The Broken Islands
One of the most amazing places I’ve ever kayaked by far is the broken Islands, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s a group of over 100 islands all bunched together. There are different options on how to get there, but the journey there is very worth it. If you’re coming from the mainland then its an hour and a half ferry ride through the beautiful Gulf Islands. Once on the Island its approximately a 3 hour drive to the west coast of the Island arriving in small town called Uculet.
From there we loaded our kayaks and camping gear on a boat called the Francis Barkley, which dropped us off at the dock of the Seachart Lodge, Which is a really cool lodge nestled in a small cove, no roads, basically in the middle of nowhere. If your not the camping type but still want to explore the broken islands this is the place to stay, and I might add would be an amazing place to hold a wedding. From there you can launch your kayaks and head straight to the islands and the campsites that are located on a few of them. We camped and kayaked for 5 days and it still wasn’t enough time to see all the Islands so its best to really research and plan ahead where you’d like to go. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The weather can change rapidly there so expect some rough waters. You can be in pristine calm water and turn a corner and be in very rough waters.
Although its said that it’s a trek for the seasoned Kayaker, we saw a few beginners out there and they managed just fine. More often than not whales are spotted frequently there. I will be going back again this year to explore the islands that we didn’t have time to see. Although next time I’m taking a kayak sail that really helps on those long days of paddling and your arms need a break.
Among seeing piles of seals sunbathing on the rocks, and Whales passing through right under your kayak, one thing to be aware of is the wolf population. They do swim from island to island. The park officials keep a very close eye on them. We were visited by the park rangers the first day and informed on what to do and what not to do if coming across any wolves. The biggest thing that was mentioned was NOT to feed them. In the past travelers would feed them to take pictures, but then the wolves start relating humans to food, and at that point they become a danger and the rangers have to destroy the entire clan which is not good. The other thing we were told was to not turn our backs and run or walk away, but rather to act big and make noise. Although easier said than done in my case. On one of the days I was alone and kayaking around one of the islands and pulled up to shore to stretch my legs. I walked up the beach and as I was standing there I saw 2 black wolves literally 30 feet away watching me. After my little heart attack I looked back at my kayak and casually acted like I hadn’t seen them and strolled back to my boat. Fortunately everything was fine, and just like most animals they are just as cautious around humans, but that being said, its best to not put yourself in a bad situation and be aware and prepared. Looking back I wish I had a survival bracelet in my backpack. There have been a few times in my trecking adventures where a drastic change in weather has opened up the possibility of being held up. My advice is the journey is worth it, but be prepared always.
Written by Eddie Martin