Monday, July 11, 2011

Fuel Spill in Tod Inlet

Yesterday, while kayaking in Tod Inlet, we came across a fuel spill. It's awful to see such a mess in such a lovely place. When kayaking, the fresh air smells so good coming off a lake or sea water, but this breeze smelled awful. The hulls of our boats were scummed when we came back to shore.

Tod Inlet is only a few minutes away from the dock at the Brentwood Bay/Mill Bay ferry, but when you're in the inlet, you can't see any of the houses that are only half a mile away. Even Butchart Gardens is invisible, behind a curtain of trees. This is a photo of the ferry we have to watch out for when we're paddling in Brentwood Bay, from the BC Ferries website.In winter, the inlet is empty of all but a few live-aboard boats near the opening to Brentwood Bay, and kayakers feel like we're paddling in an isolated fjord up the coast somewhere. In summer, the inlet has dozens of small sailboats and motorboats moored along the shore of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Every time we go there in our kayaks, we see a different assortment of sea life. Sometimes we see seals, and on the shore are raccoons. We've found smacks of jellyfish, and groups of purple sea stars. There are eagles overhead, herons fishing, and dragonflies humming past our heads. This time, we noticed several small fish leaping in the water, breaking the surface alone or in groups.

So, what does a responsible kayaker do on finding an oily slick on a place like this, inside a provincial park? We're not sure. But we're finding out.

First place I've contacted is BC Parks, through the feedback page on their website. I also sent them an e-mail note at their @ddress Then I sent a note to Columbia Fuels, the company that owns the truck that crashed on the Malahat Highway on April 15, sending 40,000 litres of fuel into the Goldstream River. Columbia Fuels has been working as part of the team cleaning up what can be done in Goldstream, and they have an e-mail @ddress for queries about this fuel spill -- . I've also contacted a couple of reporters for the Times-Colonist newspaper, who reported on the fuel spill in Goldstream. Much of that fuel spill apparently went into Saanich Inlet, and Tod Inlet is connected to Saanich Inlet. We'll let you know if anyone has any news about what's going on with this oily slick in Tod Inlet.


  1. The Provincial Emergency Program (better known as PEP in some circles)has a spill reporting group. Check out all the information at The 24 spill reporting phone number is 1-800-663-3456. And thanks to your post, I'm going to add this phone number to my trusty kayak notebook!

  2. Opps - I missed seeing the marine reporting hotline for the west coast of Canada and the US - 1-800-OILS-911. Pretty easy to remember that one!

  3. unless there is a recoverable amount of govt body cares...really it is true