British Columbia the Inside Passage

Jedediah Island Marine Park

Sunday, May 26, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Driftwood Beach

The wind continues to blow from the southeast and Environment Canada has now upgraded the forecast from light and variable to 25 knots in the late morning, so we’re staying here in Deep Bay where we’re well protected until the conditions subside. 

I can’t speak for everybody aboard, but I didn’t mind:  The extra day gave me the opportunity to explore more of the island.  Yesterday I took the trail back toward Home Bay and beyond to aptly named Driftwood Beach.  Like so many places we’ve been in the Pacific Northwest, the pictures I took pale in comparison to the actual sight:  If you can imagine a stack, ten feet deep, of logs piled together as if they were toothpicks – clearly not where you want to be during a winter storm.  Distracted by this amazing sight, I lost track of the trail and wasn’t able to find my way to Codfish Bay, reputed to be one of the most beautiful on the island, or Mount Gibraltar, the highest point. 
But today was a new day, so I gave it another try.  My suspicions were confirmed.  When I left the trail yesterday to take pictures of Driftwood Beach, I simply didn’t continue south.  Today I did and easily found my destination.  And I have to agree with the cruising guides:  Codfish Bay is stunning.

Situated on the southeast side of the island near Home Bay, Codfish lies off Sabine Channel which separates Jedediah from the neighbouring island, Texada.  It offers good protection from northwest winds, which are predominate in the summer, and a group of small islands near the entrance of the bay offers some protection from the southeast and the swell.  The bay itself is dramatic – a narrow inlet with steep-to granite cliffs and a driftwood strewn beach at its head – and would be a lovely spot to spend a few days, but the conditions aren’t right so we’ll have to be content with our one and only anchorage this visit – Deep Bay. 

Codfish Bay, Jedediah Island Marine Park

From there, I backtracked until I was close to Long Bay on the opposite side of the island.  Along the trail, just before you break from the forest into an open paddock, there’s a gravesite marked “Will”.  It belongs to the Palmers’ former horse which used to greet visitors on the beach in hopes of receiving an apple but, sadly, died in 2003.  Not far beyond the grave, the trail breaks off to left, exits the woods and enters a paddock where it’snot uncommon to find the sheep grazing.  This is where I went wrong yesterday.  Had I continued to the left, I would have re-entered the forest and clearly seen a trail marked with fluorescent pink tape.  But I didn’t.  I carried on to Long Bay. 

Feral sheep grazing near Long Bay.

The trail, made by animals over the years, ascends 500 feet above sea level through woodland and moss-covered granite and is well-worth the climb.  The view from the summit looks out into the Strait of Georgia and from there you can see the neighbouring islands and Jedediah’s rugged shoreline:  It’s nothing short of spectacular.  It’s also a good place to catch a glimpse of the island’s feral goats, believed by historians to be descendants of those left by 18th – century Spanish explorers to graze on the island.  I was fortunate enough to see one myself, but it quickly ran off once it heard me approach. 

The view from Mount Gibraltar.

Back on the boat, David and I were left to wonder, once again, why we hadn’t visited Jedediah before.  It offers everything we look for in an anchorage: good protection, a marine park, hiking trails and, above all, peace and quiet.  But I’m certain it’s a mistake we won’t make again. 

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