Kayaking in Ladysmith
If you are visiting the Ladysmith-Cedar area, welcome to a world-class kayaking destination. It is an ideal spot for a Class I or Class II beginner’s paddle. Protected on three sides by land, the conditions are often idyllic. Here you will often see seals, great blue herons, and bald eagles. The intertidal marine life is rich and plentiful. Staying near shore is safer and offers a scenic trip with great chances to view wildlife. More experienced kayakers can venture out and paddle from Cedar-by-the-Sea to the BC Provincial Marine Park on De Courcy Island or to other sites on the marine trail. The limestone formations along the east sides of De Courcy and Valdes Islands are awe inspiring and part of the magic of paddling in the Gulf Islands.
A circumnavigation of Thetis Island is a great day trip with a stop at the pub in Telegraph Harbour for lunch or supper on the deck. A short ferry ride from Chemainus takes you to Thetis Island where you can launch by the ferry terminal. If you want a shorter paddle, the trip through the channel between Thetis and Penelakut Islands along with a visit to some of the tiny islands at both ends of this canal-like water way will fill up most of an enjoyable afternoon.
Whether you are a beginner or expert, Ladysmith Harbour is a great place to spend a day paddling. Six small islands, a few reefs, Davis Lagoon, and Bush Creek Estuary make up a diverse marine landscape waiting for your paddling enjoyment. Launching at Transfer Beach Park, most people make the short crossing over to the Dunsmuir Island chain and weave between the islands into Sibell Bay. Then it’s around the palm trees near Sharpe Point and into Evening Cove to visit the community park at Elliott Beach.
From Elliott Beach, you can continue north around Coffin Point toward Kulleet Bay or Blue Heron Park (about an hour’s paddle) experiencing the beauty of Stuart Channel or head back. On your way back, you can explore the two Woods Islands and paddle Burleith Arm, where logs are sorted by little dozer boats that are shorter than the kayak you are paddling. If you enjoy viewing sailboats, fish boats and many other marine vessels, continue on through to the marina at Page Point or you can paddle over to the marinas on the Ladysmith side of the harbour where there are some very interesting and exotic looking crafts.
When it comes to kayaking, there are many reasons why the Ladysmith area is number one!
– Paul Grey is author of numerous kayaking books