Tag Archives: Vancouver Island

Kayaking on Westcoast Vancouver Island

Well, when I started this blog, this wasn’t the trip we had in mind. Our goal was to paddle all around Vancouver Island this summer but as fate would have it, our plans changed. Instead, we did some hiking on the wild Nootka Island trail while Bryan’s broken hand healed up a bit and then did a month of leisurely kayaking in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We checked out remote beaches, relaxed in hotsprings, fished for our dinner and cooked up delicious meals over a small campfire. We took our kayaks up river and down the long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. We explored the labyrinthine of islands in the Broken Group and high tailed it back to Ucluelet before the full force of what apparently was one of the worst storms in a decade. I thought the climax of the trip was making the run from Ahous Bay on Vargas Island to Ucluelet, completely exposed, but paddling in the vanguard winds of the storm beat it with a bang. It has been a pretty incredible summer and an amazing end of our two year long honeymoon. A quick shout-out to our wonderful and understanding sponsors: Princeton Tec, Wildcoast Publishing and Tilley Vancouver : THANK YOU!

Hidden gem: Calm paddling in the super tranquil Sulphur Passage behind Obstruction Island. The water is so calm that it perfectly reflects the sky and mountains like a mirror. To top it off, none of the busy tour boats comes back here...in fact, not many kayakers either. We saw no body in our whole time in the passage
Hidden gem: Calm paddling in the super tranquil Sulphur Passage behind Obstruction Island. The water is so calm that it perfectly reflects the sky and mountains like a mirror. To top it off, none of the busy tour boats comes back here…in fact, not many kayakers either. We saw no body in our whole time in the passage
After waiting 3 days for the gale force winds settle down so we could paddle the outside of Flores Islands, we decided to head on the inside instead. I was a little sad at first because the outside of Flores Island is known for grey whales but instead, we were blessed with paddling for two hours with a pod of transient orca whales also heading down the inside!
After waiting 3 days for the gale force winds settle down so we could paddle the outside of Flores Islands, we decided to head on the inside instead. I was a little sad at first because the outside of Flores Island is known for grey whales but instead, we were blessed with paddling for two hours with a pod of transient orca whales also heading down the inside!
The long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. This is a calm day out here with gentle rolling ocean swell.
The long exposed coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. This is a calm day out here with gentle rolling ocean swell.
Gorgeous paddling in the Broken Group
Gorgeous paddling in the Broken Group
Feeling thankful and really appreciating these islands by Ucluelet that gave us a bit of protected water. This was the first time we could stop and relax a bit after two hours of hard paddling over about 14km of stormy open waters from the Broken Group
Feeling thankful and really appreciating these islands by Ucluelet that gave us a bit of protected water. This was the first time we could stop and relax a bit after two hours of hard paddling over about 14km of stormy open waters from the Broken Group
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Trip Delayed….

Well, we just got home from a long day at the hospital. While many people worry about the dangers of travelling,  accidents at home are actually much more common. We were preparing ourselves for the rough and challenging Cape Scott at the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the wave and wind pounded exposed western coast but what ended up being the most dangerous was a rotten inner-tube in a neighbour’s dolly cart.

Bryan was helping out a neighbour move a new fridge. First, he was inflating the tires on an old dolly with the air compressor. The wheel said it was good until 90 psi but not even at 50, the tire exploded. The metal rims struck both of his hands, cutting deep until white was exposed.

Luckily, we live only minutes drive from the local hospital and Bryan was on a bed in the emergency room within 10 minutes of the event. The nurses and doctor at Ladner Hosptial were wonderful, skilled and to be commended but it was still a very, very long and painful afternoon. Both of his hands needed stitches, a tendon was nicked in one hand and severed in the other. He also fractured bones in the hand with the severed tendon.

Needless to say, hand injuries do not bode well for kayaking. Bryan will be ok but it will take time to heal and plans to circumnavigate Vancouver Island by kayak are postponed. However, I’d like to emphasize that plans have been delayed rather than ended. We will probably still have a month or so at the end of summer and while it won’t be enough to go around the whole island, we will still be able to do an awesome trip… in practice for attempting to complete a circumnavigation next summer! The big bag of dehydrated chili will go into the deep freeze, where it will keep longer since there’s meat in it, and we will continue to dream of the blue.

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!

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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