The Broken Island Group is a beautiful group of islands between Bamfield and Ucluelet. The outer islands shelter a large area from the open ocean, so although you are in the middle of a large inlet of the open ocean it quite calm compared to the large channels around it.
My friend Mo invited a few friends from Vancouver to join us in Bamfield and the 6 of us rented kayaks from Broken Island Adventures. We took a water taxi out and set up camp on Gilbert island.
Our first day we paddled to Wouwer to see the great tide pool. Our lack of map reading skills, combined with our inability to decide whether to go by compass directions or the shape of islands on the map made our journey there pretty hilarious, but we made it!
A nice paddle back to our campsite with the wind to our backs and we soon had a nice little fire going and a lovely little camp dinner.
There was an amazing bioluminescence bloom this August. Bioluminescence is created by plankton which will give off a blue-white light when disturbed. Most of the other girls hadn’t seen bioluminescence before and wanted to swim in it. I’d already gone skinny-dipping in the great tide pool and wasn’t keen about getting back in the ocean, but remembered a canoeing trip I’d been on through the bioluminescence last year and came up with a better idea. After convincing Mo we hauled our kayaks down the beach and into the ocean. We paddled through the bioluminesence, leaving trails of light behind us and glowing balls where our paddles touched the water. The further from shore we got the more brilliantly the water glowed. Fish swam below us, creating streaks through the water. Occasionally an entire school would swim beneath us creating a wave of blue-white light. There was also a meteor shower the same night. There is no way to capture or describe how magical and amazing that night was. We paddled around the inlet watching the stars, the trails left by our kayaks and paddles, and searching for schools of fish for at least an hour.
The next morning was foggy and damp, we made breakfast and I went out for a quick paddle around the island while the rest of the girls got ready. I stayed quite close to shore and paddled around Gilbert and a neighboring island. It was a beautiful peaceful way to start the day. When I got back everyone was ready to go and the fog was starting to burn off. We were planning to make our way over to Turret Island by going across Coaster Channel. The idea with crossing this channel is hugging the shore of the islands surrounding it, which makes for a long trip.
Coaster channel was quite choppy and when we were picked up we were informed that we probably shouldn’t have crossed it in those conditions. Luckily we made it, and even more luckily the other girls talked me and Mo out of attempting to go around the open ocean side of Clarke island as we’d planned.
We were picked up by the Broken Island Adventures water taxi and safely brought back to Bamfield where we enjoyed dinner and promptly passed out, still feeling the waves moving our bodies.
* Photo from http://aquamarinediscovery.blogspot.ca/2008/10/dinoflagellates-bioluminescent-algae.html