Members of the Suquamish Nation, from Suquamish, Wash. paddle to Nanoose First Nation on Monday. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN).

Ocean rescue needed as Tribal Journeys paddles onward

Rough waters stall canoes at Neck Point in Nanaimo

It took a little longer than expected, but the Tribal Journeys canoes made it to the shores at Nanoose Bay on Monday afternoon.

Only a handful of canoes were able to successfully paddle into the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation community due to high winds and rough seas.

The paddlers are part of the annual Tribal Journeys, which sees more than 90 canoes carrying thousands of First Nations people travel along Vancouver Island, making stops at various First Nations communities. This year’s hosts are the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum Nations, located in the Campbell River region.

Marilyn Wandery, captain for the Suquamish Nation, who were the first to make it to Nanoose First Nation, said it felt good to be on shore, adding that the waters were challenging for her crew.

“It was very strong. We were far enough out that the coast guard didn’t turn us back,” she said. “We got to keep coming but all the the other canoes, they made them stop and go to shore.”

The Suquamish Nation began its journey in Suquamish, Wash., near Seattle, on July 21 and were in Nanaimo on Sunday. Wandery said the journey from Nanaimo to Nanoose was difficult, but thrilling.

“We were bouncing over those waves and I was steering and our rudder broke, but I’ll tell you what, it was exciting,” she said.

Although some canoes made it to Nanoose, others were not so lucky. Jerry Berry, coxswain with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, said the conditions on the water were rough with 25-knot winds and waves as high as five feet.

“The vast majority of [canoes] got stopped at Neck Point, but those that did proceed north of Neck Point had difficulties.”

Berry said two canoes filled up with so much water that the occupants had to be rescued by his team, the Nanaimo Port Authority and the RCMP.

“In one case there were five persons in the water and in the other case there were three persons in the water and they were rescued pretty quickly by the parties on scene,” Berry said.

He also said there was an escort vessel with the canoes that began taking on water as well.

“There were 13 people aboard,” he said. “They were taken into Nanoose and the boat was assisted by the volunteer search and rescue boat and they pumped the water out of the boat.”

Berry said none of those who had to be recused sustained any injuries.

“Fortunately the response was excellent and the water was warm that day,” he said.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach to use RDN services for trash collection

Council says outsourcing waste pickup will be more efficient

Parksville’s Corfield Street to be partially closed March 28

Northbound lane to close for sewer main installation from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pair arrested after ramming stolen vehicle into police car in Qualicum Beach

Suspects remain in custody on multiple charges pending court appearance

Flood risk assessment funding granted to RDN and QB

Federal government pitches in $70,000 while province to fund $80,000

Qualicum Beach rejects elimination of strata age restrictions

Councillors raised issue of town’s lack of housing strategy

Response mixed to Parksville homeless housing project

BC Housing staff answer questions during open house

SurvivorPQB supports local charity

Readers vote for the favourites and are eligible to win $250 in groceries

Comox Valley hospital operating above patient capacity

The new healthcare facility averaged a 110 per cent patient volume between October and February

BREAKING: B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Capital Region gas prices at their highest since 2008

Filling up is cheaper north of the Malahat

Most Read