The Broken Group Islands, on the west coast of the Island, is a very special kayaking destination, and we were fortunate to spend 5 nights on a lodge-based trip there, at Broken Islands Lodge. We went there last year, and had a fantastic trip, so when friends mentioned they were going again this year, we joined in the fun. A group of 16 of us paddled 6 days, including the trip to and from the lodge (not accessible by road), giving us such a great variety of scenes, experiences and fun.
I’m a colour person, so I’ll try to describe the experiences in terms of colour!
We had wonderful warm and sunny weather, with bright blue skies, for most of the days, even if they did not start off that way. This kind of weather makes everything sparkle, puts a smile on everyone’s face, and gives everyone an extra burst of energy!
There are so many shades and types of greens. With the sunshine, the shallower waters, especially with sand bottoms, provided us with my favourite teal-coloured water. We often felt as if we were in a tiny slice of the Caribbean.
There were so many types of kelp, with their leaves floating and rhythmically moving with the currents.
Then there were the bright greens of seaweeds seen at low tide.
And of course the many trees on the island provided so many shades of green, and some pretty interesting shapes!
We did most of our paddles at low(ish) tide, which when you hug the shorelines and cliff edges, it’s the best time to see the intertidal life. I sought out as many sea stars as possible and there were lots of orange ones!
We had lovely soft oranges at sunset.
The purple sea stars were as pretty as the orange ones!
Nicky’s boat is purple. Congrats to her to paddling 4 days in a row; first time in 20 years! So glad you could come!
Much of the shorelines are rocky, plunging deep into the water, but we found some beautiful sand beaches which sparkled from quite a distance. This is where we enjoyed our lunch stops.
Even on blue sky days, we appreciated the many clouds, sometimes low to the water, and often cloaking the surrounding mountains.
One morning we took off in light fog, but the sun was starting to break through, and highlighted the various Tilley hats in our group. It was a magical moment.
The waters were surprisingly warm, but the cooler air coming off the Pacific ocean, formed quite a dense fog early in the mornings, creating mystery. As it burned off, the island vistas revealed themselves and we were ready for adventure.
We paddled out in a light rain, under grey skies. These paddling days are magical as well. In the lea of the islands, the water was calm and reminded me of velvet. Paddling in these waters is quite Zen-like. Quiet and peaceful.
The many rocks and islands all around us had many shades of grey/black/brown, and provided beautiful contrasts with the clouds and water. So picturesque!
This is a bit of a stretch, but the new kayak launch was a hit with all of us. Dock entries and exits are tough for a lot of us older paddlers. The lodge has a low dock for paddlers, which we used last year. This year, they had a kayak launch. We could paddle right up into it and literally get out of our kayak, in the launch, and then step onto the dock. It was just as useful for getting into our kayaks to leave the dock. What made it so special was Shayna who had a smile for everyone, was always there to help us and hauled kayaks around by herself as if they were feathers. As I rode up in the launch on the first day, she remembered me from last year! The wonderful thing is that ALL the staff at the lodge were so helpful, friendly and truly made our time special.
We saw many bears, of all ages. Some on the shores, as we paddled by, including a mom and new cub. The resident yearling at the lodge provided regular entertainment for guests as he foraged on the beach, easily turning over rocks that I would find hard to lift, looking for yummy things to eat.
We were lucky enough to have 2 sightings of humpback whales. One was during our lunch stop where we tracked his blows a couple kilometres away, and then watched as he dove and breached. Without a picture, you will have to believe me, but it was a highlight of our day. Later than evening, a second (we are pretty sure it was smaller) whale passed by near the lodge.
We have some very talented musicians in our group and many evenings were spent singing favourite songs, led by great guitar playing!
Of course wine was consumed and sometimes, people ran out!
One of my favourite things about kayaking is the wide array of colours of boats, always very visible when beached for lunch. Our group had colours of red, lime green, yellow, white, blue, in various shapes and sizes.
Our group was a pretty colourful bunch, both in clothing and character! We had lots of laughs, songs, conversations and good times together, both on and off the water! Thanks to everyone for making it a special trip, full of memories.