Sea kayaking the coast of Vancouver Island

Kayak, Parksville, British Columbia

Sea Kayaking the coast of Parksville on Vancouver Island

My paddle slices deep into the cold water as the kayak propels me forward. With each breath, my lungs are filled with clean, fresh ocean air.

Behind me, the rocky shelled beach that began our kayaking adventure slowly disappears. In front of me, the Strait of Georgia separates Vancouver Island from the spectacular Coast Mountain vistas on the mainland.

Fun fact – Vancouver Island is the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand.

The winds are particularly strong this morning, creating some fairly big waves that splash against the kayak. Our group paddles straight into the wind, deliberately traveling a few hundred meters extra so that we’ll have the wind at our backs when we make our gradual turn into a protected cove, surrounded by coastal forest and seaside homes.

I like to think I’m in decent shape, but I can’t help but feel the burn in my triceps and lower back.

Kayak, Parksville, British Columbia

The goal for this kayak trip is to visit a large group of sea lions that have made this area home for the summer.

The morning before, while enjoying a cup of coffee on our private balcony at the Tigh Na Mara Seaside Resort, we could clearly hear the barking sea lions as if they were only a few meters away, even though they were realistically a few kilometers away.

But with the strong winds this morning, we can barely hear them from our kayaks.

Kayak, Parksville, British Columbia

To my surprise, a pair of feisty sea gulls attack a lone bald eagle that is clearly not welcome. I find it odd that such a mighty bird of prey can be pushed around so easily by a couple of clumsy sea gulls.

More importantly, I’m amazed that I’m floating on the water in a kayak surrounded by large sea lions, bald eagles and old growth forests that are home to thousand year old cedars. It’s a special place.

British Columbia is the best place on earth. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I can’t tell you how many times these words have come out of my mouth, particularly when we’re travelling and chatting with locals or fellow travellers. It’s ironic that I always rave about our homeland, yet we often find ourselves boarding airplanes to escape the Pacific Northwest in search of something different.

Having young children has certainly forced us to slow down and embrace our beautiful backyard. There’s a distinct feeling one gets when surrounded by nature, especially on the coast of Vancouver Island.

Kayak, Parksville, British Columbia

In this moment, while bald eagles circle overhead and fat sea lions bask in the afternoon sun, I have re-discovered what I love most about Vancouver Island – the absence of big city chaos. I’m completely consumed by its beauty and simplicity, unplugged and free from the stress of every day life.

If you find yourself on Vancouver Island, we recommend you visit the Parksville and Qualicum Beach area and join a sea kayaking tour to experience a different side of the Pacific Northwest.

We went with Adventuress Sea Kayaking, a locally owned and operated sea kayaking tour operator that offers wildlife day tours, sunset paddles, full moon howls, rentals and lessons. Tours include certified guide, detailed instruction, kayak and gear (No experience necessary). Ask for owner Jan Kretz, a certified guide and kayak instructor, and tell her we sent you!

To learn more about things to see and do in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, visit:

Kayak, Parksville, British Columbia

Read more posts from our travels to Vancouver Island:

Click on the map below to see where Parksville is located.

About Traveling Canucks

Cam and Nicole Wears are newbie parents living in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. A passion for travel and outdoor adventure has taken them to over 65 countries & territories on 6 continents in the past 7 years. Follow them on Google+ and subscribe to their travel newsletter.