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The magazine of adventure and recreation on the water

Volume 21, Issue 2

Summer 2011
FREE at select outlets and
online or by subscription

the Gulf Islands

New marine trail puts
serene archipelago
in the spotlight

Free kayak inside

Complete plans AND materials
inside every issue. Really!
PM 41687515

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There’s more online in our multimedia edition:
• 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
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Rentals • Lessons • Programs • Courses • Events

2 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011


This issue’s features: 48

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 Regular items:

34 Tours and Services
20 Leg two: The South Islands
38 Gear and kayaks
24 Leg three: Saltspring 48 Skillset
by Alex Matthews
28 Leg four: The North Islands 50 Starting Out
40 with Gary Doran
40 Build a faux cedar kayak
Materials and plans included! 51 Instruction/Education
52 Fishing Angles
44 How close is too close? by Dan Armitage
Setting seabird viewing guidelines

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 3

The First Word by John Kimantas

How ‘stuff’ can really drag us down

I went through a change in situation about 15 years ago (personal, professional and
Summer 2011 Volume 21, Number 2 financial – which is just about everything) and rather than lament I decided to look at
 PM No. 41687515
it as an opportunity. I drew up a list of what I thought was important to use as a guide
Editor John Kimantas 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
Advertising Sales Brent Daniel
Island. Perhaps oddly, neither my career (journalism) nor money were on the list. I
Copy Editing Darrell Bellaart 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).
Cover Photo:
Fiddlers Cove on Saltspring Just this spring I decided to re-evaluate my list. It still holds
Island presents some great true, though I look at things a bit more broadly now. Health is
examples of fretted sandstone. still a top priority, as so much of what I love requires the ability
It’s on the new Gulf Islands
Marine Trails Network, with to move freely. I have a lot to pack into the next four decades or
special coverage beginning this so, so I have to be in good running order to make the most of it.
issue starting page 12.
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
coast&kayak mAGAZINE is an independent magazine a bit more prevalent now. So there’s a fourth item on my list: world travel. Vancouver
available free at hundreds of print distribution sites (paddling Island is still dear to me, though, and I reflect that by being an advocate for preserving
shops, outdoor stores, paddling clubs, marinas, events, etc.),
and globally on the web. Also available by paid subscription. what should be preserved; for instance, fighting invasive economic exploitation that
Articles, photos, events, news are all welcome. 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
Find back issues, articles, events, writers guidelines and
advertising information online at 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
subscribe decided that I am my work, my work is me. They say do what you love and the money
$20 for 1 year – 4 issues will come. Well, I say do what you love, period. Don’t let money stand in the way.
$35 for 2 years – 8 issues 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.
While Coast&Kayak Magazine is made available
free, subscriptions ensure the magazine is delivered A newly re-emphasized element on my list is minimalism, almost lost amid a cycle
to your home and that you will never miss an issue. of settling down. I am finding the less clutter in life, the more freedom to do things
To subscribe, visit
that I truly value. I wonder how many people will go out of this world thinking, “if
or call 1-866-984-6437. 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?”
Advertising rates and submission guidelines What will you find you’ve missed if the time came today? Best to answer the
available at
question now, when you can do something about it. You won’t get the chance later!
ISSUE AD DEADLINE DISTRIBUTION Me, I’m working on one new concept that better melds all the aspects I value in life:
Fall 2011 July 4 Aug. 1 a ‘virtual office’ for Coast&Kayak Magazine so we can operate free of physical clutter
Winter 2011 Sept. 30 Nov. 1 from anywhere. It’s tougher than it sounds – few businesses have more clutter than
Spring 2012 Jan. 30 March 1 the publishing industry – but we’ll get there. I’d love to have you drop by the office
Summer 2012 April 6 May 14 to discuss it, but, well, we may be a bit hard to find. You might want to check out the

A product of: beach. I just might be working from there today.

- John Kimantas
Wild Coast Publishing
PO Box 24, Stn A
Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, V9R 5K4
Ph: 1-866-984-6437 • Fax: 1-866-654-1937
Email: It was a cold spring for us here on
Vancouver Island... Kayaking photos to
© 2010. Copyright is retained on all material (text, photos and graphics) in this magazine. follow in this space once we thaw out.
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

4 COAST&KAYAK Magazine Summer

Get it at

The Ultimate
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We ship everywhere

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SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 5

Destinations by Michel Tremblay / photos by Jim Romo

he familiar flat prairie slides by hour after hour Uncompromising in thought and action, he is a plain
as I drive until the vegetation speaks of a hotter, drier speaking product of the northern prairies. His face is lined
place. Sage brush dots the rangeland more profusely, from a lifetime of being outdoors. Dave is a long-time friend
its bluish- green hue a testimony to the area’s aridity. of Jim’s, and works for the Bureau of Land Management in
Eventually the Bear Paw Mountains appear, perched on the Idaho. Fiftyish and lean of frame, he shakes my hand with a
end of the earth far to the south, their peaks brushing the healthy grip, and sizes me up with a narrowed gaze. Dave’s
clouds. lanky 17-year-old son Alex looks on, uneasy about a strange
The town of Havre appears over a rise in the sandstone adult being thrown into the mix.
studded hills – a mix of old west holdouts and sterile modern The grey dawn brightens the edge of the horizon as I
franchises of aluminium and glass. I drive down to Coal Banks stir from a mild and restless sleep on hard ground that’s
Landing, a United States Forest Service campsite and boat unwelcome for my middle-aged hip. The low clouds march
launch, and a popular access point to the White Cliffs section across the sky, herded by a strong northwest wind. We linger
of the Upper Missouri River. My fellow paddlers have already over breakfast, hoping that somehow procrastination will
arrived and are organizing their gear. Behind them the change the weather. We marshal the gear, which amounts
Missouri River has worn a gouge into the landscape. to a surprising heap, considering the efforts made to pare
Jim Romo, an ecology professor, was my supervisor down to the necessities. The vessels set off, Jim pensive and
when I was in graduate school, and is now an old friend. unsure in the unfamiliar kayak. By the end of the day, he has

6 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011


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.

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 7


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.
Two views of the striking White Cliffs of the
The rhythm of the river becomes more
Upper Missouri River, the result of erosion evident. The packing of our camp becomes
on light-colored eagle sandstone. more nonchalant and quicker. Downriver,
the Hole in the Wall is visible rising from the

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8 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011


edge of the river at the terminus of an angle deer sign, and in my head plan an ambush
of debris and a ragged finger of sandstone. along the game trail that winds up into the
We hike up the worn footpath, curiosity breaks. To a deer hunter, old habits die
and childlike wonder drawing us up the hard. At camp, the cottonwood trees serve
increasingly steep trail studded with Spanish as a refuge and home for birds from miles
bayonet, miner’s lamp and scarlet globe around. Eagles, ospreys, pelicans, orioles
mallow. Soon we are scrambling up creases and other birds use the groves, and the
in the sandstone. The summit reveals a chatter and squawking provide a lively and
hidden canyon, the vista exhibiting the many pleasant background to the afternoon.
geologic features of the Missouri all at once. We load up camp and push out into
On the river I find a message in a the current. The valley broadens out, with
bottle and take it to open at home. Jim high badlands perched far back off the
and I talk about work, family, fishing and river. We pass Slaughter River, so named by
other topics at a depth not done before. Lewis and Clark for the numerous rotting
Old tumbledown farms appear on some bison carcasses observed there as they
of the flats along the river, relics of the struggled upstream in the summer of 1805.
ill attempts at farming the small parcels Eventually The Judith River appears to
perched along the river. The unwillingness the south. I paddle up the Judith as group
of the landscape to yield to the imposition of suspicious pelicans watch me from a
of a different order resulted in the failure guano-covered cottonwood snag lodged in
of nearly all. the confluence of the rivers. I pass through
Slaughter River campsite looms and a channel where I see a beaver, a mule deer
we stop mid-afternoon. I walk up into the and a wood duck with her brood. She is
hills and discover an old horse-drawn hay not pleased about my intrusion, and tries
mower reclaimed by the gnarled blue sage. to draw me away from her offspring by
I dodge cactus and step carefully, wary of feigning injury.
rattlesnakes. On a ridge I find an old mule u

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 9


The takeout point comes into view, and

BC Alberta Saskatchewan
disappointment sets in. As darkness falls, we
sit around the campfire, Alex long asleep, Coal Banks Landing
Shelby Havre 2 Malta
bored of the talk of middle-aged men. We Whitefish
stay up late, relating stories of other treks. 75 Ft. Benson Mountains Fort Peck
Of close brushes with grizzlies while hiking 87
Great Falls Missouri R
in Montana, elk hunting in Idaho, and .
Missoula Judith Landing
moose hunting in northern Saskatchewan.
The stars grow brighter and the light of Montana
the fire plays on the lines on the faces of
men who have spent years seeking out Butte
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. Wyoming
A native of Saskatchewan, Michel
Tremblay has spent a lifetime outdoors
hunting, camping, fishing and paddling and
holds a Master’s Degree in ecology from the
University of Saskatchewan.

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10 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Feature destination

Two reasons
to visit Vancouver Island North this summer
1. Broughton
The Broughtons are a veritable
maze of islands, islets and reefs
northeast of Port McNeill that offer
Background photo is White Cliff Islets in world-class kayaking and killer
Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park / whale viewing in the protection of
John Kimantas photo. Inset photo is the Alert Broughton Island Marine Provincial
Bay 360 in 2010 / Robin Thacker photo. 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.

Alert Bay Lodge

Waterfront Accommodation
Overlooking Johnstone Strait
- Genuine hospitality & home-cooked meals
- Grizzly, whale tours & private charters

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P: 250-974-2410 • 1-800-255-5057

Broughton Archipelago
Paddlers’ Inn 2. Alert Bay 360
Now in its third year, the Alert Bay
Floathouse Inn & Cabin • Waterfront Cottage 360 offers the best mix of competition,
Kayak Tours & Rentals • Catered or Kitchenettes camaraderie and culture. The race
Water Taxi Service • On-site Massage
for all levels of interest takes place
Simoom Sound, Gilford Island, BC around Cormorant Island July 31, and
P: 250-230-0088 offers thousands of dollars in prizes
as well as a Big House celebration,
a seafood buffet and First Nations
Celebrating 50 years on the North Island!
Port McNeill & District cultural dance performances. Get there
Chamber of Commerce/ early and enjoy the pre-race comforts
Visitor Centre of waterfront lodging in Alert Bay. Or
Welcome to a wilderness mecca for outdoor visit anytime to discover the wonder
enthusiasts. Port McNeill is a paddlers paradise of orcas in Johnstone Strait, the masks
with easy access to the Broughton Archipelago. of the U’Mista Cultural Centre and the
1594 Beach Dr, Port McNeill, BC welcoming atmosphere of communities
Phone: 250-956-3131 • 1-888-956-3131 like Alert Bay and Port McNeill.
For details and to register, visit

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 11

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

Nanaimo 8
Gabriola I. 8

Cedar Ä 8
Ä 8
Valdes I.

Thetis I.
Ladysmith Ä
Penelakut 8 8
(Kuper) I. 8
8 Galiano I.
Chemainus Ä

Crofton Ä
8 Mayne I.
Maple Bay Ä Saltspring I. Prevost I.
8 Primary site 8 Saturna I.
8 Pender Is. 8
8 Alternative site 8
8 Proposed site 8
8 8
Ä Access site Cowichan Bay Ä
8 8 Portland I.
Ä Proposed access site
Ä Coast&Kayak access site*
8 Coast&Kayak campsite*
* These sites are presented as a courtesy 8 Rum I.
by Coast&Kayak for trip planning but Sidney Ä
Mill Bay Ä
are not a part of the BC Marine Trails 8 Sidney I.
Network Association’s inventory or
otherwise currently linked to the marine
trail. Bamberton 8 Ä
Victoria 8 D’Arcy I. San Juan Is.
Ä (U.S.)
12 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011
The Gulf Islands

ike many other kayakers, I got my feet wet by learning embattle other passages in the area such as Haro and Juan de
to paddle in the Gulf Islands. The wild west coast of Fuca straits.
Vancouver Island was simply too tempestuous to Not that it is all placid all the time. Hardly. The long
consider in those early days, so I was happy to explore the passages create strong currents that in turn create some of
relatively calm and sheltered southeast coast of Vancouver the strongest tidal rapids on the coast, such as Dodd Narrows,
Island and the myriad of nearby islands. Porlier Passage and Active Pass. Cross any of these during
Here the interplay of water and land is at its finest. Nestled peak periods at your peril. Or enjoy as part of a paddler’s
between the mountains of Vancouver Island and the more adventure, or cross at slack current. There’s no need to take
open waters of the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands claim risks here if you’re not in the mind to. Simply pick the type
Canada’s most Mediterranean and therefore best climate of adventure right for you – from placid day trips in coves to
– that is, mild conditions year-round and considerably less explore the intertidal life, to energetic day trips with picnics
rainfall than many nearby urban centers such as Vancouver. on a nearby (or distant) island, to multi-day adventures
The difference is so striking it’s not unusual to paddle here in through largely unpopulated wilderness settings.
sunshine while clouds linger over both Vancouver Island and That the Gulf Islands should compose an inaugural section
the mainland BC mountains. of the future BC Marine Trail is fitting – and altogether
Protected by a virtual land bridge, the inner waters of overdue, considering the strains on this fragile island
the Gulf Islands can be highly protected, getting none of network and its elaborately unique but shrinking ecosystem.
the ocean swell and considerably less of the wind that can

Water takes on a
tropical hue in the
collection of islets
off Prevost Island.
Photo by Dan Millsip

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 13

The BC Marine Trail

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.

Dan Millsip photo

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
BC Marine Trails Network Association director Mick Allen paddles late in the day near Prevost
added a considerable amount of newly Island. Parks Canada has played a critical role in the development of the marine trail by
protected land, particularly on Saturna including national park sites like those on Prevost Island in the official marine trail inventory.
Island and the Penders, but reached the
minimum land required to become a Island. Negotiated through a lease with the There friends and supporters of the trail
national park only by absorbing existing forestry company land owners, the lease has will converge en masse in canoes and kayaks
provincial parks in the south Gulf Islands – long since expired, along with the original to Transfer Beach for the official ribbon
an indication of the restraints on land here. marine trail group that created it. The cutting (see page 31 for details).
With that background and a mission to current land owners have not renewed the It may well become the single largest
create a province-wide marine trail, the BC lease, and the property now sits in limbo – a paddling event in the history of the
Marine Trails Network Association began source of consternation for BC’s kayakers. province. For organizers it’s a relief to
the challenge of piecing together routes So it should be no surprise that finally see the official status unfold.
to link the various existing components of substantial holes exist in the inaugural Gulf “It’s really starting, it is really beginning
kayaking resources while hopefully finding a Islands marine trail inventory, with major with this grand opening,” says Stephanie
few new ones. gaps particularly around Mayne and Galiano Meinke, the president of the BCMTNA.
It wasn’t easy. An earlier attempt to islands. “We’re going to have sites, we’re going to be
create a BC marine trail in the mid 1990s Even so, it’s a start, to be made official on the map, we’re going to be visible. And
had one success – the creation of a at the trail’s grand opening in Ladysmith at from there I think the initiative will increase
campsite at Blackberry Point on Valdes the Vancouver Island Paddlefest on May 14. in speed.”

14 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

The Gulf Islands

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 THREE
official nod at the grand opening, two other SIZES
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 POLYETHYLENE COMPOSITE

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.”

photo: B. Lemeunier

Kayak availability may vary depending on time.

Please contact your BORÉALDESIGN dealer for more information.

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 15

The BC Marine Trail

uins of A lepers colony, a smugglers’ haven, an the Gulf Islands. It is, after all, an ideal kayaking destination.
old explosives factory and even a bomb shelter bunker Distances are short, the scenery is varied, wildlife abundant,
– there’s a lot of history hidden in the little group of campsites numerous and despite the close proximity,
islands off the east side of Saanich Peninsula. civilization seems to melt away. Quick connections by ferry
If you’re not familiar with the peninsula, picture that it from both the B.C. mainland and Washington State make
juts northward from Victoria to bisect southeast Vancouver launching into these islands ideal as either short paddles and
Island, creating an ideal countryside environment for day trips or the jumping point into the myriad of the larger
numerous semi-rural communities, where farms tend to Gulf Islands nearby.
outnumber housing developments. To the west of the The creation of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in
peninsula is Saanich Inlet, a twisting stretch of water 2005 changed the landscape here, with D’Arcy Island, Sidney
bounded by mountains that make it Vancouver Island’s only Spit, Rum Island and Portland Island trading hands from
east coast fjord, famous for its deep, still waters home to provincial parks to the federal reserve. Going with them
unusual sponges. Spectacular viewpoints of the inlet are the were many of the Crown islets that dot the area. The national
reward at vantage points on the nearby peaks. park quickly banned public access to these islets to help
The west side of the peninsula is bordered by a web of protect the sensitive environment. While commendable, it
islands just a hop and skip across Haro Strait to the San Juan did remove several key unofficial paddling campsites from
Islands in the U.S. The islands here are the destination for the region. Once all fair game for visits, only one islet in this
many a beginner kayaker’s first overnight trip. It can also cluster remains accessible for picnics and short stays by
serve as the ideal place to stoke a life-long love affair with kayakers – Dock Island.

Prevost I.
Saltspring I. 8 Arbutus Pt. A kayaker takes
Portland I. To South Pender I.
a break at Shell
Shell Beach 8 Beach on Prevost
8 Princess Bay Moresby I.
To Cowichan Bay Island. Formerly a
provincial park, it
Satellite Channel Piers I. was a gift to Princess
Ecological Reserve
Margaret, who
Swartz Bay Ä returned it to British
Coal I. Columbia for a park
Saanich Peninsula to mark Canada’s
Dock I. centennial year.
Photo by Shannon
Rum I. 8 Parker.

Saanich Inlet Sidney

Victoria Ä
Ä Mill Bay Airport
Sidney Spit 8 Mandarte I.

Cy Hampson
Park Ä

Sidney I.
8 James I.

Ä Brentwood Bay Island View D’Arcy I. 8

Regional Park Ä
h 8
e ac
ll yR

Discovery I.

Gowlland Tod Marine Park

Provincial Park

and Victoria

16 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Provincial Park
The Gulf Islands

Leg one:
Saanich & Sidney

Unfortunately, many of the other islands outside the a trail on D’Arcy Island. Sidney Spit is home to a wonderful
national park reserve are private. Some, like Piers Island, are sand spit and intertidal eelgrass bed invariably populated by
subdivided into postage stamp-sized properties that are cranes feeding in the shallows. And an old bomb shelter sits
hemmed in with homes – the worst fate for any Gulf Island. in the field on Sidney Island near Sidney Spit.
Other islands are exclusive retreats for the very rich, such as Add a good chance of seeing killer whales, plus the
James Island, owned by Seattle cell phone billionaire Craig inevitable bald eagles, seals, sea lions and otters, and you
McCaw and topped with its own Jack Nicklaus-designed golf have the makings for a grand wildlife outing while barely
course. Fortunately due to Canadian law, intertidal areas are leaving your launch site.
public domain, meaning James Island’s sandy beaches can Launch sites, however, can pose a quandary as accesses
still be enjoyed by everyone – up to the high tide line only, of are infrequent and generally guarded against overnight
course. parking. Enter the BC Marine Trail Network Association,
Better yet, many of the most notable features of these which is negotiating with communities along the trail route
islands are protected within the Gulf Islands National Park to gain suitable access without running the risk of being
reserve. Remains of an old lepers colony can be found along towed. u

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 17

The BC Marine Trail

u Trail guide preview: Saanich and Sidney

This area is a prime location for (which will explain the considerable debris).
beginners who want worry-free paddling Examine the field behind the campsite to
destinations with overnight options. locate the World War Two bomb shelter,
Chances of seeing a pod of killer whales built because an explosives plant on James

David Thompson photo

are also exceptionally high here. A Island was considered a target. Sidney
good logistical base camp is McDonald Spit is about a 5 km / 3 mile paddle from
Campground near Sidney. It is part of the downtown Sidney, or about 9 km / 5.5
national park created as a convenient center miles from a connection with Rum Island.
for exploring the park’s various locales. Rum Island. This island came by
Access Points: Sidney is the key Kayaking past the landmark sand cliffs of its name honestly as a haven for rum
community for starting out in this region, James Island. runners during the U.S. prohibition. It was
but while beach access points are numerous, bequeathed as a provincial park by its last
parking restrictions can make overnight Island’s history, as residents were secreted owner, then transferred to the national
parking a headache. Expect the possibility of here from 1890 to 1924 against their will and park. Camping is on a bluff on the island’s
unloading at one location then parking and essentially left as outcasts to survive as best south side. Landing is on a tombolo that
walking back – at least until the marine trail’s they could. The crossing is as little as 8 km / joins Rum with neighboring Gooch Island,
parking details are worked out. Tulista Park 5 miles from Island View Beach, or about 12 a private island. A trail circles Rum Island.
just south of the ferry terminal is a good km / 7 miles if connecting to Sidney Spit. It is about 10 km / 6 miles across simple
option, as is Cy Hampson Park, a waterfront Sidney Spit. Another former provincial water from downtown Sidney, and about 11
park just south of Sidney. Island View Beach park, this national park property is unique km / 7 miles to Portland Island.
Regional Park is a great launch location for in that it is serviced by a foot passenger Portland Island: This is a key kayaking
points to the south, but overnight parking is ferry during the summer, which allows destination, with prime camping at Shell
currently restricted. for walk-in camping and hiking. Camping Beach on the south and Arbutus Point to
Destinations: spots have moved twice in recent years, the north. A less used option is at Princess
D’Arcy Island. This former provincial the last move away from the waterfront. Bay. Trails circle the island. If exploring
park, now part of the national park, has a The key attraction is an expansive sandy by water, intertidal life at lower tides is
beach and campsite on the northeast side spit that extends almost 2 km (over a mile) exceptional. It is about 5 km / 3 miles from
facing Little D’Arcy (a private island). Trails at low tide. The lagoon created by the spit the government dock at Swartz Bay next
circle the island and lead to the ruins of a is ecologically exceptional, with great blue to the ferry terminal or 8 km / 5 miles
lepers colony on the west side. The colony heron the most obvious resident. The from Sidney. Water here can be challenging
is one of the darker aspects of Vancouver island was once home to a brick factory 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.

18 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

The Gulf Islands
SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 19
Whaler Bay Ä
Galiano I.
The BC Marine Trail
Bluff Park
David Cove Ä

Active Pass
Ä Miners Bay
To Ja Mayne I. Str
m e s Ba a it
y Bennett Bay Ä of
Mt. Parke Park Ge
Horton Bay
Prevost I. Ä Belle Chain Islets
Ä Samuel I.
Swanson Channel

Boat Passage
Winter Cove
8 Cabbage I.

Sound Lyall Harbour


Otter Bay

Tumbo I.

North Pender I.

Saturna I.

Fiddle East Point

rs Cove
Ä Saturna Beach
Ä Thieves Bay Brown Ridge 8 Narvaez Bay
Ruckle Park Ä Mortimer Spit
8 (Saltspring I.) Monarch Head
Medicine Beach
dw 8 Beaumont
r South Pender I.
8 Arbutus Pt. Ä
Ä ss
Portland I. da
Moresby I.
To Sidney

id n

20 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

The Gulf Islands

Leg two:

here is no doubt the Gulf Islands straddle two route of the area, but a site remains elusive in the proximity of
worlds. The rugged wilderness and unspoiled vistas Mayne Island. Marine trail organizers are hoping commercial
that define the islands are definitely at odds with those operators can fill the gap until a new location is secured.
places tamed for residential use. The outer islands share the Coupled with that is the unanswered problem of launching
best and worst of both. If you are looking for untrammeled from the islands. The BCMTNA’s focus to date has been
shoreline and mountainous scenery, Saturna Island is the on access points from Vancouver Island. While there are
beacon, made brighter with the inclusion of much of the numerous island beach accesses, they are invariably meant
island into the Gulf Islands National Park reserve. for local day use. Parking restrictions are usually prohibitive,
Counter that with Magic Island Estates, a suburban-style particularly around the few boat launches.
housing development that was pushed through in the 1970s While the larger islands provide protection from the more
that gave rise to the sudden realization that development open waters of the Strait of Georgia, don’t be fooled into
restrictions in the islands were non-existent. Steps have since complacency here. While potentially idyllic, currents can run
been taken to minimize development on what is left, but the extremely high and become dangerous in passes such as Boat
Pender Islands and Mayne Island share a similar fate that the Passage and East Point off Saturna, Active Pass and Georgeson
vast majority of these islands are private property. On this Passage off Mayne Island. Many a kayaker has had to sit at
beauty, access and ecological sensitivity hath no bearing. Winter Cove to await slack current in Boat Passage.
Changing the landscape for the better is the national park, Highlights are numerous, with explorations of Saturna
which has snapped up numerous properties on the Penders Island’s south coast among the best anywhere for its cliffs,
since its creation in 2005. While camping for kayakers on the sand beaches, unusual rock formations and mountainous
Penders is currently limited to Beaumont Park in Bedwell backdrop. Bedwell Harbour offers much the same in a
Harbour, a new and highly strategic site has been added smaller scale with a more developed setting of housing,
at Narvaez Bay on Saturna. A closed road provides hiking moorage and marinas, while Mayne Island is best probably
access to Narvaez Bay, while unofficial trails skirt the top and as a starting point only: it has little to offer in the way of
shoreline below Brown Ridge, a distinctive and aptly named wilderness. The exceptions are Georgina Point, Deacon Hill,
mountain bluff that serves as prime raptor habitat. Helen Point and Active Pass, which offer the most interesting
The Narvaez Bay campsite helps fill a needed hole in a 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

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 21

The BC Marine Trail

u Trail guide preview: the South Islands

With distances greater, camping options Beaumont, Medicine Beach (an ecological Point is prone to strong currents and nasty
more spread out and a greater likelihood of reserve) and Mortimer Spit north of the rips. Time a visit accordingly.
problems such as currents and wind, care in bridge. The campsite is about 14 km / 9 Samuel Island. This island is the
trip planning is essential here – unless you miles from Portland Island. largest between Mayne and Saturna and
plan shorter trips such as an exploration of South Saturna. Isolation and steep creates two very strong tidal channels to
Bedwell Harbour or Winter Cove. shoreline have kept this area largely either side. The offlying Belle Chain Islets
Launches: While some paddlers could undeveloped, and consequently made ideal and Georgeson Island are part of the
reach the Penders and Saturna easily property for the new national park. The national park with no access except the
from Saanich or Sidney, realistically most largest stretch of protected shoreline in the islet closest to Samuel (known as Little
visitors will likely prefer to launch from Gulf Islands runs 4 km / 2.5 miles from Samuel) where day use is allowed at the
one of the islands. Which one you start Trueworthy Bight to Taylor Point, where south beach. Largely undeveloped land
from depends largely on the area you’d a sandy beach provides access to the ruins along this side of Mayne Island makes for
like to visit, but equally important are ferry of an old homestead. Java Islets nearby interesting exploration in Horton, Bennett
connections, which can involve multiple are protected national park islets with no and Campbell Bays.
stops. Saturna, naturally, is usually the access allowed. At Narvaez Bay is the new Active Pass. Exploration is a risky
most time-consuming to reach. Launch national park campsite, with dramatic cliffs prospect in this narrow and twisting
options are marked on the maps to help at Monarch Head. Adjacent is Echo Bay, a passage given exceptionally high boat
with trip planning, but please note the ones beautiful little cove with a trail to the outer traffic. Expect two large ferries to pass
with black icons aren’t official marine trail point. Another beautiful beach and unusual here on their way between Victoria and
locations. For more information on these rock formations can be found at Fiddlers Vancouver. Keep well to the sides and
sites, see The Wild Coast Vol. 3. Cove, part of the Saturna Island Indian monitor call-in points on Channel 11 to
Destinations: Reserve. Consider a launch from Saturna keep tabs on traffic (large vessels must call
Moresby Island. This is a private but Beach; stop at the nearby vineyard during in before entering the pass). Helen Point is
mostly pristine island with some great your visit. It is 16 km / 10 miles from an unoccupied First Nations reserve with
shoreline to explore. It makes a wonderful Beaumont to the campsite at Narvaez Bay a nice beach, while Galiano Island is highly
side trip to a stay at Portland Island. on Saturna Island or 23 km / 14 miles to mountainous and scattered with provincial
Bedwell Harbour. While hardly James Bay on Prevost Island. Note currents and regional parks along much of the
pristine, this is a nicely sheltered area that can be strong through here with rips off Active Pass shore. A decommissioned
is one of the key four-season paddling Monarch Head and Java Islets. lighthouse at Georgina Point provides a
locations in the Gulf Islands. Camping North Saturna. Winter Cove is a pleasant landmark.
is possible at Beaumont, the former former provincial park now in the national
provincial park now folded into the national park that offers a boat launch, picnic sites
park. Hiking is possible to a lookout atop and trails but no camping. Boat Passage is
Mount Norman. A unique feature here best navigated at slack. The north Saturna
is the trestle bridge that joins the two shoreline is low bank to Tumbo Island,
Pender islands (the only bridge in the Gulf where you’ll find beaches and a scenic trail.
Islands). Currents can be considerable Nearby Cabbage Island offers camping.
through the pass. Beaches can be found at Reefs make exploration interesting. East

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.

22 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Gulf Islands
Marine Trail

red hair band

Brand New Red Kevlar

red jacket Telkwa Sport

red lip stick

red boots

red car ( in parking lot )

Comox Valley Kayaks & Canoes

by the water in Courtenay , Vancouver Island, BC

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 23
Penelakut 8 Chivers Pt. Bodega Ridge To Dionisio
To Pirates Cove
(Kuper) I. Provincial Park
8 Pebble Beach
8 Cabin Bay
The BC Marine Trail
8 Conover Cove
Wallace I.
8 Tent I. Galiano I.
To Kuper Island
Ä Hudson Pt.

Ballingal Islets
Ecological Reserve
To Chemainus Montague Harbour
Provincial Park
Trin Ä
a li 8
Walker Hook Ä Cha
Mary n nel
Lake Montague
Parker I.

Ä Vesuvius Bay

Booth Bay Long
Ä Ganges
Ä Ganges
Harbour Harbour

Maple James Bay 8


Saltspring I.

Ä Maple Bay Mount Maxwell

e g
Provincial Park

Peak Burgoyne Bay
Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park

8 Belcher
Mount Ruckle
Tzuhalem Stoney Provincial
Hill Park
Sansum Ä
Bruce Fulford
Peak Harbour

Hope Russell I.
Cowichan Bay Hill

8 Mount Mount Tuam

24 COAST&KAYAK Magazine
Magazine SUMMER Tuam Ecological Reserve
24 COAST&KAYAK Summer 2011
2011 To Saanich Inlet
The Gulf Islands

Leg three:

Galiano I. Whaler Bay

Gossip I.

and Galiano
Sutil Bellhouse Sturdies Bay
Mtn . Mount Bluff Park
Collinson Pt.
Provincial Park
Active Pass

Mayne I.

To Saturna Island

o call Saltspring Island the heart of the
Prevost I. Gulf Islands is to acknowledge not only its
domineering physical presence (capped by the
highest peaks in the region), but also the cultural spirit
The sun sets in this view from reflected in a bustling community of arts, boutiques and
Tent Island. Though not part bed&breakfasts.
of the marine trail, it offers Saltspring is the most populated of all the Gulf Islands,
a great potential campsite at about 10,000 people, most of whom reside near
courtesy the Penelakut Vesuvius Bay or Ganges Harbour. Few inhabit the south
To the Penders island, which is highly mountainous and consequently
First Nation. Photo by John
Kimantas. 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 won’t need
to go far from either island. As south Saltspring is largely
uninhabited, so goes north Galiano Island. Both areas are
8 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.

2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine
COAST&KAYAK Magazine 25
Portland I.
The BC Marine Trail

u Trail guide preview: Saltspring

Access: Numerous ways exist to launch and Mayne Island, though watch for rips
from both Saltspring and Galiano, as well off Long Harbour in Captain Passage. It
as from strategic locations on Vancouver is strategic for routes from Portland Island
Island. For launches from Galiano, and Beaumont on South Pender. It is 19 km
Montague Harbour Provincial Park is a / 12 miles to Wallace Island.
Touring Whitewater Recreational
convenient and sheltered location. On Montague Harbour. This provincial
Saltspring, most harbours and bays have park on Galiano is a good base for
boat ramps or beach accesses. Most of those
options are marked on the map on page
24. From Vancouver Island, Swartz Bay on
What’s in a name?
the top of Saanich Peninsula (see page 16), Nothing accurate!
Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay and Crofton all The Gulf Islands have a long history
offer access to Saltspring’s east and south of misnomers, with more being added
side, particularly Sansum Narrows. all the time.
Destinations: Consider the name itself is an error.
Fulford Harbour. Off-lying Russell The Gulf Islands were so named for the
Island is a great attraction with a good proximity to the Gulf of Georgia by Capt.
beach, a jetty for boat landings, a trail George Vancouver back in 1792. Except
and historical buildings that reflect a it wasn’t a gulf, and when the error was
discovered that name was changed to
long history of pioneer occupation by
the Strait of Georgia (that was 1865),
Hawaiians, a unique cultural connection.
but the islands themselves were never
Ganges Harbour. The commercial and corrected and so they are actually the
cultural heart of Saltspring, the harbour Gulfless Islands.
has a long chain of islands to explore with Saltspring Island goes as “Salt Spring”
a beautiful picnic stop at Chocolate Beach as often as not, but be sure the original
on Third Sister Island – a great beginner’s reference is a single word. If you go back
outing and half-day trip. further you’ll find it called Chuan Island,
Prevost Island. Arguably the prettiest or perhaps even Ranfurley Island.
of the smaller Gulf Islands, the east shore The latest error is how to define the
is dotted with islets, a historic lighthouse, Gulf Islands. A political strategy of the
1990s defined the Gulf Islands as any
coves and cliffs. James Bay is a highly
island in the Georgia Basin, so including
strategic kayak campsite, though not
Texada, Bowen, and possibly even
necessarily the prettiest, but large enough Quadra Island well to the north.
for multiple groups. Most of the island is The true definition is the area of
private but undeveloped. Hopefully the islands within the triangle bounded by
national park will snap up the rest of the D’Arcy, Saturna and Gabriola islands,
island before that can happen. Easy access leaving out Newcastle Island for some
is possible from Ganges, Long Harbour and odd reason.
Montague Harbour as well as the Penders

Proudly Canadian

26 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

The Gulf Islands

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 ...the Gulf Islands!
nearby Galiano shoreline. • Daily Guided Tours
Wallace Island. This provincial park & Rentals since 1985
features three possible kayak camping • Only 1 hr from
locations. The most popular is Chivers
Point on the northwest tip. Trails cross the
island while old cottages of the former • Ferry pick-up available
resort speak of the history. • Open all year!
Sansum Narrows. This tidal channel has ...Costa Rica!
a few rips and strong currents in portions,
but otherwise expect bays and vistas • A Week in Paradise
alongside the tallest mountains in the Gulf • Calm Waters and B&B
Vincent Delogne photo

Islands. Funneling wind can be an obstacle • Dec – April, since 1988

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
Chivers Point on Wallace Island can fill quickly picnic sites can be found near Maxwell Point
with kayakers during the summer. The beach (though within the provincial park shoreline 250-539-2442
may not be the best but what it lacks in access is prohibited). Cowichan Bay also
sprawling sand it makes up for in protection. offers sheltered paddling and a prime entry
Walking trails add to the appeal. point to south Saltspring.

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For paddlers that get it...

Get it at
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SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 27
Ä The BC Marine Trail

Newcastle Island Ä
Ä Provincial Park Galiano Gallery
Protection I.
Ä Descanso Bay
8 Regional Park

Gabriola I.
Silva Bay Ä

Provincial Park Flat Top Islands
Dodd Narrows Ä
Mudge I.
Passage Ä
Gabriola Kendrick I.
Wakes Cove 8
Cedar Ä Provincial Park

De Courcy I.

Boat Harbour Ä
Pirates Cove
8 Provincial Park

Ruxton I.

Pylades I.
Valdes I.
Blackberry Pt.
Ä Blue Heron Park

Yellow Point

Kulleet Bay

Ladysmith Reid I.
Evening Cove Thetis I.
Transfer Beach Ä Ä

(Kuper) I.

28 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011 Chemainus Ä

Tent I. 8
The Gulf Islands

Leg four: T
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
ss is allowed there by arrangement with the band.
r Pa
rlie The island itself is phenomenally beautiful and a
Po Dionisio Provincial Park highlight of the area, which already boasts many.

Galiano I.

8 Chivers Pt. Intricate sandstone

Wallace I. patterns define this part of
8 Cabin Bay the Gulf Islands. Photo by
Reale Edmond.

8 Conover Cove SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 29

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 Paddling past the Secretary
Islands north of Thetis Island.
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.
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 logging roads. islands is all private except for two islets
beach at Coon Bay plus trails. It is highly The DeCourcy Group. This line of off Saturnina Island. Launching is possible
recommended. islands runs from Vancouver Island at from Silva Bay, which offers services, or
Thetis and Penelakut islands. This Dodd Narrows, a potentially dangerous Drumbeg Park. Nearby Kendrick Island
odd pair is split by a narrow dredged channel tidal passage, southeast to Pylades Island. is adjoined by a smaller islet that can also
that can run shallow even for kayaks. Thetis Spectacular sandstone formations can be serve for casual camping. Gabriola Passage
is partly residential and partly sprawling bible found along most islands but particularly runs several knots and can have dangerous
camps. Penelakut Island is a Penelakut band south DeCourcy Island. Pirates Cove is rips. Wakes Cove is now a provincial park
reserve, and mostly undeveloped. The sandy the main kayaking campsite and a popular and a good picnic location.
spit on the northeast end is a great picnic anchorage. A great clamshell beach sits off Nanaimo Harbour. Home to
destination. While most of the small nearby Ruxton Island and is a perfect kayak stop at Coast&Kayak Magazine, Nanaimo is a busy
islands are private, Tent Island is a Penelakut low tides. The campsite at Pirates Cove is 20 port town reflected in the ferry terminal,
property but with access for camping. Ask km / 12 miles from Wallace Island. shipping traffic and many marinas.
for permission with the band office at 250- Ladysmith Harbour. The Vancouver However, the bustle melts away in the cover
246-2321. The island is wonderfully scenic Island Paddlefest is held at Transfer of Newcastle Island, a provincial park set
with some beautiful cliffs and beaches. Beach, which is a natural kayak launch for smack in the middle of the harbour that
Blackberry Point. The first marine explorations of the harbour all year round. offers a network of trails as long as 10 km
trail campsite, it now sits in limbo as the The harbour makes a novice agenda that each, beaches and camping. Jesse Island,
lease with the current owners has expired. can include the Dunsmuir Islands or out to to the north, has the only paddle-through
Though now unofficial, camping is not the beach at Evening Cove (an alternative caves in the Gulf Islands. Protection Island
specifically banned (knock on wood). To the launch site). to the south is mostly private and highly
north is a log dump with a bit of a beach Flat Top Islands. Located off the east developed, with the attraction being a
that allows access to the island’s interior via end of Gabriola Island, this collection of 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 Follow us online at
water at
MAY 14TH, 2011 The BCMTNA Vision:
PURPOSE: To create a Marine Trails Opening Events A Marine Trails Network, Designed by Paddlers,
SPLASH that will NOT be forgotten!
Secured by Government.
Register here -

As of May 14th the first 2 sections of the BC Marine Trails Network BCMTNA MEMBER CLUBS:
(West Coast Vancouver Island North Trails and Gulf Islands Trails) • Campbell River Paddlers
will be officially opened. • Comox Valley Paddlers Club
• Cowichan Kayak and Canoe Club
The BC Marine Trails Network is an interconnecting series of • Nanaimo Paddlers
access/launch sites and campsites for users of small, beachable
watercraft, mostly hand powered such as kayaks and canoes, which will • Pacific International Kayak Association
cover the entire coast of British Columbia. • Recreational Canoeing Association of BC
• Sea Kayak Association of BC
At its completion, the BC Marine Trails Network will become the • South Island Sea Kayak Association
longest continuous water trail in the world!
• Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club

Sponsors of the
BCMTN include:

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 31

The BC Marine Trail

u Trail guide preview: running the Gulf Islands

The BCMTNA is adding the word The outer route is arguably more scenic,
“network” to the Gulf Islands Marine Trail given that the tilt of the islands favors cliffs
because there is no specific single route. to the inside. So great scenery exists along
Rather, there is a spiderweb of potential south Valdes, Galiano and Saturna islands.
travel options that defy the best definition of The mountain scenery is dramatic
trail, because, really, once you’re in the Gulf along the inside route through Sansum
Islands you can’t really fall outside a route. Narrows, plus you can avoid the residential
Having acknowledged the freeform humdrummery of Vancouver Island by
nature of kayaking here, the other side of the scooting along Thetis and Kuper islands
coin is the island cluster begins near Sidney once past Saltspring. If you’re looking for
and ends in Nanaimo (or visa versa). And so Circumnavigations are another option
a linear trip, either end to end or there and for extending trips. Saltspring Island could a better map...
back, is certainly possible. There are three conceivably be a long weekend excursion Coast&Kayak’s parent company
major options for completing this goal: the (though a fourth day would come in Wild Coast Publishing has produced
inside route through Sansum Narrows, the handy). Careful timing of the outer islands a detailed, full-colour 24x36” double
outer route through Trincomali Channel, and is necessary due to the tidal passages at sided Gulf Islands map in anticipation
of the Gulf Islands Marine Trails
the outside route along the Strait of Georgia. every end of all of them: Gabriola, Valdes,
Network. It includes information on
For sheer adventure and relative isolation, Galiano, Mayne and Saturna.
route options, distances between
the outside route is a challenge worth The great thing is the possible key sites and features and items
considering. Official campsites are harder to permutations mean it could take years to of interest for kayakers not on
come by, but a run from Kendrick Islet to cover all the islands, and by then you’ll be Hydrographic Services marine charts.
Dionisio to Pebble Beach to Cabbage Island ready to do the best bits again. To keep track The map is available online at
is realistic and achievable, with the caveat of changes in the marine trail, including new under the
that poor conditions are amplified on the sites and new legs as they are announced, Products/Services tab.
more exposed side of the Gulf Islands. visit

32 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011


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SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 33
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
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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 Queen Charlottes: Tours/Services
the water!
Phone: 250-247-0189

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

Kayak Tours &

Expeditions in Wilderness Youth
the Spectacular Camps & Eco-Retreats
Gulf Islands for Schools/Groups
Tours and Services: East Canada
approved Kayak Haida Gwaii
Guides Among the world's top paddling destinations, Gwaii
.CA Courses
Haanas is an awe-inspiring oasis of wilderness at the
southern tip of Haida Gwaii. Local outfitter providing
MADAWASKA KANU CENTRE guided multi-day kayak adventures since 2000.
1-888-652-5268 Adventures & Education since1991 Web:
Located near Algonquin Park, Ontario. Offers personal instruction Email:
from beginner to expert levels. Weekend and 5-day courses. 1 888 529-2567 • 250 537 2553 • Phone: 250-559-4682

34 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Gulf Islands Marine Trail: Accommodation

Travel in comfort,
Breezy and create your
Lakeside Cottage & Beachside Flat

Bay B&B own personal

marine trail with
Secure beach access 1 minute walk to B&B these B&Bs and Two Cozy Waterfront Accommodations on beautiful Salt Spring Island
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resorts. Put the
Special group & extended stay rates
tent aside for a Cedar Beach
Call us at 250-539-5957
luxurious Ocean Lodge
and pampered Thetis Island
or visit us online at

Saturna Lodge
An elegant yet casual inn with six individually-
appointed ocean- or garden-view rooms. Cozy
common room and lovely grounds. Full breakfast
included in rates. Visit our website for details.
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
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?!
Phone: (206) 719-0976

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 35

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

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: Tours and Services: Tropical

Desolation Sound / Discovery Islands: Accommodation

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 Enjoy the unique Finnish coastline and the Baltic
Sea archipelago, or the lake country labyrinth of
Deluxe beachfront house by the wharf. Two-bedroom waterways. Day trips, multi-day guided tours, self-
luxury cottage, floor-to-ceiling windows, living guided tours and kayak rentals are all available. All our
room with gas fireplace, full kitchen, two bathrooms guides are trained professionals and our equipment is
including jetted tub, wrap-around deck, bbq. top of the line.
Phone: 250-285-2042 Web:
Web: Email:
Email: Phone: +358 50 376 8585

36 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Vancouver Island North and West: Tours and Services Vancouver Island West: Accommodation

Private one-of-a-kind Island...

Wondrous Lodge in Kyuquot
West Coast of Vancouver Island
Featured in the Spring 2011 Unforgettable Retreat... On the Edge of the Pacific
A very Unique Holiday... Best Fishing &
issue, this vast region covers Adventures on the Wild Pacific Coast.
protected archipelagos and
the most adventurous open
water anywhere.

Paddle with sea otters

Nootka transport and rentals Kayak transport between Zeballos and Nootka Island,
Nuchatlitz Park and Friendly Cove. Kayak rentals.
Experience the best kayaking in the Pacific Northwest CEDARS INN rooms and restaurant in a historic
from Tahsis, B.C. in the heart of Nootka Sound. Kayak Zeballos lodge. Good food, friendly service.
rentals and transport to Nuchatlitz Park, Yuquot Phone: 1-866-222-2235
(Friendly Cove), Bligh Island Marine Park and beyond. Web: www.
Phone: 1-866-934-6365 Email:

Tofino’s Kayak Centre

Tofino’s kayaking centre providing daily sea kayak
Odyssey Kayaking tours and kayak rentals since 1988. Pick up books and
BC Ferries port; Gateway to Northern and Central supplies for the West Coast lifestyle. Enjoy espresso on
BC Coast destinations. Sales, Rentals, Lessons, Trip our waterfront deck.
planning. 8625 Shipley Street (across from the Post Phone: 1-800-TOFINO-4 (1-800-863-4664)
Office) Port Hardy. Web:
Phone: 250-949-7392 or cell 250-230-8318 Email:
Tours and Services: Yukon

Wilderness Sea Kayaking

Vancouver Island Kayaking Tours and Wilderness
Kanoe People Ltd.
Retreat. Guided ecotourism adventures in remote Explore Yukon's great rivers and lakes! Rentals, sales,
Kyuquot, the Bunsby Islands, and Brooks Peninsula. guided tours and logistic services. Cabin rentals
Unmatched base camp, spectacular kayaking, diverse summer and winter on the scenic Lake Laberge.
wildlife, and First Nations cultural interactions. Outfitting on the Yukon for over 35 years.
Phone: 1.800.665.3040 or 250.338.2511 Web:
Web: Email:
Email: Phone: 867-668-4899

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 37

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
Seaward’s factor
Seaward Ascenté X3
31"L x 16"W
Total storage Weight
357 litres 55 lbs.
models for 2011: the Chilco and the Hull Chine Design: Base model Options Control
Ascenté. The Ascenté is well known to us ShallowV Soft Symmetrical Fiberglass Kevlar/HV Rudder
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 and be looking for a good all-purpose one-inch outer and 4-inch inner fiberglass
at 120 km/h. Though damaged, it went touring craft with almost no rocker. Shave seam between the deck and hull to aid
directly from the pavement to a the best part of two inches off the width of strength. Long gone is the old Seaward
30-day kayaking trip. So, for starters, the most other West Coast touring cruisers and foam seat in favor of a more comfortable
model is a proven performer – for those you have ample storage capacity (190 litres) and adjustable thermoform model. There’s
with poorly installed kayak racks, anyway. combined with no-nonsense performance: even a small drink holder in the cockpit,
Others who might find it equally useful tracking, stowing, no bouncing on waves reflective tape on the deck and a foul line
will generally fall into the 5’6” to 6’0” range but possibly less stability for novices. for easy tie-ups.
The finer points: The Ascenté features a So which to choose: a third hatch or no
er C third hatch? It depends how you want to
Wat es Rec oast
n t ur rea stash your goods. You gain quick access to
Ve over 30 titles
Ma tion
ps things like rain jackets, snacks and lunch
British original outdoor maps Baja
Columbia but at the expense of space usually taken
specialized for sea kayaking Mexico
by the bulkiest items. So think fewer lawn
NE chairs but your own personal beer and wine
W DVD video guides
NE (available later in 2011) W 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

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38 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Gear and Kayaks

Peregrine Kayaks Inflatable SUP

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,
Upstart kayak manufacturer Peregrine is expanding its line in 2011 with the Keweenaw, the specialists in
a diminutive option at just 14’ long, 23” wide and 38 pounds in composite fiberglass. The products that come
hull design is billed as hybrid – a hard chine, shallow V for initial stability and edging, with with a pump. The
a soft radius above the lower hull’s hard chine for secondary stability. Options are highly Hula 11 inflatable
customizable and include a rudder and any color imaginable. You send a sample, they’ll SUP is made of
match it. We recommend dayglow fuscia. Be the first! high-pressure drop-
stitched material
Gullwing and a double layer
of heavy duty PVC
tarpaulin for ultra
stiff performance
and durability. Inflate
If you’re a paddler plagued by recurring pain, a different blade design might be the board in minutes
worth considering. The new Gullwing 230cm model is the latest entry from the Boston using the included
manufacturer, designed with an ergonomic shape to make paddling easier for a variety double-action hand
of physical conditions. The intent is to cut just below the water surface with the angled pump and enjoy it
blade, so high-angle paddlers need not apply. The shaft is one-piece aluminum and to paddle, surf or
contoured so it will sit nicely on a kayak’s prow while resting. The blade is powdered nylon, to kayak thanks to
and interchangeable thanks to a quick release system. Foam grips add to the comfort. the optional seat
Want to try one? We can offer one better: you can win the Gullwing 230 cm paddle in attachment. It weighs
Coast&Kayak’s anniversary sweepstakes. See page 33 for details. just 10kg. (Not available in dayglow fuscia.)

New Portable
Boat Stands
For Kayaks, Canoes, SUP’s

TM 866.787.7369

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 39

Build a kayak

Build a faux cedar kayak

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 CKMagazine Papyrus I
level. Length Beam Depth Cockpit Total storage Weight
Should you require more than one kayak 4.25” 2.25" 1.75" 2"L x 2"W 34 jelly beans 0.003 lbs.
(as we’re sure everyone will), go to
Hull Chine Design: Base model Options Control and in the
Yes Hard Origami Paper Don’t build Not for us!
multimedia online version of this issue click
here to bring up a printable version of the
template. That would mean clicking this very We are also including detailed written The first two folds are immediately
spot, right here on this page! Click click click! instructions for those who continue to unfolded. They provide a quarter grid that
In addition, at this same location you can forsake our online edition. As a courtesy we will be used to measure subsequent folds.
click to see a video of us constructing one decided not to print the instructions entirely The third fold turns an outside quarter in
of these kayaks. Click here click click click! It’s a in Spanish. Though we were tempted... to the center. Then unfold. The new fold line
family-friendly video – one finished kayak, For those critical that the end result is is used as guide for a smaller half-fold’s end
no swearing. We’re quite proud of that. only marginally like a kayak, watch for the point. The half-fold is then folded again on
You need not necessarily use the Papyrus II in our 50th anniversary issue. the previous fold line. The same sequence is
provided paper or pattern. Any square piece Instrucciones: followed on the opposite corner, completing
of paper will do. Just follow the same fold Fold in the numbered order, with the folds 5 and 6. See photo 1. The paper is then
sequences, using the first two fold lines as a fold direction doubling over the dotted line flipped over. Repeat the same fold, unfold
grid for subsequent folds. (Fold a 20’ x 20’ so the dotted line can’t be seen when the and half-fold sequence for the remaining two
square of paper, get a full size kayak!) fold is completed. corners. u

40 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011



Fold 1

Fold 14



Fold 1

Fold 15
Fold 13

Fold 2



Fold 16



Fold 1





Fold once more from each side so the two portions flush against what is currently the the flip isn’t that tough – it’s just a stretch to
ends meet in the middle. The hull bottom bottom. Essentially right now your kayak is believe you won’t ruin the kayak when you
should be completely covered. See photo inside out. To rectify this is a bit of a trick. push down on the sides (though you may
2. Next fold in each corner at 90 degrees. You will have to invert the hull’s frame by crumple it a bit).
Then fold in each corner again at an odd pushing the sides out and away from the Assuming it isn’t now crumpled in a
angle from each end to the middle. It gets a deck so the walls invert, the hull drops waste basket, your faux cedar strip kayak
bit lumpy, but these folds are important as down and the deck stands upright on its is now ready to use. May it provide many
they’ll be key to how the whole thing hitches own (here’s where the online video would years of kayaking pleasure.
together when it’s flipped inside out. See be helpful. Admit it, the online version Safety disclaimer: Actual jelly bean
photo 3 for how yours should look. would help even if you are in complete denial capacity may vary. Use caution when setting
Next, reach in and locate the seam in and continue to stare at your half-finished on fire with a blow torch. Avoid starchy and
the middle, pulling the edges out so you kayak in defiance of the technology fatty foods. Exercise daily. Lavado a mano,
form a canoe (photo 4). You should see the available to make your life simpler). enjuagar cuidadosamente. Un pastor alemán
cedar hull is on the inside and the top deck Once you master the ‘flip’ it’s done. And me mordío en la pierna izquierda. Gracias!

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 41







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.
Phone: 1.866.984.6437
42 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011
“Getting Y o u O u t T h e r e ” SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 43

Ecology by Trudy Chatwin

ome of the best experiences
in a kayak are when you can slip
quietly along and observe marine
How close is
too close
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.

Now we know! Here are

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.
fact-based guidelines for how
This information was used to create
guidelines to sustain both seabirds and
wildlife viewing.
close to get to seabirds
On Vancouver Island, eco-tourism
boating excursions regularly visit Cleland have mostly been established based on Park rangers, (including Pete Clarkson,
Island in Clayoquot Sound and Great regulations developed for viewing killer Francis Bruhwiler and Mike Rody) and
Chain Island Ecological Reserve and whales, or set conservatively to 100 metres conservation officers including Peter
Mandarte Island near Victoria. Recreational with little actual field observation. The goal Pauwels ably skippered the motorboats
boaters, fishermen and sea kayakers also of my study was therefore to recommend I used in the study. A single kayak was
visit offshore islets, reefs and coastal scientifically based set-back distances which carried on each motorboat to conduct the
areas that support roosting and nesting would minimize disturbance to birds while tests with both types of craft. The field
seabirds. Some of the species nesting allowing boaters to enjoy viewing seabirds. test involved driving the motorboat slowly
on Vancouver Island, including double- The study included all surface nesting (4-6 kmh / 3-4 mph) or paddling the kayak
crested cormorant, Brandt’s cormorant and and roosting seabirds in six study areas directly towards an islet with a roost or nest
common murre, are considered species- around Vancouver Island from Barkley site. Species and numbers of birds were
at-risk, while pelagic cormorant numbers and Clayoquot sounds on the west coast recorded and distances were measured
are declining. Despite consequences of of Vancouver Island to Mitlenatch Island, with a Rangefinder. I encountered pelagic,
disturbance to nesting seabirds, guidelines Nanaimo, the southern Gulf Islands and Brandt’s and double-crested cormorants,
for viewing seabirds in British Columbia Victoria in the Salish Sea. pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers,

cormorants nest
on Mitlenatch
Island, one of
the few seabird
nesting sites in
the Gulf Islands.
Trudy Chatwin photo

44 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Birdwatching guidelines

glaucous-winged gulls and Harlequin ducks with enough samples to Oystercatchers are highly
conduct a statistical analysis in the study areas. The distance that the susceptible to disturbance.
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

Bill Pennel photo

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 than a motorboat to seabird roost and nest sites without an agitation
by humans landing or walking near their nest and it follows that response. With the kayak at 40m there was only a 3 to 10 percent
they are most agitated at close proximity to the nest. Since black chance of seabirds being agitated. Seabirds likely perceive a group of
oystercatchers are a species of high viewing interest, it is important kayakers as a larger threat than a single kayak and kayakers generally
to know that roosting oystercatchers can tolerate closer approach, travel in groups. As well, kayakers have been known to disturb birds
while nest sites require protection especially from landing boats and as they are able to approach and land on islands that motorboats
foot traffic. cannot access. These factors, combined with other managers’
Is there a difference in seabird response to kayaks versus recommendation to setting simple, easy to remember guidelines, led
motorboats? me to recommend sharing a general single set-back distance based
My study demonstrated that a single kayak could approach closer upon the motorboat agitation response threshold of 50m. u

See what exists

outside of
cell coverage.

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JOP-032 Necky Kayaks Half Page Ad • Wavelength Magazine • 7.125” x 4.6875”• 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 425.285.3363 45

The guidelines
in a nutshell:
1. Do not land on seabird nest or

Trudy Chatwin photo

roost sites.
2. Slow to less than 5 kmh within
200 metres of a nest site.
Harlequin ducks at 3. Approach seabirds at an angle
rest on Hornby Island. or parallel to the shore. No sneaking
up on birds!
4. Stay 50 metres away from
My data suggest that site-specific set- cormorant roost aggregate sites should seabird nest sites and important
backs are needed where two highly sensitive receive an extra 20m buffer to the 50m and roosting islets.
species, Harlequin ducks and Brandt’s have a strict no-landing policy. If so, then Note: In Gulf Islands National
cormorants, occur. Although Harlequin disturbance to seabirds from kayaks could Park Reserve there is a 100 metre
ducks are not at-risk in British Columbia virtually be eliminated. buffer around islets in the Special
Preservation Zone. In the Broken
they are a species that is considered to be The set-back guidelines determined
Group Islands Faber Harlequin ducks
sensitive and likely declining. Research by my experimentation turned out to be
are extremely sensitive and roosting
scientist Ian Goudie reported that due significantly less than the 100m guidelines areas such as Ballingall Islets and
to their small body size and high winter recommended at present. The knowledge Hornby Island should have a 70
feeding requirements, Harlequin ducks that guidelines are based on science, rather metre buffer.
cannot accommodate increased stress. than just another rule, should help with 5. Watch for the signs! Agitated
During the late spring-early summer time compliance. This should include establishing seabirds will raise their heads, act
when my study was conducted, male codes of conduct in consultation with alert, walk about or raise wings
Harlequin ducks congregate in molting boat tour operators, park and management before flying. Flying away creates a
aggregations around small islets. As they agencies, marking of set-backs with buoys significant energy loss for birds and
cannot always fly when their feathers are and having wardens monitor sites. Education can cause birds to abandon their
nest and chicks.
molting, Harlequin ducks are very sensitive for recreational boaters, park managers and
to disturbance at this time. guides to recognize seabirds, the signs of bird
Kayakers should approach seabird agitation and understand the implications
roost and nest sites in a tangential manner, of disturbance is a good first step. I believe Trudy Chatwin is a species at risk biologist
and then paddle parallel to shore at the that given knowledge and guidance, kayakers with the British Columbia government. She is
prescribed distance. The tangential approach and other outdoor enthusiasts will become well known for paddling from her home on
is less threatening to birds than either a the greatest supporters of seabirds and other Protection Island to Nanaimo with her dog
direct approach or a stealthy approach from conservation efforts. as co-pilot.
behind rocks. Harlequin Duck and Brandt’s <

46 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

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 800-635-5202
SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 47
Skillset By Alex Matthews

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.

Photo by Dave Aharonian

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” with my regular supplies (and since these
conditions, around rocks and other Thinking about are contained in drybags they effectively
immovable objects, we sometimes damage displace water anyway).
boats – and, yes, sometimes catastrophically.
This winter has been a stormy one,
sinking? Here’s The benefits are significant:
• Float bags fitted to bow and stern
offering up lots of play, plus a couple of
seriously crunched sea kayaks. Within a a way to avoid compartments provide essential buoyancy
by displacing water that would otherwise
two-week period, two boats were severely flood the kayak in the event of a hull
damaged by two different paddlers. The the possibility breach, or hatch or bulkhead failure.
first was a brand new poly boat that was • Preventing a damaged kayak’s cargo
badly cracked in a high-speed collision in after you’ve created the hole in your boat – compartments from flooding allows
surf. Sadly, the boat was beyond repair (it because it now has a distinct tendency to fill the boat to retain its primary handling
was replaced by the manufacturer). The with water. characteristics instead of wallowing horribly
second kayak was a brand new composite My solution to retaining flotation is to fit or even sinking to a vertical position.
boat that collided very heavily with a rock, a set of float bags inside my boat’s hatches. • Float bags provide essential buoyancy,
mashing in its bow. This kayak was repaired. While a dedicated float bag system yet add very little additional weight.
Over the last seven years, I’ve owned two specifically designed for sea kayaks doesn’t • By displacing water that would
composite play boats and smacked holes in seem to exist, NRS ( otherwise fill a compromised boat, float
both of them. does offer a full selection of extremely bags allow a kayaker to paddle to safety
All this kayak carnage isn’t wholly durable float bags. I’ve fitted the NRS without the need for immediate repairs, wet
unexpected. The rules of engagement are “Split” floats in my stern compartment exits or rescues.
pretty simple: if you choose to paddle in (two bags are required as they must fit • Keeping water out of the hatches
breaking waves around rocks and reefs, either side of the skeg box) and the allows conventional (fast) rescues to be
it’s not so much a question of “if ” you NRS “Large Standard” bag for the bow performed.
will eventually collide with something, but compartment. Although the bags are a • Float bags can be transferred to another
“when.” If you paddle a composite kayak, little short in length, they still displace kayak if needed (such as when/if a partner’s
a heavy enough blow will generate a hole. 80 to 90 percent of the water that would boat develops a significant leak miles from
And even poly boats are not completely otherwise fill the hatch in the event of home).
immune to cracking. a breach. I have not fitted a bag to my Keep in mind that trying to inflate a float
Afloat, the real problems start very soon day hatch as I prefer to fill that volume bag in order to displace water from a flooded

48 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

The ancient
Float bags

kayak does not work, and requires far more A cracked composite.
pressure to inflate than can be generated by
• Float bags can be inflated or deflated
depending on cargo capacity requirements.

Photo by Alex Matthews

Photo by Nick Castro

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. A crack in a poly kayak.
• Large float bags easily adapt to fit a
wide variety of different kayaks.
With no added buoyancy, if the crack How a smash differs from a crack in a composite.
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.
Alex Matthews is the author of “Sea Kayaking

Photo by Nick Castro

Rough Waters” available at More of Alex’s Skillset
articles plus other skills columns can be read
online at on our Skills page at


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Kiska, our most popular paddle, is a long-range, week-long touring
Quinsam 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.
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Wavewalker 7” 18” 102.0 30 oz. Basalt/carbon $300 270 --
Available lengths: 210-245 cm. in 5 cm. increments. Carbon $345 310 --
* Weight in fiberglass. Graphite is lighter. Freight: $20 Canada, $35 US
Sale prices available only at

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 49

Starting Out

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

N If you’re looking for a bit of
ew kayakers may find
simply getting into a kayak one of
the great early challenges. Lacking
any support, a kayak on water is extremely extra stability when stepping
tippy. Add the weight and instability of a
person settling down, plus the movement
of water from waves, wind and current, and
into your kayak, the side entry is
you have the makings for a wet mishap – or
at the very least, an ungainly entry.
worth a try.
The side entry takes care of one of the start. The water should be deep enough
This new series for beginners is
greatest elements of risk when entering supported by video. Click here online.
so you won’t bottom out when seated. If
a kayak: the need to maintain your center do you bottom out, your launch will be
of gravity. Stability is created by using the subtleties of learning the side entry. Here considerably more difficult. Using the beach
paddle as the equivalent of an outrigger. are some points to consider, courtesy of for stability might also backfire. The stern
Coast&Kayak Magazine teamed up with Gary. of the boat is pointed, and so becomes
Ocean River Sports kayak instructor Gary • Start by making sure your boat is quite tippy with the weight of a person in
Doran for a day at the beach to show the completely immersed in water before you the cockpit.

1 Grab the paddle and cockpit coaming with

one hand and the paddle shaft with another. 2 Place most of your weight on the kayak, using
the blade for support. 3 Place your first leg inside the cockpit,
centering yourself on the kayak.

50 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Coast&Kayak Magazine with guest instructor Gary Doran The side entry

• Point your bow into any oncoming Instruction/Education

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. Kayak Academy (Seattle)
• Set up the paddle shaft as an outrigger Experience IS Necessary! Since 1991, the Kayak
Academy has been providing the best sea kayak
by gripping it behind you with your hand
experience you can get. Count on us for all your
along with the cockpit coaming. Place your paddling gear.
other hand on the paddle shaft. This gives 4 When moving your second leg in you are
at your most vulnerable, no longer on the Phone: 206.527.1825 or toll-free 866.306.1825
a well-supported boat in the one direction, ground and with a high center of gravity that Web:
makes the boat particularly unstable. Email:
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. Hooksum Outdoor School
• Put most of your weight on your West Coast Outdoor Leadership Training. Quality
kayak. “If you’re sitting on the paddle skills training and Hesquiaht traditional knowledge
itself you could actually break the paddle, for those pursuing a career or employment in the
although it’s pretty rare,” Gary says. “The outdoors. Certification courses include: Paddle Canada
Sea Kayaking Levels I & II, Introduction to Kayaking-
paddle is meant to give you some support, Instructors Course, Advanced Wilderness First Aid,
but you don’t want to put all your weight on Lifesaving, BOAT & ROC(M). Visiting Kayak & Hiking
the paddle.” Groups: Base your Hesquiaht Harbour adventures from
• If the waves are strong you can point our Longhouse. Meals and overnight stays available.
Phone: 250.670.1120
the bow directly into the waves, but at a
cost: your paddle shaft is going to be out in
5 With both legs inside the kayak you can lower
yourself onto the seat.
deeper water, making it trickier to support
W W W. N I C . B C . C A

• 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!
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 6 Once inside you can swing your paddle around
then move into deeper water to attach your
River for their assistance with this article. sprayskirt.

Sometimes it’s a
egrometer fine line between
work & play.
“Paddle to
your heart’s North Island College offers certificate and
diploma programs in Adventure Tourism
content” 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

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 51

Fishing Angles 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, between the relatively warmer water level sonar screen.
water temperature is a key factor when and the much colder bottom layer. If you’ve When that happens:
trying to locate gamefish, let alone ever jumped into the water this time of • Note the depth of the thermocline and
catch them. As with the anglers who pursue year and gone down far enough to suddenly set slip bobbers to drop and suspend live
them in the sultry dog days of summer, fish enter much colder water, you have passed baits to just above that depth; or
attempt to be comfortable this time of year, through the thermocline. It can set up six • Troll lures that you know run at that
and that often means finding the coolest feet down or as deep as 60 feet, depending depth; or
water in a particular lake, reservoir or river on the lake, the atmospheric conditions and • Vertically jig down to the level just
system. other factors. above the cold-water mark.
Most freshwater gamefish prefer cool Normally, fish seeking cool water would Another good tactic is to note the depth
water over warm for two reasons: it keeps rush into this lower, colder zone. The of the thermocline, which should remain
them in a more comfortable temperature, problem is, water below the thermocline has relatively constant over most of the lake
plus cooler water contains more oxygen very little oxygen. That’s why on your sonar (although it can fluctuate, so check it out
than warm water. you may see fish hanging out at a particular as you move to different areas) and paddle
Typically, cooler water is found in the depth and no deeper. These fish are seeking towards shore to find places where there is
deeper parts of a particular body of water. the deepest, coolest water they can in the structure in the depth zone just above the
But simply drifting your kayak over the oxygenated, upper layer without going thermocline. The combination of fish-
deepest part of the lake and dropping your below the thermocline. holding cover and the comfortable climate
baits into the depths below this time of year They are also following the baitfish that of the cool-yet-oxygen rich water just above
may “net” you nothing. are doing the same thing. If you can locate it can concentrate fish and offer some
That’s because by mid-summer, a the thermocline, which shows up as a line fantastic summer angling action.
thermocline typically sets up in most lakes. or shadow on most good sonars, you want <
Simply stated, most inland water-bodies to fish just above it to catch those fish that Dan Armitage is a boating, fishing and
stratify into layers, a process called “turning are keeping their cool in the deepest waters travel writer based in the Midwest. He is
over,” with the warmer water rising to the that still hold oxygen. You can often spot a licensed (USCG Master) captain, hosts a
top and the colder water remaining below. the thermocline, the schools of baitfish and syndicated radio show, and presents kayak
The thermocline is the thin, transitional area the “hooks” of gamefish all at once on your fishing seminars at boat shows.

52 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

Kayak fishing

u Preferred temperatures by species

Water temperature tolerance levels vary among gamefish species. • Channel catfish have been shown to prefer waters in a wide
Some of our favorite targets are genetically acclimated to cooler range of water temperatures, remaining comfortable in waters
water, including yellow perch, trout, walleye, muskellunge and fluctuating anywhere from 60° to 90°F (15-32°C). But cats have
northern pike. That’s why these fish are usually found in more their preferred activity temperatures too, and seem to feed most
northern latitudes where waters typically remain cooler – even in when surrounding waters are in the area of 78°F (25.5°C).
August -- than waters to the
south. The farther south you go,
the more heat-tolerant species
you will find, such as largemouth Inflatable Kayaks
bass, sunfish, carp and catfish,
which are genetically accustomed The revolutionary Airis™ Inflatable Kayak,
to thrive in warmer waters. is rigid and stable, yet lightweight and
Here are some of the compact. Every Airis kayak rolls up to stow

preferred water temperatures inside its own custom designed backpack.

for popular summer gamefish Find Airis Kayaks at:

targets, as determined by Harbour Chandler
52 Esplanade
Finding cooler, deep water is
fisheries biologists: Nanaimo BC V9R 4Y7
important when seeking fish • Walleye, sauger and saugeye (250) 753-2425

during the warm months. are most active in waters that are
between 55° to 74°F (12-23°C),
with peak feeding taking place in waters that are 62° to 69°F (16-
• 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).

SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 53

Chuck Graham photo

Safety inspection
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.


54 COAST&KAYAK Magazine SUMMER 2011

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SUMMER 2011 COAST&KAYAK Magazine 55