Not only is it a great way to exercise and keep fit, but kayaking in this Pacific Coast city also offers a completely new perspective on its natural beauty and urban delights. One of Vancouver’s joys is its watery setting, and one of my personal pleasures is taking a kayak out early in the morning when often there’s no one else about. It gives me the chance to take in the spectacular views of mountains and ocean set against the thrusting, modern skyline that defines the city.
One of the best locations for kayaking is English Bay, to the west of the city. It’s part of the Strait of Georgia, itself a part of the Pacific Ocean, and immediately south of it is False Creek, so called because in fact it’s a protected inlet that divides downtown Vancouver from the southern part of the city.
If you prefer a bit of wilderness kayaking then head north-east to Indian Arm where pristine waters and views should keep you well occupied. Indian Arm is a fjord forged by a glacier and its protected waters make a fascinating day’s paddling.
I’ve always enjoyed a paddle on Buntzen Lake, which is just north of the eastern suburb Port Moody. It too is like a fjord and as powerboats are forbidden, and it’s surrounded by wilderness, you can be pretty certain of a peaceful and scenic day out. Not surprisingly it’s popular with kayakers and canoeists as well as picnickers.
The small, oval Deer Lake is in the middle of Burnaby, a few miles east of the main city. It’s a haven of tranquility amongst the bustling urban surroundings and a gentle paddle here offers possibilities to spot wildlife like rainbow trout and bullfrogs as well as various birds.
You can get kayak rentals at many places in Vancouver, and you can also take thrilling guided tours where, at the right time of year, there are opportunities to kayak with Orcas, or killer whales. Tours like this include camping and your food and are a great way to explore the area as well as having the excitement of getting up close to the giants of the deep.