COAST&KAYAK Magazine The magazine of adventure and recreation on the water
Volume 21, Issue 2
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Celebrating the Gulf Islands New marine trail puts serene archipelago in the spotlight
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WEEKLY AND SPECIAL EVENTS THIS SUMMER • Every Wednesday, Women on Water
Women only evening paddle with discounted rentals
• May 15, 2011, Tour De Indian Arm Kayak and SUP Race Come join in fun and test your skills
• June 25, 2011, Stand Up Paddle Board Demo Day Check out what the new boards have to offer
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This issueâ€™s features: 6
Cottonwoods and canyons
A journey down the Upper Missouri
12 Islands of serenity
Touring the new Gulf Islands trail
16 Leg one: Saanich and Sidney 20 Leg two: The South Islands
34 Tours and Services
38 Gear and kayaks
24 Leg three: Saltspring
48 Skillset by Alex Matthews
28 Leg four: The North Islands
50 Starting Out with Gary Doran
40 Build a faux cedar kayak
Materials and plans included!
52 Fishing Angles
44 How close is too close?
Setting seabird viewing guidelines
by Dan Armitage
The First Word
by John Kimantas
How ‘stuff’ can really drag us down Summer 2011
Volume 21, Number 2 PM No. 41687515
Editor John Kimantas Advertising Sales Brent Daniel Copy Editing Darrell Bellaart Cover Photo: Fiddlers Cove on Saltspring Island presents some great examples of fretted sandstone. It’s on the new Gulf Islands Marine Trails Network, with special coverage beginning this issue starting page 12.
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ISSUE AD DEADLINE DISTRIBUTION Fall 2011 July 4 Aug. 1 Winter 2011 Sept. 30 Nov. 1 Spring 2012 Jan. 30 March 1 Summer 2012 April 6 May 14 A product of:
Wild Coast Publishing
I went through a change in situation about 15 years ago (personal, professional and financial – which is just about everything) and rather than lament I decided to look at it as an opportunity. I drew up a list of what I thought was important to use as a guide for re-establishing my new life. After some consideration the list ended with just three things on it (not in any particular order): my health, the people I love and Vancouver Island. Perhaps oddly, neither my career (journalism) nor money were on the list. I decided that the things I valued most didn’t particularly need sums of money. Just the opportunity, which ironically can get lost in the pursuit of stuff (as had happened before). Just this spring I decided to re-evaluate my list. It still holds true, though I look at things a bit more broadly now. Health is still a top priority, as so much of what I love requires the ability to move freely. I have a lot to pack into the next four decades or so, so I have to be in good running order to make the most of it. Vancouver Island is still on the list as well. I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but my scope of world influence is a bit more prevalent now. So there’s a fourth item on my list: world travel. Vancouver Island is still dear to me, though, and I reflect that by being an advocate for preserving what should be preserved; for instance, fighting invasive economic exploitation that threatens the island’s very nature. You can even include all the British Columbia coast in that point. My viewpoint: enjoy it naturally, plus fight to ensure others in future generations will be able to do the same. Back on my list is my career, which is now this magazine and my writing. I’ve decided that I am my work, my work is me. They say do what you love and the money will come. Well, I say do what you love, period. Don’t let money stand in the way. Imagine a world where the great artist and writers decided they couldn’t create because they had to pay rent. What a tragedy that would be. A newly re-emphasized element on my list is minimalism, almost lost amid a cycle of settling down. I am finding the less clutter in life, the more freedom to do things that I truly value. I wonder how many people will go out of this world thinking, “if only my lawn had been a bit greener” or “if I had only worked late more nights at the office.” More likely it will be, “Why didn’t I write that book?” or “Why did I never take that trip to Venice?” What will you find you’ve missed if the time came today? Best to answer the question now, when you can do something about it. You won’t get the chance later! Me, I’m working on one new concept that better melds all the aspects I value in life: a ‘virtual office’ for Coast&Kayak Magazine so we can operate free of physical clutter from anywhere. It’s tougher than it sounds – few businesses have more clutter than the publishing industry – but we’ll get there. I’d love to have you drop by the office to discuss it, but, well, we may be a bit hard to find. You might want to check out the beach. I just might be working from there today. - John Kimantas
PO Box 24, Stn A Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, V9R 5K4 Ph: 1-866-984-6437 • Fax: 1-866-654-1937 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.coastandkayak.com
It was a cold spring for us here on Vancouver Island... Kayaking photos to follow in this space once we thaw out.
© 2010. 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 www.coastandkayak.com
Summer SUMMER2011 2011
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by Michel Tremblay / photos by Jim Romo
he familiar flat prairie slides by hour after hour as I drive until the vegetation speaks of a hotter, drier place. Sage brush dots the rangeland more profusely, its bluish- green hue a testimony to the area’s aridity. Eventually the Bear Paw Mountains appear, perched on the end of the earth far to the south, their peaks brushing the clouds. The town of Havre appears over a rise in the sandstone studded hills – a mix of old west holdouts and sterile modern franchises of aluminium and glass. I drive down to Coal Banks Landing, a United States Forest Service campsite and boat launch, and a popular access point to the White Cliffs section of the Upper Missouri River. My fellow paddlers have already arrived and are organizing their gear. Behind them the Missouri River has worn a gouge into the landscape. Jim Romo, an ecology professor, was my supervisor when I was in graduate school, and is now an old friend.
Uncompromising in thought and action, he is a plain speaking product of the northern prairies. His face is lined from a lifetime of being outdoors. Dave is a long-time friend of Jim’s, and works for the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. Fiftyish and lean of frame, he shakes my hand with a healthy grip, and sizes me up with a narrowed gaze. Dave’s lanky 17-year-old son Alex looks on, uneasy about a strange adult being thrown into the mix. The grey dawn brightens the edge of the horizon as I stir from a mild and restless sleep on hard ground that’s unwelcome for my middle-aged hip. The low clouds march across the sky, herded by a strong northwest wind. We linger over breakfast, hoping that somehow procrastination will change the weather. We marshal the gear, which amounts to a surprising heap, considering the efforts made to pare down to the necessities. The vessels set off, Jim pensive and unsure in the unfamiliar kayak. By the end of the day, he has
Montana Background: A panoramic view of the upper Missouri River. Below: A climb to the ‘Hole in the Wall’ in the White Cliffs section of the Upper Missouri.
& canyons it mastered, and paddles effortlessly down the Missouri. The river is flanked by a high and broad floodplain that narrows as we progress. Cliffs rise ever higher on either side. We are entering the famous ‘White Cliffs’ section of the Upper Missouri. The exposed sandstone is shaped by time and erosion. The low foothills to the south of the Bear Paw Mountains provide a buttress to the view. A large block of sandstone is perched atop the edge of a ridge, looking like a derelict medieval castle. The murky Missouri is high and fast, draining copious late spring rains from its enormous watershed on its long march to the Mississippi. Our 30-km / 50-mile trip is part of the path of the famed 1805-1806 Lewis and Clarke expedition, an effort by the United States government to more closely examine the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase, and to exert a U.S. presence over the largely unexplored territory.
u SUMMER 2011
Two views of the striking White Cliffs of the Upper Missouri River, the result of erosion on light-colored eagle sandstone.
The rain comes down and I hunker down in my kayak, laden down with gear and closed in by a sprayskirt. With rain gear on I am dry, and the miles roll by. The current is deceptively fast, and crossing the river takes considerable effort. Dave and Alex paddle a battered Grumman canoe carrying much of the gear, and suffer the most from the cold and wet. At Eagle Creek we stop to make coffee and warm up. The feeble heat from the fire of rotten cottonwood makes little headway at removing the cold. The prominent black rock perched on the edge of the water is called the Citadel. The dark volcanic rock is a product of geologic events that occurred eons ago – a fact that heightens the sense of isolation in this unfamiliar landscape. I slow down and fall behind, savoring the visual delight, a welcome visual diversity compared to the flat prairie of home. The rhythm of the river becomes more evident. The packing of our camp becomes more nonchalant and quicker. Downriver, the Hole in the Wall is visible rising from the
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Montana edge of the river at the terminus of an angle of debris and a ragged finger of sandstone. We hike up the worn footpath, curiosity and childlike wonder drawing us up the increasingly steep trail studded with Spanish bayonet, minerâ€™s lamp and scarlet globe mallow. Soon we are scrambling up creases in the sandstone. The summit reveals a hidden canyon, the vista exhibiting the many geologic features of the Missouri all at once. On the river I find a message in a bottle and take it to open at home. Jim and I talk about work, family, fishing and other topics at a depth not done before. Old tumbledown farms appear on some of the flats along the river, relics of the ill attempts at farming the small parcels perched along the river. The unwillingness of the landscape to yield to the imposition of a different order resulted in the failure of nearly all. Slaughter River campsite looms and we stop mid-afternoon. I walk up into the hills and discover an old horse-drawn hay mower reclaimed by the gnarled blue sage. I dodge cactus and step carefully, wary of rattlesnakes. On a ridge I find an old mule
deer sign, and in my head plan an ambush along the game trail that winds up into the breaks. To a deer hunter, old habits die hard. At camp, the cottonwood trees serve as a refuge and home for birds from miles around. Eagles, ospreys, pelicans, orioles and other birds use the groves, and the chatter and squawking provide a lively and pleasant background to the afternoon. We load up camp and push out into the current. The valley broadens out, with high badlands perched far back off the river. We pass Slaughter River, so named by Lewis and Clark for the numerous rotting bison carcasses observed there as they struggled upstream in the summer of 1805. Eventually The Judith River appears to the south. I paddle up the Judith as group of suspicious pelicans watch me from a guano-covered cottonwood snag lodged in the confluence of the rivers. I pass through a channel where I see a beaver, a mule deer and a wood duck with her brood. She is not pleased about my intrusion, and tries to draw me away from her offspring by feigning injury. u
Destinations The takeout point comes into view, and disappointment sets in. As darkness falls, we sit around the campfire, Alex long asleep, bored of the talk of middle-aged men. We stay up late, relating stories of other treks. Of close brushes with grizzlies while hiking in Montana, elk hunting in Idaho, and moose hunting in northern Saskatchewan. The stars grow brighter and the light of the fire plays on the lines on the faces of men who have spent years seeking out wilderness. The next day we part company with renewed and new friendships, and a vow to paddle the next 50 miles of the Missouri, through the badlands, next year.
Coal Banks Landing Malta Havre 2 Bearpaw Fort Peck Mountains 75 Ft. Benson 87 Missouri R Great Falls . Judith Landing Missoula Shelby
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< A native of Saskatchewan, Michel Tremblay has spent a lifetime outdoors hunting, camping, fishing and paddling and holds a Masterâ€™s Degree in ecology from the University of Saskatchewan.
to visit Vancouver Island North this summer
Background photo is White Cliff Islets in Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park / John Kimantas photo. Inset photo is the Alert Bay 360 in 2010 / Robin Thacker photo.
1. Broughton Archipelago The Broughtons are a veritable maze of islands, islets and reefs northeast of Port McNeill that offer world-class kayaking and killer whale viewing in the protection of Broughton Island Marine Provincial Park. Camp at quiet sites with marine access only, or bunk in at a remote floating lodge . Enjoy wilderness at its best while taking advantage of the array of accommodations, dining and transportation services designed to make your visit unforgettable. To plan your trip, visit www. vancouverislandnorth.ca
Alert Bay Lodge Waterfront Accommodation Overlooking Johnstone Strait - Genuine hospitality & home-cooked meals - Grizzly, whale tours & private charters
549 Fir Street, Alert Bay, BC P: 250-974-2410 • 1-800-255-5057 www.alertbaylodge.com
Broughton Archipelago Paddlers’ Inn Floathouse Inn & Cabin • Waterfront Cottage Kayak Tours & Rentals • Catered or Kitchenettes Water Taxi Service • On-site Massage
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Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce/ Visitor Centre Welcome to a wilderness mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Port McNeill is a paddlers paradise with easy access to the Broughton Archipelago. 1594 Beach Dr, Port McNeill, BC Phone: 250-956-3131 • 1-888-956-3131 www.portmcneill.net
www.vancouverislandnorth.ca SUMMER 2011
2. Alert Bay 360
Now in its third year, the Alert Bay 360 offers the best mix of competition, camaraderie and culture. The race for all levels of interest takes place around Cormorant Island July 31, and offers thousands of dollars in prizes as well as a Big House celebration, a seafood buffet and First Nations cultural dance performances. Get there early and enjoy the pre-race comforts of waterfront lodging in Alert Bay. Or visit anytime to discover the wonder of orcas in Johnstone Strait, the masks of the U’Mista Cultural Centre and the welcoming atmosphere of communities like Alert Bay and Port McNeill. For details and to register, visit www.alertbay360.ca
The BC Marine Trail
by John Kimantas
Official status to routes through Vancouver Island’s Gulf Islands will ensure passage for future generations through some of the most idyllic kayaking locations imaginable. It is a route truly composed of
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8 Maple Bay Ä
8 8 8 Ä Ä Ä 8
8 Saltspring I.
Alternative site Proposed site Access site
Cowichan Bay Ä
Proposed access site Coast&Kayak access site* Coast&Kayak campsite* * These sites are presented as a courtesy by Coast&Kayak for trip planning but are not a part of the BC Marine Trails Network Association’s inventory or otherwise currently linked to the marine trail.
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8 8 8 8 Portland I.
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8 D’Arcy I.
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The Gulf Islands
ike many other kayakers, I got my feet wet by learning to paddle in the Gulf Islands. The wild west coast of Vancouver Island was simply too tempestuous to consider in those early days, so I was happy to explore the relatively calm and sheltered southeast coast of Vancouver Island and the myriad of nearby islands. Here the interplay of water and land is at its finest. Nestled between the mountains of Vancouver Island and the more open waters of the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands claim Canada’s most Mediterranean and therefore best climate – that is, mild conditions year-round and considerably less rainfall than many nearby urban centers such as Vancouver. The difference is so striking it’s not unusual to paddle here in sunshine while clouds linger over both Vancouver Island and the mainland BC mountains. Protected by a virtual land bridge, the inner waters of the Gulf Islands can be highly protected, getting none of the ocean swell and considerably less of the wind that can
embattle other passages in the area such as Haro and Juan de Fuca straits. Not that it is all placid all the time. Hardly. The long passages create strong currents that in turn create some of the strongest tidal rapids on the coast, such as Dodd Narrows, Porlier Passage and Active Pass. Cross any of these during peak periods at your peril. Or enjoy as part of a paddler’s adventure, or cross at slack current. There’s no need to take risks here if you’re not in the mind to. Simply pick the type of adventure right for you – from placid day trips in coves to explore the intertidal life, to energetic day trips with picnics on a nearby (or distant) island, to multi-day adventures through largely unpopulated wilderness settings. That the Gulf Islands should compose an inaugural section of the future BC Marine Trail is fitting – and altogether overdue, considering the strains on this fragile island network and its elaborately unique but shrinking ecosystem.
Water takes on a tropical hue in the collection of islets off Prevost Island. Photo by Dan Millsip
The biggest problem facing the Gulf Islands is the fact that it has been discovered. Once a refuge for hippies, artisans and just a few others, it is now an elite location to live, valued for its idyllic temperatures (by Canadian standards), low rainfall, beautiful scenery and the odd but somehow desirable island lifestyle. Where once were empty properties or perhaps just a cabin there is now just as likely to be elite estates dotting the waterfront. Recreational traffic is also on the rise, with more boaters, campers, hikers, day trippers and local traffic than ever. The competition for space has meant an increased emphasis on conservation, highlighted by the creation of the Gulf Islands National Park in 2005. The park added a considerable amount of newly protected land, particularly on Saturna Island and the Penders, but reached the minimum land required to become a national park only by absorbing existing provincial parks in the south Gulf Islands – an indication of the restraints on land here. With that background and a mission to create a province-wide marine trail, the BC Marine Trails Network Association began the challenge of piecing together routes to link the various existing components of kayaking resources while hopefully finding a few new ones. It wasn’t easy. An earlier attempt to create a BC marine trail in the mid 1990s had one success – the creation of a campsite at Blackberry Point on Valdes
Dan Millsip photo
The BC Marine Trail
BC Marine Trails Network Association director Mick Allen paddles late in the day near Prevost Island. Parks Canada has played a critical role in the development of the marine trail by including national park sites like those on Prevost Island in the official marine trail inventory.
Island. Negotiated through a lease with the forestry company land owners, the lease has long since expired, along with the original marine trail group that created it. The current land owners have not renewed the lease, and the property now sits in limbo – a source of consternation for BC’s kayakers. So it should be no surprise that substantial holes exist in the inaugural Gulf Islands marine trail inventory, with major gaps particularly around Mayne and Galiano islands. Even so, it’s a start, to be made official at the trail’s grand opening in Ladysmith at the Vancouver Island Paddlefest on May 14.
There friends and supporters of the trail will converge en masse in canoes and kayaks to Transfer Beach for the official ribbon cutting (see page 31 for details). It may well become the single largest paddling event in the history of the province. For organizers it’s a relief to finally see the official status unfold. “It’s really starting, it is really beginning with this grand opening,” says Stephanie Meinke, the president of the BCMTNA. “We’re going to have sites, we’re going to be on the map, we’re going to be visible. And from there I think the initiative will increase in speed.”
The Gulf Islands
NEW THREE SIZES
TWO CHOICES OF MATERIAL POLYETHYLENE
photo: B. Lemeunier
While only the Gulf Islands Marine Trails Network and the West Coast Vancouver Island North section (see the Spring 2011 Coast&Kayak) will get the official nod at the grand opening, two other key trail sections aren’t far behind: the route north from the Gulf Islands through the Discovery Islands to Port Hardy, and the West Coast Vancouver Island South section from Tofino to Victoria. Together all four trails will compose a loop around Vancouver Island. While officially ready to launch, the Gulf Islands Marine Trails Network certainly has a long way to go. Most sites that are part of the official announcement pre-exist, meaning few breakthroughs out of the gate, though one new site on Vancouver Island near Crofton bodes well for municipal participation in Cowichan Valley. And even if limited, what exists now is being viewed as a huge victory, and the start of more progress to follow. “Now they’re secured,” says Stephanie. “We know that no other competitive interest will take them. There will always be a place for the public.”
Kayak availability may vary depending on time. Please contact your BORÉALDESIGN dealer for more information.
The BC Marine Trail
uins of A lepers colony, a smugglers’ haven, an old explosives factory and even a bomb shelter bunker – there’s a lot of history hidden in the little group of islands off the east side of Saanich Peninsula. If you’re not familiar with the peninsula, picture that it juts northward from Victoria to bisect southeast Vancouver Island, creating an ideal countryside environment for numerous semi-rural communities, where farms tend to outnumber housing developments. To the west of the peninsula is Saanich Inlet, a twisting stretch of water bounded by mountains that make it Vancouver Island’s only east coast fjord, famous for its deep, still waters home to unusual sponges. Spectacular viewpoints of the inlet are the reward at vantage points on the nearby peaks. The west side of the peninsula is bordered by a web of islands just a hop and skip across Haro Strait to the San Juan Islands in the U.S. The islands here are the destination for many a beginner kayaker’s first overnight trip. It can also serve as the ideal place to stoke a life-long love affair with
the Gulf Islands. It is, after all, an ideal kayaking destination. Distances are short, the scenery is varied, wildlife abundant, campsites numerous and despite the close proximity, civilization seems to melt away. Quick connections by ferry from both the B.C. mainland and Washington State make launching into these islands ideal as either short paddles and day trips or the jumping point into the myriad of the larger Gulf Islands nearby. The creation of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in 2005 changed the landscape here, with D’Arcy Island, Sidney Spit, Rum Island and Portland Island trading hands from provincial parks to the federal reserve. Going with them were many of the Crown islets that dot the area. The national park quickly banned public access to these islets to help protect the sensitive environment. While commendable, it did remove several key unofficial paddling campsites from the region. Once all fair game for visits, only one islet in this cluster remains accessible for picnics and short stays by kayakers – Dock Island.
8 Arbutus Pt.
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Gowlland Tod Provincial Park COAST&KAYAK Magazine Goldstream Provincial Park
D’Arcy I. 8
A kayaker takes a break at Shell Beach on Prevost Island. Formerly a provincial park, it was a gift to Princess Margaret, who returned it to British Columbia for a park to mark Canada’s centennial year. Photo by Shannon Parker.
The Gulf Islands
Saanich & Sidney u
Unfortunately, many of the other islands outside the national park reserve are private. Some, like Piers Island, are subdivided into postage stamp-sized properties that are hemmed in with homes – the worst fate for any Gulf Island. Other islands are exclusive retreats for the very rich, such as James Island, owned by Seattle cell phone billionaire Craig McCaw and topped with its own Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Fortunately due to Canadian law, intertidal areas are public domain, meaning James Island’s sandy beaches can still be enjoyed by everyone – up to the high tide line only, of course. Better yet, many of the most notable features of these islands are protected within the Gulf Islands National Park reserve. Remains of an old lepers colony can be found along
a trail on D’Arcy Island. Sidney Spit is home to a wonderful sand spit and intertidal eelgrass bed invariably populated by cranes feeding in the shallows. And an old bomb shelter sits in the field on Sidney Island near Sidney Spit. Add a good chance of seeing killer whales, plus the inevitable bald eagles, seals, sea lions and otters, and you have the makings for a grand wildlife outing while barely leaving your launch site. Launch sites, however, can pose a quandary as accesses are infrequent and generally guarded against overnight parking. Enter the BC Marine Trail Network Association, which is negotiating with communities along the trail route to gain suitable access without running the risk of being towed. u SUMMER 2011
The BC Marine Trail
This area is a prime location for beginners who want worry-free paddling destinations with overnight options. Chances of seeing a pod of killer whales are also exceptionally high here. A good logistical base camp is McDonald Campground near Sidney. It is part of the national park created as a convenient center for exploring the park’s various locales. Access Points: Sidney is the key community for starting out in this region, but while beach access points are numerous, parking restrictions can make overnight parking a headache. Expect the possibility of unloading at one location then parking and walking back – at least until the marine trail’s parking details are worked out. Tulista Park just south of the ferry terminal is a good option, as is Cy Hampson Park, a waterfront park just south of Sidney. Island View Beach Regional Park is a great launch location for points to the south, but overnight parking is currently restricted. Destinations: D’Arcy Island. This former provincial park, now part of the national park, has a beach and campsite on the northeast side facing Little D’Arcy (a private island). Trails circle the island and lead to the ruins of a lepers colony on the west side. The colony is one of the darker aspects of Vancouver
David Thompson photo
u Trail guide preview: Saanich and Sidney
Kayaking past the landmark sand cliffs of James Island.
Island’s history, as residents were secreted here from 1890 to 1924 against their will and essentially left as outcasts to survive as best they could. The crossing is as little as 8 km / 5 miles from Island View Beach, or about 12 km / 7 miles if connecting to Sidney Spit. Sidney Spit. Another former provincial park, this national park property is unique in that it is serviced by a foot passenger ferry during the summer, which allows for walk-in camping and hiking. Camping spots have moved twice in recent years, the last move away from the waterfront. The key attraction is an expansive sandy spit that extends almost 2 km (over a mile) at low tide. The lagoon created by the spit is ecologically exceptional, with great blue heron the most obvious resident. The island was once home to a brick factory
(which will explain the considerable debris). Examine the field behind the campsite to locate the World War Two bomb shelter, built because an explosives plant on James Island was considered a target. Sidney Spit is about a 5 km / 3 mile paddle from downtown Sidney, or about 9 km / 5.5 miles from a connection with Rum Island. Rum Island. This island came by its name honestly as a haven for rum runners during the U.S. prohibition. It was bequeathed as a provincial park by its last owner, then transferred to the national park. Camping is on a bluff on the island’s south side. Landing is on a tombolo that joins Rum with neighboring Gooch Island, a private island. A trail circles Rum Island. It is about 10 km / 6 miles across simple water from downtown Sidney, and about 11 km / 7 miles to Portland Island. Portland Island: This is a key kayaking destination, with prime camping at Shell Beach on the south and Arbutus Point to the north. A less used option is at Princess Bay. Trails circle the island. If exploring by water, intertidal life at lower tides is exceptional. It is about 5 km / 3 miles from the government dock at Swartz Bay next to the ferry terminal or 8 km / 5 miles from Sidney. Water here can be challenging crossing Shute Passage, plus ferries are fast and frequent. From here Bedwell Harbour on South Pender is about 12 km while James Bay on Prevost Island is 15 km / 9.5 miles. Portland Island can also be reached from Fulford Harbour on Saltspring, a paddle of about 8 km / 5 miles. Saanich Inlet: Running the length of this inlet would entail 24 km / 15 miles one way from Moses Point on down, but really only the lower portion is exceptional for its scenery, making Brentwood Bay an ideal launch location. Because there are no campsites, day trips are really the only option (Bamberton Provincial Park is on the water but not well suited for kayakers). Goldstream Provincial Park protects the south end of the inlet (camping is an off-water option there too). Access to the Goldstream River estuary is restricted to protect the abundant bird life, which includes numerous bald eagles, especially during salmon runs.
The Gulf Islands
vpo.ca SUMMER 2011
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The Gulf Islands
Leg two: T
here is no doubt the Gulf Islands straddle two worlds. The rugged wilderness and unspoiled vistas that define the islands are definitely at odds with those places tamed for residential use. The outer islands share the best and worst of both. If you are looking for untrammeled shoreline and mountainous scenery, Saturna Island is the beacon, made brighter with the inclusion of much of the island into the Gulf Islands National Park reserve. Counter that with Magic Island Estates, a suburban-style housing development that was pushed through in the 1970s that gave rise to the sudden realization that development restrictions in the islands were non-existent. Steps have since been taken to minimize development on what is left, but the Pender Islands and Mayne Island share a similar fate that the vast majority of these islands are private property. On this beauty, access and ecological sensitivity hath no bearing. Changing the landscape for the better is the national park, which has snapped up numerous properties on the Penders since its creation in 2005. While camping for kayakers on the Penders is currently limited to Beaumont Park in Bedwell Harbour, a new and highly strategic site has been added at Narvaez Bay on Saturna. A closed road provides hiking access to Narvaez Bay, while unofficial trails skirt the top and shoreline below Brown Ridge, a distinctive and aptly named mountain bluff that serves as prime raptor habitat. The Narvaez Bay campsite helps fill a needed hole in a
route of the area, but a site remains elusive in the proximity of Mayne Island. Marine trail organizers are hoping commercial operators can fill the gap until a new location is secured. Coupled with that is the unanswered problem of launching from the islands. The BCMTNA’s focus to date has been on access points from Vancouver Island. While there are numerous island beach accesses, they are invariably meant for local day use. Parking restrictions are usually prohibitive, particularly around the few boat launches. While the larger islands provide protection from the more open waters of the Strait of Georgia, don’t be fooled into complacency here. While potentially idyllic, currents can run extremely high and become dangerous in passes such as Boat Passage and East Point off Saturna, Active Pass and Georgeson Passage off Mayne Island. Many a kayaker has had to sit at Winter Cove to await slack current in Boat Passage. Highlights are numerous, with explorations of Saturna Island’s south coast among the best anywhere for its cliffs, sand beaches, unusual rock formations and mountainous backdrop. Bedwell Harbour offers much the same in a smaller scale with a more developed setting of housing, moorage and marinas, while Mayne Island is best probably as a starting point only: it has little to offer in the way of wilderness. The exceptions are Georgina Point, Deacon Hill, Helen Point and Active Pass, which offer the most interesting paddling, even with the boating congestion. u
Paddling past Monarch Head on Saturna Island on the way to Narvaez Bay. This is a particularly scenic stretch protected as part of the Gulf Islands National Park. Photo by John Kimantas
The BC Marine Trail
u Trail guide preview: the South Islands With distances greater, camping options more spread out and a greater likelihood of problems such as currents and wind, care in trip planning is essential here – unless you plan shorter trips such as an exploration of Bedwell Harbour or Winter Cove. Launches: While some paddlers could reach the Penders and Saturna easily from Saanich or Sidney, realistically most visitors will likely prefer to launch from one of the islands. Which one you start from depends largely on the area you’d like to visit, but equally important are ferry connections, which can involve multiple stops. Saturna, naturally, is usually the most time-consuming to reach. Launch options are marked on the maps to help with trip planning, but please note the ones with black icons aren’t official marine trail locations. For more information on these sites, see The Wild Coast Vol. 3. Destinations: Moresby Island. This is a private but mostly pristine island with some great shoreline to explore. It makes a wonderful side trip to a stay at Portland Island. Bedwell Harbour. While hardly pristine, this is a nicely sheltered area that is one of the key four-season paddling locations in the Gulf Islands. Camping is possible at Beaumont, the former provincial park now folded into the national park. Hiking is possible to a lookout atop Mount Norman. A unique feature here is the trestle bridge that joins the two Pender islands (the only bridge in the Gulf Islands). Currents can be considerable through the pass. Beaches can be found at
Beaumont, Medicine Beach (an ecological reserve) and Mortimer Spit north of the bridge. The campsite is about 14 km / 9 miles from Portland Island. South Saturna. Isolation and steep shoreline have kept this area largely undeveloped, and consequently made ideal property for the new national park. The largest stretch of protected shoreline in the Gulf Islands runs 4 km / 2.5 miles from Trueworthy Bight to Taylor Point, where a sandy beach provides access to the ruins of an old homestead. Java Islets nearby are protected national park islets with no access allowed. At Narvaez Bay is the new national park campsite, with dramatic cliffs at Monarch Head. Adjacent is Echo Bay, a beautiful little cove with a trail to the outer point. Another beautiful beach and unusual rock formations can be found at Fiddlers Cove, part of the Saturna Island Indian Reserve. Consider a launch from Saturna Beach; stop at the nearby vineyard during your visit. It is 16 km / 10 miles from Beaumont to the campsite at Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island or 23 km / 14 miles to James Bay on Prevost Island. Note currents can be strong through here with rips off Monarch Head and Java Islets. North Saturna. Winter Cove is a former provincial park now in the national park that offers a boat launch, picnic sites and trails but no camping. Boat Passage is best navigated at slack. The north Saturna shoreline is low bank to Tumbo Island, where you’ll find beaches and a scenic trail. Nearby Cabbage Island offers camping. Reefs make exploration interesting. East
Point is prone to strong currents and nasty rips. Time a visit accordingly. Samuel Island. This island is the largest between Mayne and Saturna and creates two very strong tidal channels to either side. The offlying Belle Chain Islets and Georgeson Island are part of the national park with no access except the islet closest to Samuel (known as Little Samuel) where day use is allowed at the south beach. Largely undeveloped land along this side of Mayne Island makes for interesting exploration in Horton, Bennett and Campbell Bays. Active Pass. Exploration is a risky prospect in this narrow and twisting passage given exceptionally high boat traffic. Expect two large ferries to pass here on their way between Victoria and Vancouver. Keep well to the sides and monitor call-in points on Channel 11 to keep tabs on traffic (large vessels must call in before entering the pass). Helen Point is an unoccupied First Nations reserve with a nice beach, while Galiano Island is highly mountainous and scattered with provincial and regional parks along much of the Active Pass shore. A decommissioned lighthouse at Georgina Point provides a pleasant landmark.
Count the goats Wildlife viewing that includes goats? Yes! Goats can often be seen scaling the steep shorelines of Saturna and Prevost islands based on the simple fact they have no predators and can’t go anywhere. But while interesting to watch they have a price: their voracious appetite includes the endangered native foliage, raising an issue that may eventually see them removed.
SALES * RENTALS * INSTRUCTION * DAY TOURS
Gulf Islands Brooks/Kyuquot Marine Trail
red hair band
Brand New Red Kevlar Telkwa Sport
red lip stick
red car ( in parking lot )
Comox Valley Kayaks & Canoes by the water in Courtenay , Vancouver Island, BC
“ WE ARE A PADDLING SHOP ” SUMMER 2011
Penelakut (Kuper) I.
8 Chivers Pt.
To Pirates Cove
Bodega Ridge Provincial Park
8 Cabin Bay
8 Pebble Beach
The BC Marine Trail 8 Conover Cove Wallace I.
8 Tent I.
Ä Hudson Pt.
To Kuper Island
Ballingal Islets Ecological Reserve Montague Harbour Provincial Park
Walker Hook Ä
Ä a li
8 nel Parker I.
Ä Vesuvius Bay
Crofton Booth Bay
Ä Ganges Harbour Harbour
James Bay 8
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Ä Maple Bay
Mount Maxwell Provincial Park
Baynes Peak Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park
8 Mount Tzuhalem
Ruckle Provincial Park
Stoney Hill Mount Sullivan
Fulford Harbour Hope Hill
Ä 8 24 24
COAST&KAYAK Magazine Magazine COAST&KAYAK
SUMMER Summer 2011 2011
Mount Tuam Ecological Reserve
To Saanich Inlet
The Gulf Islands
Leg three: Galiano I.
Ă„ Sutil Mtn .
Bellhouse Bluff Park
Collinson Pt. Provincial Park Active Pass
Mayne I. To Saturna Island
To the Penders
The sun sets in this view from Tent Island. Though not part of the marine trail, it offers a great potential campsite courtesy the Penelakut First Nation. Photo by John Kimantas.
o call Saltspring Island the heart of the Gulf Islands is to acknowledge not only its domineering physical presence (capped by the highest peaks in the region), but also the cultural spirit reflected in a bustling community of arts, boutiques and bed&breakfasts. Saltspring is the most populated of all the Gulf Islands, at about 10,000 people, most of whom reside near Vesuvius Bay or Ganges Harbour. Few inhabit the south island, which is highly mountainous and consequently dotted by trails and a smattering of parks. To the north of Saltspring is Galiano Island, another key center. The population tends to cluster near Active Pass near the ferry terminal at Sturdies Bay. Direct ferry service from Vancouver helps both islands with their roles as holiday destinations and as homes away from home. Those seeking to leave civilization behind wonâ€™t need to go far from either island. As south Saltspring is largely uninhabited, so goes north Galiano Island. Both areas are blessed with mostly steep shorelines, which makes kayak exploration a great way to explore. Shoreline parks also abound, with Wallace and Prevost islands key kayaking destinations. Currents through the region can run high and are highest in Active Pass, while Sansum Narrows can be a novice whitewater adventure with rips. Winds also funnel down Sansum and Trincomali Channel to the north, so plan travel times to accommodate the worst.
u 8 Portland I.
SUMMER Summer2011 2011
COAST&KAYAK Magazine Magazine COAST&KAYAK
The BC Marine Trail
u Trail guide preview: Saltspring
Touring Whitewater Recreational
Access: Numerous ways exist to launch from both Saltspring and Galiano, as well as from strategic locations on Vancouver Island. For launches from Galiano, Montague Harbour Provincial Park is a convenient and sheltered location. On Saltspring, most harbours and bays have boat ramps or beach accesses. Most of those options are marked on the map on page 24. From Vancouver Island, Swartz Bay on the top of Saanich Peninsula (see page 16), Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay and Crofton all offer access to Saltspring’s east and south side, particularly Sansum Narrows. Destinations: Fulford Harbour. Off-lying Russell Island is a great attraction with a good beach, a jetty for boat landings, a trail and historical buildings that reflect a long history of pioneer occupation by Hawaiians, a unique cultural connection. Ganges Harbour. The commercial and cultural heart of Saltspring, the harbour has a long chain of islands to explore with a beautiful picnic stop at Chocolate Beach on Third Sister Island – a great beginner’s outing and half-day trip. Prevost Island. Arguably the prettiest of the smaller Gulf Islands, the east shore is dotted with islets, a historic lighthouse, coves and cliffs. James Bay is a highly strategic kayak campsite, though not necessarily the prettiest, but large enough for multiple groups. Most of the island is private but undeveloped. Hopefully the national park will snap up the rest of the island before that can happen. Easy access is possible from Ganges, Long Harbour and Montague Harbour as well as the Penders
Crystal-X Proudly Canadian
and Mayne Island, though watch for rips off Long Harbour in Captain Passage. It is strategic for routes from Portland Island and Beaumont on South Pender. It is 19 km / 12 miles to Wallace Island. Montague Harbour. This provincial park on Galiano is a good base for
What’s in a name? Nothing accurate! The Gulf Islands have a long history of misnomers, with more being added all the time. Consider the name itself is an error. The Gulf Islands were so named for the proximity to the Gulf of Georgia by Capt. George Vancouver back in 1792. Except it wasn’t a gulf, and when the error was discovered that name was changed to the Strait of Georgia (that was 1865), but the islands themselves were never corrected and so they are actually the Gulfless Islands. Saltspring Island goes as “Salt Spring” as often as not, but be sure the original reference is a single word. If you go back further you’ll find it called Chuan Island, or perhaps even Ranfurley Island. The latest error is how to define the Gulf Islands. A political strategy of the 1990s defined the Gulf Islands as any island in the Georgia Basin, so including Texada, Bowen, and possibly even Quadra Island well to the north. The true definition is the area of islands within the triangle bounded by D’Arcy, Saturna and Gabriola islands, leaving out Newcastle Island for some odd reason.
Vincent Delogne photo
The Gulf Islands
Chivers Point on Wallace Island can fill quickly with kayakers during the summer. The beach may not be the best but what it lacks in sprawling sand it makes up for in protection. Walking trails add to the appeal.
land exploration, but has limitations as a kayaking destination, particularly as campsite reservations are pretty much a necessity in summer. Prevost Island is preferable for kayakers. Beautiful cliffs nearby make great exploring along the nearby Galiano shoreline. Wallace Island. This provincial park features three possible kayak camping locations. The most popular is Chivers Point on the northwest tip. Trails cross the island while old cottages of the former resort speak of the history. Sansum Narrows. This tidal channel has a few rips and strong currents in portions, but otherwise expect bays and vistas alongside the tallest mountains in the Gulf Islands. Funneling wind can be an obstacle to a simple transit. A new camping option is being opened at Osborne Bay Park, thanks to the Cowichan Valley Regional District. A great launch for day trips is Maple Bay; good picnic sites can be found near Maxwell Point (though within the provincial park shoreline access is prohibited). Cowichan Bay also offers sheltered paddling and a prime entry point to south Saltspring.
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The BC Marine Trail
Newcastle Island Provincial Park
8 Protection I.
Ä Descanso Bay 8 Regional Park Nanaimo
Gabriola I. Silva Bay Ä Drumbeg Provincial Park
Flat Top Islands
Wakes Cove 8 Provincial Park
Cedar Ä De Courcy I. Boat Harbour Ä
8 Provincial Park Ruxton I. Pylades I.
Valdes I. Blackberry Pt.
Ä Blue Heron Park
Ladysmith Transfer Beach Ä
Penelakut (Kuper) I.
Tent I. 8
The Gulf Islands
The North Islands r rlie Po
ss Pa Dionisio Provincial Park
he sandstone formations in these islands are remarkable, not just in appearance but also in history. Back in 1792 some sketches were made of one particular overhanging sandstone gallery by an artist on an expedition commanded by the Spanish explorer Galiano. The namesake Galiano Gallery on Gabriola Island, an overhanging sandstone shelf extending 90 meters / 300 feet, became famous as a result. It’s a local park today, but while the most famous it’s not alone for the dramatic sandstone rocks. Galleries, ledges and fretted “brain rock” sandstone abound throughout these islands. A key kayaking route for this region is from Cedar down the DeCourcy Group to Pirates Cove, the whimsical name for a provincial park and a key kayaking campsite and anchorage. This area’s fame comes way of Brother XII, a cult leader immortalized in court proceedings that charged fraud as well as stories of black magic, hanky-panky, coercion and the role of a whip-wielding Madam Zee. It’s much tamer there today, of course, though raccoons are known to have lively 3 a.m. revelries at the expense of a camper’s poorly stowed picnic basket. Of all the large Gulf Islands, Valdes is remarkable for being the only one without BC Ferries service, which in turn means fewer residents and more undeveloped land. Most of the island is designated for forestry, with logging roads providing land access. A newly protected area is Wakes Cove, purchased in 2003. By contrast Gabriola Island has a high residential population and only a scattering of protected shoreline, notably a regional campsite at Descanso Bay and a provincial park at Drumbeg. Thetis Island is a haven for religious summer camps, for some odd reason, while Penelakut Island (changed from Kuper Island in 2010) is a Penelakut First Nation reserve with some housing and a beautiful sand spit on the north end. Tent Island is also a reserve. While not part of the marine trail system, camping is allowed there by arrangement with the band. The island itself is phenomenally beautiful and a highlight of the area, which already boasts many.
u 8 Galiano I.
Intricate sandstone patterns define this part of the Gulf Islands. Photo by Reale Edmond.
8 Chivers Pt. Wallace I. 8 Cabin Bay
8 Conover Cove Saltspring I.
The BC Marine Trail
u Trail guide preview: the North Islands Launches: Boat ramps in Chemainus and Cedar on Vancouver Island provide critical access for all types of boats, while kayakers can round out the assortment of options by using parks like Drumbeg on Gabriola or Evening Cove at the north entrance to Ladysmith Harbour. The main options are marked on the map on page 28. Destinations: North Galiano. Porlier Pass is a dangerous tidal passage with strong currents, rips and overfalls, so time a crossing for slack tide. Once on the outside Dionisio Provincial Park offers camping (not yet part of the official marine trail inventory) and a great day-use beach at Coon Bay plus trails. It is highly recommended. Thetis and Penelakut islands. This odd pair is split by a narrow dredged channel that can run shallow even for kayaks. Thetis is partly residential and partly sprawling bible camps. Penelakut Island is a Penelakut band reserve, and mostly undeveloped. The sandy spit on the northeast end is a great picnic destination. While most of the small nearby islands are private, Tent Island is a Penelakut property but with access for camping. Ask for permission with the band office at 250246-2321. The island is wonderfully scenic with some beautiful cliffs and beaches. Blackberry Point. The first marine trail campsite, it now sits in limbo as the lease with the current owners has expired. Though now unofficial, camping is not specifically banned (knock on wood). To the north is a log dump with a bit of a beach that allows access to the islandâ€™s interior via
Paddling past the Secretary Islands north of Thetis Island.
logging roads. The DeCourcy Group. This line of islands runs from Vancouver Island at Dodd Narrows, a potentially dangerous tidal passage, southeast to Pylades Island. Spectacular sandstone formations can be found along most islands but particularly south DeCourcy Island. Pirates Cove is the main kayaking campsite and a popular anchorage. A great clamshell beach sits off Ruxton Island and is a perfect kayak stop at low tides. The campsite at Pirates Cove is 20 km / 12 miles from Wallace Island. Ladysmith Harbour. The Vancouver Island Paddlefest is held at Transfer Beach, which is a natural kayak launch for explorations of the harbour all year round. The harbour makes a novice agenda that can include the Dunsmuir Islands or out to the beach at Evening Cove (an alternative launch site). Flat Top Islands. Located off the east end of Gabriola Island, this collection of
SUMMER SUMMER2011 2011
islands is all private except for two islets off Saturnina Island. Launching is possible from Silva Bay, which offers services, or Drumbeg Park. Nearby Kendrick Island is adjoined by a smaller islet that can also serve for casual camping. Gabriola Passage runs several knots and can have dangerous rips. Wakes Cove is now a provincial park and a good picnic location. Nanaimo Harbour. Home to Coast&Kayak Magazine, Nanaimo is a busy port town reflected in the ferry terminal, shipping traffic and many marinas. However, the bustle melts away in the cover of Newcastle Island, a provincial park set smack in the middle of the harbour that offers a network of trails as long as 10 km each, beaches and camping. Jesse Island, to the north, has the only paddle-through caves in the Gulf Islands. Protection Island to the south is mostly private and highly developed, with the attraction being a floating pub. See you there!
The Gulf Islands
The BC Marine Trails Network Is Here! Join in a FLOTILLA of KAYAKS and CANOES on the water at The VANCOUVER ISLAND PADDLEFEST in Ladysmith,BC MAY 14TH, 2011 PURPOSE: To create a Marine Trails Opening Events SPLASH that will NOT be forgotten! Register here - www.bcmarinetrails.org As of May 14th the first 2 sections of the BC Marine Trails Network (West Coast Vancouver Island North Trails and Gulf Islands Trails) will be officially opened. The BC Marine Trails Network is an interconnecting series of access/launch sites and campsites for users of small, beachable watercraft, mostly hand powered such as kayaks and canoes, which will cover the entire coast of British Columbia. At its completion, the BC Marine Trails Network will become the longest continuous water trail in the world!
Follow us online at
www.bcmarinetrails.org The BCMTNA Vision: A Marine Trails Network, Designed by Paddlers, Secured by Government. BCMTNA MEMBER CLUBS: • Campbell River Paddlers • Comox Valley Paddlers Club • Cowichan Kayak and Canoe Club • Nanaimo Paddlers • Pacific International Kayak Association • Recreational Canoeing Association of BC • Sea Kayak Association of BC • South Island Sea Kayak Association • Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club
Sponsors of the BCMTN include:
The BC Marine Trail
u Trail guide preview: running the Gulf Islands The BCMTNA is adding the word “network” to the Gulf Islands Marine Trail because there is no specific single route. Rather, there is a spiderweb of potential travel options that defy the best definition of trail, because, really, once you’re in the Gulf Islands you can’t really fall outside a route. Having acknowledged the freeform nature of kayaking here, the other side of the coin is the island cluster begins near Sidney and ends in Nanaimo (or visa versa). And so a linear trip, either end to end or there and back, is certainly possible. There are three major options for completing this goal: the inside route through Sansum Narrows, the outer route through Trincomali Channel, and the outside route along the Strait of Georgia. For sheer adventure and relative isolation, the outside route is a challenge worth considering. Official campsites are harder to come by, but a run from Kendrick Islet to Dionisio to Pebble Beach to Cabbage Island is realistic and achievable, with the caveat that poor conditions are amplified on the more exposed side of the Gulf Islands.
The outer route is arguably more scenic, given that the tilt of the islands favors cliffs to the inside. So great scenery exists along south Valdes, Galiano and Saturna islands. The mountain scenery is dramatic along the inside route through Sansum Narrows, plus you can avoid the residential humdrummery of Vancouver Island by scooting along Thetis and Kuper islands once past Saltspring. Circumnavigations are another option for extending trips. Saltspring Island could conceivably be a long weekend excursion (though a fourth day would come in handy). Careful timing of the outer islands is necessary due to the tidal passages at every end of all of them: Gabriola, Valdes, Galiano, Mayne and Saturna. The great thing is the possible permutations mean it could take years to cover all the islands, and by then you’ll be ready to do the best bits again. To keep track of changes in the marine trail, including new sites and new legs as they are announced, visit www.bcmarinetrails.org
If you’re looking for a better map... Coast&Kayak’s parent company Wild Coast Publishing has produced a detailed, full-colour 24x36” double sided Gulf Islands map in anticipation of the Gulf Islands Marine Trails Network. It includes information on route options, distances between key sites and features and items of interest for kayakers not on Hydrographic Services marine charts. The map is available online at www.coastandkayak.com under the Products/Services tab.
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Gulf Islands Marine Trail: Tours and Services
Featured in this edition, the Gulf Islands offer serene paddling from island to island in mostly protected waters. Look to these tour, transportation and service options to add the carefree magic to your Gulf Islands kayaking adventure. Tours ▪ Expeditions ▪ Rentals Sales ▪ Lessons ▪ Shop
Just 45 minutes drive from Victoria, on the ‘Gulf Islands Marine Trail Network’
Toll free: 1-888-749-2333
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: www.kayaktoursbc.com
Queen Charlottes: Tours/Services
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: www.adventuress.ca Email: Jan@adventuress.ca
Tours and Services: East Canada
Kayak Tours & Expeditions in the Spectacular Gulf Islands
SKGABC approved Guides Certification Courses
.CA MADAWASKA KANU CENTRE
1-888-652-5268 Located near Algonquin Park, Ontario. Offers personal instruction from beginner to expert levels. Weekend and 5-day courses.
Wilderness Youth Camps & Eco-Retreats for Schools/Groups
Adventures & Education since1991 1 888 529-2567 • 250 537 2553 • www.islandescapades.com
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: www.gckayaking.com Email: email@example.com Phone: 250-559-4682
Gulf Islands Marine Trail: Accommodation
Breezy Bay B&B Secure beach access 1 minute walk to B&B 10% OFF STAY IF ARRIVING BY PADDLE BOAT Special group & extended stay rates Call us at 250-539-5957 or visit us online at www.breezybaybb.ca
Travel in comfort, and create your own personal marine trail with these B&Bs and resorts. Put the tent aside for a luxurious and pampered exploration.
Lakeside Cottage & Beachside Flat
Two Cozy Waterfront Accommodations on beautiful Salt Spring Island
1 888 529 2567 www.islandescapades.com
Cedar Beach Ocean Lodge
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: www.saturna.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 250-539-2254 or 1-866-539-2254
• Kayak-friendly waterfront with landing • Kayaks/sauna/ hot tub • Two spacious rooms with en-suites • Guided beach walks if tides favorable • Marine naturalist/author in residence
www.cedar-beach.com 1-250-246-9770 Alaska: Tours and Services
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: email@example.com Web: www.kayaktransport.com Phone: (206) 719-0976
Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands: Tours and Services
Next in line for a marine trail, discover remote and adventurous paddling in the straits of remote BC. Explore worry-free in the hands of these experts.
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: www.terracentricadventures.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.bcseakayak.com Email: email@example.com
Tours and Services: Tropical
Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands: Accommodation
Luxurious Waterfront Lodge, Cabins & Platform Tents
Tours and Services: Europe
• Kayak/Yoga Retreats • Wildlife & Bird Watching • Family & Group Holidays • Clubs • Meetings
Natura Viva: Sea kayak Finland 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: www.capemudgeresort.bc.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: www.seakayakfinland.com Email: email@example.com Phone: +358 50 376 8585
Vancouver Island North and West: Tours and Services
Vancouver Island West: Accommodation
Featured in the Spring 2011 issue, this vast region covers protected archipelagos and the most adventurous open water anywhere.
Nootka transport and rentals 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: www.tahtsadivecharters.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
1.888.920.6075 email@example.com www.seaotterlodgebc.com
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. zeballosexpeditions.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tofinoâ€™s Kayak Centre 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: email@example.com Web: www.odysseykayaking.com
Tofinoâ€™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: www.tofinoseakayaking.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tours and Services: Yukon
Wilderness Sea Kayaking
Kanoe People Ltd.
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: www.westcoastexpeditions.com Email: email@example.com
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: www.kanoepeople.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 867-668-4899
Gear and Kayaks Glenn Lush of Seaward Kayaks shows off the Ascenté at Cowichan Bay.
eaward Kayaks introduced its own particular style of X factor a few years ago by offering the Quest X3. The X3 is the reference to a third hatch and bulkhead. Based on the success with the Quest it was only natural that Seaward extend the option to other kayaks. So enter the X3 for two other Seaward models for 2011: the Chilco and the Ascenté. The Ascenté is well known to us here as we did our best to destroy one back in 2006. The story: our kayak rack failed and the Ascenté was pitched onto blacktop at 120 km/h. Though damaged, it went directly from the pavement to a 30-day kayaking trip. So, for starters, the model is a proven performer – for those with poorly installed kayak racks, anyway. Others who might find it equally useful will generally fall into the 5’6” to 6’0” range er Wat es ur t n Ve
over 30 titles
C Rec oast rea Ma tion ps
original outdoor maps specialized for sea kayaking
Seaward’s factor Seaward Ascenté X3 Length 18’5”
Cockpit 31"L x 16"W
and be looking for a good all-purpose touring craft with almost no rocker. Shave the best part of two inches off the width of most other West Coast touring cruisers and you have ample storage capacity (190 litres) combined with no-nonsense performance: tracking, stowing, no bouncing on waves but possibly less stability for novices. The finer points: The Ascenté features a
NE W DVD video guides NE (available later in 2011) W
Total storage Weight 357 litres 55 lbs.
Base model Fiberglass
Options Control Kevlar/HV Rudder
one-inch outer and 4-inch inner fiberglass seam between the deck and hull to aid strength. Long gone is the old Seaward foam seat in favor of a more comfortable and adjustable thermoform model. There’s even a small drink holder in the cockpit, reflective tape on the deck and a foul line for easy tie-ups. So which to choose: a third hatch or no third hatch? It depends how you want to stash your goods. You gain quick access to things like rain jackets, snacks and lunch but at the expense of space usually taken by the bulkiest items. So think fewer lawn chairs but your own personal beer and wine cooler. Or substitute items that might better apply to your own personal preferences. 11sp_lasso_01.pdf 1 2/4/2011 8:57:03 AM
Secure Your Next Adventure Cable Locks for Your Kayak
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Gear and Kayaks
Upstart kayak manufacturer Peregrine is expanding its line in 2011 with the Keweenaw, a diminutive option at just 14’ long, 23” wide and 38 pounds in composite fiberglass. The hull design is billed as hybrid – a hard chine, shallow V for initial stability and edging, with a soft radius above the lower hull’s hard chine for secondary stability. Options are highly customizable and include a rudder and any color imaginable. You send a sample, they’ll match it. We recommend dayglow fuscia. Be the first! www.peregrinekayaks.com.
Gullwing If you’re a paddler plagued by recurring pain, a different blade design might be worth considering. The new Gullwing 230cm model is the latest entry from the Boston manufacturer, designed with an ergonomic shape to make paddling easier for a variety of physical conditions. The intent is to cut just below the water surface with the angled blade, so high-angle paddlers need not apply. The shaft is one-piece aluminum and contoured so it will sit nicely on a kayak’s prow while resting. The blade is powdered nylon, and interchangeable thanks to a quick release system. Foam grips add to the comfort. Want to try one? We can offer one better: you can win the Gullwing 230 cm paddle in Coast&Kayak’s anniversary sweepstakes. See page 33 for details. www.gullwingpaddles.com (Not available in dayglow fuscia.)
With standup paddleboards (SUPs) growing in popularity, it was only a matter of time before one was built to be packed into a pouch. Enter Advanced Elements, the specialists in products that come with a pump. The Hula 11 inflatable SUP is made of high-pressure dropstitched material and a double layer of heavy duty PVC tarpaulin for ultra stiff performance and durability. Inflate the board in minutes using the included double-action hand pump and enjoy it to paddle, surf or to kayak thanks to the optional seat attachment. It weighs just 10kg. www.advancedelements.com
New Portable Boat Stands For Kayaks, Canoes, SUP’s
Suspenz.com 866.787.7369 SUMMER 2011
Build a kayak
Build a faux cedar kayak T
he first issue of Wavelength Magazine was dated May/June 1991, making this the ‘official’ 20th birthday magazine. To mark the occasion we’ve decided to give everyone a birthday gift of a free kayak with no strings attached (can’t fit a string in a magazine anyway). Our dream was a cedar kayak, but in this world of laminates and veneer we decided it would be easier if we gave you a faux cedar strip finish. So on the next page is a complete faux cedar kayak kit. Simply cut out the square and follow the folds in sequence, then contort everything and flip it inside out without defacing it. Completion time is anywhere from three minutes to never depending on your particular skill level. Should you require more than one kayak (as we’re sure everyone will), go to www.coastandkayak.com and in the multimedia online version of this issue click here to bring up a printable version of the template. That would mean clicking this very spot, right here on this page! Click click click! In addition, at this same location you can click to see a video of us constructing one of these kayaks. Click here click click click! It’s a family-friendly video – one finished kayak, no swearing. We’re quite proud of that. You need not necessarily use the provided paper or pattern. Any square piece of paper will do. Just follow the same fold sequences, using the first two fold lines as a grid for subsequent folds. (Fold a 20’ x 20’ square of paper, get a full size kayak!)
CKMagazine Papyrus I Length 4.25”
Cockpit 2"L x 2"W
We are also including detailed written instructions for those who continue to forsake our online edition. As a courtesy we decided not to print the instructions entirely in Spanish. Though we were tempted... For those critical that the end result is only marginally like a kayak, watch for the Papyrus II in our 50th anniversary issue. Instrucciones: Fold in the numbered order, with the fold direction doubling over the dotted line so the dotted line can’t be seen when the fold is completed.
Total storage Weight 34 jelly beans 0.003 lbs.
Base model Paper
Options Control Don’t build Not for us!
The first two folds are immediately unfolded. They provide a quarter grid that will be used to measure subsequent folds. The third fold turns an outside quarter in to the center. Then unfold. The new fold line is used as guide for a smaller half-fold’s end point. The half-fold is then folded again on the previous fold line. The same sequence is followed on the opposite corner, completing folds 5 and 6. See photo 1. The paper is then flipped over. Repeat the same fold, unfold and half-fold sequence for the remaining two corners. u
9 Fold 1
twi ce ) (th en fold 6 Fo ld
5( the nu nfo ld
ld Fo Fold 1 8
Fold 13 Fold 2
7 Fold 1
ld Fo Fold once more from each side so the two ends meet in the middle. The hull bottom should be completely covered. See photo 2. Next fold in each corner at 90 degrees. Then fold in each corner again at an odd angle from each end to the middle. It gets a bit lumpy, but these folds are important as they’ll be key to how the whole thing hitches together when it’s flipped inside out. See photo 3 for how yours should look. Next, reach in and locate the seam in the middle, pulling the edges out so you form a canoe (photo 4). You should see the cedar hull is on the inside and the top deck
portions flush against what is currently the bottom. Essentially right now your kayak is inside out. To rectify this is a bit of a trick. You will have to invert the hull’s frame by pushing the sides out and away from the deck so the walls invert, the hull drops down and the deck stands upright on its own (here’s where the online video would be helpful. Admit it, the online version would help even if you are in complete denial and continue to stare at your half-finished kayak in defiance of the technology available to make your life simpler). Once you master the ‘flip’ it’s done. And SUMMER 2011
the flip isn’t that tough – it’s just a stretch to believe you won’t ruin the kayak when you push down on the sides (though you may crumple it a bit). Assuming it isn’t now crumpled in a waste basket, your faux cedar strip kayak is now ready to use. May it provide many years of kayaking pleasure. Safety disclaimer: Actual jelly bean capacity may vary. Use caution when setting on fire with a blow torch. Avoid starchy and fatty foods. Exercise daily. Lavado a mano, enjuagar cuidadosamente. Un pastor alemán me mordío en la pierna izquierda. Gracias! COAST&KAYAK Magazine
twi ce ) (th en fold 9
8( the nu nfo ld
Be one of the paddling elite! Coast&Kayak Magazine publishes four times of year to promote the skills, enjoyment and potential of paddlesports of all types. Make sure you never miss another issue by subscribing today. Online: www.coastandkayak.com Phone: 1.866.984.6437
” e r e h T t u O u o Y “Getting
ome of the best experiences in a kayak are when you can slip quietly along and observe marine life so close that you feel a part of nature. However, disturbance by approaching too close is often cited as a major threat to birds and other wildlife. Indeed, disturbance of seabird nest sites can cause parents to leave eggs and chicks unattended, making them vulnerable to crows, bald eagles and even the cold from being left unattended. In some cases a seabird colony may desert entirely if it is continually disturbed. So how to best balance wildlife viewing against minimizing disturbance? As a conservation biologist, nature guide and an avid kayaker, I studied the distance that seabirds at nest and roost sites off Vancouver Island exhibited disturbance. This information was used to create guidelines to sustain both seabirds and wildlife viewing. On Vancouver Island, eco-tourism boating excursions regularly visit Cleland Island in Clayoquot Sound and Great Chain Island Ecological Reserve and Mandarte Island near Victoria. Recreational boaters, fishermen and sea kayakers also visit offshore islets, reefs and coastal areas that support roosting and nesting seabirds. Some of the species nesting on Vancouver Island, including doublecrested cormorant, Brandtâ€™s cormorant and common murre, are considered speciesat-risk, while pelagic cormorant numbers are declining. Despite consequences of disturbance to nesting seabirds, guidelines for viewing seabirds in British Columbia
by Trudy Chatwin
How close is
too close Now we know! Here are fact-based guidelines for how close to get to seabirds
have mostly been established based on regulations developed for viewing killer whales, or set conservatively to 100 metres with little actual field observation. The goal of my study was therefore to recommend scientifically based set-back distances which would minimize disturbance to birds while allowing boaters to enjoy viewing seabirds. The study included all surface nesting and roosting seabirds in six study areas around Vancouver Island from Barkley and Clayoquot sounds on the west coast of Vancouver Island to Mitlenatch Island, Nanaimo, the southern Gulf Islands and Victoria in the Salish Sea.
Park rangers, (including Pete Clarkson, Francis Bruhwiler and Mike Rody) and conservation officers including Peter Pauwels ably skippered the motorboats I used in the study. A single kayak was carried on each motorboat to conduct the tests with both types of craft. The field test involved driving the motorboat slowly (4-6 kmh / 3-4 mph) or paddling the kayak directly towards an islet with a roost or nest site. Species and numbers of birds were recorded and distances were measured with a Rangefinder. I encountered pelagic, Brandtâ€™s and double-crested cormorants, pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers,
Trudy Chatwin photo
Double-crested cormorants nest on Mitlenatch Island, one of the few seabird nesting sites in the Gulf Islands.
Birdwatching guidelines Oystercatchers are highly susceptible to disturbance.
Bill Pennel photo
glaucous-winged gulls and Harlequin ducks with enough samples to conduct a statistical analysis in the study areas. The distance that the birds showed a visible agitation reaction (considered alertness, neck raising, looking back and forth or standing up more erect to the approach) was recorded. In all I conducted over 500 tests which may seem like a lot, but when it comes to statistical analysis of the multiple factors that could influence the distance at which a seabird is agitated, there always could be more data! With some coaching from my great friend and biometrician, Ruth Joy, I analyzed the probability that birds would be agitated when the boat approached at various distances. I found generally that roosting seabirds were less tolerant to boat approach than nesting seabirds and that different species had different tolerances for boat approach. Black oystercatchers were the exception. They nest on the surface of rocky islets and crouch low down to avoid being noticed. Their nests are very vulnerable to predation if the adult leaves the nest. They are highly distressed by humans landing or walking near their nest and it follows that they are most agitated at close proximity to the nest. Since black oystercatchers are a species of high viewing interest, it is important to know that roosting oystercatchers can tolerate closer approach, while nest sites require protection especially from landing boats and foot traffic. Is there a difference in seabird response to kayaks versus motorboats? My study demonstrated that a single kayak could approach closer
than a motorboat to seabird roost and nest sites without an agitation response. With the kayak at 40m there was only a 3 to 10 percent chance of seabirds being agitated. Seabirds likely perceive a group of kayakers as a larger threat than a single kayak and kayakers generally travel in groups. As well, kayakers have been known to disturb birds as they are able to approach and land on islands that motorboats cannot access. These factors, combined with other managers’ recommendation to setting simple, easy to remember guidelines, led me to recommend sharing a general single set-back distance based u upon the motorboat agitation response threshold of 50m.
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Trudy Chatwin photo
The guidelines in a nutshell: Harlequin ducks at rest on Hornby Island.
My data suggest that site-specific setbacks are needed where two highly sensitive species, Harlequin ducks and Brandtâ€™s cormorants, occur. Although Harlequin ducks are not at-risk in British Columbia they are a species that is considered to be sensitive and likely declining. Research scientist Ian Goudie reported that due to their small body size and high winter feeding requirements, Harlequin ducks cannot accommodate increased stress. During the late spring-early summer time when my study was conducted, male Harlequin ducks congregate in molting aggregations around small islets. As they cannot always fly when their feathers are molting, Harlequin ducks are very sensitive to disturbance at this time. Kayakers should approach seabird roost and nest sites in a tangential manner, and then paddle parallel to shore at the prescribed distance. The tangential approach is less threatening to birds than either a direct approach or a stealthy approach from behind rocks. Harlequin Duck and Brandtâ€™s
cormorant roost aggregate sites should receive an extra 20m buffer to the 50m and have a strict no-landing policy. If so, then disturbance to seabirds from kayaks could virtually be eliminated. The set-back guidelines determined by my experimentation turned out to be significantly less than the 100m guidelines recommended at present. The knowledge that guidelines are based on science, rather than just another rule, should help with compliance. This should include establishing codes of conduct in consultation with boat tour operators, park and management agencies, marking of set-backs with buoys and having wardens monitor sites. Education for recreational boaters, park managers and guides to recognize seabirds, the signs of bird agitation and understand the implications of disturbance is a good first step. I believe that given knowledge and guidance, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts will become the greatest supporters of seabirds and other conservation efforts. <
1. Do not land on seabird nest or roost sites. 2. Slow to less than 5 kmh within 200 metres of a nest site. 3. Approach seabirds at an angle or parallel to the shore. No sneaking up on birds! 4. Stay 50 metres away from seabird nest sites and important roosting islets. Note: In Gulf Islands National Park Reserve there is a 100 metre buffer around islets in the Special Preservation Zone. In the Broken Group Islands Faber Harlequin ducks are extremely sensitive and roosting areas such as Ballingall Islets and Hornby Island should have a 70 metre buffer. 5. Watch for the signs! Agitated seabirds will raise their heads, act alert, walk about or raise wings before flying. Flying away creates a significant energy loss for birds and can cause birds to abandon their nest and chicks.
Trudy Chatwin is a species at risk biologist with the British Columbia government. She is well known for paddling from her home on Protection Island to Nanaimo with her dog as co-pilot.
Paddling is my reminder. It makes me smile when I’ m punching the clock, it keeps me excited.
Paddling washes away the routine. - Allen
Allen Satcher – NRS Ambassador, only paddles class “fun” water. Lake Tahoe, CA. ©Lisa Skaff
What does paddling mean to you? Share your thoughts at nrsweb.com/share
800-635-5202 SUMMER 2011
By Alex Matthews
Photo by Dave Aharonian
This is a rather more cheerful outlook than might be expected from a kayaker when a crack leads to the flooding of a bow hatch and the cockpit.
Don’t go down I with the ship! love paddling in dynamic conditions and playing in wind, waves and current. And I’m lucky enough to have a small network of like-minded friends who enjoy the same sort of outings. Because we elect to paddle in “more challenging” conditions, around rocks and other immovable objects, we sometimes damage boats – and, yes, sometimes catastrophically. This winter has been a stormy one, offering up lots of play, plus a couple of seriously crunched sea kayaks. Within a two-week period, two boats were severely damaged by two different paddlers. The first was a brand new poly boat that was badly cracked in a high-speed collision in surf. Sadly, the boat was beyond repair (it was replaced by the manufacturer). The second kayak was a brand new composite boat that collided very heavily with a rock, mashing in its bow. This kayak was repaired. Over the last seven years, I’ve owned two composite play boats and smacked holes in both of them. All this kayak carnage isn’t wholly unexpected. The rules of engagement are pretty simple: if you choose to paddle in breaking waves around rocks and reefs, it’s not so much a question of “if ” you will eventually collide with something, but “when.” If you paddle a composite kayak, a heavy enough blow will generate a hole. And even poly boats are not completely immune to cracking. Afloat, the real problems start very soon
Thinking about sinking? Here’s a way to avoid the possibility
after you’ve created the hole in your boat – because it now has a distinct tendency to fill with water. My solution to retaining flotation is to fit a set of float bags inside my boat’s hatches. While a dedicated float bag system specifically designed for sea kayaks doesn’t seem to exist, NRS (www.nrsweb.com) does offer a full selection of extremely durable float bags. I’ve fitted the NRS “Split” floats in my stern compartment (two bags are required as they must fit either side of the skeg box) and the NRS “Large Standard” bag for the bow compartment. Although the bags are a little short in length, they still displace 80 to 90 percent of the water that would otherwise fill the hatch in the event of a breach. I have not fitted a bag to my day hatch as I prefer to fill that volume SUMMER 2011
with my regular supplies (and since these are contained in drybags they effectively displace water anyway). The benefits are significant: • Float bags fitted to bow and stern compartments provide essential buoyancy by displacing water that would otherwise flood the kayak in the event of a hull breach, or hatch or bulkhead failure. • Preventing a damaged kayak’s cargo compartments from flooding allows the boat to retain its primary handling characteristics instead of wallowing horribly or even sinking to a vertical position. • Float bags provide essential buoyancy, yet add very little additional weight. • By displacing water that would otherwise fill a compromised boat, float bags allow a kayaker to paddle to safety without the need for immediate repairs, wet exits or rescues. • Keeping water out of the hatches allows conventional (fast) rescues to be performed. • Float bags can be transferred to another kayak if needed (such as when/if a partner’s boat develops a significant leak miles from home). Keep in mind that trying to inflate a float bag in order to displace water from a flooded
The ancient Float bags ibis kayak does not work, and requires far more pressure to inflate than can be generated by mouth. • Float bags can be inflated or deflated depending on cargo capacity requirements. For instance, when only a few items are stowed in a hatch, a bag can be inflated to securely hold gear in place, preventing it from rattling around. • Large float bags easily adapt to fit a wide variety of different kayaks. With no added buoyancy, if the crack in your boat is large enough, the distance to shore is great enough, or conditions are gnarly enough, you may have to abandon your kayak. And you may not be able to retrieve it again. Ever. From that perspective, a set of float bags is very inexpensive insurance indeed.
Photo by Nick Castro
Photo by Alex Matthews
A cracked composite.
A crack in a poly kayak.
How a smash differs from a crack in a composite.
Photo by Nick Castro
< Alex Matthews is the author of “Sea Kayaking Rough Waters” available at www.helipress.com. More of Alex’s Skillset articles plus other skills columns can be read online at on our Skills page at www.coastandkayak.com/Articles_skills.html
Buy online and save!
Kiska, our 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.
Wavewalker Blade (at 220 cm)
Click here online to save: Length
Available lengths: 210-245 cm. in 5 cm. increments. * Weight in fiberglass. Graphite is lighter.
1 or 2 pc. 4 piece
207 $285 256 Basalt $250 225 $305 274 Basalt/carbon $300 270 -Carbon $345 310 -Freight: $20 Canada, $35 US Fibreglass
Sale prices available only at www.coastandkayak.com/nimbuspaddles/ SUMMER 2011
Gary Doran shows the fundamentals of the side entry: gripping the cockpit combing and paddle with one hand, resting the other on the paddle shaft then gently lowering yourself into the kayak.
Take a side seat
ew kayakers may find simply getting into a kayak one of the great early challenges. Lacking any support, a kayak on water is extremely tippy. Add the weight and instability of a person settling down, plus the movement of water from waves, wind and current, and you have the makings for a wet mishap – or at the very least, an ungainly entry. The side entry takes care of one of the greatest elements of risk when entering a kayak: the need to maintain your center of gravity. Stability is created by using the paddle as the equivalent of an outrigger. Coast&Kayak Magazine teamed up with Ocean River Sports kayak instructor Gary Doran for a day at the beach to show the
Grab the paddle and cockpit coaming with one hand and the paddle shaft with another.
If you’re looking for a bit of extra stability when stepping into your kayak, the side entry is worth a try. This new series for beginners is supported by video. Click here online.
subtleties of learning the side entry. Here are some points to consider, courtesy of Gary. • Start by making sure your boat is completely immersed in water before you
Place most of your weight on the kayak, using the blade for support.
start. The water should be deep enough so you won’t bottom out when seated. If do you bottom out, your launch will be considerably more difficult. Using the beach for stability might also backfire. The stern of the boat is pointed, and so becomes quite tippy with the weight of a person in the cockpit.
Place your first leg inside the cockpit, centering yourself on the kayak.
The side entry
Coast&Kayak Magazine with guest instructor Gary Doran
< Gary Doran is the head instructor with Ocean River Sports in Victoria BC, a Paddle Canada Level 3 instructor trainer and a Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC guide trainer. Thanks to Gary and Brian Henry at Ocean River for their assistance with this article.
Kayak Academy (Seattle)
When moving your second leg in you are at your most vulnerable, no longer on the ground and with a high center of gravity that makes the boat particularly unstable.
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: www.kayakacademy.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hooksum Outdoor School
With both legs inside the kayak you can lower yourself onto the seat.
Once inside you can swing your paddle around then move into deeper water to attach your sprayskirt.
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: www.hooksumschool.com Email: email@example.com
W W W. N I C . B C . C A
• Point your bow into any oncoming waves, but angle your kayak about 45 degrees toward the beach. This helps the bow pierce the waves and also makes the kayak more stable as your paddle will be sitting in more shallow water when used as the brace. • Set up the paddle shaft as an outrigger by gripping it behind you with your hand along with the cockpit coaming. Place your other hand on the paddle shaft. This gives a well-supported boat in the one direction, making tipping very unlikely. • Place the paddle with the power face up so it forms a nice contour on the bottom and removes stress from the blade by adding it to the stronger shaft. • Put most of your weight on your kayak. “If you’re sitting on the paddle itself you could actually break the paddle, although it’s pretty rare,” Gary says. “The paddle is meant to give you some support, but you don’t want to put all your weight on the paddle.” • If the waves are strong you can point the bow directly into the waves, but at a cost: your paddle shaft is going to be out in deeper water, making it trickier to support yourself. • Once in the water paddle away from shore a short distance to escape any waves or to avoid drifting onto shore while you secure your sprayskirt. Then you are ready to paddle away and enjoy your day!
Sometimes it’s a fine line between work & play.
outrigger egrometer “Paddle to your heart’s content”
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.
+1 914 740 5055
Call 1-800-715-0914 to speak with a Student Advisor or visit www.nic.bc.ca
by Dan Armitage
Finding the thermocline is the key to summer fishing success in lakes, where the sub-surface low/high oxygen stratification will show up on most fish finders.
n the summer months, water temperature is a key factor when trying to locate gamefish, let alone catch them. As with the anglers who pursue them in the sultry dog days of summer, fish attempt to be comfortable this time of year, and that often means finding the coolest water in a particular lake, reservoir or river system. Most freshwater gamefish prefer cool water over warm for two reasons: it keeps them in a more comfortable temperature, plus cooler water contains more oxygen than warm water. Typically, cooler water is found in the deeper parts of a particular body of water. But simply drifting your kayak over the deepest part of the lake and dropping your baits into the depths below this time of year may “net” you nothing. That’s because by mid-summer, a thermocline typically sets up in most lakes. Simply stated, most inland water-bodies stratify into layers, a process called “turning over,” with the warmer water rising to the top and the colder water remaining below. The thermocline is the thin, transitional area 52
between the relatively warmer water level and the much colder bottom layer. If you’ve ever jumped into the water this time of year and gone down far enough to suddenly enter much colder water, you have passed through the thermocline. It can set up six feet down or as deep as 60 feet, depending on the lake, the atmospheric conditions and other factors. Normally, fish seeking cool water would rush into this lower, colder zone. The problem is, water below the thermocline has very little oxygen. That’s why on your sonar you may see fish hanging out at a particular depth and no deeper. These fish are seeking the deepest, coolest water they can in the oxygenated, upper layer without going below the thermocline. They are also following the baitfish that are doing the same thing. If you can locate the thermocline, which shows up as a line or shadow on most good sonars, you want to fish just above it to catch those fish that are keeping their cool in the deepest waters that still hold oxygen. You can often spot the thermocline, the schools of baitfish and the “hooks” of gamefish all at once on your SUMMER 2011
sonar screen. When that happens: • Note the depth of the thermocline and set slip bobbers to drop and suspend live baits to just above that depth; or • Troll lures that you know run at that depth; or • Vertically jig down to the level just above the cold-water mark. Another good tactic is to note the depth of the thermocline, which should remain relatively constant over most of the lake (although it can fluctuate, so check it out as you move to different areas) and paddle towards shore to find places where there is structure in the depth zone just above the thermocline. The combination of fishholding cover and the comfortable climate of the cool-yet-oxygen rich water just above it can concentrate fish and offer some fantastic summer angling action. < Dan Armitage is a boating, fishing and travel writer based in the Midwest. He is a licensed (USCG Master) captain, hosts a syndicated radio show, and presents kayak fishing seminars at boat shows.
u Preferred temperatures by species Water temperature tolerance levels vary among gamefish species. Some of our favorite targets are genetically acclimated to cooler water, including yellow perch, trout, walleye, muskellunge and northern pike. That’s why these fish are usually found in more northern latitudes where waters typically remain cooler – even in August -- than waters to the south. The farther south you go, the more heat-tolerant species you will find, such as largemouth bass, sunfish, carp and catfish, which are genetically accustomed to thrive in warmer waters. Here are some of the preferred water temperatures for popular summer gamefish targets, as determined by fisheries biologists: Finding cooler, deep water is • Walleye, sauger and saugeye important when seeking fish are most active in waters that are during the warm months. between 55° to 74°F (12-23°C), with peak feeding taking place in waters that are 62° to 69°F (1620°C). • Smallmouth bass prefer to feed in waters between 68° and 70°F (20-21°C), and thrive in the range of 60° to 74°F (15-23°C). • Largemouth bass can remain comfortable in waters up to 90°F (32°C), and prefer those that fluctuate between 70° and 85°F (21-30°C). But because waters above the mid-80°s F (30°C) often don’t hold much oxygen, the bass can be lethargic when in the upper zone of their tolerance range. Some bass experts say that largemouth’s peak feeding activity takes place in waters that are in the area of 73°F (23°C). • Crappies prefer waters in the 60° to 75°F range (15-24°C) and feed most heavily when the surrounding water temps are in the 69° to 72°F range (20-22°C).
• Channel catfish have been shown to prefer waters in a wide range of water temperatures, remaining comfortable in waters fluctuating anywhere from 60° to 90°F (15-32°C). But cats have their preferred activity temperatures too, and seem to feed most when surrounding waters are in the area of 78°F (25.5°C).
Inflatable Kayaks The revolutionary Airis™ Inflatable Kayak, is rigid and stable, yet lightweight and compact. Every Airis kayak rolls up to stow inside its own custom designed backpack.
Find Airis Kayaks at: Harbour Chandler 52 Esplanade Nanaimo BC V9R 4Y7 (250) 753-2425
Chuck Graham photo
An endangered Channel Islands fox gives a kayak fleet the once over. The endangered tiny fox has gone through a population decline and was classified as endangered in 2004, with a subsequent breeding program showing great progress in repopulating the species. So no doubt the Channel Islands will see more inspections like this in the future.
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Published on May 9, 2011