I plan on going to Vancouver Island in early June. I would like to spend a week or more sea kayaking in the sound. I may be doing day trips with car camping or perhaps heading out self-contained in the kayak. I know that the whole place is beautiful, but at this point I don't have any specific locations on the Island. I would very much welcome any information/advice, book and/or map recommendations.
I have hard that Johnstone Straights is a great place to see Orca's.
The west coast is very nice. Anything around Barkely Sound and Tofino is terrific. Further north is great too - just harder to access.
the earlier in the year you arrive
the greater the chances of rain. This has been a very strange year with some of the driest months on record though. Generally, less rain in July and august. The closer you get to Victoria the greater the population and boat traffic. Lots of informatoin in the internet on guides, accomodations, kayak rentals, places to visit, good beer spots, Johnstone Strait, campsites etc. Someone last year placed the same question concerning Johnstone Strait last year and received plenty of responses. There are rules regarding boat etiquette and Orcas you may wish to review. Last year I spent a week in The Broken Islands which is on the opposite side of Vancouver Island and south of Long Beach, Tofino as the previous post mentionned.
We paddled Johnstone Straight
Put in at Telegraph Cove and paddled eight miles to the “Rubbing Beach”, then you can camp on Kaikash Beach
Marine mammals act prevents kayakers from paddling within 100 yards of the Orcas and motorized vessels a quarer of a mile.
If they approach you it is Ok.
We had some come within 50 yards of us, and it was awsome.
We paddled with a pod for about four miles.
If you want to see some of our pictures, check out
If you want some more info, just let me know.
Our website has a few destinations listed in the Gulf Islands and will have several more added soon (one Gulf Island trip took place this past weekend and another is taking place this coming weekend – both will be on the site in the next couple of weeks). The Broken Group will be added to the site within the week.
Hopefully, something here can help you:
i was there last summer on the west side. tofino and ucluelet. i actually paddled arounf ucluelet. june may be very wet, the dry winter has turned to wet spring here. ucluelet is less populated/les touristy than tofino. the whole area is beautiful. be sure to check things out because the waters can be as treacherous as they can be nice!
Thanks very much for the great info!
The spring '05 issue of British Columbia
Magazine has a photo essay on 10 great paddles. Some are off Vancouver Island.
- 4-10 day sea kayaking off the island’s west coast, near Bamfield.
- Day tripping off the island’s east coast near Nanimo.
- Whitewater kayak surfing off the island’s west coast near Tofino.
Contact links are given to:
Pacific Rim National Park
Tourism Vancouver Island
Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce
Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society
Tofino Chamber of Commerce
Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce
Good Luck and have a great time.
Broken Group Islands
In 1996 I worked at the new Sechart lodge, which is located on the outskirts of the Broken Group Isl. I can highly recommend the Broken Group to any paddlers, it is an awesome place to kayak or canoe, with breathtaking scenery and wildlife. You do have to be careful at what time of year you go as it can be very busy.
It is accessable by either passenger ferry by the Lady Rose Company in Port Alberni (they own Sechart lodge), and they can even hire you kayaks and gear. The other alternative is to drive to Toquart Bay (a small logging road that leads to an RV camp) which is between Port Alberni and Ucluelet.
Here is a map of the area;
If you are into surfing, then Tofino or Jordan River are great places to visit.
Just posted the Broken Group pictures
We’ve just posted the Broken Group photos on the website.
Access the album from the “Vancouver Island and The Gulf Islands” section in the Paddling Locations Gallery.
Vancouver Island in June
Late July and August would generally be a better time for most paddling around Vancouver Island(VI), which you’ve already heard. Expect June to be rainy, cold and likely blustery. If you’re prepared for that, you might get lucky and experience pleasant weather in June.
Not sure what you’re up for in terms of paddling, but in June you might consider the northern Georgia Strait area including the island groups there and perhaps Desolation Sound. Pendrell Sound (kinda within the Desolation Sound area), in summer, has the warmest water in the northern hemisphere north of the gulf of Mexico. Shear snow-capped (especially in June) mountain peaks rise thousands of feet directly from Desolation Sound. Apparently, this northern Georgia Strait area and the “Sunshine Coast” (mainland side of northern Georgia Strait) is also in a bit of the rain shadow of VI, so perhaps it would be a good destination in June?
If you want to be in the ocean, Broken Group Islands (BGI) present a “sliding scale” of sorts of different ranges of ability and experience from fairly low key paddling in the interior of Barkley Sound out to the outer islands on the open coast–good camping on Clark and Benson Islands. But be prepared for lots of people as this is one of the most popular destinations on the island–although in June, perhaps not. If you wait until late August, there a decent sized sea lion colony on Wower (sp) Island that can be heard for a couple of miles away and smelled somewhat closer than that. If the ranger pulls up to your campspot, be prepared to pay ~ $5 CA for each night. He takes VISA.
Clayoquot Sound (more or less north from Tofino) offers you the chance to spend time on more sheltered inner waters or explore the wild outer coast, not unlike BGI. The outer coast is gorgeous if you’re OK with swell and surf and understand a few things about them. Paddling up to Hot Springs Cove (~25nm north of Tofino) and back is a popular paddle and the springs are often rated the best in BC with several pools that let you pick the temperature water you want, have little to no “hot springs” smell, and a great seaside view of the ocean.
Lots of the “ecotourist” whale whatching boats in the BGI and Clayoquot Sound, but more so in Clayoquot Sound. Lots of whales (gray? I think, although I’ve seen killer whales as well) in July and August in these two areas if you’re on the outer coast.
Great pictures. You guys surely do eat well!