Saturday, 15 November 2014

Exploring the Royston “wrecks” by sea kayak

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Heather paddles past one 'wreck'

     On Tuesday, November 11 we decided to visit and explore the Royston “wrecks”. Royston is just south of Courtenay on Vancouver Island and it turns out that the “wrecks” were brought to this area in the late 1930’s to create a breakwater. At that time logging was important in this area and trees cut here would be towed to saw mills in New Westminster on the other side of Georgia Strait. But in the fall and winter strong south east winds would create problems for establishing log booms in the harbour at Courtenay and a breakwater was needed. Over time 14 “wrecks” were sunk in this area and included old whaling boats, schooners, freighters and tugs. They even included the "Melanope", a 79-metre 3-masted sailing ship built in the mid 1870’s. Not much is left of these “wrecks” now but they are ideally suited to viewing from the seat of a kayak. We launched from the end of Royston Road (coordinates 10 U 0359636 E and 5501387 N) where there is an unofficial boat launch. The “wrecks” are clearly visible from shore and we paddled around the “wrecks” and then set our sites for masses of birds that were along the shore to the south of us. Along the way we saw several seals and the birds appeared to be mostly gulls of different varieties. We are not sure why they were in such large groupings and if anyone has any ideas we would like to know. Email us at
The wind and waves have greatly eroded these wrecks

Loads of gulls were congregating on the tidal flats

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