At age 5, second-generation islander Johannes and his father paddled along San Juan Island, their kayaks crossing paths with troops of orca whales. This foray ignited the young adventurer?s twin passions for kayaking and stewardship. Now, Johannes? team of outdoor enthusiasts deftly navigates the waters surrounding San Juan Island, imparting knowledge of marine wildlife to paddlers. Guides not only skim the region?s waterways, but lead expeditions across the islands during multiday tours. Groups may paddle along remote islands in search of seabirds and lost tugboat captains, and then hop on bicycles to pedal down rural back roads dotted with lavender and alpaca farms.
With the waves of Victoria Harbour’s Selkirk Waters lapping just below their headquarters, Switch Bridge Tours’ staff leads bicycle and kayak tours of Victoria and Vancouver Island’s waterways. The business’s proximity to the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails facilitates tours on frequently tuned-up bikes that venture into the Cowichan Valley or along the Saanich Peninsula. Kayaks cease their giant kazoo impressions long enough to cut through the Tod Inlet and the Inner Harbour on beginner or advanced tours. Each experienced guide is certified in First Aid and CPR.
Rated one of the Top 10 resorts in Canada and Victoria by Conde Nast's Readers Choice in 2013, Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is a picturesque destination to enjoy ocean views, comfy beds, roaring fireplaces—and of course, the great outdoors. A variety of packages take the guesswork out of enjoying the surroundings by including amenities such as canoe rentals, narrated cruises through the Cove, and even romantic couples' massages.
Kayaks were originally built by hunters hoping to sneak up on their prey. On A Paddle in the Park Kayaking’s guided tours, passengers use the boats for a similarly furtive purpose, sneaking up on wildlife such as harbour seals and mute swans—but nowadays, the goal is usually to snap candid pictures of the diverse flora and fauna.
Photography is encouraged on the scenic tours, which explore the archipelago of gulf islands near Sidney, British Columbia, surrounded by clear shallows, kelp gardens, and plentiful wildlife. The varied tours range from a sunset trip, which showcases views of Mount Baker, to a full-day tour that highlights impressive rock formations rather than the most common rock formation, a pebble stuck in a shoe's heel. Kayak rentals complement the tours, allowing for independent exploration, and lessons cover topics from paddling basics to self-rescue.
The Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
The kayaking season runs through October 1 and is already in full paddle swing. Dual daily tours depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You and you co-rower will slip into tandem kayaks, traveling in a pack of 6–7 kayaks, and led by an experienced Sea Kayak merguide. The fun and casual trip will float through lush Bowman and Cornet bays and along the coasts of Burrows and Allan islands. Sea Kayak tailors its tours to accommodate kayakers of every level of experience and skill, so all adventurists are welcome. All necessary equipment is provided.