Kayaking in Some of the West Coast’s Finest Waters
Plans were made and paddles set aside for a sea kayak adventure on Labour Day this year. At the gateway to the world-renowned Desolation Sound, the pristine and tranquil waters of Okeover Arm awaited us. What we lacked in experience, we easily made up for in enthusiasm to drink in the dog days of summer via a sun-kissed paddle. Few had ever had the opportunity to enjoy a close-up look at the scenery and wild-life of our rugged West Coast. With all preparations made, the buzz grew steadily as the day quickly approached.
As the long weekend rolled on, it quickly became apparent that our vision of calm waters and sunny skies may not exactly be in the cards. I woke up to rain and wind on Monday morning and found that our group had dwindled to 8. The blustery September morning scared off a few, but I was impressed to see the remaining group slowly assemble outside the bus. As I welcomed them aboard, I warned them that the weather might bring about a slightly different paddling experience than advertised. Rather than complaints and hesitation, I saw wide smiles and looks of eager anticipation for what was in store. In response to my weather warning, one of the attendees boldly stated, “An adventure only begins when plans go awry”. Couldn’t have said it better myself. With that, we were off.
Marching on Through Uncertainty
After winding our way north for the better part of an hour, we arrived at our starting point. There were a few other paddlers also ready to brave the chop and impending rain, but they were decked out in outdoor gear from head to toe. Had we bitten off more than we could chew? During our orientation, I scanned our group and noticed a few in our group donning jeans and boots more apt for a night out on the town as opposed to a choppy day on the water. As the young guy in charge of preparing us for our adventure went through the procedures for re-entry should someone flip, he shot me a glance as if to say, “I hope you are listening.” Was the phrase heard earlier on the bus a forewarning of what was to come on the open water?
Despite our group’s inexperience, we portaged to the water and slipped into our kayaks like seasoned veterans. The consistent Southeast chop and the steady rain did little to throw off our group. Throughout the course of our 2-hour paddle, we came upon ancient native petroglyphs scrawled on steep cliff faces and got up close and personal with sleeping seals. Despite our inexperience and the challenging weather, smiles were worn proudly as we returned to the safety of the shore. Surprisingly, it appeared we all managed to stay in our kayaks and avoided having to use our re-entry training.
A Quintessential Westcoast Experience
As we loaded back into the bus and turned the heat on high, it quickly became apparent of what a fantastic day it had been. Those who had been bold enough to brave the weather were rewarded with an experience that would last a lifetime. As we leave summer behind and head towards the wet and windy season, it was a reminder of the bold adventurous spirit that is required to enjoy the fall and winter seasons on the west coast of beautiful BC.