Kayaking in the Gulf Islands

Last weekend we did an overnight kayaking trip to Wallace Island (a small Gulf Island between Galiano and Salt Spring Island). It was a fun, crazy, and exhausting experience.

This was my first overnight kayaking trip and I was a bit unsure what to expect and how to pack. Kayaking is very different then hiking trips. Instead of worrying about weight and trying to fit everything into one pack, we needed to pack our stuff in smaller, waterproof bags that could fit into the holds, and volume was more of an issue then weight was.

Getting to Galiano Island was easy. We drove down to Tsawwassen, parked our cars, and jumped on a ferry. On the other side, the people from the kayak rental place were waiting to drive us to Montague Harbour and help us load up our kayaks. From there, it was a relaxing paddle downwind and with the current along the shore of Galiano, watching seals frolic. The only challenging part was a windy crossing with whitecaps breaking. Luckily, Emily and I were in a tank-like double kayak. Some of the people in single kayaks had a more harried crossing and came close to capsizing.

The north end of Wallace Island has a quiet 10 site campground that is only accessible by kayak. We had a relaxing evening, ate a tasty dinner, and setup our tents and tarps to guard against the rain. Once the sun set, we were able to see the phosphorescence – bioluminescent plankton that light up when the water around is stirred. Along the shore, you could run your hand through the water and the water would sparkle. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. We took out the kayaks for a late night paddle, and every stroke would leave a trailing glow.

The paddle back the next morning wasn’t quite as magical. It was into the wind, against the current, and we only had 4 hours to finish the 17km if we wanted to catch the ferry. We paddled hard, skipped lunch, and barely made it back in time. The tank that served Emily and I so well in the whitecaps, wasn’t so fun against the wind. Whenever we stopped paddling to have a quick drink of water, our kayak would grind to a halt and start moving backwards. It was a painful grind, and I didn’t have much confidence we’d make it.

Our kayak trip was a fun experience, but I’m looking forward to staying on land for a while.

Emily's New Friends  Mommy and Baby Seal  Quick Sand  Stuck in the Muck  Paddler Tina  Kayaks  Unpacking the Kayaks  Kayaking Crew  Arbutus  Gulf Island Sunset  Starfish

Christina’s photos

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