Written by Emily Rennalls
On an average Saturday morning there seems to be little incentive to get out of bed. Yet as June cast its first beams of sunlight, just over a dozen UBC students awoke to paddle through mountains. We slowly broke from the solitude of our beds and moved to answer knocks on doors, meet at bus stops, and smile to strangers carrying oversized backpacks that seemed like just maybe they belonged on the same adventure path as ourselves.
The ferry pulled into Snug Cove. With the two arms of land hugging a sea filled with sailboats and kayaks its name could not be more deserved. Walking towards Bowen Island Sea Kayaking, the sole kayak rental on the island, we realized the trip organizers were not with us, that is until we saw four individuals pull up to the docks with wet suits and kayak skirts after beginning their day with a paddle from Horseshoe Bay. Following a series of quick introductions we doubled up into steady kayaks with unsteady hands; boots were dropped in the ocean, sunglasses were lost, but laughs were shared and the adventure began.
Under the mist of overcast skies we paddled around Bowen island. The water was calm and glassy allowing us to admire the flight of bald eagles, the movement of seals below and the mountains standing tall around us. With a short stop for lunch we gathered our scattered meals and took turns sipping water and whiskey, whatever was needed to propel the journey forward.
As the day continued we paddled into around the bottom side of Keats to set up camp. Lacking wood (and for some of us food), we made friends with a couple paddlers who had made their way down from Squamish that day. We cooked their bacon, warmed by their fire and shared our collective beers, whiskey and rum. After such a token evening of Canadian bonding it only seemed natural to strip down and jump into the ice cold pacific with the setting sun. Freezing, happy and exhausted, we snuggled into our tents for the night.
The next day began with sun and strong winds. In the passage through Keats and the Sunshine Coast our fleet of kayakers followed the swell of the sea; it was fantastic. As you looked around kayaks would disappear as they dipped into waves. Despite the extra effort on our already tired bodies, the adrenaline rush peaked everyone’s excitement. Beginners not only realized the peacefulness of kayaking but the thrill as well. The ocean, in its dynamic behaviour, allowed us to let go of any stress and tune into its motion. As we closed in on Snug Cove finishing our journey, we looked out over the horizon in amazement, impressed with the distance we had covered and the friends we had made.