In my previous post, I talked about some places that I love taking my SUP out around Victoria. I was looking for an overnight trip to go paddling somewhere, and I had heard about Sidney Spit Island from a friend who did a kayaking trip there years ago. It takes about 2h to paddle from Sidney (BC) to the island in a kayak, and I thought it could be an adventure to do in the future. At this point though, we didn’t feel comfortable paddling in open water just the 2 of us on such a distance, so we decided to do a mix of ferry/camping/bringing our SUP with us.
The crossing to Sidney Spit from Sidney’s pier is arranged with the Alpine Ferry, which is 19$ round-trip per adult. They leave Sidney and return from the Spit a few times a day, every day in the summer. It works on a first-arrived, first-served basis without reservation (except if you have a group). We parked in the long-term parking lot in Sidney and walked our gear to the pier, ready to head for our 2 days on the island. Having our inflatable SUP came in very handy here!
On the island, you actually have access to some trolleys to carry your camping gear up and down the 1.2km trail leading to the campsite. The campsites are nice with a beautiful view of the bay, which is now a protected area. We have seen sea otters, seals, eagles and tons of bird species coming around during the short 24hrs that we were there.
On our first day, we walked back towards the dock to launch our SUP right at the spit. There is a long stretch of white sand at the tip of the island, just where the ferry arrives. We paddled around that sandy area at low tide and walked back to the trail from the other side of the spit. Hugo was attacked by a crab (read: he tried to grab a crab and he got what he deserved as revenge) and it was a bit windy, but overall the water was calm and the views quite gorgeous. We hoped to see a pod of whales, alas, no sighting…
If you get tired of paddling (or if it’s not your thing), there are some short trails in the park that you can take. There are probably around 4km of trails going around, including one longer walk heading to a beach on the side of the island. You can’t walk down the entire beach as it becomes a private property shortly after, however, it was nice to get our legs moving after spending a few hours standing on the SUP!
On our second day, we left our gear all packed near our campsite and paddled again for a few hours, before catching the ferry back to Sidney. This time, we paddled on the other side of the bay and around the island, where we were directly facing the wind for most of the trip. The long stretches of white sandy beaches are really beautiful and make for a perfect spot to rest.
We were able to take the 1PM ferry back to Sidney (the last one on weekdays leaves the spit at 430PM) and were back in Victoria by around 2PM. It made for a very special adventure without going far from home!