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Few areas in the
world are as beautiful to explore by kayak as the coastal waters of
Vancouver Island and British Columbia, whether you're new to the sport,
looking for an exciting adventure getaway or simply out to improve
your paddling skills.
setting off from Tofino
whales, seals and otters as you glide through marine parks into
scenic bays and lagoons and go ashore on secluded sandy beaches
and uninhabited islands.
native villages, toppled totems and natural marine caves that are
millions of years old. Your exciting day ends with a glowing sunset
and absolute tranquility as you rendezvous with the rest of your
group on your comfortable mothership, or set up camp for the night
on one of the islands, just as native people did thousands of years
have a few hours or a few days, prefer to canoe, kayak, or raft,
or you are a beginner looking for a guided tour, British Columbia
has 27,000 kilometres of shoreline, 843 rivers, and 861 major lakes.
The province offers boundless paddling opportunities as you begin
Kayak Tours: Kayak trips aboard motherships are popular along
the more desolate stretches of Vancouver Island's west coast, Desolation
Sound, Broughton Archipelago, and the central coast of British Columbia.
You sleep aboard the mothership; a large, luxurious sailboat or
a rustic tugboat or barge. For some, the adventure of sea kayaking,
when combined with the comfort, hot showers and good food provided
by organized mothership trips takes a lot of beating.
paddlers can rent kayaks and supplies upon arrival, or bring their
own equipment. Hire a guide, unless you are familiar with local
conditions or possess adequate sea kayaking experience. Many areas
in the region are extremely remote. If you're planning a multi-day
trip on your own, be well-versed in the skills of navigation, self-rescue,
first aid and wilderness camping. If you bring your own kayak or
canoe with you, BC Ferries treats them as hand baggage with no extra
take all the hassle out of a vacation kayaking trip by providing
qualified guides, and all the equipment, food, and tents for camping
on shore. No kayaking or paddling experience is necessary for most
trips - just a basic level of fitness. For added stability, novice
paddlers usually rent double kayaks with seating for two people.
The coastal waters of British Columbia are cold, so kayakers should
be suitably prepared.
The sheltered waterways of Quatsino
Sound provide a pristine wilderness paradise for kayakers who
find themselves surrounded by beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife.
Sea life is prolific, and marine mammals include Humpback whales,
transient Orcas (killer whales), and Sea Otters. Quatsino Sound
is remote and unpopulated by kayakers, covering approximately 70
miles (113 kms) of waterways. The northernmost of the sounds on
the west coast of Vancouver Island, Quatsino Sound has three arms;
Neroutsos Inlet, Rupert Inlet, and Holberg Inlet. Communities located
on Quatsino Sound include Coal
Port Alice, Winter
Harbour and Holberg.
Access to Quatsino Sound is via Port Hardy by paved road to Coal
Harbour, continuing on gravel roads to Holberg and Winter Harbour.
You'll feel as though you're on the edge of the world in Port
Hardy. To venture any farther north you'll need a boat, kayak,
or a plane. Port McNeill
and its surrounding areas have terrific kayaking destinations, as
do the waters off Telegraph
Cove, a prime destination for kayakers who wish to explore Johnstone
Strait and Robson Bight. Robson Bight Provincial
Park is an ecological reserve; it's here that killer whales
come to rub their bellies on the barnacle-encrusted rocks. The whales
can be seen from just beyond the park boundaries and as they swim
along the shore.
From Gold River, the sheltered
waters of Muchalat Inlet run toward the Pacific Ocean like
a long corridor through steep-sided fjords. Landing places are few,
but the surrounding scenery is entrancing. Once in the waters off
historical Nootka Sound,
a much more weather-beaten landscape begins to reveal itself. Bligh
Island Marine Park sits at the mouth of the Muchalat Inlet.
The MV Uchuck lll stops
nearby at Yuquot (Friendly
Cove) or will drop off and pick up kayakers beside Bligh Island
and at various locations along the way by prior arrangement. There's
much to explore in this group of six islands, scattered where Muchalat
Inlet converges with two adjacent inlets and their channels. The
waters in this region can get choppy, so small craft must cross
with care. Large Bligh Island is named for the much-maligned British
Navy Captain who sailed here with the equally well-known Captain
cook in 1778.
The federal dock in Fair Harbour,
northwest of Zeballos, is
the launching point for exploring Kyuquot
Sound, Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve, and Brooks
Peninsula / Muquin Provincial Park. This is a vast, windswept,
sea-sprayed section of Vancouver Island's northwest coast. The snout
of Brooke Peninsula offers some protection for Checleset Bay from
the winter storms that blow south from the Gulf of Alaska. Sea kayakers
should beware the fury of the winds and surf that build around its
protruding bulk, especially at Cape Cook and Clerke Point.
The rewards for making the journey are the solitude provided by
the surroundings and the sight of magnificent stands of Sitka spruce,
the only species of tree able to thrive under the constant salt
and magnesium-loaded spindrift that the winds whip from the tops
of the swells and carry ashore in the breeze.
In the sheltering forest, marbled murrelets nest in the deep moss
that enshrouds the thick branches of the spruce. Herds of Roosevelt
elk graze in the lush, green understorey, while black bears forage
in the berry-laden bushes. If you are among the few visitors who
make their way here each year, you will be treated to one of the
last remaining environments on the west coast where logging has
been held mercifully at bay. Brooks Peninsula / Muquin Provincial
Park is huge; 51,631 hectares of wilderness that is best explored
with the help of a guide.
Alice is the perfect place from which kayaking enthusiasts can
explore the inlets and waters of Quatsino Sound.
The municipal boat launch in the centre of Ladysmith
is the place to begin exploring the 8-km length of Ladysmith
Harbour. Dunsmuir and Woods Islands on the north
side of the harbour are good destinations in summer, while the marshy
lagoon at the head of the harbour attracts migrating birds in the
spring and fall.
There's a public boat ramp at Pipers Lagoon Regional Park
in Nanaimo. It's one thing
to putt-putt around the sheltered lagoon, but quite another to brave
the open water of Horswell Channel on the east side of the
narrow headland that shelters the lagoon.
Explore the scenic and sheltered Inner Harbour of Victoria
from the superb vantage point of a rented sea kayak. You can relax
in awe at the grandeur of The Empress Hotel and the magnificent
Legislative buildings before paddling off under the classic Johnson
Street bridge toward The Gorge, a meandering waterway that
leads from Victoria's upper harbour before finally widening into
pretty Portage Inlet. A daily tidal surge occasionally creates
near-whitewater conditions in the narrowest passages, a thrill that
kayakers will particularly enjoy. The best place to launch is the
dock at Gorge Park, just west of downtown Victoria. There's
more paddling here than you can explore in one day, which guarantees
a return visit.
The shoreline on southern Vancouver Island is particularly scenic,
with a rich natural beauty. Kayaking allows the visitor to view
and explore the numerous inlets, bays and maze of islands with absolute
freedom. Launch from either the boat ramp or the wharf in Sidney,
nestled on the inland coast near Swartz Bay north of Victoria, and
head across the channel to Sidney Spit
Marine Park, or explore the coastline of the Saanich Peninsula
and Princess Margaret Marine Park on
Sooke: For those who have paddled only in sheltered passages,
sea kayaking along the outside waters of Vancouver Island is another
world, one where you go big or you go home! However, if you pick
your time, particularly in summer months, you'll find that the Pacific
can be as well behaved as a sleeping giant. The 60-km ocean route
between Sooke and Port
Renfrew, with its string of beaches to touch on, can be paddled
in a lengthy summer day. Of course, you don't have to do the entire
length of this coast to enjoy an outing. Pick your launch location,
such as from French Beach Provincial Park,
one of the few beaches where you can drive to within a short distance
of a launch site. Two other good locations include Jordan
River and Pacheedaht Beach in Port San Juan.
Barkley Sound and
the Broken Group Islands comprise
one of the three main recreational components in Pacific
Rim National Park. The popularity of these islands with paddlers
and boaters has soared over the past decade, much to the dismay
of long-time observers. One of the main reasons that the Broken
Group Islands are so popular is that they provide a true west coast
experience in sheltered water. Barkley Sound is not normally subject
to the extreme ocean conditions encountered farther west in the
open waters around Ucluelet and exposed sections of the West Coast
Trail and the Long Beach Unit, the two other areas that attract
visitors to Pacific Rim National Park.
Kayakers usually begin their exploration at Gibraltar Island and
make their way through the chain, stopping at campsites on Gilbert,
Clarke, Turret, Willis and Hand Islands. Camping is also allowed
on Gibraltar Island and Dodd Island. All of these sites are easily
reached within a day's paddle (or less) of each other. Numerous
kayak operators lead tours through the Broken Group Islands.
The ease with which less-experienced sea kayakers can reach the
Broken Group Islands contributes greatly to their allure and charm.
The MV Frances Barkley
is a sturdy wooden packet freighter based in Port
Alberni. The sailing route leads through the Broken Group Islands
to the fishing ports of Ucluelet
and Bamfield. If you visit
the area in July and August, be sure to reserve space for your kayak
or canoe on the deck well in advance.
Explore the quiet inside waters of Clayoquot
Sound - a premier sea kayaking destination offering miles of
sheltered inlet waterways. Paddle to Hot
Springs Cove, located in Maquinna Provincial Park in the remote
northern end of Clayoquot Sound - it's a splendid hot spring still
enjoyable in its natural state.
is a sheltered niche of ocean waterway tucked in beside Meares
Island in the backwater of Clayoquot Sound. At low tide, the
bay drains so low that it takes on the appearance of a green marshland.
Eelgrass covers much of the mudflats in Browning Pass, which links
Grice Bay with Tofino to the north.
Gracie Bay lies within the northern limits of the Long Beach Unit
of the Pacific Rim National Park.
Paddling in the waters of Clayoquot Sound is one of the most rewarding
ways to experience this environment. Depending on your skill level,
you can either plan a trip on your own or join up with one of the
tour operators that use Tofino as their base. Day trips close to
town include Meares, Stubbs, Wickaninnish,
and Vargas Islands, all within sight of the federal dock in Tofino.
Far afield is Flores Island and Flores
Island Provincial Park. The sandy beaches on Stubbs Island makes
it an ideal getaway within sight of Tofino. You can land on the
east coast of Vargas Island, a 5-km paddle from Tofino, and make
the one-hour journey across island on foot to Ahous Beach.
Visit Vargas Island Provincial Park.
If you paddle
to Ahous Beach, rather than hike, be prepared for a stretch of open
ocean as you round the exposed southwest corner of Vargas. If it's
blowing too hard, check out isolated Medallion Bay on the
south end of the Island, a delightful place to land. Nothing on
Vargas, however, tops Ahous Beach's lengthy expanse, which rivals
Long Beach in size. So vast is its hard-caked, sandy surface that
light planes occasionally land here.
One of the most soulful ways to explore the Gulf Islands is
in a sea kayak. Safer and more stable than a canoe, sea kayaks allow
you to travel in comfort, with as much gear and goodies as you can
manage to stow into the ample storage compartments fore and aft.
Plan to launch from any of the ferry docks or federal wharfs on
the Gulf Islands and paddle off towards the nearest Marine Provincial
Tidal currents present difficulties in several places, most notably
Active Pass and Porlier Pass at the south and north end of Galiano
Island, respectively. Consult tide tables to determine the most
favourable times to negotiate these routes. As Active Pass is used
by BC Ferries, use extreme caution when navigating here. As a general
rule, camping is only permitted in designated sites in the Gulf
Islands. A ban on campfires is in effect in the Gulf Islands from
April to October, and freshwater and toilet facilities are extremely
limited, so plan accordingly.
Some of the more popular and easier-to-reach places include Beaumont
Marine Provincial Park on Saturna
Island (no camping here though), Montague
Harbour Marine Provincial Park and Dionisio
Point Provincial Park on Galiano Island. Galiano Island is the
centre for sea kayaking in the southern islands. Other marine parks
include Cabbage Island, off the northeast coast of Tumbo Island,
east of Winter Cove Marine Park, and
the large Princess Margaret Marine Park on Portland Island between
Saltspring and the Pender Islands. Kayaking affords the kayaker
close-up views of the wonderful sandstone formations that abound
in the Gulf Islands. The towering sandstone cliffs of Valdes Island,
south of Gabriola, and the nesting seabird colonies in the islands
are highlights worth visiting. Maps and paddling information for
each of the marine parks are available from BC Parks.
Octopus Island Marine Provincial Park
is both remote and accessible at the same time. Nestled among the
maze of islands through which the waters of Johnstone Strait funnel
into the Strait of Georgia, the Octopus Islands are most easily
reached from Quadra Island.
From the ferry dock at Quadra's Quathiaski Cove, journey east across
island to Heriot Bay, where another ferry connects to Cortes
Island. This is one of two good places to launch, along with
Village Bay farther north. Tidal currents around Quadra Island are
notorious for their strength, particularly at Surge Narrows on the
east and Seymour Narrows on the west. Paddlers should avoid Seymour
Narrows completely, and only transit Surge Narrows at slack tide.
In addition, you should be well versed in the reading of tidal-current
charts to safely explore the fascinating waters around tightly packed
Quadra, Cortes, Maurelle, Read, and Sonora Islands.
The Sunshine Coast, between
Desolation Sound to the north and Howe Sound to the south, offers
something special for every paddler - unspoiled wilderness, marine
life, miles of protected waterways and a scenic coastline stretching
past Gibsons, Sechelt,
Pender Harbour and Powell
River. Several Marine Provincial parks are located along the
Sunshine Coast, most with undeveloped facilities. Boaters may find
freshwater at the occasional one but should always bring their own.
Much of the coastline is sheltered, which provides good protection
for those in small paddlecraft or motorboats.
Marine parks along the Sechelt Peninsula include Simson,
Buccaneer Bay, Smuggler
Cove, and Garden Bay. Simson Provincial
Park enjoys a particularly pretty location and occupies much of
South Thormanby Island, with a blend of sandy beaches, forested
slopes, and tranquil coves. Spyglass Hill at the north end of the
island is a prominent landmark to watch for after launching from
Halfmoon Bay north of Sechelt.
It's only a 3 km paddle from the public boat ramp in Halfmoon Bay
across Welcome Passage to the east side of South Thormanby, the
larger of two similarly named islands. Paddlers can not only explore
Simson but also Buccaneer Bay Provincial Park, on the west side
of North Thormanby Island, as well as many bays and headlands around
Smuggler Cove Marine Park, just north of Halfmoon Bay.
Sechelt Peninsula: If it weren't for a small neck of land
less than a half mile wide, a large portion of the peninsula north
of Sechelt would be an island,
cut off from the mainland. This wedge of sand backs ocean water,
which flows from the northwestern entrance to the inlet near Egmont
and into three inlets: Sechelt Inlet, and Salmon and Narrows Inlets,
which branch east from Sechelt Inlet. Sechelt
Inlets Recreation Area is a narrow, fjordlike environment where
old-growth forest plummets down the sides of the Caren Range mountains
to the ocean. Beaches are limited, and where they do occur you'll
find small park sites suited for rest stops or overnighting.
Given the rocky shoreline of much of the Sechelt Inlet and its two
branches - Salmon and Narrows Inlets - you'll be relieved to reach
one of the sites when the wind rises and makes paddling extremely
difficult. It takes the better part of a day to paddle the 35 kms
from the federal dock in Sechelt to Egmont at the north end of the
inlet via Skookumchuk Narrows. You can reduce the paddle time by
launching at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
or private Tillicum Bay Marina, a good place to leave your car if
you're going on an overnight paddle. Both the park and the marina
are located on East Porpoise Bay Road in Sechelt. It's only about
a 3-km paddle from the marina to the first marine park site at Tuwanek
Point. Two of the trickiest sections involve crossing the mouth
of Salmon Inlet, where strong winds can quickly turn a leisurely
paddle into a maddening fight, and navigating Tzoonie Narrows in
Narrows Inlet where, unless you enter the narrows at a favourable
tide, you're in for a battle against the current.
There are marine-park campsites located on both sides of Sechelt
Inlet and along Narrows Inlet in Sechelt Inlets Marine Provincial
Recreation Area. Wilderness sites with basic amenities are located
at Halfway, Tuwanek, Nine Mile Point, Kunechin Point, and Piper
Point. Undeveloped sites are located at Tzoonie Narrows, Thornhill,
and Skaiakos Point. Most sites are located within two or three kilometres
of each other and provide welcome resting places, particularly when
strong winds funnel through the inlets on summer days.
Sound Marine Park possesses a magical magnetism that draws boaters
and paddlers from distant shores. Most of those who arrive aboard
'stinkpots' tend to congregate in popular anchorages, such as Prideaux
Haven, Tenedos Bay, and Grace Harbour, much as 'fifth-wheelers'
converge on RV parks. Be a little more imaginative and you'll find
plenty of isolated bays and campsites throughout Desolation Sound's
more than 60 km of coastline. One of the prime attractions of these
waters is their warmth in summer months, which makes them ideal
for swimming and snorkelling. The scenery is less severe than many
of the other sheer-sided waterways along the central coast, although
just as majestic.
Snowcapped peaks of the Coast Mountains soar from the tideline to
heights of 2,400 metres. Boaters and paddlers will discover an environment
nearer in spirit to the protected waters of the southern Strait
of Georgia. What Desolation Sound provides that the southern Gulf
Islands don't, is an astonishing breeding ground of shellfish, principally
oysters. Whoever penned the time-honoured expression "When
the tide is out, the table is spread" must have been inspired
by these nutrient-rich waters.
There are two approaches to Desolation Sound, either from Lund
or nearby Okeover Arm Provincial Park
at the head of the inlet. A boat ramp is located at each location.
Paddlers will find less marine traffic in Okeover Inlet than along
the west side of Malaspina Strait.
Public boat ramps on the northern Sunshine Coast are located at
Saltery Bay Provincial Park, at Okeover
Arm Provincial Park, and in Lund. Private ramps are located in Powell
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 companies
located in Port Hardy.
Approximately 80 miles (130 km) north of Port Hardy and 6.2 miles
(10 km) west of Namu is
the Hakai Provincial Recreation Area,
British Columbia's largest marine park and one of the better-known
paddling areas. This 304,000-acre (123,000-ha) 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-metre) 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. Weather information can be picked
up on VHF Channel 21B (161.65MHZ).
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 ideal conditions.
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. The nautical charts for this
region are #3727, #3728, and #3786.
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. A good nautical
chart to consult is #3727 (Cape Calvert to Goose Island).
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
blondes. 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
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). For more information, contact the Klemtu Tourist
Klemtu is also the staging area for trips to the Fiordland
Conservancy, a 224,770-acre (9,100-ha) 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. The chart
for the region is #3962. For more information, contact BC Parks
From Swindle Island, adventurous paddlers can plot a 50-mile
(80-km), 10-day course south, rejoining the ferry at McLoughlin
Bay. (The charts required for such a trip are #3720, #3728,
#3734, and #3737.) 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 can be a nuisance
(they bite!). Fishing can be rewarding, as long as the halibut isn't
too big to land from a kayak. Farther south, Vancouver Rock and
Boulder Head are both great spots for rock fish, red snapper, and
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.
For more information about kayaking the waters around Klemtu, including
equipment rentals, contact the Klemtu Tourist Office 250-839-2346.