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Friday, November 13, 2015

Broken Group Kayaking, September 2015

The Broken Group is a maze of islands, islets, and rocky outcrops that dot the middle of Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Ideally suited for kayaking, these sheltered islands are teeming with marine life, old-growth rain forests, lagoons, arches, blowholes, tide pools and secluded beaches. There are also relics and traces of culture left behind by the Tseshaht First Nation peoples that first settled the area, adding to a sense of discovery one experiences while paddling between islands in this unique archipelago.

Similar to the Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park near the Sunshine Coast, the Broken Group is equipped with numerous kayak-friendly camps located on Hand, Dodd, Willis, Turret, Clark, Gilbert and Gibraltar Islands. As part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, camping permits are required and all camping must be within the designated areas. Tides and currents arenít as much of concern here as compared to the other popular kayaking areas in the San Juan Islands for example. However, one must be prepared for ocean swell particularly along the outer islands, disorienting fog, and strong afternoon winds not to mention the rough seas that typically accompany such winds.

We put in at the kayak launch near Secret Beach and spent the next 3 days and nights paddling a loop around the islands with camps at Turret, Gibraltar and finally Hand Island. With better than expected weather and relatively few kayakers for an otherwise notoriously busy Labor Day weekend, we had ourselves a thoroughly enjoyable time. Suffice it to say that the Broken Group is internationally renowned as a sea kayaking destination for good reason and definitely one to add to the bucket list!








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