Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Vancouver Island’s coastal temperate rainforest.
In government surveys, nature lovers visiting coastal British Columbia rank seeing a sea otter near the top of their wish list. After a 40-year absence, these photogenic furry marine mammals with their endearing whiskery faces were reintroduced into Canada in the late 1960s. Since then, their numbers have exploded and the project is a conservation success story like none other in the country.
The kayak adventure to Vancouver Island is based on Spring Island with sea otters as one of the principle focuses of the trip. We’ll see these engaging animals every day, sometimes foraging in waters just beyond our waterfront safari-style tents, and at other times in the kelp beds through which we will paddle.
But this is more than just a deluxe camping trip to view sea otters as we enjoy daily kayak outings, it’s also an immersion in the wild beauty of the coastal temperate rainforest. The wilderness shores of the Mission Group Islands, to which Spring Island belongs, is a true kayaker’s paradise peppered with a multitude of uninhabited island jewels. The protected waters feature quiet coves with deserted beaches, tide pools filled with multi-coloured ocean life, rocky islets where barking Steller sea lions — the largest sea lion in the world — haul out in noisy groups, and regal bald eagles soaring overhead. There is also the chance of spotting a hungry black bear flipping rocks along the shoreline or watching a humpback whale breach in an exuberant display of health and power.
In July, the temperatures along coastal Vancouver Island are warm and comfortable with a majority of days being sunny with light winds and calm seas — the perfect combination for novice paddlers.
Near the camp, about four kilometres by water, is the small and remote community of Kyuquot, home to the Kyuquot-Checleset First Nations (Kyuquot pronounced “kie-you-kit” and Checletset pronounced “check-le-set”). The Spring Island camp is on Kyuquot land, and is operated collaboratively with the First Nation.
One highlight for groups that visit Spring Island is a traditionally prepared salmon barbeque where, around the fire, we learn about the local Aboriginal culture and their strong connection to the sea and the ancient forests that cloak the islands.
If you are interested in discovering a beautiful little-known corner of our country, feeling the satisfaction of paddling in a pristine wilderness, and glimpsing some of Canada’s greatest wildlife treasures, then this is a trip for you.
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Dr. Wayne Lynch is an internationally-recognized naturalist, science writer and professional wildlife photographer. His photo credits include hundreds of magazine covers, thousands of calendar shots, and tens of thousands of images published in over 70 dozen countries). He is also a popular guest speaker, and audiences worldwide applaud his practical and entertaining approach to natural history. As well, he is the author and photographer of over 60 natural history books for children, young adults and adults. He is an elected fellow of the Explorers Club and the Arctic Institute of North America, and his biography has been included in the Canadian Who's Who, published by the University of Toronto, since 1996.