Saturday, October 11, 2008

2008.33.126 - Portland Island Circumnavigation

A beautiful Saturday morning on Thanksgiving weekend. The sun, the sea and Sidney's air raid siren. The siren was only a test, but the bright sun and the glassy sea were for real as Louise, Richard and I planned to paddle from Sidney to Portland Island.
Sidney Pano

As we headed out, this heron was sitting on a rock. We all whipped our cameras out and started taking pictures. The poor heron must have thought that he was sharing his perch with Paris Hilton.
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This heron seemed a lot more comfortable with ocean traffic.
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Looking out for ferries is standard procedure in this area. We're right by the Swartz Bay ferry terminal where major routes converge and we would have to cross them to get to Portland Island. We didn't have to worry about this particular vessel; it's a brand new Super "C" class ferry, and won't be in service until next month.
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We paused at Coal Island to wait for this ferry to pass.
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Louise had a moment as the ferry went by. Richard and I paddled out into the wake, but she got caught too close to shore as the wake came in, and she had a moment as she and the waves bashed into the rocks. But she survived, a little shaken, but she gamely carried on.
We quickly made the crossing to Pym Island. It's a short but vital crossing; once we'd made this crossing we could stay out of the ferry lanes.
From there, we crossed to Portland Island.
Portland Pano
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What a jewel this island is! We stopped at a shell beach on the south end. What a view!
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We hung out here for a few minutes as the ferries rumbled by.
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We put in and started our paddle around. Near the north side, we saw a seal enjoying the sun....
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...and a pair of eagles that were enjoying watching the seal.
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We put in at another beach on the north side...
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...where Richard just had to try the composting outhouse.
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Earlier as we started our way around Portland Island, we passed a couple in a rowboat enjoying the day. But as we readied to depart Portland, we saw them again. This time, they seemed to be following something that was swimming through the water. Louise moved in a little closer and it turned out that a raccoon was swimming from one of the small islets over to the bigger island of Portland. Okay, not as cool as when we saw the swimming deer last year, but it's still cool. Check out Louise's paddle report for her pictures of the raccoon.
We left Portland, casting one last look back. We'll come back to this magical place.
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We headed back, tired and bedraggled from a long paddle, but thankful for a safe and terrific journey.
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Portland Island

Trip length: 20.39 km
My pictures are here.
The Google Earth kmz is here.

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