Paddling in the northern Gulf Islands is a great way to spend a long weekend, and is easily accessible from Vancouver. There are a number of Marine Parks to camp in, and generally sheltered waters make it a relatively easy trip.
Take the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo for direct access, or to Victoria if you'd like a nice drive up island. From Nanaimo, take the Gabriola ferry (about a 5 minute drive south of the large ferry terminal) which runs about every 45 minutes. There are several options for launching, including False Narrows, Degnen Bay or Silva Bay. Paid camping is available in Pirate's Cove Marine Park, on the south end of De Courcy Island, Blackberry Point, on the west side of Valdes Island, and at the lovely Dionisio Point, on the north end of Galiano Island.
Hazards: Currents run extremely fast through both Gabriola Passage and Porlier Pass - up to 9 knots! creating whirlpools, standing waves, rip curls etc. Make sure you know how to use the current tables, and time your trip through these areas at slack.
Other areas of fast current include False Narrows and Dodd Narrows, on either side of Mudge Island. Watch out for boat traffic in all areas, but especially in the passages. Most of the Gulf Islands are inhabited, so make sure you're not camping in someone's front yard!
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Posted By: ActivPass
- Thu Sep 15 22:09:25 UTC 2005
UpsideFantastic paddle for those looking for a scenic and mellow weekend kayak. Once you sneak through Porlier (the pass between Valdes and Galiano), Dionisio Point offers fantastic views of the Lower Mainland city lights at night, and Mt. Baker all day. Plenty of interesting shoreline to explore along the east side of Galiano, as well. DownsideMust tightly schedule your paddle to Dionisio around current-swap at Porlier Pass, unless you enjoy paddling with 5-10 knot currents. CommentCompleted journey as part of school field-trip in 2003.
Posted By: patrick m
- Tue Jul 08 20:19:00 UTC 2003
UpsidePirates cove makes for a nice day paddle. Very scenic paddling....we launched from the Kayakers B&B at False narrrows looking toward Mudge Island. DownsideThe currents do run fast, so keep you eyes open and watch for the litle motor boaters that zip by you.