March 19, 2013
As cherry blossoms come into bloom and the cold fog releases us from its clutches, Victoria returns to her warmer-weather glory. As the weather improves, so do your options as a visitor to this city when it comes to exploring the natural beauty surrounding us on all sides. I wanted to give you all a heads up on a great new tour being offered locally to one of my favourite close-range locales: Discovery and Chatham Islands.
Located a mere 4 kilometers from the shores of Oak Bay, Discovery and Chatham islands are steeped in history. Discovery Island, named after Captain Vancouver's ship the HMS Discovery, was donated to the province of British Columbia by the late captain E.G. Beaumont. Beaumont had made a private residence on the southern half of the island - this area became a provincial park in 1972. The northern half of Discovery Island, as well as Chatham and surrounding islets, are a native reserve.
I had the opportunity to kayak over to Chatham with a friend a few years back, and spend a night camping out in a meadow. It was a beautiful trip, and exploring the island was great. Chatham has since been 'locked down' so to speak, as a local group of Victorians has been in the habit of throwing an annual punk rock concert on one of Chatham's beaches, leaving garbage and debris in their wake.
Ocean River Adventures, Victoria's premier kayak shop, has recently started offering a Discovery Island Kayak Tour. For those of you visiting Victoria with an appetite for hands-on exploring, this trip may well be for you. A 6.5 hour tour, you'll hit the water in Oak Bay, shuttling kayaks over to Discovery Island on Ocean River's cool 'troop transport'. From there, participants enjoy a guided paddle around Discovery, a picnic lunch on one of Discovery's picturesque beaches, and transportation to and from downtown. You can't beat the experience for $159 per person. I recently had the opportunity to meet owner and founder Brian Henry of Ocean River Sports, and it didn't take long to realize that this tour has his passion for the sport written all over it.
There you have it folks. Victoria's back (we didn't ever really go away...), and spring and summer 2013 are looking pretty dandy. Do yourselves a favour and line up a tour with Ocean River - I can assure you it will be a memorable experience. No experience required! See Victoria from a new angle - right on the water. Throw me a wave with your paddle; I'll be watching.
Stay Classy Executives,