With the rare chance to visit Vancouver Island, there was no way I was going to miss out on the world class sea kayaking the island has to offer. I traveled west to Barkley Sound to explore the Broken Group Islands, an archipelago off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
For five days, I kayaked island to island, floating through the glassy calm straits and inlets of the sound, my Blackburn Barrier panniers tucked into the bow and stern hatches of my rented 16’ fiberglass sea kayak. Exploring the countless islands, islets,and rock outcroppings, I was greeted by seals playing by my side and majestic bald eagles diving into the sea, talons poised in anticipation, in hopes of snatching an unsuspecting snack.
In the silence of the islands, I found my ears gained a new heightened sensitivity. The depth and tone of each distinct sound echoed across the water and bounced off the trees. The song of the birds traveled from island to island as eagles’ powerful wings beat and propelled themselves through the air.
On the last evening,nestled into a nook where the forest meets the sand, I set camp on Hand Island.As the summer sun set at a late 11pm and the tide rose a dramatic ten feet, a representative of the Tseshaht First Nation visited the island, retelling magnificent stories of the creation of the islands and the legendary skill the Tseshaht possessed in whale hunting. Amazingly, it was one mans job to leap into the icy water after the whale was speared to sew the whales lips shut as to stop the whale from swallowing water. After a success,they would line their beaches with the skeletons of their kills to scare and impress neighboring tribes as they paddled by their island.
On the fifth day, a blanket of clouds tore itself apart, the sun ripping them into fluff. Now with little need for a compass, I checked my sea chart and caught the wind and the tide in perfect unison back to the mainland of Vancouver Island.