We’re not sure why more people don’t sea kayak in Nootka Sound, but we’re not complaining. The rugged coast near Gold River on the west side of Vancouver Island is a sea kayaker’s dream. There are dozens of islands, empty beaches, tidal pools galore, coves, inlets and passages to explore and resident whales, sea lions and sea otters to spot. On this 8-day adventure we’ll learn about thousands of years of First Nation history, hundreds of years of European occupation, the tides, weather and ocean navigation all while visiting some of the best campsites on the coast.
After arriving at Strathcona you’ll meet your fellow Expedition members and your instructors. As a group you’ll begin planning your trip, including an introduction to sea kayaking skills, strokes and rescues. Dinner is in the Whale Room, our dining hall, and the group will sleep at the lodge’s base camp.
The adventure beings after breakfast with a van ride to the Nootka Sound. In a quiet marina you’ll pack your kayak and set off across the sheltered waters following the coast of Bligh Island. As you paddle past coves and small beaches you’ll begin to get comfortable in your sea kayak. By late afternoon the group will begin looking for a good place to camp for the night.
Over the next several days time is spent learning the backcountry basics as well as exploring the islands, beaches and shores of Nootka Sound. You may spend time fishing for dinner, or scrambling around tidal pools teeming with new and exciting sights, or you may just lay back and float, enjoying the peaceful solitude of the Sound. You may visit Friendly Cove where Captain Cook landed in 1778. Here you are introduced to the First Nations people and culture of this region. Being in the wilderness means attending to the essentials. As days pass you will find you have honed many of your camping skills and your group begins to take over more responsibility from your instructors, taking over the navigation, campsite selection and set-up, and meal planning and preparation. It is your opportunity to use everything you have learned to finish your journey and succeed as a team.
The last strokes return you and your group to the marina where a van will be waiting to take you back to the Lodge, a warm shower, a celebratory meal and a final night with your group.
On your final day campers clean up, pack up and head home knowing you have accomplished more than you likely thought possible; proud of your new skills, increased confidence and shared memories.