This was the most thrilling and rewarding stand-up paddle trip I’ve done. Mind you I haven’t done many trips like these, but still. It was AWESOME!
Passage Island is a little island at the entrance to Howe Sound, located in between West Vancouver and Bowen Island. It has about 61 house lots (most undeveloped). No electricity, etc. Houses there use solar power, fire, and rain water collection systems to keep the occupants warm and hydrated.
The total distance I paddled was just over 16km. Here’s my approximate route.
I started out from Jericho Sailing Centre on the Vancouver side of the Burrard Inlet. Paddled initially towards the First Buoy and then started to take aim towards Lighthouse Park (West Van). With the tide going out I was being pushed out, so eventually I was aiming at Passage Island. I left Jericho at about 7am, hoping to avoid all the boat traffic.
I was almost successful. The only exception was just a minor issue. That minor issue was seeing a huge tanker ship heading right at me, foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. With adrenaline pumping I picked up my pace. The ship likely saw me too, as it ended up passing a decent distance behind me.
Next challenge was closer to the mouth of Howe Sound. The water moving out of the Burrard Inlet meeting the water from Howe Sound created some turbulence. So it made for a bumpy ride. A lot of fun though. After that it was easy paddling and a great visit to Passage island.
After a short walkabout on the island (and I mean it, the island is tiny and has one ‘street’), and a snack on a rocky beach I headed for Pilot Cove, in West Vancouver to meet my pickup. I’m glad I did not head back to Jericho as the boat traffic was pretty heavy by that time.
Hope you enjoy this little slideshow of a few photos I took.
As with any trips, check the weather, tides, make a plan, and tell someone where you’re going.
If you do go, take precautions, because depending on many factors it can turn out not to be an easy paddle. It’s about 11km from Jericho to Passage Island. If you want to make your trip shorter and avoid crossing the inlet, launch from Pilot Cove.
Also, the island is full of homes with individuals who like privacy. So be mindful of what you do. Pick up your garbage. Also don’t light any fires. Seriously, the whole island can burn down if it’s dry. There is no water or firefighting services easily available.