West Coast Kayaking Skills and Paddling Adventure

About the Experience

Here you find this wild and lush chain of over 100 small islands and islets in Barkley Sound, with hidden coves and isolated bays to explore, with stone fish traps and other artifacts of aboriginal habitation to uncover. Whales, seals, sea lions, and porpoises play here, too. Which only adds to the magic of sandy beach campsites beneath the stars and towering red cedar and sitka spruce.

Wild Women Expeditions has teamed up with Adventuress Sea Kayaking on Vancouver Island to offer you a five day paddling adventure including two days of comprehensive sea kayaking and camp craft instruction in a magical paradise for kayakers: the Broken Group Islands. This trip is suitable for beginner kayakers as well as more experienced paddlers who would like to hone their skills.

Paddling in this area is an incredible experience and includes a bit of everything: open coast, protected passages, warm lagoons, and narrow channels all teeming with inter-tidal organisms and marine wildlife. Dip your paddle into the vibrant Pacific, and lose track of time with your fellow Wild Women.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
West Coast Kayaking Skills and Paddling Adventure

About the Experience

Here you find this wild and lush chain of over 100 small islands and islets in Barkley Sound, with hidden coves and isolated bays to explore, with stone fish traps and other artifacts of aboriginal habitation to uncover. Whales, seals, sea lions, and porpoises play here, too. Which only adds to the magic of sandy beach campsites beneath the stars and towering red cedar and sitka spruce.

Wild Women Expeditions has teamed up with Adventuress Sea Kayaking on Vancouver Island to offer you a five day paddling adventure including two days of comprehensive sea kayaking and camp craft instruction in a magical paradise for kayakers: the Broken Group Islands. This trip is suitable for beginner kayakers as well as more experienced paddlers who would like to hone their skills.

Paddling in this area is an incredible experience and includes a bit of everything: open coast, protected passages, warm lagoons, and narrow channels all teeming with inter-tidal organisms and marine wildlife. Dip your paddle into the vibrant Pacific, and lose track of time with your fellow Wild Women.

day 3 - bgi

DAY ONE TO TWO: FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS

It is recommended you arrive in the Port Alberni area on Vancouver Island the night before the trip begins. You have the option of meeting your group independently at Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch or meet at the Port Alberni Information Centre early on the morning of Day One where you will follow your guide in a convoy down to the launch area in your own vehicle (or carpool).

The focus of the first two days is on preparing you for the multi-day kayaking trip into one of the most spectacular paddling destinations in Canada, the Broken Group Islands (BGI) in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.  You will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to come out on the high seas with other like-minded women and Journey into the Wild.

For the first two days, you will be immersed in paddling skills and safety combined with camp craft.  From days 3 to 5, you will take your newfound skills and knowledge to a deeper level by practicing it on the ocean and in camp.  New this year we are offering the Level 1 certification so you will be learning additional skills throughout the entire 5 days.

You will learn:


Kayaking Skills – a solid foundation of paddle strokes, edging, bracing, towing, launching techniques, wet exits and solo and assisted re-entries.  In addition, you will learn about the types of kayaks, equipment, gear and how to care for them, how to outfit your kayak for safety and comfort and use a rudder. How to safely tie your kayak on a vehicle’s roof rack or using foam blocks.   Upon successful completion, you will be awarded your Paddle Canada certification.

Seawomanship Skills – to help you navigate on the ocean safely, you will learn: chart reading and how to identify common symbols, how to calculate tides and currents, coastal weather systems and how to listen to weather reports, how sea state, topography, wind, and weather impact upon your paddling plans, compass work with taking bearings and how to use piloting, communication devices and on-water signals, and trip planning.  We will discuss risk management, collision regulations, and how to apply a framework for route planning, describing common paddling hazards and how to avoid or minimize risk and make safe decisions.

You, along with your trip mates, will use your know-how to chart out a trip plan for your paddling adventure in the Broken Group Islands. You can even take the lead!  Using your new-found knowledge, you will listen to marine weather reports, calculate distances and times, find the camping spots and contingency pull-ins on your chart, navigate with a compass and assess sea state conditions.

Camp Craft – part of the fun of a multi-day kayaking adventure is setting up camp.   You will learn: what clothes and gear to bring and how to organize it, how to pack your dry bags and kayak, knot tying, how to set-up a campsite with tents, tarps, and kitchen and build a fire.  Around the campfire, discussions include wilderness ethics and environmental awareness, leave no trace practices, the impact of kayakers on the environment, waste management, hypothermia and sun safety, camp etiquette, food preparation and storage, and the history and heritage of kayaks.   You will be a savvy and knowledgeable camper in no time!

You will also receive an in-depth manual to consolidate your knowledge and have as a great resource in the years to come.

This is a suggested outline as it may change according to weather conditions, group energy and timing.  All items will be covered off in the 5 days.

 


DAY THREE TO FIVE: NAVIGATING AND PADDLING

You are now ready to paddle further into the Broken Group Islands (BGI), a spectacular destination of countless islands and islets. Home to the Huu-ay-aht and Tseshaht First Nations for thousands of years, we travel back in time as we paddle their ancient water routes. Lush vegetation abounds due to the abundant rainfall and mild temperatures. Majestic old growth forests of Sitka spruce and western red cedar grow to towering heights. Snow-capped mountain vistas, white shelled beaches and soaring bald eagles welcome us. West coast marine mammals and birds are prevalent on our paddles and we have also been blessed with sightings of whales at times.

We continue to work on all the elements we have learned and add more:

  • Risk assessment, management and mitigation
  • Collision regulations
  • Communication devices
  • History and heritage of kayaking
  • First aid kit – show and tell
  • Kayak repair kit – what to bring
  • Wilderness ethics
  • Wildlife encounters
  • Hypothermia and sun sense
  • Equipment care
  • Kayaking community and resources

We are base camping in the BGI and will probably move to a second camping destination within the five days.  Participants can help with all aspects of the trip: setting up your tent, cooking, making a fire, setting up the kitchen, practicing knot tying, putting up the tarp, and trip planning for each day we are on the water. Each night we listen to the marine radio forecast for the following day for winds and wave heights, we check out the tides and, as a group, make a decision where to paddle the next day.  People bring out their charts, figure out the distances, journal their day’s adventure and get ready for the next one! There will be marine and flora and fauna reference books so you can identify what you saw during the day’s exploring.

Each day is an adventure, from paddling in between numerous islands and islets, to standing next to massive old growth cedars and firs (okay we hug them sometimes).  You’ll be spellbound to stories about First Nations of long ago in this their ancestral home, sitting mesmerized around a campfire sharing heartfelt conversation to camping under sacred cedars.

On Day five, we will listen to the marine radio weather forecast, confirm our paddling route, break camp and head back to the launch at Secret Beach where our vehicles are parked.  We say our fond farewells.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!