Kayaking in Canada, north of Vancouver Is.

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I thought we’d share a few of our adventures from the other side of the world. For those of you who don’t know, Rob and I are spending the year in British Columbia, Canada. I’m working hard in a teacher exchange position, and Rob’s doing, well – I’m not really sure – but he does make most of the meals and keeps the house reasonably respectable. The days are getting shorter and colder. Still we have just had 10 weeks holiday, so can’t complain too much.

The highlight of our trip was a mothership kayaking cruise in the Broughton Archipelago (www.mothershipadventures.com) at the northern end of Vancouver island. We can certainly recommend this trip and this area to anyone who wants a fantastic experience. This was a week-long cruise in a small refurbished historical wooden boat, beautifully restored to its former glory. It is a small business run by a family who truly love the boat and the environment. So we slept, ate and relaxed on the boat with 6 other passengers and 4 crew members to look after us. (The gourmet food and wine was certainly a highlight of the trip.)

After a hearty breakfast each day the kayaks were launched from the boat and we went off paddling in sheltered waters between mostly uninhabited pristine islands. Now I have to admit that the paddling was pretty easy, mostly pottering along the coast (‘gumpholing’ is the correct yachting term I believe) watching the wildlife on land, in the sea or in the air, chatting with new found friends, and generally enjoying the fantastic environment. Lunch was prepared for us as we relaxed or explored the beaches – alas no wine with our lunch (safety regulations). We never had to worry about paddling into strong headwinds, since the mothership could just meet us wherever was convenient. After starting out in a double kayak, Rob and I were quick to request singles each day, especially if we wanted to save our marriage! The area abounds with salmon, of which the Orcas are especially fond, and we had some great viewings of these graceful animals gliding up and down through the water. Also other sightings of porpoises, dolphins, humpback whales, seals, sealions, bald eagles, and one black bear, were other highlights, not to mention the colourful and interesting intertidal marine life. Unfortunately, like most pristine environments, this area is under pressure from human action and greed, and needs continued efforts and monitoring if it is not to suffer. The importance of First Nation culture in the area was also acknowledged, with visits to significant areas, and information about both past and present issues. Just like our own Aborigines there is increasing difficulty in coming to terms with the past practices, changing lifestyles and attempting to preserve traditional ways. We also met a local character who has lived and worked all his life in the area as, amongst other things, a fisherman. Now into his 70’s he has seen many changes in the region, not all for the better.

All too soon the week was over and it was back to reality. Cheers, Marg and Rob