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!!

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).

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