Ralph Hull looks at the kayak which was recovered from Otter Point. It is believed one of the missing men took it out onto the water.

Ralph Hull looks at the kayak which was recovered from Otter Point. It is believed one of the missing men took it out onto the water.

Search called off for two local kayakers

Men missing since Sept. 27 in waters off Sooke

It’s been a rough week for Ralph Hull and the families and friends of two contract workers who have gone missing while kayaking out in Sooke Harbour on Sept. 27. Missing since last Tuesday night are Morgan Porter and John Elgin, both 29-years-old.

The two were spotted messing around with two blue kayaks at the dock at Hull’s waterfront property along Sooke Harbour around 4 p.m.

“It’s been tough,” says Hull. “They have not been found.”

Hull said both plastic kayaks have now been found, a life jacket was found at Iron Mine Bay in East Sooke but both paddles have not yet been retrieved. Hull said he is 99 per cent certain that the life jacket was one of his.

“Iron Mine Bay sheds some light on where they made it to in their travels. To take those little kayaks out is sheer stupidity, and to get out past Possession Point is a big accomplishment.”

He said the lifejacket that was found was “a piece of s**t” and he would never use them for ocean kayaking, or the kayaks for that matter.

There are mysteries yet to be solved. Hull said a backpack is missing off the barge. The two men were working for Hull and they had just finished painting the house. He had hired Porter and he brought Elgin along.

“They were school mates since they were waist high and went through life together,” said Hull.

What happened, when and where still raises a huge question mark. Hull was in town from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. and the two men were supposed to fix things. When he came back they were no where to be found and Hull thought they had finished up and had gone home.

He said the two went “joy riding,”  in the kayaks as they were spotted by kids on the property with the kayaks, a backpack full of beer and a lifejacket.

Ron Neitsch from 2 Reel Fishing Adventures coming back in at dusk spotted two overturned kayaks close to Otter Point.  The two kayakers were also spotted close to Whiffin Spit and again close to Possession Point. A search commenced Tuesday night, coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre employing helicopters, a navy vessel and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Station #37 Sooke but was called off at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

At that time Hull did not know his two kayaks were missing and a text message sent out was not received until the following morning (Wednesday) when they put two and two together.

A strong ebb tide rushing out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca would have carried anything out with it.

Hull said that Porter was a good strong swimmer, and a capable and daring young man. But, survival in the cold waters of the strait for more than one-half an hour is next to impossible without a survival suit.

Hull went out in his own boat on Wednesday searching for the paddles or a sign of anything. If the men had made it to Secretary Island they could have survived but the strong current and ebb tide would likely have taken them out west.

“It’s a tragedy,” said Hull.

He said that as a captain he always has to think of what could happen on the water before or if it ever does.

“You have to use good common sense and logic around the water. You prepare. It’s a negative world we live in as sea captains and we need to deal with negativity before we ever go to sea.”

The RCMP and ground searchers scoured the beaches and shorelines in the area hoping for clues as to the mens’ disappearance. Water and air searches were called off after the time frame for the possibility of survivability in the water was reached.

On Oct. 1 five divers and 15-20 others searched the whole area including Iron Mine Bay, the Sooke bluffs and Otter Point looking for clues. But nothing was found. They searched the tide line as far as Sheringham Point.

“Nothing showed up anywhere,” said Hull. He said they were doing some research as to how long it would take for a body to come to the surface. He said that two fishermen had drowned out at Secretary Island and it took six weeks to recover their bodies.

“We need to get the word out to anyone traversing the water to keep an eye out,” he said.

Hull said that as sad as this whole situation is, it is a marine reality check and there are lessons to be learned from it all.

“The cause of all this is alcohol. Alcohol, boats and water don’t mix,” he said sadly as he looked out towards Sooke Harbour.

He said that anyone going out onto the water needs to know the basics. Know your waters, know your boat and have all the necessary equipment on board.

He said the “drug store lifejackets” should not be allowed to be sold because they could give a person a false sense of security.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, Seed and Stone’s development agent, holds products from the Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Darrel McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 for his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. His newly-released memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, follows as a sequel. (Black Press Media file)
Critically acclaimed Sooke author releases new memoir

Peyakow follows as a sequel to Darrel McLeod’s first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

RCMP have appealed to the public for help identifying the man. (Black Press Media file image)
Police, dog unit called after man exposed himself at West Shore elementary school

West Shore RCMP credits students, aged 11 and 5, for seeking help

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton ready to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to authorize legal action

Most Read