We managed to spend Canada Day in Canada this year, (wohoo!) a family canoe trip to camp up the Sechelt Inlet on the Sunshine Coast. We reserved a canoe for Jeff and I to rent and thought it would be a good idea to pull the 3 boys in an inflatable boat behind us. Simon and I decided to test it for holes before we left - all good.
The kids finished school on the Wednesday and we left early Thursday morning. We thought that arriving at the ferry terminal at 7:00am would be plenty of time to catch the 9:00am ferry, since we didn't make a reservation, but alas no, we got on the 11:00am ferry. Luckily, Horseshoe Bay is a decent place to hang out for several hours.
This canoe trip was a bit of an experiment to see how we could transition from car-camping with the kids to backpacking with them. I got our stuff down to 2 adult backpacks and 2 kids packs, but we still brought a cooler and a rubbermaid of food. So, we're not quite ready for overnight backpacking (besides the fact the Simon "hates" hiking). Once we made it to Porpoise Bay (Pedals and Paddles), we loaded up the canoe, tied up the dingy and headed north up the Inlet. It was a gorgeous day and we made good time, stopping at Tuwanek beach before setting up camp at Nine Mile beach.
There were so many bright white oyster shells all over the beach, so the boys made a collection then spent time honing their stone-skipping skills. Max and I relaxed to enjoy the sunset while the others got the fire going.
It turns out most of us don't even like marshmallows, but for some reason we make S'mores anyways. Well, Callum really likes them.
After a not-so-great night (Simon woke up having to go pee, but he wouldn't pee in the trees so he and I had an unpleasant stand-off at 1:00am, not one of my best moments as a mother that I hope Simon just remembers as a bad dream), we had pancakes for breakfast before setting off in the canoes again.
It was smooth sailing going north, up the inlet, but we made a mental note that it would probably be a little more difficult coming back, noticing that the wind tended to pick up later in the day. The kids thought the abandoned camp was kind of creepy, but just enough creepy to make them interesting, not scary.
There was another family camped at Nine Mile with a little boy named Lewis that became fast friends with Callum, Max and Simon.
After our 3 days, we tried to pack up quickly since we could see the wind picking up and we knew our paddle back would be slow. Well, we were right. After taking at least twice as long to get half way back, Jeff and I moved the boys from the dingy into the canoe so we weren't dragging their dead weight behind us. As we got within visual distance of the canoe rental place and ever so slowly passing by waterfront cabins, a family about to go out on their boat took pity on us and towed us back to the beach. Thank goodness. We are happy that we tried out this kind of adventure with the kids, but Jeff and I aren't sure canoe camping is our thing.