Coastal Journeys

Chivers Point on Wallace Island

A Gulf Islands Marine Trails Series Article

My first family kayaking trip was a low key paddle to Wallace Island Provincial Park. Launching from Hudson Point on Saltspring Island with my son, wife, paddling

buddy and his family, we made it to the north end, landing on the narrow beach of Chivers Point. The beach is mostly rock and pebble and at low tide there are a few rock ridges to navigate past.

My wife and I pitched our family tent on a level spot looking northwest. We couldn’t  have asked for a more idyllic location—later we would sit nearby watching the sun set over Vancouver Island. By the time we set camp and made a late lunch we were ready for a hike to the south end. We hiked, I believe for an hour, along an old overgrown road toward Conover Cove. The trail is about four kilometres each way. One branch of the trail leads past a hand water pump.

Three cabins remain on Wallace Island. One cabin is a perfect place to stop if it’s raining or you need a rest. Inside, hundreds of signs hang from the ceiling, walls and other signs. It’s like a shrine to boaters. The only cabin I’ve seen similar to this in my kayak travels is on a private island in the Octopus Islands group. Several cabins were built by the Conovers, who homesteaded the island decades ago. Parks has removed a number of them for preservation reasons.

If you want to find out more about the history of the island read One Man’s Island and Once Upon an Island by David Conover. The island was originally purchased for $20 000 by David and Jeanne Conover, a couple of adventurers from California. The books are journal accounts of their efforts to overcome an uninhabited area with minimum knowledge and lots of heart. The Conovers retain land still near Princess Cove.

My wife and I prepared a homemade noodle dish for supper that night. We used an available picnic table near the main trail. My son, who was around 12 years old, was a fussy eater, and wanted just a bowl of Campbell`s soup not our wholesome homemade scratch. Just as we were spooning in the first mouthfuls a large group of paddlers landed on the beach. It was a youth group, who had been plying the waters from Seattle to the Gulf Islands with two or three guides. I guess they`d been eating somewhat tasteless freeze-dried food for a week. One boy around sixteen stopped at our table and eyed the soup can. “Oh, that looks so good,” he said, before wandering off. I had never thought of Campbell’s soup as being overly tasty, but I guess a few people in the world do.

Well, the nine sites on Chivers Point filled up. I was expecting a loud night but the group of teenagers was uncommonly quiet. I suspected that kayaking tired them out. If you want more privacy Cabin Bay has one tent site. The trail to the camp is steep, but the secluded spot is easily accessible by water. Conover Cove has something like 60 campsites. You camp in a grassy meadow; and likely you will have a raccoon visitor or two. Pit toilets are available at Chivers Pt and Conover. Landing your kayak at Conover is easy enough though there is some mud at low tide.

After a good sleep in our tent we packed up and headed north toward a less popular site. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful visit as a family to Wallace Island.  {/sliders}

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