The Gulf Islands
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Sea kayaking in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada, provides kayakers with a sheltered, Mediterranean climate (averaging less than 30 inches of rain per year) in which to explore over 200 islands.
Kayakers are drawn to this area, located just above Washington State's San Juan Islands, due to its reputation for warm weather, vast and varied scenery and easy access.
Located off the south east coast of Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia between the west coast of mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island, there are six main islands, Gabriola, Salt Spring, Galiano, Pender, Mayne and Saturna (click for Gulf Islands Google map).
Each island has its own charm and character. Many of the islands are inhabited/private property, but campsites are available in the many provincial marine parks amongst the islands (link to Gulf Islands Reserve Parks listing).
Easy access and close proximity to Sidney and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island make the Gulf Islands a great destination for kayaking day trips and for multi-day expeditions alike. Due to the mild climate the Gulf Islands can be paddled year 'round.
Sea kayakers can look forward to different landscapes (islandscapes?) as one kayaks among the Gulf Islands, including miles of beaches rich with intertidal marine life, rolling meadows, richly forested lands, scatterings of development (homes and marinas), rocky shorelines and generally safe paddling environments. However, kayakers should note that there are some island passages, which experience very strong tidal currents (as high as 8 knots) when the tide rushes in and out of the Strait of Georgia.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
The Wild Coast Volume 3: A Kayaking, Hiking and Recreation Guide for the South BC Coast and East Vancouver Island by John Kimantas. This book provides information for the entire BC coastline. Each trip includes details on hazards, geography, ecology, history, attractions and hikes for each location. Color maps and photography are also 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...
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