About the Islands
Sea Kayaking Vancouver Island Adventure Tours, Discovery Islands British Columbia
Some of British Columbia’s best sea kayaking is in the Discovery Islands, near Quadra Island. Sheltered channels and clear waters offer splendid opportunities for adventure and we offer a variety of lodge-based and wilderness sea kayak tours for your next getaway!
In between Vancouver Island and the spectacular Coast Mountains, the Discovery Islands are a group of forested islands carved apart by narrow channels and tidal passages.
Attributes of the area include a rich first nations cultural history, abundant natural resources, a mild climate and magnificent scenery. Inhabited for more than 8,000 years by indigenous peoples, in the past century these remote islands have been settled by pioneers and independent folk with a strong appreciation for the wilderness.
A short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island BC, Quadra Island and Cortes Island have small friendly communities and just-enough services so you can get everything you need, and also indulge in good food, local arts, and culture. Quadra and Cortes Islands are geographically diverse and largely undeveloped, with mountains, natural rainforests, freshwater lakes, and endless shoreline. There are many parks, and the islands have road & extensive trail systems allowing for inland exploration by car, bicycle and foot….Read Island is centered in this archipelago: A 40 square km island population 65, without a BC ferry transportation link.
Surge Narrows is the community centre, with a general store, community hall, one-room school, and Canada’s only floating post office! Island residents are largely self-sufficient, earning income from salmon & prawn fishing, oyster aquaculture, logging, guiding, and tourism, including sea kayaking and wilderness adventure tours.
The unsurpassed natural beauty of all the islands along with our special relaxed pace, known as “island time” makes the Discovery Islands a great holiday destination. Long or short, a sea kayaking adventure in the splendid wilderness of the outer islands is sure to provide welcome escape from everyday cares. It’s a natural recharge and it works!
British Columbia’s Discovery Islands are in the “rain shadow” of the Vancouver Island mountains, thus we are spared the fog, drizzle and rain associated with many other parts of the West Coast. This means warm summer temperatures and mostly sunny skies can be expected! It is nevertheless important to be prepared for rainy weather… (Murphy’s Law still prevails!)
The Discovery Islands’ biological uniqueness is created by the convergence of three very different bio-climatic eco-sections. Our warm and sunny Mediterranean “Georgia Basin” environment is tempered with North Pacific “Inland Oceanic” effects. This combined with the continental influence of the “Interior Fjordlands” sets the stage for rich diversity in both marine and terrestrial environments.
In the Discovery Islands, we are privileged to live in one of Canada’s most diverse and abundant environments, and on our kayak camping trips you will enjoy opportunities to observe many kinds of west coast wildlife close-up.
Observable wildlife varies throughout the season, depending on the availability of food, and life cycle behaviors. Sea and shore bird are abundant and active in early summer and the area’s large population of bald eagles is mating, nesting and highly visible.
The Discovery Islands wilderness contains the world’s last near-normal population of the endangered marbled murrelet. Other prevalent sea birds include the common loon, surf scoters, mergansers, coots, oyster catchers, murres, guillemots, golden eyes, grebes and a host of gulls.
While kayaking, you can expect to see seals in the water and on shore. mink, otter, raccoon, and blacktail deer are common residents. Late summer brings increased sightings of pacific white-sided dolphin and harbour porpoises. We see whales: orcas (killer whales) and humpbacks about once each week, so depending on the length of your stay, you might see them. Venturing into the Fjordlands we may see black bear; other mammals which are present but rarely seen, are wolves, cougar and grizzly bears.
We do not offer whales watching tours per se but we see whales regularly, usually once or twice each week. We are also concerned for whale populations: Orca (Killer Whales) are now listed on Canada’s endangered species lists.
Studies point to human activity as a primary reason for the decline in resident whales and tourism is a contributing disturbing activity. While we recognize the appeal of paddling next to magnificent and gentle wild creatures, we believe they may not be able to withstand the constant presence of human observers. When the opportunity arises, we observe whales from a respectable distance however in the end, the whales usually determine what that distance will be.
Our Kayak Tours
Our goal is to provide safe, environmentally responsible, educational and fun-filled sea kayaking Vancouver Island adventures along British Columbia’s most beautiful wilderness coast! No previous experience is required for our Vancouver Island kayak tours; we’ve designed our kayaking trips to accommodate different levels of experience and ability. Many people on our tours are first-time kayak paddlers, but seasoned kayakers will also have challenging and rewarding journeys exploring some of British Columbia’s most extraordinary west coast wilderness. We welcome everybody, all we ask is that you bring along your spirit of adventure — and be ready for a lot of fun!