Clayoquot Sound, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve For an excellent paddling adventure on Canada's rugged green edge consider British Columbia's Clayoquot Sound. Recently, Outside Magazine rated the Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve as North America's premiere ocean kayaking destination.
Soft rolling ocean swell, great sandy beaches, windswept conifers, soaring eagles and a plethora of marine life from orcas to limpets distinguish this protected area.
Vargas Island is about 3 kilometres north of Tofino. Camping on the north side of the island is about 8-10 kilometres away. The inside passages are relatively protected on the lee side of the island. In the summer months, ocean swell is minimal on the east side of Father Charles Channel.
Vargas is a perfect trip for the novice paddler looking to extend his experience level. The inside passages are protected providing a mostly safe haven from the pacific. Currents can cause some confused water during flux periods in the island passages and will keep you alert when traffic passes. Any paddling out west and north of Vargas will require more experience or the consultation of a guide. Ocean conditions with attendant swell, waves and wind are magnified in less protected areas.
Only 6 bio-reserves exist in Canada and 273 in the world. When you leave you'll realize how fortunate you were to paddle here.
From Nanaimo it is 3 hours to Tofino. In Tofino, put in at the Government Wharf on the sandy beach. Paddle North and aim toward Schindler Point on Meares Island and be aware of the current just outside the wharf area.
Be attentive of boat traffic in the Tofino Harbour area. They are usually watchful of kayakers and go slow when passing.
Paddle across Father Charles Channel less than a kilometre to Rassier Point on Vargas Island. Continue on the protected lee of Vargas Island crossing the sandy shallows of Elbow Bank toward the northeast corner of the island. Several sheltered campsites are in a protected bay/ lagoon. In less than a kilometre on the north side of the island a half kilometre beach also gives good camping (see photos). This camp spot can be quite popular during the summer months. In a further 2.5 kilometres a longer beach also has gives good camping opportunities. This beach however can have surf. In the summer surf rarely gets above one metre here. Much of the time it is lower, but in the off-season months this is rarely the case.
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Posted By: wizard1584
- Tue Oct 12 02:30:41 EDT 2004
UpsideBeautiful scenery and wildlife, excellent camping all the way around.
CommentDid a curcumnavigation of the Island for my Kayak Guide exam for school! We did the whole island and also crossed over to Flores Island and up the Millar Channel to Shark Cove! Was beautiful! Awesome fresh water waterfall at Shark Cove! We did the whole trip in 8 days!
Posted By: evileye
- Tue Sep 07 14:48:43 EDT 2004
UpsideBeautiful Beaches, excellent camping at the first campsite on the north end.
CommentDid try to kayak around to the Ahous Bay, but the swells at Clamus passage at Coobes Island were frightening and beyond that saw nothing but large crashing surf. Definately for the more experienced/advanced kayaker.