We are very privileged to have some wonderful partners in the Outfitting world using only the best paddling gear available. West Coast Expeditions is one such Kokatat Watersports Wear and Werner Paddles outfitter, they are one of the oldest operators in Western Canada specializing in marine education adventures, and possibly the only one committed to one location for over 40 years!
I met owner, David Pinel back in my Ocean River Sports days in Victoria and it’s a pleasure to be working with him all these years later. I asked David to share with us more about WCE.
|Photo courtesy of Ann Fisher|
Marine biologist Jerry Lang began boat-based tours in Kyuquot in 1972 and his nephew Rupert Wong, also a marine biologist, introduced sea kayaking in 1988 as our primary way of getting around. Today, we continue to focus on sea kayak-based tours out of a unique wilderness retreat on Spring Island – our platform since 1978. The camp infrastructure and location is unmatched for access to sheltered and open coastal paddling, “Glamping” comforts (waterfront walk-in tents with wooden beds, thick mattresses, and pillows; plus hot shower and all-weather dining shelter), flexible programs, diverse resources, Aboriginal cultural interactions, and about 1500 sea otters in our immediate neighbourhood! We’re on Canada’s westernmost island to do what we do – so we’re very remote and well off the beaten path! We’re very well positioned for multi-generation family adventures, corporate retreats, and workshops that are kayaking focused or otherwise (e.g., yoga, photography, and painting). We feel grateful every day for what the area offers, including the reciprocity of a positive and supportive relationship for over 40 years with the local community of Native and Euro-Canadian residents.
|photo courtesy of Boomer Jerritt|
Our staff are superb paddlers, guides, and educators. They are comfortable, informed, articulate, and entertaining company whether exploring the intertidal zone, coaching basic or advanced skills, navigating challenging waters, bantering with laughter, or reflecting about humans as part of ecology…amidst the myriad of complex global issues. Our staff is extremely flexible in how we cater each adventure to the skills, interests, and opportunities of each person and each day. And our chef-prepared meals that feature, among other things, locally caught fish are something that many guests rave about and keep returning for!
In 2014 programs will continue to feature the perennial favourites of 4 to 7 day “Base Camp” adventures, and 6 to 8 day “Expeditions” that are staged from our wilderness retreat. With expert partners we’re also planning some custom kayak fishing packages, a photo tour, specialty training workshops (Greenland paddling, and Paddle Canada courses), and a unique combo adventure from the base camp with a mix of kayaking and boat-based day trips right up to the Brooks Peninsula. We used to do more of the combo boat/kayak tours in the 1990’s and only recently acquired a power boat that again allows us to reach further afield with our small group kayaking and shore-based exploring throughout the Kyuquot and Checleset territory.
|Photo courtesy of Boomer Jerritt|
West Coast Expeditions offers options for almost every age and ability, as long as they’re happy camping! Our base camp platform allows access to paddling options suited to new and veteran kayakers, all skill levels, all ages (so far, 6 months to late 80’s!), and a range of specialty interests (from calm water photography and wildlife viewing, to more ‘spicy’ outings along rugged coastlines, through arches, into sea caves, and threading around boomers). Sometimes we have guests who are less interested in the kayaking and simply want to enjoy activities and relaxing from camp: wandering the rich shoreline and intertidal zone, ‘retreating’ to the sanctuary of nearby giants in the old-growth forest, reading a book, cultural interactions, and group time around meals.
We’re fueled by guests frequently reflecting that their time with us was “the best vacation ever”. The reasons are different for everybody, but the recipe is the same: we treat people like individuals, listen, laugh, and excitedly connect them with what the area offers.
Thanks so much David. If you are considering a trip to Canada's gorgeous West Coast, contact David and Caroline and the crew at WCE. Tell them we sent you. They will work hard to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime!