Callout for sponsors!

Calling out for sponsors for this fantastic trip!!

We currently do not have any sponsors and are looking for some.

Are you located on the coastline of Vancouver Island and would like us to come visit?

Are  you a restaurant who wants to feed us a meal?

Do you have an awesome dish that is really Westcoast and would like to share it with us?

Do you or your community have some waterfront property and can let us camp there for the night?

Are you an adventure company (i.e. surfing, fishing, scuba diving etc.) who would like to invite us along for some fun?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, contact us! We would love to come visit you and then write up the stories and good times to feature on this website! Email me at maggie.m.woo@gmail.com or fill out the contact form below!

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Food

Napoleon Bonaparte, the first Emperor of France and widely regarded as one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the West, once said something very simple and true,

“An army marches on its stomach.”

The last of classical Athens’s three great tragic dramatists, Euripides, also said,

“When a man’s stomach is full, it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor”

A final saying to this delicious trilogy is the famous proverb,

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

These three quotes and sayings speak to the importance of food and a full stomach.  Food is central to any trip and this is especially true for us embarking on a long kayaking journey. When kayaking through huge remote areas, there is the challenge on how to provision for such a long trip in the wilderness. Some other kayakers on a similar journey had food airdropped into the remote locations or mailed it to various villages on the way…though they only held the packages for a couple weeks so it was always a bit of a rush to make deadlines.
me (Maggie) with some fresh greenlings I caught that we cooked up for dinner
Some fresh fish for dinner caught off my kayak! These are a couple big greenlings, which are often found in kelp beds

When we kayaked from Vancouver up to Alaska in 2010, we decided on living off the land. This meant fishing and gathering berries, shellfish and wild edibles for our dinners. This turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip and something we now really look forward to about these long kayaking journeys through the wilderness!

We plan on foraging for our dinners on this kayaking expedition circumnavigating Vancouver Island as well! 

Our plan is to stop kayaking around 2pm in the afternoon and fish for dinner. We will go to a kelp bed and jig for rock cod and greenlings. We’ll bring our catch of the day to shore to clean the fish and make a fire to cook it in. Our fires are always very small cooking fires made in the intertidal zones where it will be washed away by the next tide and we always prepare food away from camp for wildlife safety. Sometimes, we will also find some shellfish like mussels or wild edible food like berries and greens. Also depending on the location, we will put the fish heads and spines after cleaning the fish into our collapsible crab traps to put out for a couple hours as we continue to set up camp.

The bountiful resources of the Northwest Coast has not only been discussed in the present day but has been a part of the discussion of the coast’s history.The Northwest Coast is famous in anthropology for the rich cultures that have been found here. Previous to exploring the First Nation cultures on this coast, it was generally believed that a foraging society could not be very sedentary and could not develop complex societies. However, an anthropologist named Boas found during his work here in the late 19th and early 20th century that the resources of salmon and berries was so rich that people were able to live quite sedentary lifestyles and the cultures on this coast was amazingly intricate and complex.

That being said, finding the occasional restaurant at one of our town stops also “technically” counts as foraging!
Yummy campfire meal of some dehydrated chili. Secret is that you can actually dehydrate almost anything so before we leave, I will make big batches of food and dehydrate it for the trip!
Yummy campfire meal of some dehydrated chili. Secret is that you can actually dehydrate almost anything so before we leave, I will make big batches of food and dehydrate it for the trip!

We will post about our culinary adventures including the camping food we dehydrate to prepare for the trip, showcase some of the meals we’ll cook over the campfire, display proud pictures of the fish we caught and feature some of the amazing westcoast restaurants we run into on the way!

Are you a restaurant on the coastline of Vancouver Island and have a dish you want to share with the world? Contact me at my email (maggie.m.woo@gmail.com) or post a comment below if you would like us to come visit your establishment!
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Bounty from the Sea

Even after a long day of paddling, we are still excited to drop our line in the water in search for dinner. Though the BC coast is most known for its salmon, jigging for cod is a quick and reliable means to a meal and is our main form of fishing. We find a patch of kelp where fish gather and drop a line. Jigging for fish means we drop the hook and buzzbomb lure all the way to the bottom and then raise it a bit then let it flutter back down. When the lure is fluttering back down, it looks like a small, struggling fish and irresistible to bigger, hungry fish. This is then perfect for the even bigger, even hungrier kayakers!

Here’s a teaser from previous trips for some of the fish and marine goodies we will find during our paddle around Vancouver Island this summer:

A big rockcod Bryan caught in Cow Bay, Flores Island, Clayoquot Sound
A big rockcod Bryan caught in Cow Bay, Flores Island, Clayoquot Sound
The many types of rockcods are some of the most common groundfish found in BC waters. Rock cod, aka rockfish  or  Pacific  snapper, is not actually a cod fish nor a snapper! It's called a cod because of its similar traits - firm, white meaty flesh. Rockfish (Sebastidae) is a family of marine fish in the order Scorpaeniformes, like the beautiful but toxic lionsfish found in the tropics. Consequently, the quills on rockcod have a mild toxin that makes any wound by them really hurt.
The many types of rockcods are some of the most common groundfish found in BC waters. Rock cod, aka rockfish or Pacific snapper, is not actually a cod fish nor a snapper! It’s called a cod because of its similar traits – firm, white meaty flesh. Rockfish (Sebastidae) is a family of marine fish in the order Scorpaeniformes, like the beautiful but toxic lionsfish found in the tropics. Consequently, the quills on rockcod have a mild toxin that makes any wound by them really hurt.
Pacific cod is the only true cod found in BC waters. Pacific cod is considered the world's second-most abundant white fish. We only found it in Telegraph Cove on the north end of Vancouver Island
Pacific cod is the only true cod found in BC waters. Pacific cod is considered the world’s second-most abundant white fish. We only found it in Telegraph Cove on the north end of Vancouver Island
Ling cods are hunters on the rocky seafloor and can get really big in the ocean. Their flesh looks a little blue raw, which disappears with cooking
Ling cods are hunters on the rocky seafloor and can get really big in the ocean. Their flesh looks a little blue raw, which disappears with cooking
Lingcod's scientific name, Ophiodon elongatus, really describes this Pacific species of fish. The Greek “ophis” for snake, “odons” for tooth, and the Latin word “elongatus” or elongated really describes this serpentine monster of a fish!
Lingcod’s scientific name, Ophiodon elongatus, really describes this Pacific species of fish. The Greek “ophis” for snake, “odons” for tooth, and the Latin word “elongatus” or elongated really describes this serpentine monster of a fish!
This lingcod took me for a ride, pulling my kayak for 500m, as I was landing this fish!
This lingcod took me for a ride, pulling my kayak for 500m, as I was landing this fish!
Ling cod is actually a type of greenling fish that is popular with anglers because they can get really big and they really fight.   Greenlings are a family of fishes known scientifically as Hexagrammidae that are commonly found on rocky North Pacific shores. They are really colourful - the males are more colourful than the females.
Ling cod is actually a type of greenling fish that is popular with anglers because they can get really big and they really fight. Greenlings are a family of fishes known scientifically as Hexagrammidae that are commonly found on rocky North Pacific shores. They are really colourful – the males are more colourful than the females. Here I am with a couple of the more generic greenlings that are quite common in BC waters during our 2010 kayaking trip to Alaska.

The bounty from the sea is not only fish. We also harvest shellfish, crabs, and seaweed!

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Westcoast eateries

This kayaking journey is about showcasing the awesomeness of Vancouver Island including some of its fantastic restaurants and eateries!

We are looking for sponsors to feature on this website!

Are you a restaurant on the coastline of Vancouver Island and have a dish you want to share with the world? Contact me at my email (maggie.m.woo@gmail.com) or post a comment below if you would like us to come visit your establishment!

Foraging for our Food

The Northwest Coast is an incredibly rich environment. Between wild edibles and the bounty from the sea, I don’t think you can starve on this amazing coastline. You can get hungry but if you’re not picky, there will always be something to eat!

As we start paddling  around Vancouver Island, we will showcase some of the wild foods we find on the way. As a teaser, here are some of the wild plants we gathered on previous kayaking journeys on the BC coastline. There will be many more to come!!

Huckleberries are plentiful in the coastal forest. Big bushes of them are sometimes so heavy with juicy berries that they are drooping over a little and one plant could fill up a small pot! They come in red and blue. Blue huckleberries are also sometimes called blueberries. There is some debate on the difference between a blue huckleberry and a blueberry but what experts agree on is that they both look and taste the same!
Huckleberries are plentiful in the coastal forest. Big bushes of them are sometimes so heavy with juicy berries that they are drooping over a little and one plant could fill up a small pot! They come in red and blue. Blue huckleberries are also sometimes called blueberries. There is some debate on the difference between a blue huckleberry and a blueberry but what experts agree on is that they both look and taste the same!
Salmonberries are some of the early berries in the summer. They come in red and yellow and sweetness is not related to colour - both are delicious and sweet! This is the wild cousin of the modern domesticated raspberry
Salmonberries are some of the early berries in the summer. They come in red and yellow and sweetness is not related to colour – both are delicious and sweet! This is the wild cousin of the modern domesticated raspberry
Wild ginger can be found in shady, moist areas on the Northwest coast. Interestingly, though they have the same smell, wild ginger is not  actually related to the tropical ginger root that we use in cooking! The leaves not the root is used when cooking with wild ginger.
Wild ginger can be found in shady, moist areas on the Northwest coast. Interestingly, though they have the same smell, wild ginger is not actually related to the tropical ginger root that we use in cooking! The leaves not the root is used when cooking with wild ginger.
Wild onions that we found on a little island in Desolation Sound. We used the green leaves like chives
Wild onions that we found on a little island in Desolation Sound. We used the green leaves like chives
Glasswort is a succulent salt-tolerating plant that we found in the intertidal area on some beaches. We found this plant pictured on a beach in the Discovery Islands. It is edible raw as a crunch bit in salads but they are really salty. We boiled it in fresh water and drained that water away before  cooking with glasswort.
Glasswort is a succulent salt-tolerating plant that we found in the intertidal area on some beaches. We found this plant pictured on a beach in the Discovery Islands. It is edible raw as a crunch bit in salads but they are really salty. We boiled it in fresh water and drained that water away before cooking with glasswort.

Disclaimer

This page is just a teaser and not a replacement for a good guide to edible plants if you’re interested in wild edible foods. We carry two guides with us when we’re out foraging. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it because there are plants out there that are poisonous.

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Dreaming of the blue

Cycling in the high mountains in Northern Chile
Cycling in the high mountains in Northern Chile

We have just returned from 19 month cycling trip from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, Argentina were we rode over 16, 200km. The past couple months has been a time to reconnect with family and friends and reflect on the amazing journey it had been. People sometimes tell us, “Oh what a trip of a lifetime!” and we agree. It was one amazing trip but we continue to plan for others. For example, we now plan on circumnavigating Vancouver Island by kayak over this summer 2015!

Map of Vancouver Island. We plan on kayaking all around it
Map of Vancouver Island. We plan on kayaking all around it

It will be about 1100km of paddling from Victoria north along the east inner side of Vancouver Island up to the end of the Strait of Georgia into the Discovery Islands where Vancouver Island and the mainland blur in a myriad of islands. We will  round Cape Scott at the north end of the island then head south along the western outside edge of Vancouver Island. We will be paddling through, from north to south, Quatsino Sound, Kyuquot Sound, Nootka Sound, Clayoquot Sound and then finally Barkley Sound. We will continue south all the way to Victoria at the south end of the island, making it a full ring around the island.

Paddling from Vancouver to Alaska
Paddling from Vancouver to Alaska in 2010

We have a lot of experience with expedition kayaking in the wilderness as we paddled from Vancouver north to Ketchikan, Alaska in the summer of 2010. We really enjoyed all of the spectacular nature and scenery, fresh fish to eat almost every night and meeting challenges together with each other. It is exciting to embark on another voyage to explore all of the little channels, islands and beaches this time on Vancouver Island. When the means of travel is slower, I feel like you really get in touch with the local environments.

We tend to go an average of 20km per day and plan 10-12 weeks for this epic circumnavigating adventure!

For more information about us, read the “Our Story” page by clicking here

For more information about our plans, read the “Our Plan” page by clicking here

Last of all, if you’re curious on why we have chosen Vancouver Island as our paddling playground, click here 

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Our Vision for the Journey

This trip is about the journey of kayaking.

Circumnavigating Vancouver Island is the setting for our story of adventure and fun but it will be the journey that writes the story.

A focus on the journey rather than merely the destination
A focus on the journey rather than merely the destination

Our vision of this trip is one of exploration – the growth and development of our relationship as the two of us paddle off into the sunset, the ups and downs of facing challenges and unexpected joys and how we work through difficult times, the amazing places that we’ll experience, the majestic animals we’ll encounter, the wonderful people we’ll get to meet and the fascinating histories we’ll learn.

This kayaking journey is a celebration of Vancouver Island and adventure. We hope that this website will become a resource for future paddlers and travellers, both on short adventures and long, on Vancouver Island.

See “Our Vision” page for more details by clicking here

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