Vancouver Island: A Paddling Paradise
In the vast expanse of Canada sits a hidden gem: Vancouver Island. This island on the west coast of Canada has started to gain some serious interest in the tourism sphere for its natural beauty, rugged and mysterious coastline, historic cities and cultures, and abundant wildlife.
People flock to this island from all over the world for the west coast experience. Still, it is often mistaken for being part of the mainland or called Victoria Island due to the capital city. Despite being featured on many postcards, in an array of magazines, and even acting as the location for numerous movies, this little Island is treated more like the glossed over a middle child in a country full of natural wonders.
Vancouver Island offers something for all and can be an enjoyable vacation for anyone looking to visit. What is sometimes overlooked is the truly breathtaking paddling that is offered.
Sea-kayaking and Expedition Stand Up Paddleboarding
With beautiful coastlines, and small islands running up the eastern side of the island, it is a sea kayaker, or expedition SUP paddler’s, paradise. The farther north you go the fewer people you see but the more marine and land wildlife encounters you will experience.
Karl Kruger, a SUP paddler from Orcas Island in the USA, paddles in the Race to Alaska in 2017 paddling up the east side of the island on his way to Alaska. Although in a rush Karl said that he enjoyed paddling with whales nearly every day past Campbell River.
With the booming whale watching and wildlife charter industry all over the island, it is no wonder that Vancouver Island has become a hotbed for wildlife viewing. If you are looking for a sea kayaking experience that will provide numerous beach campsites with a high chance of wildlife viewing opportunities, Vancouver Island is a must.
Multi-Day Lake Paddling
It doesn’t stop there. Della Falls is the tallest waterfall in Canada and sits neatly on Vancouver Island near Port Alberni. This beautiful hike can only be accessed by boat. You can pay to be shuttled or you can paddle Great Central Lake to the trailhead. Canoes, Kayaks and SUPs are all welcome and provide a well-rounded and one of a kind multi-day hike unlike any other.
If canoeing a new portage route is your dream vacation Vancouver Island has you covered. The Sayward Forest Canoe Route can take you 2-3 days if you are really pushing it or you can enjoy a leisurely 5-6 day pace which is perfect for large groups and children.
For the experienced canoer looking for a challenge, the Nitinat Lake Route offers some difficult portaging but amazing wilderness exploration experience.
White Water Paddling
If you are a river paddler there are some amazing flash rivers on Vancouver Island that can offer some exhilarating paddling when the rain comes. There are numerous rivers and creeks listed for paddling, ranging from 1 to 5 class ratings, and even more that are unlisted. Russell Henry spent the early winter of 2017 exploring rivers on the Northern parts of Vancouver Island that are seldom paddled and documented.
There are a few exciting Whitewater events that happen on Vancouver Island too if you are looking to experience the whitewater community here with some races and events. Check out the Gordon Creek Race and the Puntledge River Festival.
Surfing is not just for surfboards. There are some amazing surfing locations on the west side of the island from Tofino to Port Renfrew and in between. Kayak surfing, SUP surfing and standard surfing crews can be found drifting just off from shore from late September until March, depending on the weather, waiting for those perfect waves.
The great thing about most of the paddling on and around Vancouver Island is that it offers days packed with adventure. From your time in the water, there is usually a majestic mountain waiting to be summited nearby or an old growth forest patiently waiting to be explored.
Despite being featured on many postcards, in an array of magazines, and even acting as the location for numerous movies, this little Island is treated more like the glossed over middle child in a country full of natural wonders. Vancouver Island offers something for all and can be an enjoyable vacation for anyone looking to visit. This little island offers big-time and truly breathtaking paddling just waiting for you to come visit.
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