Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Written by Lynn
I finished up at work about 2 weeks ago now. With some extra time on my hands I decided that it would be a shame to take off around the world without actually appreciating what is in my own back yard. So I took the opportunity to drive around British Columbia visiting some of the small towns on the way to Vancouver Island.

After a slow, meandering 4 day drive out to Vancouver, I was up bright and early the next day to catch the 7AM ferry to Victoria. I quickly decided that this island is probably one of Canada’s best kept secrets. I called ahead to secure a coveted room at the beautiful hostel in Tofino on the west coast of the island. When I got there after a 2 hour drive on Hwy 4 (rated in the top 3 drives in Canada, and for good reason with the winding hilly road overlooking beautiful vistas) I took a quick run on the Wild Pacific Trail before heading out to my hostel. There I met several girls who were on their own Round the World (RTW) trips and got some great advice on places to see and things to do.

After a few days of touring the island on my own I met up with an old friend of mine, Leila Sumi. Leila and I worked together at the Delta Waterfowl and Wetland Research Station in Manitoba ELEVEN years ago (time flies!). We actually haven’t seen each other since then, so this was a great chance for a reunion. Because of the favourable weather forecast we decided that a kayaking and camping trip in the Broken Group Islands (see off the west coast of the island would be a great way to spend the next few days. What a fantastic trip! The weather was sunny, the seas calm and because of the time of year there was almost no one else camping on the islands. We spent the next 3 days paddling around, playing in tidal pools, and enjoying sunsets and campfires. On the last day we got up early to paddle back to our car and crossed a wide open channel. There we had the experience of a lifetime with a group of sea lions and a grey whale that was playing with them. We sat quietly in our kayak and watched this whale get closer.........and closer.............and closer. Finally when the whale was within about 50m of our fibreglass kayak we decided retreat might be the better part of valour. I’m pretty sure that a whale wouldn’t be blind enough to hit a bright yellow 10 foot long boat, but it would be my luck to run into the only near sighted marine mammal in BC!

Anyways, we survived 3 days out there on our own with no mishaps and some great memories to relive at our next reunion (hopefully we’ll manage it in less than a decade this time).
For now it’s all about packing up the apartment and getting ready to go. Our time in Edmonton grows short and I’m starting to feel a little sad about leaving all our new friends behind. But an adventure of a lifetime awaits and I comfort myself in the thought that good friends are never really left, but just waiting to be brought back together!