Onward to Ballenas Island

We made it to Southey Island yesterday despite the wind warnings, and although there were waves and the paddling was tough, it was nothing like the waves coming into Nanaimo thankfully.

Amber paddling through a cave next to Jesse Island

Southy was the first island that wasn’t an official campsite with outhouses and designated areas to sleep. I think that’s why I liked it so much, I finally felt like we were removed from the rest of the world.

Arriving at Maude Island thinking it was Southey

A lot of these islands are just giant rocks poking their heads out of the ocean with trees sprinkled over the tops. We transitioned from smooth sandstone to granite rocks as we’ve headed north, or so my paddling companions tell me, I’m more focussed on the water and the sky and the beauty of having absolutely nothing to do. It’s amazing how quickly I fill up my days at home and leave zero time to even stare out the window.

Tea & ukulele on Southey Island at sunset

Right now I’m lying on the rocky beach of Ballenas Island feeling as close to heaven as I think life can ever be. The waves are slowly creeping towards my feet and my only concern is ensuring that I and my boat don’t float out to sea. Like me, I need to drag my boat a few feet up the beach every half hour.

Beautiful warm rocks on Ballenas Island

As a kid I always wondered what it would be like to be stranded on a desert island. I had no idea that it was even possible to paddle to an island in the middle of the ocean and stay for the night or longer. We weren’t a camping family, I spent holidays on a farm exploring the paddocks and river and sometimes went bush bashing with my sister, but I didn’t develop a real appreciation for nature and the outdoors until I hiked the PCT. I know it always comes back to the trail, but in the same way kids grow up camping or paddling and that lifestyle just becomes engrained into who they are, the trail cemented nature into my veins. It’s like an addiction now. I just can’t live without it.

Watching sunset from Southey Island

We had a half day of paddling today, only going 10km from Southey to Ballenas Island via a marina that was under renovation. It’s been a treat to come across at least one marina on this trip, and it’s not something I ever expected, but when you are expecting it and it’s not there the disappointment can be enourmous. I dreamt of cinemon buns all night but paddled away empty handed.

Reaching the 100km mark yesterday

We’ve paddled a total of 116km and have three more days to go. It’s funny how the first half of a trip you feel like it will last forever, and then once you’re beyond half way you have to conciously keep your mind in the present and not allow it to slip back to all the things you need to do when you get home. Like all good things it’s sad to think of it being over, but at the same time I’m grateful to even feel this way.

View from our campsite on Ballenas Island

Soon it’ll be time to warm up the jetboils and get dinner cooking. We’re hoping to see phosphorescence this evening like we did on Day 2, and hopefully we’ll be able to stay up late enough to swim in them. We’ll be cowboy camping right by the water’s edge tonight so we can literally roll out, dry off and fall asleep. It’ll all depend on the moon, but we’re facing north east so hopefully we’re in for a good show!

12 thoughts on “Onward to Ballenas Island”

  1. The happiness expressed in this post clearly suggest that being outside in nature is where you thrive and recharge. I too, strive to get out of the urban chaos as much as possible and head for the seclusion of Sierra’s. I sure like those kayaks in the photos, especially when compared to my old beat-up 9′ recreational model from REI. It also looks like the tidal range is greater there than what we experience in California..

    It’s been a strange year on the PCT near my cabin in the northern Sierra’s. Many have flipped up north because of the heavy snow year in the Sierra’s, therefore I never really saw the bubble that regularly pass through in early July. There also seem to be more hikers striving for big 30-mile days – that’s a bit much for me. I typically pickup hikers who need a ride into Quincy, a rewarding habit I formed while following your posts while you were on your PCT thru-hike.

    Again, thanks for sharing your inspiring posts and photos.


    1. Thanks so much for your note Marc I really appreciate it. I also love that you formed such a great trail angel habit driving folks into Quincy! It certainly has been a crazy year for the thru-hikers of 2017. Enjoy the Sierras when you get out there again!

  2. Great posts and a wonderful trip. Totally agree with you about sea kayaking and the way it envelopes the kayakers in the rhythm of nature, such an enriching experience to be at the beck and call of the tides, the waves, the winds, sunny days and storms. 🙂

  3. Hi Muk,
    Good to see your smiling face and even more smiling words. I experienced the same feelings about the PCT and nature as you. It keeps calling and I’ve got to get back out there on the PCT.
    We use to boat in the San Juan’s and in the Gulf Islands where you are now. I wasn’t able to get to the more remote islands like you, but there IS something about the sea, the salt, the rhythm of the tides, and the trail environments that is seductive and addictive. It really is a special place up there.
    I was white knuckled on some of our channel crossings, rocking and rolling in a boat, I can’t imagine being out there in a kayak on large waves!!
    You are in your element, enjoy, and thanks again for sharing, it’s always good to see what you’re up to.

    1. Great to hear from you Tim! I’m so glad you’ve experienced those islands we paddled through. Regardless of the craft, they’re magical to explore!

  4. Hi darling, such a great picture of the cave next to Jesse Island, it must have been such fun to go there. No wonder that you felt in heaven on Ballenas Island, well of course the beautiful nature but those lovely warm rocks must have given you a beautiful massage after such a long paddle. Your shoulder muscles must have been smiling. You have always been a nature child , although you were more in the water then on it. Swimming in the sea and the river, enjoying the beaches and the bush. You had no time to appreciate the nature around you because you were too busy playing and chatting with your friends. On the PCT you had time alone and could reflect, feel and appreciate the beautiful nature. Now you know, that nature is there to enjoy and to appreciate. Have fun, wish I was there, love you, Mutti xx

  5. Hey Girlio…so much fun for you on this new ….adventure … I wrote a comment the day got it…but I couldn’t send it …..love to you from your
    northern Calif. …. Barbie.. have been yukky sick for not eating from grief…can’t walk now…PT helping…love you from old friend ….Barbie…hope I can send this…wouldn’t last time …

  6. You certainally seem to have reconnected with your nomad spirit and that of Mother Nature. What a pleasure to read this post and hear the true joy in your voice !

    I honestly mean it when I say that I don’t believe you could have written and or discribed this day better than you did. You painted the picture so clearly, so poetically, I felt as if I were there on the beach (but not in the outhouse) with you.

    Not that I have anything against outhouses….
    Some of my dearest friends are, I mean have, outhouses
    Tee hee

    Bottom line…..I am so pleased you are living this day and each day “as you wish”.

    More soon…..please

    From Kansas
    Lyndella Sings

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