Newcastle Island Family Campout – Aug 11-13th, 2017
We were greeted by the sun as we left home Friday morning. Meeting up at the passenger drop off at Horseshoe Bay were two tandem, one solo and two kayaks, paddlers Rebecca, Ramsay and young Nicola, Suzanna and John, Karey Parsa and Bryan.
We were right on time to squeeze onto the 10:55 sailing to Departure Bay, only it left at 10:40, opps. A stroll the Horseshoe Bay killed some time till we rolled our boats onto the next ferry. Lunch time on the ferry was delicious.
We had a bit under a km of portage to get to the boat launch were we put in. Winds were light as we paddled the channel between Newcastle and Naniamo and rounded the point into the bay full of anchored pleasure craft.
Newcastle is a gem, the island is a Provincial park only accessible by boat. The island features numerous individual and four group campsites. It has a public dock, a for passenger ferry service, pavilion and is littered with trails that run all the way around the island.
After tracking down the campsite operator we settled into group site 3 which was designated as overflow for those without a reservation. This was a great spot and featured covered picnic tables and shelter plus it was close to the water for easy boat launch.
Sat we set of for a paddle to circumvavigate the island. A brisk south easterly and good size swell gave us quite a wild ride as we headed north on the east side which is open to the Straight of Georgia. Rounding the northern end we put in on a long pebble beach where we had lunch and some of us went for a swim, the water being super nice. Getting back to camp mid afternoon some of the group went for a hike to explore and read about the rich history of the island.
Sat evening the weather turned and gave us a bit of rain overnight. It’s always a suprise when your tent starts to leak in great gobs, good thing the shelter was big enough to host two tents.
Sunday the sun came back. Ramsay and family decided to stay one more night so the rest of us bid them a farewell and set of to catch the 12:50 boat. A strong northwesterly slowed our progress as we worked our way up the channel back to the boat launch and onto the ferry home.