and Discovery Coast
Many parts of the so-called Discovery
Coast are relatively unknown to kayakers. It will appeal to resourceful
paddlers who seek a sense of pioneering, which includes laying some
groundwork, discovering new fishing spots, wildlife watching, dealing
with unknown tidal currents, and finding new campsites. Canoes and
kayaks can be rented by the day or week from Port
Hardy, on Vancouver Island.
Approximately 80 miles (130 km) north of Port Hardy and 6.2 miles
(10 km) west of Namu is the Hakai Luxvbalis
Conservancy Area, British Columbia's largest marine park and one
of the better-known paddling areas. This 304,000-acre (123000-hectare)
area encompasses a large archipelago of outstanding natural beauty
and recreational value. From fully exposed shorelines to rolling,
forested hills and 3,000-foot (1000-m) peaks, Hakai offers some of
the most varied and scenic coastline in the province.
Special features such as lagoons and reversing tidal rapids, beaches,
all-weather anchorages, tombolos, and an intricate network of coves,
inlets, and channels make it an ideal area for boaters, anglers, scuba
divers, naturalists - and experienced sea kayakers. Winds during the
summer are usually westerly or southwesterly, and on sunny days are
often light or nil in the early morning, pick up midday to late afternoon,
then die down in the evening. They can be extremely strong in the
coastal inlets such as Burke Channel.
One of the better areas to paddle within Hakai is Spider Anchorage,
southeast of Spider Island, which consists of sheltered bays,
white sand beaches, and a multitude of marine life. Another popular
anchorage is Pruth Bay on the north side of Calvert Island,
reached via Kwakshua Channel. The recreation area has no developed
facilities and has wilderness campsites only. Freshwater is available
at some beaches, but creeks dry up during summer, and visitors are
advised to carry a supply.
Kayakers must be well prepared for poor weather and rough seas, which
may occur at any time of the year. Fog can roll in very quickly, necessitating
navigation by compass, and sea conditions can change from flat calm
to 12- to 20-foot (4- to 6-m) seas within a matter of hours. The west
coast of Calvert Island can be hazardous due to strong surf and should
not be approached without knowledge of the locale, and then only under
Kayakers wishing to explore this remote wilderness can access it by
sea or by air. BC Ferries' Queen of Chilliwack stops at Namu,
the closest settlement. Hakai is located across Fitz Hugh Sound from
Namu, a busy shipping route also frequented by Pacific white-sided
dolphin. Fuel and groceries are available at Bella Bella, Namu, and
Dawsons Landing (Rivers Inlet). Private or chartered boats can be
arranged from Vancouver, Port Hardy, and Bella Coola. Chartered and
scheduled flights are available from Vancouver, Port Hardy, Bella
Bella, and Bella Coola.
Paddlers can enjoy the many small straits, exposed coastline, and
islands accessible from the communities of Bella Bella and Denny Island (Shearwater),
such as the Goose Group in the western reaches of the Hakai
Provincial Recreation Area. There is good camping on the south end
of Campbell Island as you make you way through Hunter Channel towards
Goose. Be prepared to paddle 5 miles (8 km) through the open water
in Queens Sound between Campbell and Goose, the largest by far of
the five islands gathered here. At the north end of Goose Island
is a pure white beach composed largely of pulverized clam shells that
when walked upon with bare feet emit a squeak not unlike the squeal
of a sneaker on a gymnasium floor. This is truly an enchanted island.
Note: There is no freshwater in the Goose Group.
Paddlers can also disembark from the Queen of Chilliwack at
Klemtu on Swindle Island, the ferry's most northerly port of
call. From Klemtu, it's possible to paddle to Princess Royal Island,
7.5 km (12 km) farther north, home of the legendary Kermode or Spirit
Bear. You can keep your fingers crossed for a sighting, but you'd
be very lucky to spot one of these gorgeous blonds. The gaping fjords
and inlets around Swindle and Princess Royal Islands are stunning,
but be warned that campsites in this area are few and small, and by
midsummer, most have a meagre water supply.
As in Hakai, paddlers here should be experienced and self-sufficient.
Besides sea fog, strong currents represent a potential hazard. Crossings
or exposed coasts can be dicey (with surf landings). High tides may
make camping difficult, so try to schedule your trip for between full
moons. Periodically strong outflow and inflow winds can be a problem
in the steep-sided fjords. Because weather conditions can delay trips,
give yourself plenty of time (and bring plenty of reading material).
Klemtu is also the staging area for trips to the Fiordland
Conservancy, a 224,770-acre (9,100-hectare) paradise
for sea kayakers approximately 60 miles (100 km) north of Bella Coola
by air - a magical world of inlets, bays, islands, and fjords. Waterfalls
and glaciers are set amid the passages of a complex coastline. Some
of the mountains are thickly cloaked with old-growth Sitka spruce
and coastal western hemlock forests; others are monolithic domes,
exhibiting their bare granite faces. Located in the Kitimat Ranges
of the Coast Mountains, Fiordland is an exceptionally scenic area,
with rich estuaries at the base of sharply plunging glacier-topped
mountains. Salmon spawn in the many coastal rivers and creeks.
The three primary inlets represented here - Mussel, Kynock,
and Roscoe - are outstanding locations of provincial and international
significance. There are a number of excellent beaches and interesting
upland features, including glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers,
along with wonderful hiking and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Sitka
deer, salmon, and grizzlies have shared this magnificent area with
the Heiltsuk people for centuries. Trapping, hunting, fishing, and
other traditional food-gathering activities have richly sustained
these people over the years. There are a number of archaeological
sites located here, particularly along the shorelines.
Unfortunately for paddlers, campsites are few due to the steep topography
of the area. As in other parts of the Central Coast, winds can pick
up quickly, resulting in hazardous conditions for small vessels. The
recreation area is an important habitat area for both black and grizzly
bears, which can make travel on shore risky.
From Swindle Island, adventurous paddlers can plot a 50-mile
(80-km), 10-day course south, rejoining the ferry at McLoughlin
Bay. Head for the exposed west coast of Price Island, where
you might see cruise ships passing in Laredo Sound. Again, campsites
may be hard to find without exploring the many tiny bays behind the
mass of rocky islets guarding the coastline.
This jumble of bays and tiny islets is characteristic of the west
side of Price Island. Stunted trees, blown landward by the winter
storms all their lives, give evidence of the ferocity of the weather
that routinely batters this coastline. The east coast of the island
may give more shelter, but ferocious horseflies (they bite!) can be
a nuisance. Fishing can be rewarding, as long as the halibut isn't
too big to land from a kayak. Vancouver Rock and Boulder Head, farther
south, are both great spots for rock fish, red snapper, and halibut.
The tidal race through Gale Passage, between Athlone and Dufferin
Islands, can be very strong. Wait for the slack tide. A small
cove at the southern tip of Athlone provides a jewel of a campsite
- freshwater and a beach of small but smooth flat rocks, offering
a sunrise and view south to Potts Island and Goose Island in the distance.
From here, aim for a tiny island to the northeast of Cape Mark with
a flashing navigational marker, the island itself unnamed on the chart.
The island has a sandy beach, and mussels can be harvested off a low
granite cliff, even if the crashing Pacific breakers make this a bit
of a challenge. Rock crabs lured by fish heads make a gourmet feast,
provided they're of legal size.
Joassa Channel is not particularly attractive or significant:
no enticing bays or beaches, just vegetation to the rocky edge. By
comparison, Gale Passage is scenic and varied, and offers a
choice of beaches for lunch and/or camping, albeit without freshwater.
A big sheltered bay immediately to the east of Denniston Point may
not offer much camping room at high tide but has a good source of
freshwater. From here, it's only a few miles to the ferry terminal
just south of Bella Bella.
The Bella Coola Road (Highway 20)
The vast wilderness area of Tweedsmuir Provincial
Park can provide a special experience for the canoe enthusiast.
Covering more than 2,450,000 acres (980,000 ha), the scenic chain
of lakes connected by Hunlen Creek provides the opportunity for an
enjoyable canoe trip of three to five days. Leading from Turner
Lake to Sunshine Lake, a distance of about 17 miles (27.5
km) one way, this route enjoys calm water, beautiful scenery, good
cutthroat trout fishing, sandy beaches, and wilderness camping. With
the exception of 7-mile (11-km) Turner Lake, the lakes are small.
There are six easy, short portages, the longest taking 30 minutes.
Although the canoe season begins in June, the best time to enjoy this
delightful corner of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is in September, once
the first frost has brought an end to insect season. Other areas of
the park, especially Eutusk and Pondosy Lakes can be canoed but the
difficulty of access plus wind and water hazards make advance preparation
with park official a necessity.
There is a overnight fee per party to be paid upon arrival in the
park. As all supplies must be airlifted in from either Nimpo Lake
or Bella Coola, advance arrangements are recommended, and canoes and
other supplies can be rented if so required.
||Classic Yacht Charters, Nanaimo
||Craving a change from the 'everyday'? Dreaming of running away to sea? Welcome aboard our historical 'Mission Ship'. Design your private voyage into BC's coastal playground. Indulge your interests: fishing, clamming, rowing, kayaking, whale watching... Cruise in comfort and safety with our Coast Guard licensed Captain and crew. Discover how your chef turns meal times into taste extravaganzas.
||Ecosummer Expeditions, Clearwater
||Ecosummer Expeditions is a world-class leader in Adventure Travel Tours and BC's original sea kayaking outfit since 1976. We specialize in sea kayaking wilderness expeditions, outdoor hiking and backpacking trips, coastal cruises, canoeing, and first nations native culture. We offer guided adventure travel tours and expeditions to Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, Gulf Islands, the Interior BC, and the Great Bear Rainforest, including the Khutzeymateen Valley and Princess Royal Island. Wildlife viewing includes grey whales, orcas, grizzly bears, kermode spirit bears, marine mammals, and rainforest ecology.
||Go With The Flow Adventures, Quadra Island
||Kayaking tours from Vancouver Island B.C. Canada with Go With The Flow Adventures. Our luxury kayaking tours offer the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. We include gourmet meals with wine, cozy cabin accommodation, hot showers, wood fired cedar hot tub, kayaking equipment, instruction and guiding. No experience necessary. Join us on an journey that washes away the every day!
||Mothership Adventures, Quadra Island
||Explore our remote coastal wilderness aboard the heritage vessel Columbia III! Join us for exhilarating and unforgettable BC adventure tours that include sea kayaking, eco adventure, natural history, First Nations culture, extraordinary wildlife viewing, photography and painting. Experience sand beaches, stunning fjords, lush estuaries, and exceptional wildlife viewing of whales and bears. Travel in luxury with a certified hospitable crew, qualified guides, gourmet food and comfortable accommodation aboard the luxury Mothership.
||Ocean Light II Adventures, Vancouver
||Ocean Light II is a beautiful and spacious 71ft sailboat offering
comfort, a classic natural wood interior, 5 guest cabins, fishing gear,
7 seakayaks, and a 19ft hard-bottom inflatable. Her crew has 34 years
of experience offering natural history and photography tours on the BC
Coast, including Haida Gwaii, and specializing in grizzly viewing tours
in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and spirit bear and
grizzly tours in the Great Bear Rainforest. We also offer whale
watching and eco tours, from totems to intertidal treasures, rocky
shores to sandy beaches, and spawning salmon to towering trees. We
offer five spectacular adventure trips between May and October, each to
a different region and each highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of
the beautiful BC coast.
||Ole’s Hakai Pass Fishing Lodge, Hakai Pass
||Experience exceptional fishing for Salmon, Halibut, Red Snapper and Ling Cod in our protected, un-crowded waters in Hakai Pass on the West Coast of BC. Fishing within 5 minutes of our comfortable, clean full-service floating Lodge, everything is taken care off by our experienced, enthusiastic young staff. Fabulous Food, private accommodation, world-class fishing and genuine hospitality are what you can expect from this family-run Fishing Lodge.
||Spirit of the West Kayaking, Quadra Island
||Join our sea kayaking adventures around Vancouver Island, Canada's coastal kayaking paradise. Kayak with Killer Whales, paddle Desolation Sound, experience the remote north Nootka Sound, or kayak from the comfort of our 95 ft Mothership, the Songhee. Our sea kayaking trips depart from our base on Quadra Island in the BC Discovery Islands.