Every second year East Coast Kayaking conducts a sea kayaking expedition with a hardy group of senior school students and their teachers to Prince William Sound, Alaska. This year the school camp was followed by a small group tour to some of the best paddling locations on offer in British Columbia - Quadra Island and its tidal races, Broughton Archipelago off the northern end of Vancouver Island, and Tofino-Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island's Pacific West Coast.
Here is my account of our adventures - originally revealed in some Facebook and Instagram posts, summarised and expanded herein. It was an awesome adventure!
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Anchorage - 19 & 20 June 2016
I arrived ahead of the group in Anchorage in order to organise the dry food provisions - a big undertaking for a group of 15 people for 10 days!
Valdez 21 June 2016
I met up with the rest of the team an then departed Anchorage for Valdez. More grocery shopping - fresh food this time.
The Expedition has launched!
We plan to paddle back to Valdez - over 175kms - in a 10 day expedition. Explorer has transported the team about 100km west from Valdez, into Unakwik Inlet, arriving mid afternoon. After establishing camp, a 7km evening trip along the shoreline, looking out for wildlife, then around the corner to view the magnificent Meares Glacier that flows into the inlet. At 61 N latitude at the solstice the sun doesn't set until nearly 11.30pm!
Prince William Sound, Alaska USA, 21-30 June 2016
A brief summary... champagne paddling! The days of sunshine and high temps led to a fair bit of complacency, but the sun showers brought back a level of experiential learning which provided challenges both physical and psychological.
As we paddled, we floated at the foot of grand tide water glaciers, amongst powerful icebergs towering above us, and through the twilight of the 24 hour day light to be assisted by the strong tides. Along the way, a humpback whale emerged only 3m from our boats, we stealthily stalked black bears near our camp, and were escorted by sea lions, otters and harbour seals kept a comforting eye on us as we progressed through Prince William Sound.
On our final night we debriefed and shared stories of our experiences, reflecting on a very special time in a very special place.
Quadra Island & Surge Narrows, British Columbia, Canada 1-6 July 2016
I had the privilege to share the main Wave at Surge Narrows Provincial Park with the team from Coast Mountain Expeditions and Discovery Islands Lodge - Yes this is the Tide! A great lesson in constriction and the 50-90 Rule! Enjoy we did! Surge Narrows Provincial Park located on the south end of Maurelle Island, east of Quadra Island off central Vancouver Island
Telegraph Cove and Broughton Archipelago, BC Canada, 7-13 July 2016
Sea kayaking the Broughton Archipelago British Columbia - we paddled through the maze of islands of the archipelago, enjoying the sights of abundant whales - humpbacks and Orcas, frolicking and fossicking and even visiting us in camp, only 3m off the beach.
Here are a few of our highlights of a 6 day Paddle. We started out at the Paddler's Inn and explored our way back to Telegraph Cove, lots of Orcas and Humpbacks enjoy...
Tofino and Clayoquat Sound, BC, Canada, 14-19 July 2016
Tofino is a good base to sea kayak Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Some of our favourite paddling locations at East Coast Kayaking are on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island - islands, wildlife and the drifting sea fog.
We flew into Hot Springs Cove and collected our kayaks at Innchanter B&B, and paddled the Pacific Coastline and Clayoquat Sound for three days back to Tofino.
We enjoyed the natural hot springs, the misty, drifting sea fog along the coastline, sunsets at Cow Bay and upon returning to Tofino, a cold beverage or two and organic chicken wings!