About us

DOUG TAYLOR - former officer in the Canadian Forces (36 years) and manager at Osgoode Hall (7 years), retired to the Comox Valley in 2004. Can be found in my NDK Explorer HV, when not having a coffee at Rhodos or hanging out at Comox Valley Kayaks where I teach Paddle Canada courses.

JONATHAN REGGLER - Ex-British Army medical officer, became a civilian GP in the United Kingdom for 11 years then immigrated to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, in 2003. Sea kayaking since 2004. Family physician in Courtenay.


Click on the link to maps.google.com in the latest post and follow our progress.

A message sent in the evening means we have been paddling and have reached a new place. A message sent in the morning means we are staying put.

If there is no SPOT message for a few days do not panic! SPOT is new technology and a glitch or two may happen. We have loads of back-up with VHF radios and EPIRB.


Doug and Jonathan love the fact that so many of you are following their progress but they also enjoy reading your comments when they have access to the internet. The links are at the end of the Spot message for the day. To read the comments: click on the Comment link. To leave a comment: click on the Envelope. They even answer some of them!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We have been helped, supported, sheltered, showered with hospitality and befriended by an army of people. We would like to acknowledge how grateful we are to everyone for their involvement.

First, we want to say a huge thank you to our wives, Anne Reggler and Penny Dutton. An expedition such as ours takes a lot of planning, with our consequent removal from familial duties (neither of us have touched our gardens for a very, very long time) and the weight has fallen on the shoulders of Penny and Anne. Resupplies in Sayward, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Tofino and Sooke relied on both our wives, sometimes with only 24 hours notice, hightailing it to the appropriate place with boxes of kit and food.

Others in our families played a major part in resupply runs or in their support, either physical or emotional. So our thanks to Doug’s son Christopher, brother Don and brothers -in-law Ron, Rob and families; and to Jonathan’s son Will and daughter Clare. Also Jonathan’s parents Mike and Daphne who thought he was a bit mad to be trying this in the first place.

Don Lockwood of Comox Valley Kayaks put us in contact with each other two years ago. Our thanks to Don for recognizing that we just might be able to make a go of this together, and for his friendship, humour and real support with kit and resupply, especially at Winter Harbour.

We had hoped that Brent Arnold would be able to join us for more of our expedition. Pressure of work in a difficult industry – logging – kept Brent, who trained with us during much of the winter, from paddling alongside us except on the first two days and the last one; but we were delighted he could join us then as he is a fine paddler who is an inspiration to both of us.

Our thanks to the following for their parts in our adventure:

Rhodos Coffee Shop especially Janice Proudfoot, Bea, Kim, John and Kelly
The many members of the Comox Paddlers who gave us such a great sendoff and escorted return
Jill Blacklock and Sharon Crowe for the laminated front page of the Comox Valley Record that they presented to us on the Puntledge as we left
Sally Atton for meeting us in her kayak and providing a fabulous fruit cake
John and Jackie Watson for their kindness and back yard campsites
Charlie and Jill from Quadra and Qualicum
Jennifer and Scott Larsen who provided the dehydrated carrot cake for our celebrations
Alice Woods and dog Maggie from the Chatham Point light house
Steve Emery and Louise Defryn of North Island Kayaks at Telegraph Cove
Pat and Jackie Kervin from Port Hardy
Curt Usherwood, Bob Gilbey, Dan Baudin and Earl Sontag who assisted us at Nissen Bight
Jay and Heather McGee and their dog Ty
Robin Rooke, Adrian Le Pitre, Ron Greene and Bruce "Pockets" for their hospitality at Winter Harbour
Kristy from the Kyuquot Market
Tom and Nancy Murphy, Dave and Diane Lewis and Dean and Geoff Johnson from Esperanza for their extraordinary hospitality
Fred Martin from Fanny Bay who was also circumnavigating the Island by kayak
Cliff and Linda Haylock and sister Marie from Bamfield for their hospitality
Fellow paddlers and friends from Ecomarine including Joan Mercier, Eric Schwartz, Lisa Blachut and Charlie Easton
David Lecovin and family paddling out of James Bay
The ladies from the Nanaimno Paddlers including Lyn Hancock, Laurie, Bonita, Gloria and Kalavati for excellent hors d'oeuvres at James Bay
Steve Davis, Jenn Erlendson, and Ziggy the dog for their excellent company and goodies at Thrasher Cove and again at James Bay on Prevost Island
Brent and Merle Middleton from Chilliwack for their appetizers and travel stories at Pirates Cove
The crew from Power to Be and their happy kayakers/campers from BC hospitals
Ken and Olga McClean for the great photos of us in Baynes Sound as we flew past
Mike Jackson and Roy Messina for their advice
Doug Alderson and John Kimantas for their excellent books and charts on expedition paddling especially around Vancouver Island
Nigel Dennis for designing and building the very fine Explorer kayaks that we paddled for over nine weeks
And finally, to those not mentioned who followed our journey through our blog and your comments there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The last two days

Just two more days of paddling brought us back to the Comox Valley. The forecast was not as good as we had hoped and in fact was very similar to the previous day’s which had led to us staying off the water – high winds of up to 30 knots, which exceeds the windspeed in which we feel it is safe for us to paddle in our heavy fully-laden boats. However, unlike the open-ended forecast the day before, this time the meteorologists were predicting when the winds would drop. As the winds the previous day had not actually attained the predicted speeds, and as we were paddling along a shore untroubled by swell and absolutely littered with safe landing spots (unlike the north and west coasts) we decided to launch. We could always land and wait patiently for the lessening winds in the evening.

In fact, it was one of our better paddles. We were assisted by a moderate southeasterly on our backs, which never rose above about 17 knots, and we moved quickly towards Denman and Hornby Islands, which emerged then disappeared, then re-emerged periodically out of the drizzle and mist.

Interestingly, the winds reported from Chrome Island lighthouse when we were only about two miles away, and in 10-15 knot winds, were 23 knots gusting to 33 knots. We think this must have been due to the same “point effect” on winds (and waves) that we had experienced at Pachena Point.

We waved at Doug’s friends Ken and Olga McClean as we passed by their home in Deep Bay then put our heads down to complete the section taking us along most of Denman’s southwest-facing shore. The reward was an excellent Americano at the coffee hut at the Denman Island ferry terminal. This place can be highly recommended to coffee aficionados who find themselves on the island. Doug (who knows about these things, it seems) and the young woman serving us had an enthusiastic discussion about something called crema.

Whilst there our mutual friend David Davies, from Comox, turned up on his bicycle having battled against the southeasterly that had treated us so kindly. We were so busy regaling him with our experiences that we had suddenly to jump up to stop our boats from floating even though we had dragged them a fair way up the beach. The lesson, learnt more than once in our trips last year and this, is: First secure your boat.

By this time the weather had brightened, the current had turned to assist us further, and we had a really fast Denman ferry to Tree Island leg. It was a great feeling, as we rounded Denman Point, to see Royston, Courtenay, Comox and Lazo laid out in front of us. We landed near the very large Arbutus Tree, often used as a symbol for Tree Island, having completed 25.3 nautical miles in just over 7 hours of paddling. That evening I crossed from the campsite on the southern side of the island to its northern shore and washed our last supper’s dishes as the sun set and the lights in the towns twinkled. Even after a fabulous trip like ours, it is great to get home to family and familiar places.

As we prepared our kayaks for our last paddle the next morning a lone paddler snuck up on us. He was in the bay and just ten yards offshore before we noticed. An expertly executed scull-for-support with his Greenland paddle announced the arrival of Brent Arnold, our longtime paddling buddy who had paddled with us for the first two days of our trip. Brent joined us as we traveled the last six miles of our expedition. As we neared Goose Spit five other kayakers joined us: Brian Buckrell, Bruce and Wendy Calder and Ron and Sandi Ulmi from the Comox Paddlers.

Finally, nine weeks, one day and a few minutes (and 722 nautical miles) after setting out, we reached the boat ramp by Comox Valley Kayaks. Our thanks to family and friends for turning out to see our return and to Rhodos for again fuelling us through the celebrations with their terrific coffee, which goes surprisingly well alongside fizzy white wine (though not in the same container).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

OK ESN:0-7391670

Departed Qualicum Saturday, July 5th. One overnight then Comox Valley Kayaks (launch site) Sunday!! Timings TBA
Nearest Location: Courtenay, Canada
Distance: 0 km(s)
Time:07/06/2008 12:11:56 (America/Vancouver)


Saturday, July 5, 2008



OK ESN:0-7391670

Departed Qualicum Saturday, July 5th. One overnight then Comox Valley Kayaks (launch site) Sunday!! Timings TBA
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/05/2008 18:26:25 (America/Vancouver)


Friday, July 4, 2008

Qualicum Beach

An unexpected weather day in Qualicum Beach has given us the opportunity to bring the blog up-to-date.

The part of our journey taking us around the southern tip of the Island had always been one that we felt was potentially going to be difficult because of the lack of campsites and places to stop. The stretch from Sooke to Discovery Island is fairly long and yet there is only one place that we know of to stay overnight. Victoria, though attractive, would add logistical difficulties and although we are really grateful to all those friends who offered shelter, none of the multimillionaires with oceanside properties in the area contacted us.

So we opted to paddle to Pedder Bay marina to set ourselves up for the hop to Discovery Island. We hoped that we would be helped by the flood to get past Esquimalt and Victoria and indeed we were. We whizzed past both although we had to keep a careful eye out for other water traffic. Having marveled at the lack of other marine users on most of the west coast, barring the little flotilla of sport fisherfolk outside Port Renfrew, the bay outside Victoria and the airspace above it was teeming with vessels and floatplanes. Some pretty fast-moving stuff, too. We also remarked on the warm wind on our faces – the first time we had had this since the start of the journey in early May.

We made such good progress that we decided to press on to D’Arcy Island. Neither of us had put the next chart into our on-deck waterproof chart cases but the bottom half of D’Arcy, a small island, was clearly marked on the chart we were using and a welcoming land mass appeared in the “right” place as we rounded one of the points so we paddled towards it. Unease set in after a few miles and our lack of progress towards the island. A light on a rock failed to materialize on our left as promised by our charts. I interrogated my GPS, which has mapping, though I prefer the “bigger picture” available from paper charts. The rock was actually half a mile to our right – we were paddling just a few degrees to the left of our intended direction, the sort of difference which one tends to put down to the bobbing of the bow (and the on-deck compass) from right to left during the natural motion of the boat. We had been heading towards James Island, a larger island further off. D’Arcy Island was actually camouflaged by a larger island behind it, obscuring its western and eastern shores. This was another lesson relearned; that charts work but you need the whole area around your destination. It is not that we had actually disregarded our charts – we had simply made much better progress than we had hoped for and had basically paddled to the edge of the chart in front of us (the next was buried deep in our hatches). Had we had the area beyond our destination on the chart we were using, we would not have made the mistake. Fortunately we paddled no more than an extra mile although we were certainly tired (the flood had also turned to an ebb against us for the last few miles) when we reached D’Arcy.

D’Arcy is a nice little island with a well-maintained campground and decent tent pads. It is the site of the leper colony created by the BC government to house the mainly oriental leper victims in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were deposited there and received no medical treatment. A supply ship visited once every three months. Not BC’s finest hour.

From D’Arcy we pressed north until we reached Prevost Island. We decided that we would spend a day there. We paddled along Sidney Island, both of us saying that we would like to return for a proper exploration of the area. It looks like a great destination for relaxing paddles and stops on a beautiful sandy spit at the north of the island.

We stopped at the very tip of the spit to take bearings (determined not to aim at the wrong island two days in a row) and as we did so heard the excited voice of Jenn Erlendson asking “What are the chances?”, as she came across the beach towards us. We had met Jenn and her friend Steve Davis at Thrasher Cove the week before. It was marvellous to see her again although we were a tad disappointed by the lack of McVitie’s chocolate digestive cookies this time.

The paddle to Prevost Island from Sidney Island was harder than we expected. We should have had the benefit of the flood but there was a reasonable back eddy in the whole of the Moresby Channel and also in the large area north of Beaver Point and south of the Channel Islands. We also had to cope with a very large amount of holiday traffic and more ferries in one day than we had seen in the whole of the last month. As Doug said, “These are the most dangerous waters we have paddled!”.

At Prevost Island, quite by coincidence David Lecovin, paddling buddy and fellow Explorer user, was there with some of his family. It was a very pleasant surprise to see him there. We also met Lisa Blachut, an Ecomarine kayak guide and instructor, and her friend Charlie Easton. We had a number of mutual friends and acquaintances from the BC paddling community. We were also delighted to meet up again with Steve Davis; Jenn had radioed him on his boat Cavu and he anchored off the island. We spent our rest day chatting and eating with Steve and hiking to the northwesternmost point of the island with him and his dog, Ziggy.

We also met some of the ladies of the Nanaimo Paddlers, who were in the last two days of a Gulf Islands trip. An intrepid bunch who have kayaked some of the tougher bits of Vancouver Island’s coast, we were happy to share some of our experiences and ideas. Our gear and kayak outfitting was photographed extensively by Lyn Hancock, the well-known author and member of the Nanaimo group.

Passing through Dodd Narrows was a milestone for which we had to do some planning. We were in a period of large tides and consequently fast currents, so the period of slack water was going to be short. After considering our options we realized that the best solution was going to be a night at Pirates Cove on De Courcy Island (sadly bypassing the nicer campsites at Blackberry Point) so that we could make the Narrows in good time the following day. The 20+ mile push to Pirates Cove was aided by a good flood in the morning. The campground is worth avoiding. Lots of mosquitoes, plenty of raccoons, and the only place where mice damaged gear trying to get at an old candy wrapper (which should not have been where it was, however). We did meet Brent and Merle Middleton, a retired couple from Chilliwack, who told us of their mammoth cycle ride across Canada, in two installments, which we thought was a pretty major undertaking although they seemed to think it was a bit of a jaunt. The Power To Be organisation was there, too, with a group of young people from some of the BC children’s hospitals, on an extended kayak camping trip.

De Courcy Island is also remarkable for the story of “Brother XII” and his religious cult The Aquarian Foundation, which was based on the island (and Valdes Island) in the 1920s and 1930s. This charlatan managed to persuade 8000 people to give him their life savings and about 2000 of them joined him on De Courcy and Valdes.

We were up in plenty of time to have a relaxed paddle to the Narrows. This gave us time to enjoy the extraordinary sandstone structures along the western side of De Courcy Island. Erosion has worn the sandstone into remarkable shapes, with harder areas standing out in sharp latticework-relief. Large near-spherical boulders seem stuck into the sandstone like M & Ms (British = Smarties) in smooth icing sugar on the side of a cake.

Nipping through the Narrows between a line of boats passing the other way we headed up to the north-western end of Gabriola Island where we saw more strange sandstone formations and a large cormorant rookery. The cormorants nest in the erosion-excavated holes and spaces in the sandstone. The odour of bird guano is pretty pungent there. We last came across it in the caves just to the north of Port San Juan.

Finding somewhere to stay the night in the area immediately to the north of Nanaimo promised to be difficult but we did have a campsite marked just outside Nanoose Bay. As we paddled up to Southey Island it looked extremely unpromising but we managed to find a grassy ledge with enough room for two tents and two kayaks. It was also blessed with a fantastic stand of rose campion, the magenta flowers almost glowing in the early evening sun. As we set up camp a fellow kayaker arrived. AJ told us that he was four days out of Anacortes at the start of what he hoped would be a two and a half month trip covering the 1300 miles to Glacier Bay in Alaska. If AJ manages this it will be a terrific feat.

From Southey we put the boats in the water for what we hoped would be a relatively easy stage to Qualicum Beach. We were not disappointed. The wind blew up as expected, a nice friendly southeasterly that we had at our backs for the whole run. We arrived at Qualicum Beach a good hour earlier than expected. Charlie and Jill, who looked after us so kindly on Quadra right at the start of our journey, invited us into their Qualicum home too. We are very grateful for their continuing hospitality. And their extended hospitality: the wind today was forecast to (and in fact did) reach speeds that we felt it was prudent to avoid so we have remained here for an extra day. The forecast for the next two days is favourable, however, and we hope to return to Courtenay, our circumnavigation of the Island complete, on Sunday.

OK ESN:0-7391670

Departed Sooke Friday, June 27th on the last leg. Next update from the Comox Valley in about two weeks!!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/04/2008 11:12:33 (America/Vancouver)


Thursday, July 3, 2008

OK ESN:0-7391670

Departed Sooke Friday, June 27th on the last leg. Next update from the Comox Valley in about two weeks!!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/03/2008 15:16:55 (America/Vancouver)


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

OK ESN:0-7391670

Departed Sooke Friday, June 27th on the last leg. Next update from the Comox Valley in about two weeks!!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/02/2008 16:07:03 (America/Vancouver)