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COAST&KAYAK Magazine The magazine of coastal adventure and recreation

Volume 21, Issue 4


FREE at select outlets and online or by subscription

In praise of Alaska

Photographer Bob Kandiko shares the wonders of the northernmost state

We set sail!

PM 41687515

Our kayaks get a sailboat makeover as we test three options

Touring Tasmania Discover a magical world of snakes, wombats, devils and, yes, even kayaks

Join us online:

Advanced Elements, Current Designs, Dagger, Nimbus, Necky, Perception, Wave Sport, Wilderness Systems, Stellar, Venture, Jackson and Hobie.



Winter 2011


Featured in this issue: u Why Alaska?


Bob Kandiko answers that question through his photography and some of his most poignant memories of years spent exploring isolated regions of the northernmost state.

u Tasmania

Writer and world explorer Sandra Lucas drops in on the Freycinet Peninsula, and finds some unusual denizens.

Regular features: Desolation


A tour through Desolation Sound provides a setting to prove that Captain George Vancouver got it wrong when he first surveyed this area back in the 1790s. The name, it turns out, is vastly inappropriate for such a grand location.



First Word .........................................................................4 News ....................................................................................6 Skillset .............................................................................. 22 By Alex Matthews Adventure Resources ...................................... 26-29 Paddle Meals ............................................................... 30 Wildlife............................................................................. 36 By Chuck Graham Touring ............................................................................ 38 Gift Guide ...................................................................... 42 Reflections ....................................................................44 By James Dorsey Books/DVDs .................................................................46


Winter 2011

Setting sail


We add various sail options to our kayaks and get some mixed results.



The First Word

by John Kimantas

A quick trip and what it can become Winter 2011

Volume 21, Number 4 PM No. 41687515 Cover Photo: Bob Kandiko has been visiting Alaska for years, with his images composing a photo essay on the main reasons for his return trips beginning page 8 of this issue.

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I’m at the stage where I consider myself a kayaking veteran, with the confidence to stay upright in a kayak in most conditions and the accumulated wisdom to know when to stay off the water to avoid worse. So a simple winter day trip to Denman Island shouldn’t have posed a problem. It was a bright, sunny day with barely a breeze. That we had to crack ice on the water with our paddles to get offshore was simply an amusing diversion. All was well, and we planned to be back well before the short winter day would end. Usually there is no one single factor that leads to trouble. Typically it’s a cascade of failures: being underskilled, failing to check weather conditions, failing to take proper safety gear and finally failing to take communication devices. Most or even all of these are invariably necessary before a trip goes truly sideways. But on this trip it was one simple thing: not checking batteries. Well, maybe more than one. I waited until I was in the kayak before firing up the GPS to mark a waypoint for our launch site. Only then did I discover the GPS’s batteries were dead. Then instead of going back for batteries I shrugged it off. What experienced kayaker will need to rely on a GPS on a clear, calm day in protected waters anyway? We left Ship Point and chipped through the icy water to skirt Denman Island till the very early afternoon, then decided with darkness not many hours away we should probably head back. At about that time a thick fog bank rolled along the Vancouver Island shore. Now with no GPS and no way to gauge the opposite shore, we’d have to cut across and guess at the launch site. I had a mental image of where I thought the launch site should be. Another mistake. It wasn’t. Circumstances now conspired. Once at the Vancouver Island shoreline, the tide was so low that coupled with the fog we could see no distinguishing shoreline features from the kayak. No problem, I figured. I’d simply land, walk to the Island Highway and get my bearings to figure out if we were north or south of the landing. But an odd thing happened. I found a dirt road leading from the beach and followed that, but no paved road appeared. This was impossible, from my perspective. The highway hugs the shore. There should have been the main road within a few hundred metres at most. There wasn’t. The track led nowhere. So we had no choice but to continue skirting the shore by paddle, with nothing visible and daylight running out. Our luck came by way of a helpful fellow digging for clams who loomed in through the fog. He pointed us to Fanny Bay, then as the last of the daylight sank away he took his truck to the dock with his lights on and horn honking till we showed up. Blame it all on not checking batteries, then not considering the consequences. And never believe you’re too experienced to be beyond the need for the helping hand of a friendly low-tide clam digger. - John Kimantas

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Wild Coast Publishing PO Box 24, Stn A Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, V9R 5K4 Ph: 1-866-984-6437 • Fax: 1-866-654-1937 Email: Website: © 2011. Copyright is retained on all material (text, photos and graphics) in this magazine. No reproduction is allowed of any material in any form, print or electronic, for any purpose, except with the permission of Wild Coast Publishing. Some elements in maps in this magazine are reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada 2010, courtesy of the Atlas of Canada. Also, our thanks to Geobase for some elements that may appear on Coast&Kayak maps. Coast&Kayak Magazine is dedicated to making self-propelled coastal exploration fun and accessible. Safety and travel information is provided to augment pre-existing safety and knowledge. A safety course and proper equipment are advised before any exploration on water. See a list of paddling instruction locations at



Enjoying a slice of paradise on an unusually quiet BC coastline this summer. Fall 20112011 Winter

Winter 2011



taG, tHEy’RE It u tracking whales A tagging program last year involving a Western Pacific gray whale ended up chronicling one of the most remarkable and unexpected journeys of the natural world. The tagged whale, Flex, surprised observers by travelling 8,586 kilometres from Russia across the Bering Sea to Alaska, then down the Pacific coast off Vancouver Island to eventually have the tag fall off near the coast of Oregon. The 13-year-old male whale was first tagged off Sakhalin Island in Russia, in October 2010, with contact lost off Siletz Bay on Feb. 4, 2011. By that time Flex had travelled an average non-stop speed of 5.73 km per hour. He has since been seen in good health. This year the collaborative program involving the Oregon State University (OSU) Marine Mammal Institute, the Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Institute of Geography and the International Whaling Commission, has expanded its tagging program. The newly tagged whales include females Varvara, Svetlana, Bud and Agent with males Kol and Blaze (whose tag has already apparently fallen off).

OSU website screen capture


Flex’s route from Russia to Oregon. The whales can be followed in their journey, expected to begin in January for those that leave Russia, on the OSU website. u EXPEDItIoNs u southern agendas Justin Jones, 28, and James Castrission, 29, who made a name for themselves kayaking across the Tasman Sea in 2008 are turning their attention to another challenge – this time to hike the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and back without assistance. The expedition is expected to take three months and cover 2,000 kilometres. Meanwhile, super-human kayaker Freya Hoffmeister is in the midst of tackling her second continent: this time South America. Freya left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept. 1,

Another world, just a paddle away. Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada

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Winter 2011

and will take three eight-month legs with four-month breaks between to complete the 24,000-km journey on her 50th birthday on May 10, 2014. By mid-October Freya had covered more than a thousand kilometres including an epic 135-km, 35-hour crossing of the San Matias Gulf from Rio Negro to Chubut. Freya’s remarkable journey around Australia is now available as a book, Fearless, by Joe Glickman. u u moVING oN u Dan Lewis Clayoquot Sound kayaker Dan Lewis has been contributing columns to Coast&Kayak since it was first printed on newsprint as Wavelength Magazine 20 years ago. Lewis’s From the Rainforest provided insights into kayaking and ecology that can still be read online at Meanwhile, Lewis is stepping away from his column to concentrate on duties at Friends of Clayoquot Sound, an organization in a few fierce fights at the moment that involve logging, fish farms and mining, including strip mining the iconic Catface Range. u


Three images of the new Bakyak by Klepper: as a kayak, as backpacks and in pieces. BaCkPaCk kayak u klepper German folding kayak manufacturer Klepper has unveiled its new Bakyak, a versatile new design that breaks apart, can be kayaked as a tandem, individually, as a catamaran pontoon float and even used as a skiing sled. u WINNER u school kayak raffle One of the few high schools to have a kayak program on its curriculum is Ucluelet Secondary, a program provided with support from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. To help

fund the program, a raffle was held for a new Seaward kayak. Collecting it, though, is now a bit of an international dilemma. The winner was Alexandra Meier of Switzerland, who returned home after a visit to Vancouver Island to hear the news. The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust conducts and supports research, education and programs which advance conservation in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region. Meanwhile, next classes for the lucky Ucluelet kayaking students start in January. u

Winter 2011




by Bob Kandiko


lAskA is a big state and paddling there seems to generate big stories. Bears, whales, otters, sea lions, eagles and seabirds can all be seen on one trip. Tidewater glaciers send bus-size bergs crashing into the sea. Flowers are prolific where wind and poor soil prevent forests from taking hold. There is no one ‘best’ paddling location in the state, and certainly no ‘bad’ kayaking locations. I follow the mantra that one picture is worth a thousand words. sometimes one picture on a postcard has been enough to initiate my trip

planning. After 15 trips to Alaska I put hundreds of images together in the book Sea Kayaking in Alaska: Ketchikan to Kodiak. like a selection of pictures showing possible a la carte options at a restaurant, these images give the viewer a sense of the possibilities along the Alaskan coast. I hope these will inspire people to look north for destinations. Once a kayaker has narrowed down their choice, they can search for the available guides, shuttles, rentals, maps and books to start their adventure. There are so many destinations … and so little time.

Main photo: Mt. st. Elias towers over Icy Bay; left: kayaks idle during a break at Endicott Arm; right: drying out camping gear on kuiu Island. 8


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Why Alaska? Photographer Bob Kandiko shares his reasons for returning year after year.

Winter Winter 2011 2011




The ice.

Glacier Bay had been our initial exposure to Alaska and had set the standard for ice, until years later we flew into Icy Bay from Yakutak to see entire fiords ice-choked. We paddled across open water on our first day and slept in the gentle rain but awoke to a brisk wind that had shifted the icepack onto our beach. With no option of leaving we entered a surreal world of blue-greens as the misty clouds descended 10


Winter 2011

to the icy surface. Bergs popped and bumped as they were shifted by the tides. In anticipation of the forced paddle ahead, we duct-taped our bows to push through the sharp ice. Three days later the clouds cleared, the wind shifted, and we paddled away into a wonderland of glistening white ice and blue skies under the St. Elias mountains. We had found a new “ice standard.�


Karen Neubauer glides past the Nellie Juan Glacier; top right: Yale Glacier, College Fiord, Prince William Sound; middle right: calving at the John Hopkins Glacier; lower right: an ice sculpture at a beach in Endicott Arm. Winter 2011



The wildlife. Destinations

the bears: Deep in the sheer walls of Misty Fiords we located a sliver of gravel beach for a quick lunch. The creek filled the air with the loud sound of water tumbling off the mountainside. With lunch bags emptied on a drift log, 12


Winter 2011

Alaska the whales: The snowy summits of the Fairweather Range filled the horizon over the rolling seas of Icy Strait as our four kayaks slid over the gentle swells. The first whale exploded upward in a spectacular breach then crashed back, sending a spray of water towards our boats. Then another whale breached, then another. We set up camp at Point Adolphus and stayed three nights. But there was little sleep as the 12 humpbacks exhaled and breached with thunderous claps.

Whales off Point Adolphus.; other denizens including an eaglet on Kodiak Island, a sea otter, a humpback and a grizzly.

Karen glanced left to see the bronze hump of the bear moving towards us through the high beach grass. We stuffed the food into the bags and stood just as the massive head emerged. A loud snort and it was upright on its hind legs, all seven feet of him. He shook his head and sniffed the damp air. Somehow, frozen

in fear, we stood our ground and shouted, “Hey bear.� After an eternity, or maybe five seconds, the grizzly dropped to the ground, turned and disappeared into the grass. He was gone, but as we took our steps to the kayak we dropped to our knees as our legs buckled from the moment of terror. Winter 2011




The bounty. Joe Catellani biting off more than he can chew. Inset: rubber raingear and celebrating a 50-pound halibut in a downpour.

Decked out in full rubber raingear we pushed the double kayak through the kelp as our wives called out for us to bring back fish large enough so bones would not be a problem. We paddled a mile back to a spot where we had hooked and lost a fish two days before. We slumped in the boat and jigged the lures as raindrops bounced inches off the surface. Jack’s pole jerked, bent, and then stayed motionless. He pulled for 45 minutes thinking a bottom rock may be the cause until we finally

Paddling is

saw movement. Soon the boat was being moved and then we saw a flat form, one-third the kayak length, gliding under the hull. As the halibut rested alongside, we lassoed the tail with the stern line and started the paddle back to camp. We felt like the Old Man and the Sea as seals slid in for our prize. Back at camp a hatchet was the only tool large enough to kill the 55-pound halibut, but there were no bones at dinner, or breakfast, for many days.




Self Rescue Use a Throw Bag Paddle in Wind and Waves Paddle in Tides and Currents






Winter 2011


The mountains. I came north for the mountains, the really big mountains. Those peaks required monthlong climbing expeditions hauling 30 days of food to oxygen-deprived altitudes. The alpine goals fueled my adrenaline. The attraction of the coastline came as a complete surprise. On the first trip to the St. Elias Range I traveled via the Alaska Ferry up the Inside Passage. Once past Ketchikan, the snowy peaks of the coast range seemed to soar into the sky. The vertical relief from sea level had more impact than the view from base camps higher on the glaciers. Glacier Bay cemented the attraction of kayaking in Alaska. From deep up John Hopkins Inlet, we almost leaned backwards to stare up at the lofty Fairweather summits rising 15,000 feet above us. Primeval in geologic mood, we paddled through a raw, exposed landscape that resembled the shores of Antarctica or Greenland. No other coastline rivals the uplift to the heights of the Alaskan coastal mountains. Nothing compares with the sensory impact of staring up at icy peaks, three miles high, while dipping a paddle into the sea. One feels the immensity of nature and one feels so small.

Tiger Glacier, Prince William Sound.

About the photographer. Bob Kandiko has been paddling with his wife, Karen Neubauer, from their beach home on Bellingham Bay for 30 years. As school teachers they have ample vacation time to plan and enjoy adventures whether in kayaks or by hiking or climbing in wilderness ranges. Bob’s photos can be viewed in six books published on Blurb, including Sea Kayaking Alaska, which provided the basis for much of this presentation.

Winter 2011




by Sandra Lucas


t 5:30 I wake up to a horrifying squeal. It’s a sound somewhere between a child screaming in agony and a football hooligan whose team just won the World Cup. My heart skips a beat and I hold my breath. Outside the tent something is scratching a dry bag. The bag tips over and the sniffing and scratching continues. I try to keep as quiet as possible, not quite sure what is on the other side. Then Chris, my travel partner, unzips his nearby tent and I hear the creature bolt towards the bushes. “Chris? Did you hear that?” I yell, the words sounding somewhere between fear and excitement. Chris can’t recall what it was that woke him up. But I know. Or at least I am pretty sure. There is no other animal in the world that can scream like a devil. I tell Chris of my hunch and we keep quiet for a moment, listening for sounds in the distance, hoping to see the creature once more. The devil never returns, but the encounter leaves 16


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us no doubt we are now truly in wild Tasmania. We are in Freycinet National Park, a peninsula of green off the East coast of Australia’s southernmost island. The 169-squarekilometre park contains some of the most rugged coastlines found Down Under. Here three metre-high, steel-blue waves crash against granite cliff seashore. Australia’s Nine television network ran a ‘top100-try-before-you-die’ list. Kayaking Freycinet earned the number four position. However, it’s not all roaring waves and high tides. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches frame the national park. For example, Wineglass Bay, a pearly white shoreline capped by gum tree and eucalyptus-forested mountains is one of Tasmania’s iconic destinations. While paddling along the shoreline, little bays enclosed by red rock bluffs, wattle and heath trees offer great places to rest up and enjoy the view over the turquoise sea. u


landing in a small inlet near Hazards Bay allows a clear view over the jade green and azure blue waters that surround Freycinet National Park.

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Paddling alongside the foot of the five peaks of the Hazards Range.

The sanctuary offers a home to a variety of mammals and marsupials – such as the pademelon wallaby (a small kangaroo), several species of possum and quoll (a catlike marsupial), the wombat and the echidna (a spiny, football-sized anteater). Tasmanian devils once were common to the park, but due to an aggressive facial tumor disease their numbers have declined sharply, leaving the black-and-white marsupial almost extinct in these woodlands. Chris and I arrive in Cole’s Bay, just north of Freycinet National Park and rent our kayaks from an operator aptly named Freycinet Adventures. The small settlement



of Cole’s Bay is a starting point for anyone wanting to explore the national park and paddle its western shores. If you are deemed experienced enough by the crew at Freycinet Adventures, you’re free to cruise the waters independently with a minimum of two persons. But beware. Those who dare venture out here had better come prepared. It takes experience and good conditioning to be able to paddle the capricious currents. Alternatively, you can ask for a guide to come with you or partake in Freycinet Adventures’ sea kayak tours ranging from one-day paddle trips to multiple-day expedition tours. The tour operator doesn’t

Winter 2011

allow its kayaks to be paddled along the eastern shore of Freycinet as the coastal terrain there is considered too exposed with only a few landing spots. However, if you are bold enough, you can bring your own boat and launch from nearby Sleepy Bay. Chris and I paddle from Cole’s Bay to a beach called Hazards Bay, named after the captain of a whaling ship. This five-mile trip takes us along the shoreline of the five peaks of the Hazards Range – Parsons (331 metres), Baudin (413 metres), Dove (485 metres), Amos (454 metres) and Mayson (415 metres). The water in the bay radiates a jade green glow while some gentle waves

Tasmania reflect the sky’s blue. Gannets and southern seagulls fish for snacks, plunging deep into the water, as white-bellied sea eagles cry in the distance. The promise of dolphins leaves me staring out over the water as I paddle on. We land our boats at idyllic inlets hidden by granite rocks and paddle some more until it’s time to set up camp. In the distance lies Schouten Island, the distinctive hallmark border isle of Freycinet National Park. This barren land, approximately 24 km from Cole’s Bay, was named after a member of the Council of the Dutch East India Company by discoverer Abel Tasman (who also gave his name to Tasmania). Schouten Island looks as inaccessible with sheer granite and dolerite cliffs rising from the whirling Tasman Sea. There are no tranquil beaches here. Schouten is a rugged 70-square-km terrain with jagged rock borders formerly used to mine for coal. There is, however, one landing spot on the whole island which allows one to land on Schouten’s rocky shores and enjoy the sight of visiting Australian fur seals. After we set up camp, Chris and I take a leisurely stroll along the Isthmus track, a 2.5-km trail that leads from Hazards Bay to Wineglass Bay and back. Almost everywhere in the park can you land your kayak on a beach and hike a trail. Some trails lead to easily accessible lookout points, others to paradise-like shorelines where the sand crackles and squeaks underneath your feet because of its unique grain structure. u

A white-bellied sea eagle, one of the largest birds of prey that use Freycinet National Park, on the hunt.

A pademelon wallaby visits the campsite, unalarmed by the presence of humans.

accessible paddling leisurely challenging

Call 800-487-2032 or visit Winter 2011




A postcard-perfect setting in Freycinet Peninsula.

Whenever on shore exploring the park, I keep a wary eye open for some ‘friendly locals.’ Australia, and thus Tasmania too, has always been famous for its ferocious creepy crawlies. While on the Isthmus trail I see some people stopped dead in their tracks and pointing at the tall grass right next to the path. They whisper nervously, folding their hands in front of their mouths, eyes fixated on whatever is in that grass. As I come closer I see a two-metre black snake slithering through the vegetation. It



sticks its forked tongue in the air and steadily heads for the bush cover. It’s a tiger snake, one of three deadly snakes that inhabit Freycinet “Is that a dangerous snake?” one woman asks. “Of course,” another answers. “You are, after all, in wild Tasmania.” < Sandra Lucas is a resident of The Netherlands currently traveling in Mauritius. She can be reached at

Winter 2011

If you go: Rentals: Single kayaks can be rented from Freycinet Adventures for CAD $55 per day and doubles for CAD $110 per day. tours: Freycinet Adventures also offers three-hour paddle tours along the national park (CAD $95.00). Larger groups can be catered to if conditions allow. To contact Freycinet Adventures go to or email Fees: Freycinet National Park fees are $12 per person per day. accommodation: There are few hotels or lodges around Cole’s Bay. Book in advance to be assured of availability. For example, try the more up-scale Freycinet Lodge bordering the national park ( Tent and caravan sites are more widely available; however, during peak season, even these sites can overflow. For more information: Visit the official site of Freycinet National Park at aspx?base=3363



















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Comox Valley Kayaks & Canoes by the water in Courtenay , Vancouver Island, BC


“ WE ARE A PADDLING SHOP ” Winter 2011




by Alex Matthews


While your head points toward the stern, hook the leg closest to the surface into the cockpit.

Hook that heel G ood re-entry techniques are dependable, fast and require no additional or specialized gear to perform. The best re-entries are also easily mastered by the widest range of paddlers. I’ve written before about how hard it can be to get back from the water into your kayak. Even if your boat is being stabilized by a paddling partner, pulling yourself up onto the stern deck with just your arms (and a well-timed kick) requires quite a lot of upper body strength. The heel hook re-entry is really effective for folks with less arm power because it shifts the emphasis away from raw upper body strength in favor of technique, suppleness and some leg and core strength. the ‘Heel Hook’ Way The heel hook re-entry starts with the boats parallel and facing in opposite directions. The rescuer stabilizes the swimmer’s kayak by committing his weight onto its foredeck and securing an aggressive grip. Paddles can be stowed out of the way under a bungee or the rescuer’s arm. The swimmer approaches his kayak from the side, positioning himself just aft of the cockpit. From the water he hooks his



Get a leg up with the heel hook re-entry

leg closest to the bow of his boat into the cockpit. With his leg now in the front of the cockpit, his head will be pointing towards the stern of his boat. Reaching across the stern of his boat with the hand closest to its bow, he gets a good solid grip on the far perimeter line of his kayak, or even the line on the rescuer’s boat. Note that up to this point, the swimmer is not yet attempting to lift his weight. He is content to float until he has established the posture and grip across the boat that will provide the leverage needed to get him up onto his stern deck. With his leg hooked in the cockpit and with a good grip stretched across the stern deck, the swimmer is now ready for the crux move. Using the purchase from his foot in the cockpit, he extends his leg as he focuses on sliding his pelvis up and over onto the stern deck while remaining as low Winter2011 2011 Winter

as possible. Once atop the stern he places his other leg into the cockpit and then twists into a seated position. As with any re-entry from the stern deck, any clutter on the back of the kayak will make the maneuver more difficult – something worth remembering when contemplating securing bulbous bags or other bulky gear behind the cockpit. For this reason some kayakers also prefer to carry their spare paddle on the foredeck, where it will be out of the paddler’s way in the event that an assisted re-entry requires climbing across the stern. As already noted, the heel hook maneuver requires more suppleness and technique than raw upper body power. For this reasons it’s often a particular favorite with females. If you’ve struggled to muster the upper body strength needed to haul yourself up out of the water and onto your stern deck, or even if you haven’t, the heel hook might just become your “go to” re-entry technique. < Alex Matthews is the author of “Sea Kayaking Rough Waters” available at www.helipress. com. For more of Alex’s Skillset articles visit

Dave Aharonian photos

The Heel Hook Re-entry


With your leg in place, reach across your stern deck to secure a grip on the far side of the boat.


Using the leverage provided by your leg in the cockpit and your grip across the stern, slide your pelvis up onto the stern deck while staying as low as possible.


Place the other leg into the cockpit and twist into the seat, again keeping your center of gravity low throughout.


Once seated comfortably, get your spraydeck back on the cockpit rim and retrieve your paddle.

Winter 2011



Adventure in Yukon

We take paddling very seriously here in Yukon. After all, this is the land of the Yukon River Quest, the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak marathon that challenges paddlers to race from Whitehorse to Dawson City—the same distance as Toronto to Quebec City—with next to no sleep. Fortunately, we don’t put every paddler through that. Timid beginners and well-seasoned pros will find exactly what they’re looking for here. And then some. Take the rivers of the Peel River Watershed for instance. You can’t get farther away from it all than this. One of the world’s largest intact ecosystems, it can only be reached by floatplane. Once within, you’ll see no roads or houses, but plenty of mountains, moose, sheep, caribou,

to some of the world’s most active glaciers, so you’re almost guaranteed the spectacular sight-and-sound show

Travel ideas: Daily flights land in Whitehorse from Vancouver, and there is regular service from Edmonton and Calgary. Average flight-time from those cities is 2.5 hours.

of one calving. Hike up a glacier and take a float in an iceberg-fi lled lake for a truly unforgettable day. And then there’s the fishing. Some say the waters are so crystal-clear here you can see your lunch swim by. Lake trout, Arctic grayling, northern pike, Dolly Varden, salmon…what’s your game? We’ve got ‘em. You might want to hit the gym first: most people Yukon’s high altitude and catch at least one fish over 20 pounds, semi-arid climate make and 45-pound northern pike are not for warm summers with unusual. Can you imagine casting off at midnight when the sun still lights temperatures getting up the sky? Now that’s fishing. to 25°C or more. So bring But all the fun doesn’t happen in your sunscreen—and summer. Come winter the lakes freeze sunglasses as the sun is over and that’s when we “release the hounds”…or in this case, dogs. Jump out 24 hours a day! on the rails, hang on, and become one with the rhythm of the sled as your team pulls you along ancient grizzlies, and fast water. Novices gold rush trails, across mountainshould stick to the Wind River; hard cores not afraid of Class V rapids can ringed lakes, and over parts of that other infamous marathon of ours, the head to the Bonnet Plume. Why not share the paddling duties Yukon Quest International Sled Dog and the thrills on a rafting adventure Race. That’s the Yukon for you—we turn everything into an adventure. down the Alsek River? It’s home

Travel information:

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Winter Winter2011 2011

Packages include all meals and equipment, as well as transportation in and out.

CANOEING 8 days from $5,575: Paddlers of every level will find their river here. Hard core? Try the world-class rapids of the Alsek or Tatshenshini. Like it a little slower? The Big Salmon and Teslin offer friendly, scenic floats—watch for grizzlies, moose, and bald eagles as you go.

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8 days from $1,795: Back in 1897, over 7,000 homemade boats carried stampeders down the Yukon River and on to the land of gold. Paddle the river today past historic gold rush relics, abandoned settlements, as well as plenty of black bear and moose.

single-day from $100: Enjoy the ride as a team of friendly, eager dogs takes you on a short day trip across a beautiful, frozen lake. Or go for a multi-day and pretend you’re in the Yukon Quest—the northern lights will be your nightlight.

per person / taxes extra

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Adventure Resources

Tours, Accommodation, Services

Where’s your next u The Gulf Islands Kayak Tours in the Spectacular Gulf Islands

Eco Ed Programs for Schools and Groups

Off Season Specials at Beachside Flat & Lakeside Cottage SKGABC Guides Courses

Rentals, Tours, Lessons

Adventures & Education since1991 1 888 529-2567 • 250 537 2553 •

250-386-7333 /

Wilderness Adventures for Women Kayak beautiful Vancouver Island, spectacular mountain vistas, old growth rainforests, amazing wildlife, rentals, lessons and tours, open year round. Women’s Transformative Journey by Kayak. All Women - All Fun!! Phone: 250.755.6702, toll free 1.866.955.6702 Web: Email:

Saturna Lodge An elegant yet casual inn with six individuallyappointed ocean- or garden-view rooms. Cozy common room and lovely grounds. Full breakfast included in rates. Visit our website for details. Web: Email: Phone: 250-539-2254 or 1-866-539-2254



Winter 2011

Plan Your Adventure

great adventure? Make your dream trip a reality.

u Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands

u Haida Gwaii Kayak Desolation Sound Rent kayaks from waterfront locations in Lund or Okeover Inlet. Try the Famous Aquarium Kayak Tour or snorkel at Urchin Alley. All-inclusive multi-day trips into Desolation & Mountains. Phone: Toll free 1-866-617-4444 Web: Email:

Paddle in and paddle out Deluxe beachfront house by the wharf. Two-bedroom luxury cottage, floor-to-ceiling windows, living room with gas fireplace, full kitchen, two bathrooms including jetted tub, wrap-around deck, bbq. Phone: 250-285-2042 Web: Email:

Lund Kayak Tours & Rentals Kayak tours, lessons, rentals & marine delivery. Desolation Sound, Mitlenatch Island, Copeland Islands marine parks. Personalized service, stunning scenery, fascinating history, delicious organic lunches. Family / child friendly programs. Phone: 1.888.552.5558 OR 604.483.7900 Web: Email:

Kayak Haida Gwaii Among the world's top paddling destinations, Gwaii Haanas is an awe-inspiring oasis of wilderness at the southern tip of Haida Gwaii. Local outfitter providing guided multi-day kayak adventures since 2000. Web: Email: Phone: 250-559-4682

Winter 2011



Adventure Resources

Tours, Accommodation, Services

u Vancouver Island West and North Gabriola Sea Kayaking Kayaking adventures in the Broken Group, Clayoquot Sound , Broughton Archipelago, Kyuquot Sound , Nootka Island and the Gulf Islands. Unforgettable paddling and great people since 1995. See you on the water! Phone: 250-247-0189 Web:

Kayak Vancouver Island

Private one-of-a-kind Island... Wondrous Lodge in Kyuquot West Coast of Vancouver Island Unforgettable Retreat... On the Edge of the Pacific A very Unique Holiday... Best Fishing & Adventures on the Wild Pacific Coast.


Wilderness Sea Kayaking Vancouver Island Kayaking Tours and Wilderness Retreat. Guided ecotourism adventures in remote Kyuquot, the Bunsby Islands, and Brooks Peninsula. Unmatched base camp, spectacular kayaking, diverse wildlife, and First Nations cultural interactions. Phone: 1.800.665.3040 or 250.338.2511 Web: Email:

Tofinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kayak Centre

@ Saratoga Beach, Black Creek All inclusive Kayak Tours Morning, afternoon and sunset Paddles Ask us about our overnight kayak-camping special Lessons and Rentals phone 1.877.337.5717 email

Tofinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kayaking centre providing daily sea kayak tours and kayak rentals since 1988. Pick up books and supplies for the West Coast lifestyle. Enjoy espresso on our waterfront deck. Phone: 1-800-TOFINO-4 (1-800-863-4664) Web: Email:

Nootka transport and rentals

Paddle with sea otters Kayak transport between Zeballos and Nootka Island, Nuchatlitz Park and Friendly Cove. Kayak rentals. CEDARs INN rooms and restaurant in a historic Zeballos lodge. Good food, friendly service. Phone: 1-866-222-2235 Web: www. Email:

Experience the best kayaking in the Pacific Northwest from Tahsis, B.C. in the heart of Nootka Sound. Kayak rentals and transport to Nuchatlitz Park, Yuquot (Friendly Cove), Bligh Island Marine Park and beyond. Phone: 1-866-934-6365 Website: Email:

Odyssey Kayaking BC Ferries port; Gateway to Northern and Central BC Coast destinations. Sales, Rentals, Lessons, Trip planning. 8625 Shipley Street (across from the Post Office) Port Hardy. Phone: 250-949-7392 or cell 250-230-8318 Email: Web:



Winter 2011

Plan Your Adventure

u Tropical / overseas

u Instruction

Baja Villa Getaways Hooksum Outdoor School West Coast Outdoor leadership Training. Quality skills training and Hesquiaht traditional knowledge for those pursuing a career or employment in the outdoors. Certification courses include: Paddle Canada Sea Kayaking Levels I & II, Introduction to KayakingInstructors Course, Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Lifesaving, BOAT & ROC(M). Visiting Kayak & Hiking Groups: Base your Hesquiaht Harbour adventures from our Longhouse. Meals and overnight stays available. Phone: 250.670.1120 Web: Email:

Private eco-villa is “off-thegrid”, modern and elegant in a remote bay north of Loreto, Baja. Getaways include kayaking, fishing, hiking, snorkeling, and SUPing.

u Alaska / North Kayak Academy (Seattle) Natura Viva: Sea kayak Finland Enjoy the unique Finnish coastline and the Baltic Sea archipelago, or the lake country labyrinth of waterways. Day trips, multi-day guided tours, selfguided tours and kayak rentals are all available. All our guides are trained professionals and our equipment is top of the line. Web: Email: Phone: +358 50 376 8585

u For Sale

Kayak Transport Co. A Mothership serving sE Alaska. Kayaking from the comforts of a mothership for a week. Paddling our boats and exploring fantastic scenery and wildlife. Eating fresh caught Alaskan seafood. How good does it get?! Email: Web: Phone: (206) 719-0976

Eclectic Eco-Adventure company for sale on Salt Spring Island in the spectacular Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. Established in 1991, this successful enterprise emphasizes ocean kayaking but also offers surfing and mountaineering programs. Our slate of options include day tours, overnight expeditions, accredited wilderness adventure youth camps, outdoor education programs for schools & interest groups. . . Options available for purchase of commercial oceanfront space in the island’s main town. Also: selling idyllic lakefront property including home office, a main house plus a 3 bedroom rental cottage or full separate in-law accommodations. Email: Phone: 1 888 KAYAK 67 Web:

u What’s coming in 2012

W W W. N I C . B C . C A

Kanoe People Ltd. Explore Yukon's great rivers and lakes! Rentals, sales, guided tours and logistic services. Cabin rentals summer and winter on the scenic Lake Laberge. Outfitting on the Yukon for over 35 years. Web: Email: Phone: 867-668-4899

Experience IS Necessary! Since 1991, the Kayak Academy has been providing the best sea kayak experience you can get. Count on us for all your paddling gear. Phone: 206.527.1825 or toll-free 866.306.1825 Web: Email:

Sometimes it’s a fine line between work & play. North Island College offers certificate and diploma programs in Adventure Tourism that can start you on the path to a job doing what you really love. Call 1-800-715-0914 to speak with a Student Advisor or visit

Watch as we transform our tour directory next year to provide travel information, trip ideas, maps and photography for various regions to make your trip planning simpler while providing more information, travel ideas and travel solutions, along with the accommodation options, services and tour operators necessary to complete you trip. Planning your dream trip will be easier than ever!

Winter 2011



Paddle Meals

by Hilary Masson

Tuna, shiitake and coconut rice


HE most satIsFyING fish meal comes from your own fresh catch. After guiding kayaking expeditions in the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico, my brother Ryan and I have become fairly successful at catching fish from our kayaks. On most expeditions we enjoy one or two fish meals while paddling in the spectacular Gulf of California. Ryan has perfected a very simple and effective trolling method well suited for expedition paddling. He uses a handline cut out of marine plywood. It has a handle cut into one side to make it easy to grip and pull in the fish. At eight inches wide and one foot long, every complete wrap lets out two feet, making it easy to calculate the depth of your lure. In this way it is easy to paddle while trolling. Ryan places the handline under his knees inside the cockpit, and even while wearing a sprayskirt it is effective. All you have to do is wait for the tug. The most effective lures are hurricanes – a plastic or wood lure that dives and wiggles while trolling, but floats to the surface when the kayaker stops for a water break or to wait for other paddlers. Or try crocodiles or buzzbombs – lures that are usually metal and in the shape of a small fish that spins or flashes while trolling. But be careful, because these will sink when not moving. Ryan had a very exciting ride while fishing near Punta Polpito on our coastal route north of Loreto. The group had just passed a large and spectacular volcanic plug and were having a little rest on the lee side of the

The seared fish: • 5 6-ounce tuna steaks about 3cm thick • 3 tbsp sesame oil • 1 tbsp coarsely ground peppercorns (try red and black peppercorns) • 3 tbsp sesame seeds • 3 cloves garlic, sliced into rounds • Salt to taste Slice garlic, then coarsely crack pepper corns and place in a bowl together with the sesame seeds. Pat the fish dry, then sprinkle salt on fish steaks and press each steak into the pepper/garlic mixture coating all sides.



point to admire the obsidian bands through the large lava flows. Looking back at the point we heard Ryan start to hoot and holler, and watched as he and his fully loaded kayak were towed to windward. It lasted about 10 minutes until the fish tired enough to allow Ryan to play it up to the kayak. A large rooster fish was pulled out of the water, knocked on the head and put into a plastic bag that Ryan keeps under his seat just for this purpose. Once ashore the task of filleting the fish and cooking it is the fun part. The head and guts go back to the sea and the dark pink, delicious flesh is for our kayak group. A great way to eat the rooster fish is to thinly cut some pieces sashimi-style and squeeze lime on it. The raw fish has an amazing flavor, better than any tuna you’ll get at a sushi restaurant. Then another classic way to prepare tuna-like fish is seared titake style, where the outside is crispy and the inside still opaque and slightly raw. This Japanese recipe is commonly thought of as the best way to enjoy tuna, but suggest this enticing sauce to Heat sesame oil in a large skillet or fry pan over high heat on your camp stove. Place steaks in oil searing until brown on the outside and opaque on the inside, about 2 minutes per side. Place cooked steaks on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. the coconut sauce: • 2 tbsp butter • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, chopped • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped • 6 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce) or lime Winter 2011

complement the seared fish: shiitake coconut cream. The garlic, ginger and soy sauce combination with the strong nutty flavour of shiitake mushrooms and creamy coconut creates a full-bodied flavour to impress even the most seasoned foody of the group. Dried mushrooms are another great ingredient to carry in your camping food provisions. There are so many varieties of dried mushrooms that can enhance any meal, be it spaghetti, risotto, omelette or quiche. Shiitake mushrooms add a lot to this Asian-inspired sauce and compliment the seared fish. < Hilary Masson is with Baja Kayak Adventures.

The rice: (Serves 5 people) Best way to cook rice on the beach: • 2 cups rice • 2 cups coconut milk • 2 cups water Add rice, coconut milk and water in a medium pot with a lid. Bring to a rolling boil until the rice creates little craters, then remove from the heat and place the closed pot into the sand. Surround the pot ¾ of the way up the side but not near the lid using the sand as insulation. Leave for 20 minutes. This saves gas on your camp stove, frees up your burners to move onto the next part of this recipe and works remarkably well to cook rice too.

flavoured soy sauce called Ponzu • 1 ½ cups coconut milk • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced • 1 fresh lime, juiced • Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish In same skillet, add butter, green onion, cilantro, garlic and ginger. Sauté quickly until fragrant, add soy sauce, coconut milk and mushrooms then simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve rice on each plate, then a fish steak on top of the bed of rice, scoop sauce over entire dish and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

” e r e h T t u O u o Y “Getting Tours • Courses • Rentals

Winter 2011



Setting sail new gear

by John Kimantas

Ryan Masson of Baja Kayak Adventures, who offers that rare mix of sailor and kayaker, helped Coast&Kayak test various sails, and demonstrated his relative comfort under power with the KayakSailor, something the non-sailors among us did not necessarily share.


gREAT kAyAkINg ADvENTuRE is a circumnavigation of Nootka Island. The most common route is counterclockwise to take advantage of the prevailing northwest winds down the exposed outer coast of the island. But imagine this scenario. you’re ready to leave your campsite in the shelter of Nootka sound in the spanish Pilot group before rounding the island. A calm morning is forecast. so this becomes the plan: take advantage of the calm weather, run the island clockwise, camp in the safety of Nuchatlitz that night, explore the area the next morning then use the afternoon inflow winds to sail down Esperanza Inlet. literally. Sail down the inlet. If it seems like a cheat to sail, keep in mind this 166-km trip had to be completed in less than 72 hours. It was an aggressive agenda, and a 20-km free ride was not just pleasant but a major factor in completing the trip. Purists will no doubt scoff at even considering a sail for a kayak, as the whole point is to paddle. If you want a sailboat, they do make those. But just as they make surf kayaks to fill the role normally played by surfboards, adding a sail to a kayak can add a whole new dimension to the kayaking experience.



Winter2011 2011 Winter

It can also be a great tool. Here’s an example. There’s a wonderful picnic area on the far end of a lake. It’s your reasonable day’s limit just to get there, making it a two-day trip. But the prevailing afternoon winds blow down the lake back to the launch site. so instead of paddling back you sail back, allowing an otherwise impossible day trip by leaving in the morning before the winds rise then riding them back. That sort of a plan is apt to go astray, of course, as winds are highly variable and generally unpredictable, especially as prevailing conditions don’t prevail near as often as you might like. As an example, the first test of one of these sails was to be the final quarter of a circumnavigation of Nigei Island off the top end of vancouver Island. Mid-afternoon, hitting goletas Channel, the hope of taking advantage of the everpresent westerlies in goletas faded when the wind didn’t materialize, which turned the day into a 55-km slog instead of 36 km of paddling and a free ride back. When is it ever dead calm in goletas Channel in the mid afternoon? A: The time you plan to use a sail, it turns out. We tested three sails in a variety of conditions to get a feel for how they perform, and this is what we found.


Kayak Sails

u RapidUp Sail by Advanced Elements This is a simple down-wind sail system designed by Advanced Elements for its line of inflatable kayaks, but which thanks to a system of tethers can fit almost any kayak with sufficient deck rigging. Simply clip it on. We found one fairly serious disadvantage for our layup. We couldn’t clip all the connections single-handedly while in the kayak. Either it has to be in place before you launch or a buddy will have to help clip you in. We simply couldn’t reach far enough forward to clip in on our own. Part of the reason is because the RapidUp sail will curve considerably when set into place, meaning a placement fairly far forward on the deck for the outermost clips, and out of reach of a person in the cockpit. It works by simply catching the breeze in front of your kayak. It arrives in a case triplefolded, then pops open thanks to a flexible but sturdy frame. If you need to lower it, just pull the guy line and it drops down. If you need to stow it, it can be folded down quickly and zipped back in the pack. Folding it is tricky the first few times, but once mastered poses no problem. Designed for the fairly wide Advanced Elements inflatables, the stowing size doesn’t work particularly well for sea kayaks. When in its case we found it a couple of inches too wide to snap under deck rigging, or to

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The RapidUp sail in action. C

comfortably place in the cockpit or stow in a hatch. In other words, transport is an issue. AE users won’t have that problem, but they may notice this. When deployed, the design is such that it sits flush to the deck directly in front of the kayaker, which means a good deal of the wind is blocked. A good feature is the amount of clear plastic that leaves relatively unobstructed views ahead. But for performance, running side by side with the KayakSailor, it quickly lagged. I’d credit this with the lower placement on the deck and the fairly rudimentary sail design, which is about as basic as you can get: just unfold, set and let whatever wind hits it propel you forward. But that and its durability are perhaps its strong points as well. Your frustration quotient will be correspondingly low. M



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new gear

u Adventure by WindPaddle Sails Another downwind-only option, this simple design features a few key differences from other sails that result in great performance. It has a similar pop-up and fold-down system to the RapidUp Sail where when stashed it’s a flat circle of round material, but sized so it can be stashed on your deck under the bungy cords. This is a key frustrationsaving feature: when employed we could grab it, fold it into two smaller loops then drop it down onto the third loop, slide it under the bungy cord, and so go from employed to stowed in a few simple movements taking just seconds. No worries about even having to adjust the connections. The two ties for use when deployed also lash it in place for extra security when stashed, and so require no fussing to go from deployed to stashed and back. When stowed the impact is minimal. It won’t work with a deck bag, but otherwise it won’t affect paddle strokes or performance. Another key feature. The frame is a stiff plastic batten that is virtually unbreakable. It deploys quickly, so watch your face, and expect one or two good cuffs upside the head as it pops open before you learn its habits, then a few more over the course of the season as you forget what you’ve learned. It fastens to any deck bungy cords with just two clips. These in turn are attached to lines that rig the sail. Because of this the sail is essentially free-floating, and when engaged with wind it sits up a few inches off the deck. It also fills with air rather than sits rigid, which again helps performance. In fact, in a side-by-side with the KayakSailor running downwind, it kept pace.

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Winter 2011

The WindPaddle Sail in action, holding its own against the KayakSailor.

While a downwind sail only, the WindPaddle can accommodate a fair bit of side wind and still benefit the kayaker with some forward thrust (after more than about 30 degrees, though, it becomes questionable whether the sail will maintain the hold of the wind, as often on a side wind the wind will shift a bit and the sail will invert). In a good downwind it flies, and gusts only help performance. There’s no pushing to the side to upset balance. When it gets a good gust it tends to bob up and down as if energized like an eager dog pulling a leash, and you can feel the kayak being pulled forward. It’s exhilarating, but beware of spoiling yourself. The ease and speed might leave you disappointed when you actually have to paddle again. And that’s not a good thing. So don’t forget to reconnect to the harmony of your paddle after using the sail. If I had a single suggestion to improve it, it might be the window, which could either be larger or lower, as in most conditions when fully deployed the horizon will be blocked. I was also left wondering how to best manage the sheet, or guide line (shown above simply being held). A convenient method that allows paddling is a carabiner on your PFD, with the caveat that clipping yourself to your kayak is not the greatest safety step. Simply holding it is no great burden, but that does stop you from being able to paddle along while sailing. I have yet to try this option, but when the opportunity arises it will be fun: running the WindPaddle sail between two kayaks. Imagine drifting downwind, watching the scenery pass in close company with your partner, maybe having lunch on the water while the miles pass by. It’s relaxing just thinking about. The design of two latches makes this extremely simple, with the benefit of nobody in front of the sail. Probably best for that purpose is the Cruiser sail, the largest of the WindPaddle fleet with a 56-inch diameter when deployed – about 50 percent more power than our tester, the Adventure, which has a deployed diameter of 42 inches. The entry-level option is the Scout, which has the same sail size as the Adventure, but with a softer batten making it a design best for recreational solo kayaks.

Kayak Sails

u KayakSailor by Kuvia LLC The KayakSailor is a remarkable piece of engineering that essentially transforms your kayak into a sailboat capable of upwind sailing. But before considering that to be an endorsement, ask yourself if you should just get a small sailboat instead of rerigging your kayak into a hybrid. The KayakSailor aims for the hybrid through a fairly sophisticated design that initially sits flush on the deck but with a mast that through rigging can be raised and lowered along a track and kept in place by a forestay and shroud (be sure to brush up on your nautical terms). Stability is provided through two leeboards that can be raised and lowered thanks to two push rods. Once employed, the sail is every bit the sail of a sailboat. Use the main sheet to control the angle of the sail and off you go. While many people may see the sail as an exciting new dimension to the kayaking experience, others won’t like it a bit. Consider that normally a kayaker must pay careful attention to keeping the center of gravity in line to stay upright. But when you sail with the wind at an angle, to offset the thrust against the sail you have to lean out. Add wind gusts and wind waves and you’re constantly having to adjust your balance. This does not make for a relaxing experience of sitting back and enjoying the free ride

The KayakSailor rigged: great engineering!

of the downwind sails. To the contrary, you are put constantly on edge, literally and emotionally. The worst (no doubt for us newbies) is when the wind comes up above your comfort level. The halyard and mast control lines need to be dropped to get the sail down. This means putting down your paddle in conditions you may want to be ready to brace. Fumble with the rigging at your peril when caught like this. And be prepared to fuss. A regular issue in raising the sail is having the shroud caught around the leeboard control knob. That

u Kayak sailing: what our tests found The single biggest problem in testing these sails was finding windy days. As odd as that would seem here on Vancouver Island, we were continually stymied, even one day heading out to the remote lighthouse Entrance Island off Gabriola Island in search of a reported 11 knots, only to bob about in dead calm when we got near. Which is an example of the central flaw: the wind won’t necessarily blow where you want, when you want in the direction you want. So you can never plan a trip that will rely on a sail. Doing so risks inciting the wrath of the wind gods. And we all know how they like to have fun with kayakers as it is. Also, sails fundamentally change the style of travel. For instance, in inlets using inflow winds you’ll want to run the main wind funnel through the channel. So instead of the calm shoreline you’ll be potentially dead center of a wide channel. Reduced visibility also requires greater shoreline clearance. Both these can put you into motorized traffic, so imagine my surprise sailing Tahsis Narrows only to look back and see a large fishing vessel patiently trundling behind me. To his credit he could have pushed past, which would have been a wakeup call. Faster motorboats are rarely so considerate. One incidental advantage is greater visibility for kayaks, but expect to attract attention from passing boaters who simply want to answer the question: what the heck is that thing? So if you use a sail, get used to being a bit of an oddity. You won’t sail past unnoticed. A kayak sail can be a useful tool, but it is vastly superior if easily deployed and stashed. Anything more (or less) simply takes away from paddling. And who wants that? Winter 2011

hung up the whole system. When not employed, the KayakSailor may lower relatively flush against the deck, but it’s not out of the way. The leeboards offer a subtle interference to paddling, while the leeboard push rods are always on the foredeck, right where the sprayskirt latches. If the true advantage of the KayakSailor is the ability to sail upwind, consider that you’ll have to tack back and forth, meaning lots of extra miles. Given that a lot of speed is lost by going upwind, it is highly unlikely you’ll get anywhere upwind faster than paddling against the wind by staying near the protection of shore. In other words, you’ll want to sail for the sake of sailing or else there really is no reason for the KayakSailor. Sure, you can paddle while sailing, which is almost a necessity anyway to help with bracing against gusts. But the sail does get in the way of a good paddle stroke. In my final test of the KayakSailor, I took it down to return home, as a good and efficient stroke was ultimately faster, less stressful and in the end more enjoyable – not an assessment to overjoy Kuvia, but then I am a paddler, not a sailor. And therein lies the ultimate curse of this design. Small sailboats don’t favor a kayak hull design for a reason. They don’t make good sailboats – nor, necessarily, do paddlers make good sailors!

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6/29/11 12:23 PM

Destinations Wildlife

by Chuck Graham

A snowy plover and its natural habitat: sandy shoreline.

Shoring up the wrack line t

HE WRaCk LINE was a scattered flotsam of bleached driftwood and tangled mounds of kelp. With each step in the soft sand, swarms of black kelp flies wafted into the salty air. Gray skies hovered above the deserted beach when a solitary shorebird rose from its sandy depression and scampered along the wrack line. A western snowy plover camouflaged within the flotsam sprang after the flurry of insects while they sought refuge in another gnarled ball of kelp. Treading lightly while pulling my kayak below the wrack line, I soon spotted a handful of plovers. Well concealed in their coastal habitat, several peered from behind mounds of kelp, while others watched me from the security of their gritty depressions. A couple of plovers sounded off with their husky trill and a whistle resulting in “tur – weet”. During the summer on mostly lonely, barren Pacific coast beaches stretching from British Columbia to Southern California, the western snowy plover is often the only shorebird species around. When winter migrants fly elsewhere to breed and raise 36


Beleaguered by vanishing habitat, the snowy plover remains a useful gauge of the health of coastal ecosystems their brood, the snowy plover is one that remains year-round. This leaves them more exposed to threats, especially while tending to their nests and chicks. For this reason the snowy plover is a good indicator for gauging the overall health of coastal ecosystems. Way of the West Western snowy plovers need barren to sparsely vegetated sandy beaches, dry salt flats in lagoons and dune habitat to breed and have successful nests. Winter 2011

It’s estimated that about 2,000 to 3,000 plovers inhabit approximately 150 current or historical breeding or wintering locations where they try to survive amongst dwindling habitats. Besides the usual threats of raccoons, coyotes, foxes, crows, gulls, owls, falcons and hawks, plovers reluctantly share nesting areas with beachgoers, dogs, kite flyers, off-road vehicles and bikers. All of these threats force snowy plovers to leave their nests exposed to predation. “Typically plovers occupy habitat between the wrack line and the upland portion of beaches,” says Al Donner, assistant field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento, CA. “Unfortunately, people enjoy its habitat too.” Because of this degradation, plovers along the Pacific coast have been listed as a threatened species since 1993 under the Endangered Species Act. If you’re a beachgoer and you don’t see western snowy plovers, you know the beach has been heavily used and is no longer suitable habitat for plovers to thrive. “Once plovers are gone from the beaches, it tells us something about our beaches,”

Snowy Plover says Dave Lauten, a biologist specializing in the western snowy plover for the Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, “namely that they are not necessarily in good health.” Freshly Brood Western snowy plovers live dangerously. Because they prefer beaches with little or no vegetation, they breed above the wrack line and their nests are out in the open. Plovers don’t make nests; instead they use natural or scraped depressions in the sand. Many nests are lined with natural resources found on the beach including pebbles, shell fragments, fish bones, mud chips, scraps of vegetation and invertebrate skeletons. Eggs are about half the size of the parents. They have a buff background and are lightly covered with small spots and scrawls. A clutch is usually three eggs. Chicks are extremely mobile once they’ve hatched. They’re born with feathers and open eyes, with fully grown legs ready to run and forage within hours after their down dries. Once the chicks are hatched, the females typically desert their mates and chicks and promptly initiate a new breeding attempt with a different male. It’s not uncommon for females to have two and even three broods with different mates in a single breeding season. This makes the males the primary caregivers after the chicks hatch. Chicks feed themselves after their fathers show

Baby snowy plovers are born eyes open and just hours from being able to forage for food.

them where to find insects, but they require periodic fatherly care for many days after hatching. “This is only true of the West Coast population,” says Lauten. “Other populations do not necessarily do this. This is because the chicks are mobile from day one and there are plenty of food resources on the beach.” one tough Little shorebird Western snowy plovers show tremendous resilience as their habitat slowly vanishes and is overused. They typically won’t move from their depressions until they absolutely have to, instead relying on camouflage as a defense.

The dark patches under each breast, the dark gray to black legs and the pale brown upper body make them almost impossible to spot in their coastal habitats unless they’re forced to flee. The western snowy plover is distinguished from other plovers due to their small size. They weigh about as much as a 25 cent piece, or 1.2 ounces to 2 ounces (34-56 grams), and are 5.9 to 6.6 inches long (15-17 cm). “One thing plovers are is tolerant. They are very tolerant of quite a bit of human harassment,” says Lauten. “That does not mean it is good for them, nor does it mean that they like to deal with it, but they do it.” As a persistent northwest wind blew sand and brittle fragments of dead seaweed across the beach and over my kayak, a plover rose with its two fuzzy chicks, the windblown sand becoming too much to absorb. The chicks quickly scampered after their parent, eventually taking shelter behind a thick piece of driftwood in their rugged habitat.

About the snowy plover Behavior: Snowy plovers are typically gregarious during the winter. Although some territories are defended on beaches by individuals, most roost in loose flocks. When roosting plovers are disturbed, they frequently run a few metres to a new spot where they sometimes displace other individuals. Alternatively, the whole flock may fly to a new location. Food: Snowy plovers use the run-stoppeck technique for feeding. They forage on invertebrates in the wet sand and amongst clumps of kelp in the intertidal zone, in dry, sandy areas, on salt pans and along the fringe of marshes, lagoons and salt ponds. They sometimes probe for prey in the sand and pick insects from low-growing plants. Conservation status: The snowy plover population has increased in the last few years. “I think one thing that argues in its favor is the fact that we West Coast folk do love our Pacific beaches,” says Donner. “There’s a reservoir of goodwill toward the beach and all the natural things that are a part of it.” < A guide at the Channel Islands National Park, Chuck Graham is also a freelance writer and photographer in Carpinteria, CA.

Winter 2011



Adam vallance / Powell River sea kayak

Touring Destinations

by Joan Boxall



Hat’s IN a name? Some history apparently, as surveyor Captain George Vancouver came to the British Columbia coastline from Hawaii in 1792 to update Captain James Cook’s charts. Vancouver idolized Cook, and he modeled and later adapted much of his own leadership style after the famous British explorer and cartographer. They’d been to the Pacific Northwest 12 years earlier when Vancouver served as Cook’s midshipman, but bad weather hampered their mapmaking attempts. In spring 1792, Vancouver, in his new role as captain, resumed where they’d left off, painstakingly surveying every strait, sound, passage, channel, arm and inlet of B.C.’s 27,000-kilometre coastline. It took three long summers (wintering in Hawaii), using rowboats to maneuver where his vessels, the Discovery and Chatham, could not. Fueled 38


Winter2011 2011 Winter

Desolation Sound

Desolation “From our ancestors come our names, from our virtues our honours.” – Proverb

by the hope of finding a western access to the Northwest Passage, each outlet became instead an impenetrable wall, rising up as formidably as a drawbridge to a castle. These castle walls with their steep drops from peak to ocean floor filled Vancouver with woeful isolation, and he named the area accordingly: Desolation Sound. His discouragement was not shared by us as we welcomed the quiet campsites and open vistas during our week-long tour with Powell River Sea Kayak. Vancouver certainly knew how to navigate by sail and rowboat, but for him, it was an arduous job in his last health-harrowed years. For us, the area presented a jade jewel set in aquamarine. We ballasted off from Okeover Inlet, bellies full from Laughing Oyster seafood topped up with Cedar Lodge B&B pancakes and plum sauce that morning.

Vancouver’s hardships were not our own. Facing Kinghorn and Station islands, we reminisced over Vancouver meeting the two Spanish vessels, Sutil and Mexicana, under the leadership of captains Galiano and Valdes. They proceeded to collaborate on and share coastal charts and supplies. Vancouver, wearing his diplomatic tricorn hat, was authorized to meet with Commissioner Bodega y Quadra in Nootka Sound to settle damage claims from the Nootka Convention, signed in 1790. Their friendly rivalry at claiming coastline was unmistakable in the geographic names chosen for here, with Spanish roots for the islands of Redonda, Cortes, Quadra and Hernando; and English along Capt. Vancouver’s water routes in the channel approaches (Pryce, Waddington and Lewis) and the inlets (Jervis and Bute) where they’d hoped to secure trade routes east. Winter Winter 2011 2011

We, too, developed a cooperative spirit while making the crossing to Martin Islands. At Hope Point, we were within striking distance for our own circumnavigation of Cortes Island. We hugged coastlines in protected eddies ready to benefit from wind and tide. Our guide, Bill Rickson’s mantra of “long, low, loose leverage” served us well. Long in the reach; push and pull. Low in the trajectory to go the distance. Loose in allowing the breath to torque-torso as we took in sea, sky and salty splashes. We lingered on South Rendezvous Island amid Douglas fir, western red cedar and Canada’s only native broad-leafed evergreen, the arbutus. Ocean breezes dried off the dew and our drizzle-dampened gear while clearing skies heralded a predominantly fine-weather front. Piles u COAST&KAYAK MAgAzine


Touring Bute Inlet Sonora I. Okisollo Channel ¡

8 ¡ Hole in the Wall


Maurelle I.

ge Passa ver y Disco

South Rendezvous I. 8 West Redonda I.

East Redonda I.

¡ Surge Narrows


Read I. Lew e nn ha is C

8 Quadra I.





Heriot Bay

Seymour Narrows ¡


Martin Is. Station I.

Shark Spit The Gorge


Marina I.

of purple, leather and mottled sea stars, mother harbor seals training their mewling pups, a mink sighting and myriads of gulls, kingfishers and oystercatchers, all took their turns in the tide. Were we the future ones Capt. Vancouver hoped might realize this



Desolation Sound 8 Marine Park DESOLATION 8 SOUND 8 8

Kinghorn I.



¡ Rapids/strong currents

region’s magnificent beauty? Wind and tide at our backs, we settled down and let the protective coastline fall away, flowing with it. Low tide at Shark’s Spit, a natural extension of Marina Island, was where a

Winter 2011


Hope Pt.

¡ Malaspina Inlet

Copeland Island 8 Marine Park

Adapted from the Desolation Sound Recreation Map, 22x36 inches, available at retailers or order on page 40. Not all campsites and launches listed.

hannel yC f ra

Octopus Is. 8


Pryce Channel

Okeover Inlet


LUND T Savary I.

five-meter tide carried the boats 500 meters to a lively herring gull serenade. My job was to float with them, pulling them gently up and over the shoal, steering clear of barnacles. Part way around Marina, the framework

Adam Vallance / Powell River Sea Kayak

Desolation Sound

GALIANO KAYAKS Beaches can be hard to come by at some of the Desolation Sound locations, but suitable rock ledges can make equally enticing rest areas.

of an ancient village with canoe berths and clam grounds became evident in the ‘rock’itecture. More recent marks of 1920s logging camps lay in the frayed and rusted cables still attached to large beams. We ate a Mexican black bean salad at the high tide mark, warming our backs against an age-old midden while reflecting upon the cultural contrasts which had transpired over the ages. The eagles soared above us and the ravens along the shore cawed and screeched it out amongst one another. Looking west to ‘Quadra and Vancouver’s Island’ (as it was known until it was shortened to Vancouver Island) with its chain of snow-capped peaks, we looped past the reef where seals, loons and harlequin ducks played in the wind-churned surf. From Shark’s Spit, the Gorge’s Cortes

Island petroglyphs put on a show. Redorange stickmen waved their catch in the golden light. A starlit night, we took the fly off the tent to view the Perseid meteor shower, visible from mid-July to mid-August for the last 2,000 years. We awoke to a calm pastel shoreline; sandpipers and sanderlings on beach patrol. Buoyant with salinity and serenity, Desolation Sound merited our adulation. A rose by any other name would sound, taste, smell, look and seem as sweet.

...Costa Rica! • A Week in Paradise • Calm Waters and B&B • Dec – April, since 1988

...the Gulf Islands! • Daily Guided Tours & Rentals since 1985 • Only 1 hr from Vancouver! • Ferry pick-up available • Open all year!

< Joan Boxall is a North Vancouver-based freelance writer who has done kayak trips in BC and abroad. For travel planning options in this region, see page 27.

Winter 2011




gift guide BC Coast Recreation Maps

This oversize map series offers details for six regions of British Columbia that the charts just won’t tell you about: launch sites, rest beaches, campsites, regional highlights and more. All maps are full color both sides, in highly detailed 22x36 inch size. Areas include: • 114. Broken Group Islands / Barkley Sound • 140. North Coast Trail (Hiking Map) • 160. Clayoquot Sound • 564. Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands • 630. Broughton Archipelago / Johnstone Strait • 690. Gulf Islands $9.95 each +shipping $2.50CDN/$4US

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Kiska, Nimbus Paddle’s most popular paddle, is a long-range, week-long touring paddle. Generally for a high angle stroke. Quinsam, our other mid-size blade, is a little fuller in the tip and works well for a lower stroke angle. Wavewalker is a large Euro size blade with more modern styling. Great for powering through surf or playing in tidal rapids. High angle stroke.

Blade (at 220 cm)



Sq. inch






29 oz.





30 oz.





30 oz.

Available lengths: 210-245 cm. in 5 cm. increments. * Weight in fibreglass. Graphite is lighter. 42



Winter 2011


1 or 2 pc. 4 piece

195 $285 242 212 $305 260 Basalt/carbon $300 255 -Carbon $345 293 -Freight: $20 Canada, $35 US Fibreglass




Book selection

Subscriptions Canada and the U.S.: $20/1 Year/4 Issues $35/2 Years/8 Issues Gift subscription

335. Freedom of the Seas teaches navigation, sea state and weather. $24.95 + shipping

180. The ultimate guide for exploring North and Central BC coast. $29.99 + shipping

185. The ultimate guide for exploring BC’s south coast and east Vancouver Island. $34.99 + shipping

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330. A handy largeformat map guide for the West Coast of Vancouver Island. $40 + shipping


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by James Dorsey

The Tao of the littoral View from a kayak kindles a life-long love for creatures most people don’t know exist


s a yoUNG Boy I read a book by John Steinbeck called Log from the Sea of Cortez. At the time I had no idea John Steinbeck was considered one of the world’s greatest living writers, and I wondered how one could tell an interesting story about a log, so that’s why I bought the book. It was the story of two friends who spent six weeks on a small boat collecting marine specimens from the coast of Baja Mexico, and the first time I had ever seen the word “littoral.” It is an overused cliché to say a book changed one’s life, but we all know they do, and this one certainly helped to change mine. It was unusual reading for a boy of seven whose friends were into Superman or Green Lantern, while I was transfixed by Steinbeck’s description of life just below the surface, an entire world as it were, that occupies this exotic sounding littoral. Sea slugs, limpets, hermit crabs and snail darters were as fascinating to me as aliens from another planet, and they were just inches from where I lived. The water was not deep enough for diving and I felt a bit foolish walking around bent over with a face mask on, but then I saw my first kayak and a light turned on. It seemed like a very cool way to get along over the water, and made the connection (in my own unformed mind) of why Steinbeck had referred to it as a log! Imagine how stupid I felt when I finally finished the book. Thinking back on it now, I may have been the very first “nerd” kayaker and to this day some of my paddle buddies tease me about 44


Writer James Dorsey on the water.

paddling a log. The littoral is a transitional zone where my world of dry land meets that of creatures who dwell just beneath the sea, in the shallow coming together of two separate realities, and where strange beings thrive in both air and water. The littoral is the area between tidal exchanges that occur twice daily, thus alternating between wet and dry and making the area one of the most challenging spots on earth in which to exist. That also makes it a great spot to paddle. Few of us know the paths our lives will Winter 2011

take at a young age, and I had no idea at the time how that book and the word littoral would dominate my world for years. Since that time I have not only become a certified marine naturalist, but an avid kayaker who has paddled the rim of fire from southern Alaska to the southernmost tip of Baja. I have divided most of that time between studying cetaceans and the littoral, and more than once have been surprised to find them together. I have friends who are into long-distance paddling, making regular crossings of the

Santa Monica Channel, where I live, to Catalina Island and back, a 30-mile-plus paddle, and they love to tease me about being a sissy paddler, hugging the coast instead of testing my mettle against the raging sea, and I am fine with that. While they are fighting rolling seas and headwinds, I am learning behavioral habits of tiny creatures most of the world does not even know exist. For me the most interesting paddling has always been in coastal waters for numerous reasons. First of all is clarity. Even in waters clouded by pollution, wave action usually keeps the littoral clear. It is a simple matter of positioning to keep the sun’s illumination at the correct angle that allows me to paddle over what amounts to my own private aquarium. I have spent hours floating in one spot while a veritable metropolis of life goes about its business mere feet from my station. Watching my own shadow pass over the ocean floor was my first lesson in how some littoral dwellers run for cover at the first sign of a predator from above while other certain small fish use a shadow as cover, hiding beneath my boat. It is how I learned that crabs will pick up a shell and use it as a shield if caught in the open, and how I first realized a sting ray will strike out at a shadow, possibly giving the answer to the death of naturalist and television personality Steve Irwin. It was the clear littoral that first allowed me to witness the lightning speed with which a sea star can attack its prey, devouring it in seconds as one of the oceans top predators in spite of its diminutive size, and how I first saw anemones extending their barbed lances in defense of my shadow passing overhead. A kayak has been both transport and tool for my entry to this world, allowing me to glide silently past, absorbing it while not intruding upon it. My kayak has served as a resting platform for exhausted sea birds, landing on my deck for a breather, and more than once a baby eagle has sought refuge there to get away from a relentless mother intent on teaching it to fly. Being part of their natural environment has allowed me to observe sea birds in a way impossible through books. I once found myself inundated with anchovies jumping out of the water. Many landed on my deck followed closely by a

Wild Coast Publishing


The intertidal bounty of a rock in the Broken Group Islands, selected for those who might have some spare time and want to count the creatures.

very aggressive pelican who had trouble differentiating between the silver delicacies and my fingers. I can also say that pelicans are very ungainly while walking the deck of a kayak! On two separate occasions I have had to fend off frightened sea lions attempting to board me while being pursued by orcas, and for those who may think this a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, I can honestly say I have always paid it heed, never invading an animal’s comfort zone, but allowing their own innate curiosity to bring them to me. Harbor seals are regular companions and sea jellies often collect on my paddle blades. To most creatures I am simply an errant log being carried along by the tides. Not like Steinbeck’s log, but a log nevertheless. I have had dolphin swim next to my boat in three feet of water and playfully chew on my bungee, and have watched young gray whales frolicking in the surf line less than twenty yards from human surfers. More than anything, I have had close contact with gray whales who, being the slowest swimmers of the cetacean world, hug the coastline during their annual 12,000mile migration from Alaska to Mexico using natural rock formations, kelp beds and wavestirred sand as cover to evade their natural predator, the orca. Most people think little happens within the surf line but I have found it to be a place of non-stop action, and on a good day I find myself wondering why every paddler on the water is not hugging the shore. Yes, I do venture out into the open ocean Winter 2011

for prolonged paddles, sometimes for a week at a time, but while most paddlers are intent on reaching a destination, for me it is the journey that is more important, and it is always the ever-changing coastal world that is the dessert to the meal. < To visit James Dorsey’s website, visit



Books / DVDs

sEa kayak WItH GoRDoN BRoWN, VoL. 2 Better known no doubt in Scotland where he runs Skye Adventures, Gordon Brown is gaining wider renown in North America with his growing set of instructional kayaking DVDs. Volume 1 covered the foundations: forward paddling, turning, edging, and on

up to tidal races and rock hopping. Volume 2 covers the safety aspects with assisted rescues, self-rescues, technical landings, tows, rescues and rough water skills. For extra enticement, the second volume is filmed in St. Kilda, a set of remote islands off Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, a world heritage site and fitting background with its dramatic rocky shores, sea stacks and caves. You can even bypass the instructional portion at the main menu to select the travel segments, which are a show in their own right. Both DVDs can be ordered online, downloaded or purchased in North America thanks to distribution through Active Paddles in Washington State. u the political, social and even bureaucratic factors that have affected the parks over the last century. So from a historical perspective it provides great insight, but from the perspective of someone hoping to find out about BC’s best parks, it will simply be a picture book. u

BRItIsH CoLUmBIa’s maGNIFICENt PaRks, James D. anderon The 100-year anniversary celebrations at BC Parks may be coming to a close at the end of 2011, but the legacy of British Columbia’s parks lives on, including in this tome of historical information written from BC Parks insider James Anderson published by Harbour Publishing. It is wonderfully illustrated by photography to augment the text, but it is not a catalogue of the various BC provincial parks, as some might hope. Rather it is a chronology of the history of the development of BC’s parks in terms of

a FIELD GUIDE to EDIBLE mUsHRooms oF tHE PaCIFIC NoRtHWEst, Daniel Winkler Harbour Publishing expands on its line of waterproof pocket-sized guides with this latest entry illustrating dozens of edible and not-so-edible mushrooms (with other similar guides covering whales and nudibranches, to name a few), plus what to do with them. Aided by photos, it raises the question: do you trust a little pocket guide enough to tell the difference between a black morel and a false morel, with the latter being deadly poisonous? That’s the hope of author Daniel Winkler, but... please read carefully!

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Winter 2011

u Advertising directory accommodation: See listings in Services Directory ............... 26 Broughton Archipelago Paddlers Inn ......41 associations: Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.................23 Destinations: .......................................................19 Yukon Wild ............................................................... 24 Directories: Instruction/Education ...................................... 29 Adventure Resources ........................................ 26 kayak manufacturers: Advanced Elements ........................................... 37 Delta ...............................................................................5 Klepper ....................................................................... 18 Nimbus .......................................................................40 Peregrine Kayaks .....................................................3 Pygmy ............................................................................6 Seaward ........................................................................7 Valley ........................................................................... 20 Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company ...........41 Gear manufacturers: BC Recreation Maps ........................................... 42 Cascade Creek ....................................................... 33 Coastal Waters ....................................................... 33 Danuu Canoe & Kayak Covers ..................... 33 KayakPro ....................................................................46 Lasso Security Cables........................................ 33 Natural West Coast Adventure Gear ........ 33 Nimbus Paddles.................................................... 42 NRS ...............................................................................48 Solo Rescue Assist ............................................... 33 Suspenz Storage Racks .................................... 35 Wild Coast Publishing ....................................... 43 Instruction: Instruction/Education Directory ................ 29 North Island College .......................................... 29 Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.................23 Paddle Canada ...................................................... 14 Repairs: Blackline Marine ...................................................34 Retail outlets/Dealers: Alberni Outpost .................................................... 47 Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe ........................... 45 Comox Valley Kayaks ......................................... 21 Deep Cove Outdoors ...........................................2 OceanRiver Sports............................................... 31 Ottawa Paddle Shack ...........................................6 Western Canoeing & Kayaking .......................2 tours: Coast Mountain Expeditions .........................41 Gulf Islands Kayaking..........................................41 Adventure Resources ........................................ 26

More than just a kayak store VanCOUVeR iSlanDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S PReMieR OUtDOOR StOReS Nanaimo:


Port Alberni:

3200 Island Highway 250-760-0044 1-866-760-0011

3-1661 Cliffe St. Next to Starbucks 250-871-0264

5161 River Road 250-723-2212 1-800-325-3921

Retail CentRe

Retail CentRe

Retail CentRe

More gear. More selection. More locations. Winter 2011






ŠDavid Blue/NRS

Clandestine warriors have more fun.

Ninjas ge The NR t to wear paja m S Ninja PFD m as all day, whic reason akes pa s. No o th ddlers h h makes them and you er life jacket appy fo happy. is r can we ar it ou as comfortable the very sam e tside w or unr ithout u psetting estricting, your m om.

Coast&Kayak Winter 2011  

Join photographer Bob Kandiko on a photo essay of Alaska not to be forgotten. Plus we visit Tasmania, Desolation Sound and try our hand at k...

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