Mikhail Belikov Photography (nature, adventures, travel)

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Kayaking North Vancouver Island Straits Solo


I woke up at 7:30: lots of fog outside, but it did not look as bad as the morning before, so I decided to give it a try. After a quick breakfast of cold dinner leftovers and hot coffee from the thermos, I loaded up the kayak while listening to orca breaths. Then I had pressed on back to the crossing point, against the weakening tidal current. Reaching the crossing point at 1:00pm, I was happy to see that the fog was thinning with every passing moment and I could clearly see Stubbs Island on the opposite side of the channel.

The tide was already turning, so I started the crossing with no delay. Even at the slack tide, the channel was all but quiet. Powerful currents were flowing through it like wide rivers, interacting with each other and creating numerous whirls. I could only imagine how messy this area was at other times. It took me only half an hour to cross the channel to Stubb Island.

I had encountered a few motorboats. Fortunately, they all had noticed my kayak leaving me plenty of space when passing by. After reaching Stubb Island I kept moving on, from an island to an island, staying away from the shipping channels.

While paddling, I had several encounters with the marine wildlife, including a sea lion initially passing by and later noisily hunting close to the shore.

When I looked back, I saw a Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) surfacing just behind my boat.

Overall, it was a relaxing trip once I had crossed Cormorant Channel. I had reached my camping site in Legg Cove on Hanson Island by 2:30pm. This was an established site with several designated areas for tents, a large table and an outhouse. I had visited this site before, in June, and had its coordinates already entered in my GPS – this certainly made finding it easier.

Just when I started unloading my kayak, I saw several kayaks entering the cove. They soon came close to the shore and I had learned that this was a large organized group just starting the trip out of Telegraph Cove. So, I was back to the popular kayaking area. From that time and until the end of my trip I saw fellow kayakers on a daily basis, sometimes one group, sometimes a dozen.

With plenty of space at this site we all had managed to fit in. While the group was settling in, I did my washing and bathing, then finished my early dinner and went for a walk. After returning, I was treated to a piece of blueberry-apricot pie that the group leaders had cooked in a portable dutch oven. This was one the most delicious deserts in a long time. The group leaders had also suggested some camping options along my route.

The day had ended with a picturesque sunset.

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