Photo: Rob Lyon


Vancouver Island

DOING A WAVE THING: Around Vancouver Island in 102 Days

It was mid-July 1994. From my home in the San Juan Islands of Washington state, I was 10 days into a kayaking odyssey that would ultimately deliver me completely around the largest island along the west coast of the Americas, Canada’s 12,000-square-mile Vancouver Island, BC. The idea had come about during my years on the Deschutes River while guiding and fishing and getting my first taste of drifting away from worldly trappings into remote, roadless, primitive terrain.

On the Deschutes, I’d relished handling a McKenzie dory in brisk currents and the hunt for summer steelhead on the fly was nothing short of a holy grail. We took the better part of a week to bring anglers through the roadless sections of canyon, then a busman’s holiday for the likes of us as we hit the river again on our days off. But after five or six years of this the bloom had come off the rose. I began to feel constricted, hampered by increasing crowds and regulations, by the linear, repetitive nature of rivers. Asleep at water’s edge, I dreamed of bigger, wilder adventure. Ocean, sandy beaches, a kayak to travel just off the surf zone and to ride the waves into camp at day’s end. And, of course, to fish…

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