Kayaking the North Island

Kayak Group - Photo: Boomer Jerritt
Image credit: Boomer Jerritt

Sit yourself in a kayak, surround yourself with water and prepare to be dazzled. Paddlers looking to experience the area around North Vancouver Island from the water are in for a treat. Known for its abundant wildlife, old growth forests and pristine beaches, the northern region provides a rare experience for those who know where to look.

There’s a place just off the coast of Vancouver Island North that some might say is a kayaker’s dream. The Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, B.C.’s largest marine park, consists of hundreds of small islands, perfect for paddling. As you weave through the naturally formed passages between the islands, the sound of your paddle slicing through the water might be the only sound you’ll hear- except of course for the locals. They can be a noisy bunch.

Kayakers On Beach - Photo: Boomer Jerritt
Image credit: Boomer Jerritt

Many animals call this region home so don’t be surprised to see black bears, sea lions, eagles, porpoises or humpback and killer whales on your trip. In fact, it is this wealth of food in the waters and on the surrounding lands that have supported multiple generations of aboriginal families.

For kayakers, the Broughton Archipelago may well be one of the most amazing trips in a lifetime. Please exercise caution when considering this adventure and travel with a professional guide. The waters between Vancouver Island and the marine park can be tricky to navigate and should not be attempted by inexperienced paddlers. There are several excellent multi-day guided kayak tours available in the northern region to help you find the tour that is best suited to you.

Port McNeil or Telegraph Cove are common departure points for these trips. These gateway communities to the Broughton Archipelago are located approximately a four hour drive north of Nanaimo.