While circumnavigating Franklin Island during the Franklin challenge, I noticed some Islands that seemed really close and I would have loved to have paddle to them. Once I got home, I looked them up and found out they’re called the Mink Islands and they’re 5 km of open water away. Even further than the Minks is Limestone Islands Provincial Park. Visiting the park is prohibited from May 1st till August 1st, so once August hit, I started paying attention to the weather. On the night of Thursday, August 24th, they were calling for minimal wind and beautiful sunny skies on Friday and Saturday, so I knew this was my chance.
My goal was to start after work, paddle from Dillon Cove Marina and spend the night on the McCoy Islands. The paddling was super quick, sheltered by Franklin Island and the surrounding islands. Once I hit Oak Island, I did one last check of the wind speed and weather systems before setting out on a 5.5 km open water paddle.
There are two buoys smack in the middle of the bay that are constantly being updated on the weather.gc.ca website. The waves were rarely high enough to come over the kayak and there was almost no wind. I had my compass set up and just kept in that direction. The first island I reached was Archer Island.
Archer Island (Facing East).
It is hard to find words to describe the beauty and uniqueness of these islands. The water is crystal clear, the islands are beautiful and the plants are so green. The majority of the islands hardly rise out of the water, at three to four meters high at most.
I had an hour of sunlight left, so I paddled around a little bit more. The channel between Big McCoy Island and Chippewa Island is pretty cool. Little McCoy and Chippewa Island are private so do not camp on them. You can see the bottom of the bay all the way through and there a ton of campsites on Big McCoy. I found a great site on the east side of Big McCoy.
Watching the sunset from the kayak.
The next morning I woke up to calm waters. I packed my bags and went to check out a cool spot on Big McCoy Island where massive boulders had been moved by glaciers.
A really cool spot on Big McCoy Island.
From here, it was a 7 km paddle (4 km of it open water) to North Limestone Island. I got on the island and walked on the beach just so i could say I did it. Paddling around the island is pretty cool. Even 100 m away from the island, you can still see the bottom of the bay.
North Limestone Island
It’s about a 2.5 km paddle to the South Limestone Islands. The coolest part about this section of water is looking out West and knowing the nearest land is 60 km away! About 400 meters away from the South Limestone Island, I noticed that the bottom was only a meter or so below the water. This would have been a huge island if the water level dropped a meter. I came in from the North and paddled around the West side of the island. The waves started to pick up, but only really close to shore. Using the waves, I almost surfed around the entire Island.
View from the South Limestone Islands
From Wallis rocks (600 meters away), it was a 5 km paddle to Rapier Island.
Approaching the Minks was a really cool experience. Out of nowhere, you are surrounded by all these small islands with only a few trees with evidence that glaciers used to be there.
Glacial striations on Rapier Island.
I spent a few hours paddling around the Mink Islands. I got out of the kayak to walk around Rapier Island and Green Island. There are tons of campsites on these islands. There aren’t enough trees for firewood though, so if you plan on camping here, bring your own.
Green Island facing Franklin Island, 6 km away.
Click on the icon to make the Google Map full screen, to see all the photos I took and where they were taken. Click on the symbol to see all the photos. There are 20 in total. I colour coded each day: Blue for day one and Brown for day two.
Here’s a video of the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cemZbf0UqMU
I started and finished at Dillion Cove Marina.
Day 1: 13.0 km paddling
Day 2: 31.1 km Paddling