Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Chained Islands on Quadra Island offer up fine sea kayaking

 by Keith and Heather Nicol
    On Thursday, August 25 we headed for Granite Bay which is located in the northwest corner of Quadra Island.  Granite Bay leads into larger Kanish Bay and the one of the attractions here is a series of islands called the Chained Islands. We put in at the Granite Bay Park boat launch (bring $5 for the launch fee) and the marine forecast was for strong NW winds developing in the afternoon but we hoped our mid morning start would mean that we would have lighter winds to start. Be sure to look up the tide situation before you head out and use Owen Bay for tidal information for this area. We had been told by Christine Gornall who had paddled in this area to avoid paddling here at low tides since landing locations were minimal and that even getting off the boat launch might be an issue. Tides on this day looked good with a high tide around 10:20 am of 2.9 meters and a low tide at 3:50 pm of about 2.3 meters. Christine also encouraged us to check out Orchard Cove where we would find a large shell midden from earlier First Nations occupation. 
Paddling past one of the Chained Islands

Heather examining some of the shells from the embankment
      We paddled into a light-moderate NW headwind but were sheltered from the wind by the Chained Islands. We paddled around some of the islands and found a crude protected landing spot at 10 U 0332247E 5569121N for a short break. The scenic granite islands have prominent rocky shorelines capped with trees and we appreciated that there was little boat activity and enjoyed the wilderness look of the area. The downside is a lack of landing options but we did find a good protected beach on another island at 10 U 0331584E 5569317N. We paddled past Bodega Pt and out into Discovery Passage before turning around to look for a place to have lunch. We could see a promising beach along the shore of Kanish Bay and decided to have lunch there (10 U 0332426E 5566370N). The wind stayed reasonably light so after lunch we decided to head for Orchard Bay (10 U 0334548E 5570127N) which Christine had suggested we see.  After paddling for about 2.5 km we arrived at Orchard Bay where we could see a light shell band rimming the beach. Just before landing we saw a family of 6 river otters playing in the salt water and they scampered on to the shore and into the trees as we approached. The landing area was again was abit crude but we did find a narrow area of sand to slide our kayaks up on amidst the cobbles and boulders. A higher tide would have certainly made a beach landing easier.  We explored the shelled filled embankment and noted that the upper terrace would make a good campsite.  And then it was back to down Granite Bay to our launch spot. Overall we really enjoyed this area despite the lack of landing options (you can always find something). On our next trip to this area we might paddle down Small Inlet (3 km long) which looked interesting. Overall our distance was about 13.5 km.
The Chained Islands offer very scenic sea kayaking

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