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July 20th, 2011

Broken Island Group Route

The Broken Group Islands have plenty of kayaking options for both beginners and advanced paddlers. The inner islands are fairly well protected and great for beginners (1-5 in second image below), the outer islands are more exposed and have great options for rock gardening and exploring areas during conditions like swells and heavy winds (6-8 in second image below).

Here is a general map of the bottom half of Vancouver Island for reference, the circled part is where the Broken Groups can be found:


Here is a general image of our route from the GPS tracking:

I’ll catalogue some of the days and include photos in future posts, but our general route was:
  • Day 0: Drive to Anacortes for afternoon ferry reservation to Sidney, drive to Port Alberni.
  • Day 1: 8am freighter (reservation with kayaks) down from Port Alberni to Sechart Lodge (1). Load kayaks up and paddle to Hand Island (2) then over to Dodd (3) to set up camp (most crowded campsite of our trip, two guided groups).
  • Day 2: Mellow morning, practiced rolling, paddled out around Turtle (4), checked out the Tiny Group islands then back to Dodd. Spent a bit of time chilling out with the beach to ourselves for the day.
  • Day 3: Pack up camp and paddle out past Turtle, past shipwreck rocks between Turret (5) and Turtle where there were some fantastic tide pools, then over to Gilbert (6).
  • Day 4: Gale force warnings in effect but we paddled around Effingham (7). I did a separate solo paddle out to the west of Gilbert around Cooper Island.
  • Day 5: Paddle out around Dicebox where we saw a whale, then outside of the islands around Howell and Wouwer (8) and then back in to Gilbert.
  • Day 6: Break camp and head to Gibraltar (9). Saw a whale feeding in the waters north of our campsite.
  • Day 7: Paddle around Gibraltar to check out the sea caves then over to the lagoon (10) between Jacques and Jarvis Northwest of Gibraltar. There were such great rock gardening options on the exposed Eastern side of Gibraltar that I also did a second trip around Gibraltar on my own going the opposite direction.
  • Day 8: Break camp and head back to Sechart lodge to catch the 4pm freighter back to Port Alberni.

We really only missed a handful of islands on the Western end of the area. We had a lot of relaxation and reading time, and we thoroughly enjoyed having 3 different base camps. It was a nice change of pace not having to break camp every morning with a set destination in mind! We just checked the tides and evaluated what we wanted to see, usually based on low tide tidepooling locations, and paddled a little bit.