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Vancouver Island, located off of the west coast of British Columbia, Canada offers sea kayakers unparalleled beauty, rocky shorelines, fjords, expansive wind swept beaches, concentration of orca whales, and climates varying from Mediterranean to cold, windy and harsh (click for Vancouver Island Google map).
Vancouver is the largest island off the Pacific Coast of continental North America -- larger than many European and Asian countries. At its narrowest Vancouver Island is 39 miles (65 kilometers) and 58 miles (97 kilometers) at its widest. The Island stretches southeast to northwest along the western coast of British Columbia.
The west coast of the island is exposed to the full force of the ocean, winds and waves. The coastline on the west side of Vancouver Island includes deep cut fjords, vast sounds with sheltered and exposed islands, high mountains rich with timber and wildlife.
The east side of the island, faces the Straight of Georgia and the southwestern mainland of BC. On the east side of the island one will discover richly forested lands, rivers and streams brimming with fish, quaint villages and cities, and winding rolling roads.
Kayakers will find many once-in-a-lifetime kayaking experiences off of Vancouver Island. Top sea kayaking destinations around Vancouver Island include:
West Coast: Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands comprise one of the three main recreational components in Pacific Rim National Park. The popularity of these islands with paddlers and boaters has soared over the past decade. Barkley Sound lies south of Ucluelet and north of Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island, covering an area of approximately 800 square kilometres that includes hundreds of islands.
West Coast: Clayoquot Sound. Located just north of the Broken Islands with the city of Tofino acting as launching point for expeditions in this area. Clayoquot Sound offers kayaking adventurers miles of sandy beaches to the north and south, islands of old-growth cedar, migrating grey whales, sea lions, porpoises, hot springs, and a temperate climate.
West Coast: Nootka Sound. Located on the west coast of North Vancouver Island, approximately 45 miles (70 km) north of Tofino. Nootka Sound offers kayakers sheltered coves, rocky coastlines, remote sandy beaches and dense rainforest. The waters are rich with wildlife, including gray whales.
East Coast: Gulf Islands. Located on the south east coast of Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands are a unique archipelago of Mediterranean like islands. The Gulf Islands are made up of over 200 Gulf Islands in total within which there are six main islands, Gabriola, Salt Spring, Galiano, Pender, Mayne and Saturna
East Coast: Johnstone Strait. Located north of the Gulf Islands, in the Strait of Georgia between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Offering THE best opportunities to observe orca "killer" whales from your kayak. Johnstone Strait offers sheltered waters, rich marine life and rugged beauty.
Vancouver Island paddling experiences can take the shape of base-camping and day paddling near to civilization or it can accommodate paddlers looking for expedition-type paddling in extremely remote locations. There are years worth of paddling ahead of you when you launch your boat in these waters!
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
The Wild Coast Volume 1: A Kayaking, Hiking and Recreation Guide for North and West Vancouver Island by John Kimantas. This kayaking and exploring guide is for the west coast of Vancouver Island. Each chapter describes a distinct area of the island and covers the history, geography, ecology, and attractions. Maps and photographs are included. Order now...
Sea Kayak the Gulf Islands by Mary Ann Snowden. This guide leads paddlers of all levels to the best kayaking waters on the BC coast. Resources include 23 trips that are outlined with information on tides, currents, safety, charts and launching. Order now...
Paddling Through History: Sea Kayak Vancouver and Victoria by Aileen Stalker and Andrew Nolan. This inner city paddling guide enables you to explore the history with the story behind the people and places and explains the names and geology. This book is illustrated with maps and photographs. Order now...
Sea Kayak Around Vancouver Island by Doug Alderson. This guidebook has all the information needed for a weekend excursion to a summer tour. Each chapter covers a section of the island covering points of interest, access sites, safe travel routes and comfortable campsites. Order now...
Kayak Routes of the Pacific Northwest Coast: From Northern Oregon to British Columbia's North Coast, 2nd Edition by Peter McGee and John Dowd. This guidebook provides detailed information on more than 30 kayak routes featuring required skill levels, length of trip, hazards, weather, currents, ferry and air travel, rentals and tours. Eighteen regions are explored from Oregon to British Columbia. Order now...
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