Keats Island 2020

Camping on Keats Island is a family tradition for us. It’s the first place we ever camped with Pearl and we’ve been there with the girls every year since Rose was born. (That makes this our third year in a row.) Before there was ever a Rose and Pearl, Peter and I camped here together and way before there was a Peter and Karissa, Peter camped on Keats with his family. So it’s a good tradition and one we look forward to each year.

2020 marked a milestone for us in that this was the first year we kayaked over as a family of four. For the last two summers, Peter has taken Pearl in our double kayak while I’ve ferried across with Rose. If we launch from Gibsons, the paddle takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes. This summer we felt that Rose was ready to try it. We’ve done a few short paddles with all four of us in our double kayak but knew that likely wouldn’t work for this trip, particularly with all of the gear needed for 2 nights of camping.

Our solution was to borrow a single kayak, which I paddled, loaded with most of our stuff. Peter took both girls across. As always, we launched early in the morning when the water is calmest. This meant that I was changing the girls out of their pyjamas on the beach while Peter loaded the kayaks but we had a beautiful crossing.

The provincial campground at Plumper Cove was busier than we’ve seen it mid-week in previous years (we went from a Wednesday to a Friday) but we were able to snag the same spot we had last year. The caretaker told us she’s had to turn people away on the weekends.

This was something of a different year for us at Keats. In the end, we had a good time and are glad we went. It’s something the girls talk about all year and we all would have been disappointed if it hadn’t happened this summer. At the same time, Peter and I agree it was a harder trip than in year’s past. Partially this was due to weather. While we knew there was rain in the forecast, we weren’t expecting it our first night. But we got rain that night. Oh wow, did we get rain! Pearl and Rose took it in stride but we also spent more time in the tent than we ever have before while camping.

In addition, this summer, we missed one of the big highlights of our time on Keats, which is a hike to the General Store at Camp Barnabas. We always do this short hike, get ice cream at the store, and usually poke around the farm there a little too. Without the incentive of ice cream, our girls were not enthusiastic hikers but we hiked anyway! Instead of ice cream, we were on slug watch, the girls shouting out anytime they spotted one.

We spent lots of time on the dock, Pearl and Rose armed with dollar store fishing nets in an attempt to catch the little fish. (Pearl caught one and I caught one.) The girls also loved exploring the beach and particularly clambering over rocks and logs. There was one spot on the beach that we visited each day and Pearl collected limpet shells.

So it wasn’t our most spectacular camping trip to date but it was fun to kayak together and I’m delighted that our tradition continues. (Our trip home was made much simpler by the fact that Peter’s parents came over in their motor boat and took the girls back with them while Peter and I paddled the kayaks. With the uncertain weather, this meant we didn’t have to worry as much about conditions on the water.)

10 thoughts on “Keats Island 2020”

  1. I didn’t realize kayaks come with two seats. I’ve only ever seen the ones in which one human body squishes in the kayak, and should they ever tip over I have no clue how they get their legs out in time to not drown. Was it very buggy because of the rain? Mosquitoes are quite an issue anymore!

    1. There are sooo many types of kayaks! Ours has two separate spots but is pretty open; it’s definitely not built for whitewater rapids or long distances but it works well for us. The single kayak we borrowed is more like what you described. And actually what you’re supposed to do if you tip in a kayak like that is to roll back over using your body/paddle so you don’t ever exit. I’ve never successfully done it but I’ve also never tipped a kayak (yet!)

      It wasn’t that buggy fortunately. Lots of wasps right now but the usual amount of mosquitoes, I think.

  2. I shout out whenever I see a slug too, but probably for different reasons… 😉 Too bad about the weather but it looks like you managed to mostly have a good time anyway.

    1. Haha, we didn’t advertise it as a slug walk, we just kept seeing them as we went and Pearl started calling out every time she spotted one so we told her she was our “slug watch”!

  3. Slug watch as a replacement for ice cream sounds like a sad trade to me, but I’m glad it worked for Rose and Pearl! Sorry to hear the weather was such a challenge this year, though it’s nice you were still able to go and do some fun things. It sounds like quite a long-standing tradition, and it’s always rewarding on some level to keep up with those even if it doesn’t always go quite as planned, I think.

    1. I’m so glad we still went and we all would have been disappointed to miss it. The girls talked about Keats all year since last summer and I know they will again. Slugs definitely don’t match up to ice cream!

  4. Keats Island looks beautiful!
    We also have a camping tradition in our family at one of the National parks in NS. We were just there a few days ago.
    Your girls are growing so fast!

    1. It’s fun to have memories in one place, year after year. I’m glad you were able to continue your tradition too! And yes, they are growing up crazy fast!

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