Staff Summers Part II: Kayaking around Vancouver Island

Three SMUS staff once again spent part of their summer together paddling the shores of Vancouver Island. Last summer, Mike Jackson; Head of Science and Senior House Parent for Barnacle House, Pete McLeod; Director of Outdoor Education, and George Floyd; Middle School Computer Studies teacher kayaked around the North shore. This time they conquered the South end, setting out from where they finished last year.

Mr. Jackson describes the trips as both team-building and recharging. “I think all three of us would rate these two trips in our top ten,” he says. At Barchester Bay, the adventurers were treated to the sight of a grey whale and met by a black bear. Mr. McLeod had an even closer encounter with a grey whale, when one surfaced mere feet from him. “It shows there’s still a lot of wilderness out there,” says Mr. Jackson.

Other highlights of the trip included a visit to the Carmanah Reserve, where the adventurers were invited to set up their tents and come in for beer and a burger at “Chez Monique’s,” and meeting kayaker Joe O’Blenis, who was attempting a record-breaking circumnavigation of the island in 21 days.

“It really gives you a perspective of the island,” says Mr. Jackson. “It puts the island on a human scale.”

At Camper Creek, the trio checked out the cable river-crossing and explored some magnificent sea caves on their way to Owen Point. Mr. Jackson also enjoyed trolling for salmon, even without success. Despite some poor weather, which included rain, 20-knot winds and thick fog, the outdoor-lovers persevered and covered 274 km (148 nautical miles) at an average speed of 5.4 km/h.

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