TRAINING DAY 2 – Cadboro Bay to Oak Bay
CADBORO BAY — The switch from Wild Renfrew to posh paddling along a millionaires’ row of seaside homes couldn’t have been more dramatic. The area is thick with Mercedes, Range Rovers and BMWs but the folks here share one common thread, a caution about powerful Baynes Channel.
Whether doctor or gardener, the warning was emphatic to steer clear of the ripping currents that run to 5 knots or more and that only the very experienced would want to
challenge. Local paddling groups recommend end-running the channel to get to Discovery and Chatham Islands, a world apart in feels yet just kilometres from downtown Victoria. From these shores you can look across the Haro Strait to the Cascades mountain range in the United States and its perpetually snow-capped gem, Mount Baker.
We planned to stick close to shore as I worked on my stroke under Pam’s watchful eye. And we lucked into a beautiful little rental cottage called Sunrise Garden Cottage about 50 metres to a launch point at Smugglers Cove on Ten Mile Point, Vancouver Island’s most eastern point.
Rum Running and Kelp Dodging
That’s where rum running boats loaded with liquor were launched to U.S. destinations during Prohibition in that country. And it may have been a location for incoming illicit drugs over time.
They dodged the authorities, we skirted big pods of kelp and rocks as we slipped through gaps in the rugged coast (once in reverse fashion as a tricky current spun us around). Pam scouted out the area on her own, making it down to Oak Bay and back in an impressive 90 minutes.
I was content to putz around smaller bays and enjoy the sight of a seal who popped out to check us out. It looked like a pup who had lost its way.
Want to Paddle Cadboro Bay?
The wide sweep of Cadboro Bay is popular with kids getting into the sport, its benign waters a good starting point. And there’s a little paddling business, Gyro Beach Board Shop, right in Cadboro Bay Village, which has paddleboards and kayaks for sale and rent.
Heaven In Victoria
Meantime, Sunrise Garden Cottage was a little slice of English heaven with classic furniture, a sunny patio and verdant garden.
A couple of food recommendations here are The Penny Farthing Public House in Oak Bay, where we had brilliant hamburgers made with brioche buns, and The Snug Pub at tony Oak Bay Beach Hotel, where a large sunny balcony affords a brilliant view of the bay and the food is fresh and stylishly presented at reasonable prices.
The lingering and deep sense of this pristine pocket of Victoria is twofold — that you can have an outdoorsy holiday in this city and in a short drive join 60,000 others for Victoria’s brilliant Canada Day celebration.