Loose hips, save ships!
“Loose hips, save ships.” A quote from Frank Witter, expert Sea Kayak Guide and Owner / Operator at Hello Nature Adventure Tours – hellonature.ca Frank of course was referring to remaining flexible and not becoming tense when encountering unfavorable conditions while sea kayaking. Expert advice, no doubt.
On July 18th, I had the distinct honor and privilege to be invited by Kevin Bradshaw from Hello Nature Adventure Tours to spend the day with a group of paddlers, exploring the Broken Group Islands near Ucluelet.
This company, it’s owners and employees embody the West Coast Spirit. Their level of friendliness and professionalism is unsurpassed. On the day of my tour, both Norm (our Water Taxi driver) and Frank were patient, helpful, fun, laid back and extremely knowledgeable throughout the day. I’ve paddled in the Broken Group Islands before, on unguided extended trips but I learned many new things, about the area, inter tidal life and Sea Kayaking. It was a fantastic experience and this should be the tour company of choice should you be travelling to the area. Safety is a key focus while on the water, as are the comfort levels for all guests. This allowed for a calm and enjoyable outing.
I arrived at the Ucluelet Dock and point of departure shortly after 7:30 am. I was greeted by both Frank and Norm who were busy preparing for the day. Soon after I arrived, four other guests also arrived and we were all set to leave by 8:00 am as scheduled. The crossing and open water conditions between Ucluelet and the Broken Group Islands makes the use of a Water Taxi much more suitable. It was about a 45 minute ride to the southwest side of Dodd Island where we would stage and prepare for our day of exploration.
Arrival at Dodd Island and Safety Orientation:
“The SHIT KIT” was definitely a hit!
Dodd Island departure and paddle to Dempster Island:
Arrival at Dempster Island:
After leisurely paddling through a vast maze of islands and islets, we arrived at Dempster Island just after 12:00 for lunch. The timing was perfect, the fog had lifted and the sun was shining bright. Frank got busy preparing lunch for us, we had all built up an appetite. Lunch, all food items bought locally consisted of sliced bread, pepperoni, cheese, pickles, olives, sliced pear and apple, cookies for dessert and water, tea and hot chocolate to drink. It was fantastic and a great lunch location in a sheltered lagoon.
Paddle to Nettle Island:
After finishing lunch and getting suited back up and into our kayaks, we crossed over to Gibraltar Island and then headed a little north to explore a lagoon. We saw two resident Deer and even a Raccoon. Even though this is a well traveled area, fortunately the wildlife seemed intolerant of human activity. Both the Deer and Raccoon dashed into the forest before anyone could get pictures.
Pickup at Nettle Island:
Norm was waiting for us as we arrived on a small pocket beach on Nettle Island. We got our kayaks and gear loaded up and made our way back to Ucluelet. The afternoon winds had picked up and the water was rough during the crossing. It made for an adventurous ride back.
Hello Nature exceeds low impact environmental standards. I applaud their efforts. We all have our part to play in protecting our fragile coastal ecosystems. Find out more about their best practices here – hellonature.ca/…s/environmental-practices