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    The Compass blog
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Paddling With Warm Hands

Hand Wear for Paddling   Every paddler has a different opinion of what constitutes the best way to keep your hands warm while paddling. Of course, a lot of the decision is based on the conditions you expect to be paddling in. It is because of the varying conditions when paddling that you will probably end up owning a couple or even several pairs of […]

Kayak Camping

Kayak Camping Gear List

All the Kayak Camping Gear You Will Need and Some You Won’t Like everything, choosing what camping gear to take depends on a number of things, probably none of them as significant as personal preference.  What you will take and how much will also be determined by how long your trip is, where you are going and the carrying capacity of your kayak.  Kayaks, especially […]

kayaking gear

Kayaking Gear List

The Paddling Gear You Need to Have, the Paddling Gear You Should Have The following gear lists itemize the equipment you need to carry with you whenever you paddle and other items you should consider carrying depending on the route you have planned and the time you will be out.  For more detailed information on the basic gear you are required to carry see our […]

Choosing the Right Footwear for Paddling

The Right Footwear for Comfort & Function What to wear on your feet while paddling is going to depend a lot on the time of year and the weather conditions but you will find that every paddler has their own opinion about what is the “best” thing to wear on your feet. In fact every time I am on a kayaking trip, this is one […]

Good Place for a Rudder

Rudders or Skegs? Which Way to Turn?

The Rudder/Skeg Debate, Is One System Better? There has always been a debate surrounding rudders versus skegs, which is better. Purest would argue that a well-designed kayak with a competent paddler shouldn’t need a rudder or maybe even a skeg. This may be so, but it certainly doesn’t address all of the issues. Each side has had their proponents and detractors, but as time has […]


Flares – Obsolete or Still a Good Idea?

Should You Carry Flares When Paddling? This question often comes up, do you need to carry flares with you, especially with many paddlers now carrying cell phones, VHF radios, PLB’s and satellite messengers? In fact, the Transport Canada Small Boating Regulations don’t require you to carry any kind of visual signaling device unless you are in a boat over 6m in length, (many double kayaks), […]

Wet Launch from Uchuck

The Uchuck – A Novel Way to Reach the Remote West Coast

One of my favourite Vancouver Island kayaking trips is from the tiny fishing village of Kyuquot, nestled in a protected harbour in Kyuquot Sound, down the coast to Friendly Cove (Yuquot) in Nootka Sound. What makes destinations like this so special is their remoteness and what makes this a truly unique and special trip is using the Uchuck III to access and depart the coast […]

PFD Wall

How to Choose the Right PFD

Lifejackets vs Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) First off lets eliminate the confusion between Lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). A true lifejacket is designed to turn an unconscious victim face up in the water. They have more buoyancy than a PFD, come in two sizes only and must be red, yellow or orange. They are bulkier and lack the comfort for long term recreational use. […]

Life Jackets and PFD’s, do you really need to wear them?

Life Jackets and PFD’s, do you really need to wear them? Transport Canada’s Small Vessel Regulations state that: “PFD’s must be comfortable and functional enough to be worn at all times. Highly visible, short models with pockets for distress flares, radio, and whistle are preferable”.  You should also be aware that the Transport Canada regulations also apply to stand up paddle boards, even when leashed.  […]

GPS on Kayak

Do You Really Need a GPS?

Do you really need to take a GPS on your paddling adventures? The simple answer is no, but there are some very compelling reasons why they can be a valuable asset. However, if you do decide to try one, don’t expect to be able to plug in your destination and happily follow the arrow and turn directions until you arrive. The small handheld units suitable […]

Surf Ski Clinic 2

Kayaking for Fitness

Kayaking for Fitness – A Surf Ski Clinic With Bob Putnam Kayaking for fitness has a dual benefit for those who are already kayaking at some level whether a recreational paddler, sea kayaker, kayak fisherman or whitewater kayaker. Not only will you improve your overall fitness level, but you will also improve and fine-tune your forward stroke, which will enable you to paddle further, faster […]

The Gorge Boardwalk

The Victoria Waterways Loop

The Victoria Waterways Loop The Galloping Goose trail and the more recent E&N Trail are well known to bicyclists and pedestrians as a way to make a complete circle route from downtown Victoria to the 6 Mile Pub area and back again. However, there is also a water route that also allows you to travel a complete circle from the inner harbour and back again. […]

Safety Guidelines for Paddling Around Victoria & Vancouver Island

Safety Guidelines for Paddling Around Victoria & Vancouver Island Victoria is the gateway to world class paddling destinations around Vancouver Island, BC. Being surrounded by water, Victoria offers an endless variety of paddle sport experiences from the serenity of a calm lake, or the bustle of an urban paddle on the inner harbour, to the excitement of a fast moving tidal current. Whether you’re a […]

Into the Strait

Whiffen Spit to Cabin Point, East Sooke Park, Paddle Route

Whiffen Spit to Cabin Point in East Sooke Park This pleasant day trip is an excellent opportunity to experience what it is like to paddle the exposed west coast without having to drive for hours and plan overnighters. You can explore an exposed a rocky coastline and windswept cliffs with a background of rain forest interspersed with dry hill tops and scrubby pines shaped by […]


BC Marine Trails Network

If you are thinking of planning a trip on the BC coast, you should check out the BC Marine Trails Network website.  The BCMTN is a non-profit organization dedicated to the design and development of a network of marine access points and campsites and day use areas along the entire BC Coast. This is being done in association with various levels of government, First Nations […]

Cowichan River

Whitewater Paddling on Vancouver Island

Get involved with the whitewater paddling community on Vancouver Island and learn about some great spots to check out Whitewater paddling around Victoria and Vancouver Island is primarily a winter sport. While the rest of the country is prepping for snow sports, here on the island we are grabbing our paddles and hitting the rivers and ocean surf. There are few large lake fed rivers […]

Emerald Waters of Tod Inlet

Brentwood Bay to Tod Inlet Paddle Route

Tucked in behind the famous Butchart Gardens is a beautiful tree lined inlet accessible only by boat or by a walking trail just off Wallace Dr near Benvenuto Ave. This is an ideal paddle for beginners as the waters of Tod Inlet and the launch at Brentwood Bay are very sheltered and the total route there and back is only about 5 kms.  (See map […]

Kayaking near Cole Island

Esquimalt Lagoon to Cole Island Paddle Route

The Esquimalt Lagoon to Cole Island paddle is an excellent day trip which can take a couple of hours or half a day or more depending on how much you would like to explore.  When you consider that this route encompasses a migratory bird sanctuary,  beautiful natural areas, many interesting historical sites and a busy, working naval harbour, best to allow yourself lots of time. […]

Trial Islands

MacNeill Bay to the Trial Islands Paddle Route

The Trial Islands are located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just off the shores of Oak Bay with easy access from MacNeill Bay.  It is an excellent short day trip, which can easily be accomplished within 1 or 2 hours. Strong currents of up to 3 knots can be found in Enterprise Channel and even stronger currents of up to 6 knots,  occur […]

Paddling to Discovery Island Marine Park

Paddling to Discovery Island Marine Park

This spectacular paddling route takes you from the shores and stately homes of Oak Bay, crossing through the Chain Islets (part of the Oak Bay Ecological Reserve) to the Chatham Island and  Discovery Islands. This popular destination offers a true west coast paddling experience.  You will feel as though you are hundreds of miles away in the wilderness, though you are only a few miles […]

Flemming Beach

Ocean River Sports to Flemming Beach Paddle Route

This route explores the north and west shores of Victoria Harbour and the more exposed shoreline of Esquimalt Municipality on the Straits of Juan De Fuca.  Because of this more expose section,  should you plan to do this entire route, you will need to carefully check the weather forecasts before you go. Plan to stop for a picnic lunch or snack at Flemming Beach, or […]

Selkirk Waterway

Ocean River Sports to the Gorge Tillicum Bridge Paddle Route

Paddling the Upper Harbour and along the Gorge Waterway gives you a completely different perspective than the Inner, Middle and Outer Harbour.  You will pass by the industrial area of the harbour as you move into the Selkirk Waterway and finally the Gorge Waterway itself.  Here you will begin to see the real beauty of this inland passage, with beautiful homes, parks, bridges and other […]

Ogden Point Murals

Ocean River Sports to Ogden Point Paddle Route

This route explores the entire inner and middle harbour and, weather permitting, guides you out to the Ogden Point Breakwater with it’s beautiful First Nations murals at the outer reaches of the harbour.  You will pass historic buildings like the Old Victoria Customs House, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, and the BC Legislature.  You will experience the bustle of a busy working harbour,  likely passing ferries, […]