A kayaking destination: Hit the marine trail

Kayakers enjoy the spectacular scenery of Gulf Islands waters
Kayakers enjoy the spectacular scenery of Gulf Islands waters

Wherever a trip to the Gulf Islands may take you, world-class kayaking opportunities are never far away.

Because of the area’s convenient amenities, mild climate and abundance of secluded destinations, the Gulf Islands are widely considered a premier destination for sea kayakers of all ages and abilities.

Whether it’s a challenging multi-night trip or an afternoon introduction to the sport, the relatively calm seas and breathtaking highlights that can be found within easy paddling distance are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Well-established kayaking companies on each of the ferry-accessible islands can rent kayaks and accessories, and offer transportation to and from convenient launch sites. They also offer a wide range of guided paddles, including introductory paddles, moonlight excursions and overnight adventures.

Work undertaken by the British Columbia Marine Trails Network Association since the early 1990s has given paddlers an unprecedented amount of information to plan all sorts of kayaking adventures.

The ever-expanding trail network has grown to include kayaking routes along more than 27,000 kilometres of coastline. Some of the most accessible of those are based right here in the Gulf Islands.

A new website includes an interactive map that pinpoints conveniently located viewpoints, noteworthy beaches, launch points, campgrounds and other highlights. Coordinates, points of interest and other details about the area are all available at the click of a mouse.

A look to Galiano Island, for example, reveals kayaking gems at Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park and Pebble Beach Cove.

Popular areas on Salt Spring include trips through Ganges and Fulford harbours, as well as Burgoyne Bay, but there are many more special places outfitters can point you to before setting out.

— Sean McIntyre

Photo/media credit: Shari Macdonald