Distance: 52.6 km from Victoria Inner Harbour to Rum Island; 39 km from Clover Point.
Description: Clover Point is the starting point for the Salish Sea Marine Trail logistically as well as symbolically, being KM Zero of the Trans Canada Trail. However, for protection and logistics, travellers may wish to begin in Victoria Harbour or any number of other launch locations possible along the nearby shoreline. From Victoria the route follows the Saanich Peninsula north adjacent to the Vancouver Island shoreline, an area bordered by island groupings containing numerous parks and marine-accessible campsites ideal for use by paddlers. Watch for wonderful wilderness areas including two major bird sanctuaries, one provincial park with camping facilities and three sections of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve with camping facilities.
What to see:
This section of the Vancouver Island coastline, the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria, is a pleasant mix of urban and rural shoreline as well as island clusters that can make for perfect paddling, if you watch for the currents at key locations. Note the warning signs on the Salish Sea Marine Trail map! This presents a wonderful mix of day paddles from places like Oak Bay and Sidney to overnight stays hopping across the islands to multi-day regional treks taking in all the best sites. Among those are Trial Islands, a wonderful example of the rare coastal bluff ecology of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; Chain Islands, a major seabird nesting area; Mandarte Island, another seabird nesting location; and D'Arcy Island for its leper colony ruins.
Strong currents, turbulence. Found at frequent locations along Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait. Watch for turbulence, rips and standing waves numerous areas including nearshore.
Ferries. Crossing from Saanich Peninsula or the nearby islands south of Swartz Bay means passing near the busy BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay and potentially crossing one or more ferry lanes depending on your route. Ferries can be frequent and fast with sightlines short due to the many islands and turns required by the ferries. In addition, the Washington State ferry leaves Sidney and travels between Sidney and Forrest islands at high speed with short sightlines.