North Island Kayak, a trip of a lifetime.

North Island Kayak
Leaving Telegraph Cove on a 3 day trip with North Island Kayak

It was 4:30 am and my wife Georgina and l were on our way to Telegraph Cove to head out on a three day kayaking adventure. Steve Emery, a local friend of mine from Sayward owns North Island Kayak and had a trip going out that was not fully booked, he offered a spot for my wife and l. We jumped at the opportunity. This was a chance to go out for three days, with a guide that included all the kayaking equipment, camping gear and food.

Our Group
We had a great group, photo by Bud Logan

Upon arrival at Telegraph cove we met the other members of our trip, Chet Morrison and his daughter Alexandra who are from Pennsylvania, Barbara Wilson from Oregon and our guide Danial Finer who hails from Saltspring Island. After introductions, we loaded our kayaks, my wife and l were in a double kayak, Chet, his daughter and Barbara were also in a double, but the center cargo hold had been refitted with a seat for Alexandra and Danial was in a single. After pulling out of the cove, we headed across Broughton Strait and into the Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park, this park is located at the western end of Hanson Island. During the crossing, we saw many Dalls Porpoise’s, they are such beautiful animals.

Cormorant Channel Marine Provincial Park
Kayaking out from Telegraph Cove, photo by Bud Logan

I have had some experience in a kayak but the other guests were fairly green at it and as we went through the channel between the Plumper Island Group and Hanson Island, we encountered a very strong current that had to be pushed against, it was quite a struggle for my wife and l. It was a great way for the others to learn how to control their craft. It was tough, but all of us got through and then we headed into a small cove on the north side of the island where we stopped for a wonderful lunch that was put together by our guide Danial while the rest of us rested up.

Sea Lion
Sea Lion, Blackfish Sound, photo courtesy of North Island Kayak

The rest of the day we traveled down blackfish sound along the north shore of Hanson Island. We saw several whales off in the distance, but they were to far away from us. We did get to see deer, mink, seals, sea lions and a few more porpoises as we headed to the east end of the island. We went between Hanson and Little Hanson Islands on the eastern end and arrived at our first camp where we would spend the night. North Island Kayak has 6 of these camps located a various places in the area and they are incredible. There are 6 or more tents set up on platforms, covered cooking and eating areas, compost toilets and vistas that will take your breath away.

North Island Kayak camps
North Island Kayak Camps, photo by Bud Logan

The guides do all the cooking and cleanups, our dinner on the first night was awesome, Danial created barbecued salmon, rice, salad and various treats. We all ate hardy after that first day of kayaking. These guides are pretty incredible and l have to hand it to Danial who looked after us very well.

Danial, our guide
Our Guide Danial looked after us like a pro, he knew his stuff. Photo by Bud Logan

After dinner, Danial got the kitchen area cleaned up and then started a fire where we all sat around eating smores and getting to know one another better, I could not have asked for a better group of folks to spent three days with. We all got along quite well. Georgina and l headed to bed around 9 pm and fell asleep pretty quick.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale, photo courtesy of North Island Kayak.

At 3:30 am, she woke me up to say that she thought she could hear whales just outside of camp but that she was to scared to head out to see. I told her it was most likely just waves from a passing boat and then rolled over to get a few more hours of rest, but just then l heard the unmistakable sound of a whale breaching, it is amazing just how fast we got dressed and out onto the rock bluff overlooking the strait. As we trained our eyes to the early morning light, there they were, a pod of Humpback Whales feeding off in the distanced, it was an awesome sight. They entertained us for more than an hour, it was incredible, this is what we had come to see. The sound of them breaching was like thunder. There was no going back to bed after this. I sure do wish the others had been up to see these whales.

Members of our group and our guide
Kayaking with the north island kayak company,, photo Bud Logan

After the rest of our group woke and we all ate a wonderful breakfast of banana pancakes and sausages, we carried the kayaks down to the water, got them loaded and headed out for our second day. We headed across the entrance to Black Fish Sound, between Hanson Island and West Cracroft Island and then along the southwest shore of the island until we reached the Sophia Islands, stopping for a short break along the way. We saw lots of Dalls Porpoise’s but no whales. After passing the Sophia Islands, we headed across the Johnston Strait to the western boundary of Robson Bight. We stopped for lunch here.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale outside our camp, photo by Bud Logan

After lunch, we headed west up along the shore of Vancouver Island until we reached the camp for our second night. This was just west of Kaikash Creek, as we finished carrying the kayaks up to the high tide line, we spotted a humpback whale just off shore, it was swimming slowly just on the outside of the kelp bed and all of us were able to observe it well. I am pleased that the others were able to see it.

After a great dinner of homemade chile and buns, Georgina and l headed down to see Kaikash creek, it was nice to stretch our legs a bit, there is a public campsite here that is maintained by the Namgis People that is only accessible by water, nice site with plenty of tables and a double compost toilet. The creek is very pretty and the water is fresh.

Cooking area
Cooking area in one of the North Island Kayak camps, photo by Bud Logan

That night was an early night for us as Gina and I had gotten up at 3:30 am, we slept very well and woke up to the smell of fresh coffee, eggs and bacon cooking and Danial in the kitchen with a big smile for all of us, Danial was always smiling. He also had a great knowledge of the area and could answer all our questions in a way that you could understand.

After packing our gear and loading the kayaks, we headed west along the shore of Broughton Strait towards our final destination of Telegraph Cove, there was some wind and we had waves rolling over our kayak, this was quite exciting to Georgina. We made a lunch stop at the Blinkhorn Rec Site where we had pita bread sandwiches filled with a tuna salad and other treats, we then hiked out the trail to the Blinkhorn light where had a great view of the strait, there were a few seals and sea lions.

Telegraph Cove
Returning to Telegraph Cove after a 3 day trip, photo by Bud Logan

After a bit of a rest, we headed back to the rec site, loaded our kayaks and headed out on our final leg of the journey back to Telegraph Cove. On one of the little islands just off Westell Point we were able to see a large Eagles nest with a couple of little ones in the nest. Then we pulled into Telegraph Cove and reached the end of our trip, all to soon for all of us. It was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Steve for the chance to to make this journey and thank you Danial for looking after us the way you did.

Vancouver Island, place of wonder

Botany Bay Trail, Eco Tourism
Botany Bay Trail, Photo By Bud Logan

Vancouver Island is the largest island on the west coast of North America. It is a little over 32,000 square kilometers in size and is 460 kilometers in length, 35 to 80 kilometers wide.

The Island is separated from the B.C. coast by several straights, the Juan De Fuca Straight on the south end of the island, the Johnston Straight on the central island and the Queen Charlotte straight on the north end of the Island.

The west coast of the Island is a wild and wet land covered by ( historically) ancient forests of huge trees. Some of the worlds tallest trees still grow there. The west coast is cut by many inlets that have mountains bordering them that start at the sea and go straight up to the sky. The average height of these mountains is 800 meters with some like Mount Golden Hinde, Vancouver Islands Highest mountain exceeding heights of 2200 meters.

The pacific storms that pound the west coast through out the year and more so in the winter months are laden with moisture that must be dropped in order to rise up and over the Island mountains. So the west coast receives much more rain than the east coast of the island. Truly a rain forest. The west coast is spotted with small Islands, hot springs and many large rivers reach the sea there. An incredibly beautiful place. A place of waterfalls and hidden lakes. A place of mists and trees. A place of wonder.

Zeballos, Eco Tourism
Zeballos, Photo By Bud Logan

The west coast communities are small and isolated, some are only reachable by boat or seaplane. All have resource based economies of fishing and logging. Although tourism is steadily increasing and has the potential to build new eco tour based economies, like whale watching and wild life photography and the info structure needed to support the increase of tourists like lodging and restaurants as well as guides and tour operators that could sustain their tax needs to survive. Just look at Tofino as one example. Very large tourist based economy.

Mill Bay, Eco Tourism
Mill Bay, Photo By Bud Logan

The east coast of the Island from Campbell River down to the south Island has a very different type of terrain with broad gently sloping shelves that go from the sea to the eastern slopes of the Island mountains. Deep, slow moving, nutrient rich rivers that are teeming with fish, empty into the sea, building deltas of rich farmland.

Most of the Islands peoples live from Campbell River down the east coast of the island to Victoria including the south tip of the Island. Victoria is the Capital of B.C. and basically has a economy based both on Government employment and tourism as well as some resource based industries. There is a strong agriculture presence on the east coast of the Island and dairy farms dot the south Island.

Technology based companies are setting up shop on the south island l think because the cost of doing business in B.C. is very competitive, the size of our bigger centers and the quality of trained employees is quite impressive, and it could be because Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Tofino, Eco Tourism
Tofino B.C., Photo By Robert Logan

The north end of the Island is still very much resource based with logging, mining and fishing and the spin off industries being the main form of employment. Tourism is starting to make a marked increase in the tax bases of local communities and l am sure will continue to have an increase on these economies in the future. Some communities like Telegraph Cove have fully embraced tourism with incredible results.

The Islands coast line is 3440 kilometers long and has many hidden bays, inlets and river deltas. 15,000 years ago the Island was buried under a vast glacial ice sheet and by the time the ice left, the Island was already separated by the inside passage. Most of the animal species of B.C. did not make it on the island and there are only 36 mammal species that inhabit the island. The surrounding sea has about 28 species of marine mammals including the majestic humpback and grey whales.

The Island is on the Pacific flyway, each spring and fall the island is visited by hundreds of thousands of birds who are migrating from or to their summer nesting grounds. around 450 species of birds visit each year.