evening. Hmm.  Maybe a party.  62 “Moose” is the newest of these cruisers commissioned in 2008. Rafting up along side 61 “Cougar” and soon to be joined by 55″Orca” and 58 “Renard”.

 

Ice Takes Beautiful and Natural Forms

Homesite Creek Falls

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Just 2k from the dock is the trail into a small falls on Homesite Creek. Last week’s cold weather has iced the falls up nicely – a little natural drama.

Ice on the Cove

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The Cove is sea water and you wouldn’t expect it to ice over – at least in our climate. Except there’s a small stream at the end of the cove that provides enough fresh water to provide a layer of ice. When the tide drops, the ice hits the rocks and revealing the texture of the bottom below.

Beaver Dams and Rain Storms

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TV news today reported on a train derailment in Burnaby owing to heavy rains and beaver dams. There are no trains in Secret Cove but we do have lots of beaver dams. The beavers have been especially busy this fall. With the heavy rain this weekend much of the trail and walkway system in Smugglers Cove (Provincial Park) is under water. The walk in gets a lot more interesting.