Made time this afternoon (Sunday) to head out for paddling. We intended to go to Kemp Lake so Bernie could do some fishing, but had to head the other direction to put some gas in the rattly van. When the pumps had no power at the nearest station, we headed off to another station, and since that one was half-wayu to Roche Cove, we ended up going there.
Roche Cove is a nice little inlet off Sooke Basin, and we've been there only one time. That day I was paddling with John and Louise, and we did not linger! Recently I rode a little local bus to see East Sooke, and there was the bridge at the mouth of Roche Cove. That's when I got the idea it would be nice to paddle inside the cove and avoid the currents at the mouth entirely. But where to launch in this shoreline park?
Bernie stopped the van in a parking lot big enough for 8 or 9 cars, and we investigated the park. Nice sign, bench, bike rack, and pit toilets suitable for changing clothes! I'd had a good look at a CRD pamphlet, and there's the same image online at the link above. On the map, it looked like along the Galloping Goose trail about 300 yards would be a level area between the trail and shore. The pamphlet spoke of a sandy beach, and said "Picnic at the protected cove after an easy walk from the parking area."
Bernie insisted we walk along the trail to the beach first, and then come back for the boats.
We had quite a nice level walk along the trail. It would be a good place to bring someone who wanted to look at cliffs and bluffs but couldn't climb them. The only problem was that we didn't come to a beach in 300 metres, or 600 metres, or even a kilometre as I'd expected based on the map. There were steep drops to water at those points, not level ground. Oops. There was a footpath down to the end of the cove, with a sheltered shore that showed rocks, not sand.
While it would be possible to portage small boats a kilometre along the trail and then carefully down the footpath, we decided to press on instead of paddling today. Bernie headed us towards Anderson Cove.
That's part of East Sooke Park. From the bus, I'd seen two places for pulling a small car off the road and walking a few steps down a slope to the sheltered water of the cove. Bernie found a small parking lot for 6 or so cars up a short but steep lane from the road -- hard to see from a vehicle as you go past. Here was another sign and pit toilets again. If we were going to launch here, we'd prefer to have rollers for the boats.
So we headed for home. No actual paddling today, but we scouted two places. Now Bernie will know where I'm going when I hop on a bus to Anderson Cove. Now we know that Roche Cove isn't well-suited for paddling, but it's not impossible, and we had a nice walk along the trail. Not bad.