The coastline of southern Vancouver Island stands out as one of its most remarkable features, ie one that is most remarked upon. Wrapping itself around Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula it is both beautiful and restful, a long length of inspiration and recreation. The frustration is one of access since heavily wooded areas or stretches of houses intervene. There are occasional beach access points so that you can stroll along the rugged coast for varying distances but the best way to enjoy it must be from the vantage point of the sea itself.
This is borne out by views from the ferries as you pass through the Gulf Islands – but wouldn’t you like to get close to explore its coves and beaches? The answer is to rent a kayak for a few hours. Numerous Victoria kayaking companies, scattered around the area, offer kayak rentals and tours, with or without a guide. Some have canoes too or paddle boards.Try near downtown at Fisherman’s Wharf (Kelp Reef), the Gorge (Victoria Kayak or Ocean River) or Esquimalt (Victoria Waterfront Tours), Oak Bay (Blackfish), Sidney (A Paddle in the Park) or Sooke (Rush Adventures). For me, kayaking in Victoria is all about exploring the tranquil areas of natural beauty so my favourite place is Brentwood Bay (I happen to appreciate the calm, warmer waters too) – Pacifica Paddle Sports operate here as well as at Canoe Cove.
Renting a kayak for a couple of hours gives new close-up insights into our coastline. Two weeks ago I had a delightful family morning, kayaking in Brentwood Bay with my daughter and her boyfriend. It was sooo relaxing. My daughter was a little apprehensive at first but the sheer pleasure took over as we paddled around interesting moored boats, went up to the dock at The Butchart Gardens, then followed the shore of Tod Inlet to the old jetty with its birdhouses and nature centre. Wildlife was evident above and below as we passed slowly by the tree-lined shores. Although a few muscles were not rested, our minds were totally tranquil. Bliss!