The Gulf Islands, British Columbia
3-Day Sea Kayaking Trips
Our Gulf Island sea kayaking tours depart just minutes south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
We will meet you at the launch site near Nanaimo, at 9:00 AM. Upon your arrival, we will show you how to effectively pack your belongings into a kayak. We'll spend time familiarizing you with your kayak as well as introducing you to basic paddling skills, and safety procedures.
Once on the water we’ll make sure you are comfortable and secure before setting off. The North Gulf Islands are close enough to Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria to easily access, yet far enough off the beaten track, to feel far away within minutes of 'being on the water'.
'Rain shadow' forests cover much of the Gulf Islands, and the greatest plant diversity of any forest along the Pacific Coast is found here. The magnificent Arbutus, the gnarly Garry Oak, the Red Cedar, and the Douglas fir are all trees typical of this dry, mild climate.
After a leisurely paddle, we will stop at a favourite beach of ours, where your guides will prepare a fresh and delicious lunch. You'll have time to explore the nearby area, or just relax and enjoy the scenery.
Continuing on after lunch, we'll investigate the shorelines of DeCourcey, Link, and Ruxton Islands. The islands and surrounding waterways provide habitat for many wild creatures such as Sea Lions, Seals, and River Otters. This area is home to many different sea birds. You'll see Pigeon Guillemots, Bald Eagles; and the beautiful Harlequin ducks. Peregrine Falcons, Turkey vultures, a variety of Hawks, and Owls are frequently sighted.
Later in the afternoon, we'll arrive at our exclusive camp on Valdes Island. We have special arrangements with the 'Lyackson' First Nation People to camp on their territorial lands. After getting organized and setting up camp, we may have time to follow the Island's wandering trails.
Mornings are relaxed with plenty of freshly brewed organic coffee. While enjoying your breakfast, we will make plans for the day ahead. You may be interested to learn how to read the marine chart, and the tide tables, or interpret the daily marine weather forecast.
We will be sure to choose a scenic route to further explore the North Gulf Islands. Unobtrusive, you are able to see the fascinating creatures and marine plants that dwell in the inter-tidal zone as well as the brilliant, delicate flowering plants of the rare Garry Oak meadows.
Our destination today will likely be the white shell beaches of Blackberry Point where, after lunch, we will hike to some fascinating rock formations hidden high in the bluffs. This beach faces southwest, so after returning from our hike, you may wish to enjoy a refreshing swim in the afternoon sun.
The paddle back to our campsite takes us along towering sandstone cliffs sculpted by the wind and sea into amazing patterns and intricate designs. Created long before even the Coast Salish people paddled these shores; we'll slip quietly by, enjoying the same scenery as they once did. After our return to camp, relax and take in the view of the sun setting over Vancouver Island.
After breakfast, we'll break camp and repack the kayaks. Navigating a new route on our return journey, we’ll paddle through the same waters where once upon a time, the infamous Brother XII and his Aquarian Foundation cult made their way, leaving behind mysteries that remain today.
A chance encounter with any of the many Marine Mammals found in this area is always a possibility and we're always on the lookout. Watching the shoreline closely can reveal wild Raccoons, sunning Seal Pups or Minks foraging along the shore.
After three days of paddling, and handling your kayak in different situations you'll see why the sea kayak has become so popular. It's exhilarating, invigorating and a lot of fun! If you already have kayaking experience, you'll appreciate this opportunity to explore new territory.
Prior to our return to the launch site, we will make a final stop for a farewell picnic. After paddling together we hope you will share our love for sea kayaking and this part of the world. We schedule our return between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, allowing everyone (who needs to) time to board ferries back to the mainland, or continue on to other Vancouver Island adventures.
Sea Kayaking Trip Itineraries
Itineraries are intended to describe the experience you can expect from your sea kayaking adventure with us. Pacific Northwest Expeditions reserves the right to change the itinerary without advance notice at the discretion of the guides, due to weather conditions, tides and currents, activities en route or other logistical situations at the time of the trip. Pacific Northwest Expeditions is committed to consistently operate trips of high quality and safety without compromise.
Custom Sea Kayaking Trips
Customizing this trip to accommodate a group of friends, family members or colleagues can be arranged for 8 to 12 people. We are happy to discuss your ideas or make suggestions.