You are currently viewing Portland Island in January
Portland Island

Portland Island in January

A Gulf Islands Marine Trail Article Series…by Elizabeth Purdon. In the theme of a holiday close to home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to head out for a night on Portland Island.  Well, I was going for a night and Bob thought we were going for two.  When our differing thoughts became obvious at our Amherst Road launch, he drove back to the grocery store in Sidney to pick up more food.

We stopped for lunch and baked at Shell Beach on the south end of Portland Island. It felt rather Hawaiian.

After lunch we paddled around to the north end to camp at Arbutus Point.  We had the place to ourselves and great facilities.  I forgot to bring the camping fee ($10 per person per night) this time, so we owe them on our next trip there.  We appreciate these sites so much that the cost seems insignificant. 

Breakfast at Arbutus Point

I always enjoy watching the ferries going to and fro.  Even with a non-essential travel advisory in place there still seemed to be a lot of them.  We were happy to have remembered our binoculars to watch all the ducks and other birds that like to hang out at the point. 

Ferry watching at Arbutus Point

On our way back to camp we ran into a fellow that had grown up on Portland Island, later living on Moresby Island and now on Saltspring Island.  We enjoyed listening to him telling us some tales of what it was like back in the “old days” on the island.  We did a walk with him and he showed us where his house and other buildings had once been.  He described all the changes that he has seen over the years that he attributes to the large wake of BC ferries.  We really enjoyed spending a full day just wandering around this island that we so often visit for just a quick lunch break. 

I find that one of the nice things about winter camping is that one can still sleep in and catch sunrise!

Morning tooth brushing

We had another lovely, relaxed paddle back to our launch site at Amherst Road on our third day.

Elizabeth Purdon

Elizabeth has been paddling a kayak since 2012. She loves long kayak trips and sleeping beside the ocean. In addition to lots of 1-2 week trips, this led to a 58 day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in 2018, a 5 week paddle from Prince Rupert to Sayward in 2019 and a 5 week trip in the Sea of Cortex in 2020. It is suspected that she might be the oldest woman to pass Paddle Canada Level 4 Skils when she was 63.

Leave a Reply