To ensure available for sea kayak trips on the your preferred dates it's best done in advance of summer. This ensures that you get your trip setup well before May rolls around. Advance planning ensures a successful trip. We recommend you reserve transport and kayaks A MINIMUM OF TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE DATES. Early booking helps us ensure that we have the kayaks, gear and transport you want for the dates you requested. And we can work out an kinks or changes prior to departure.
Transport with Rentals....We can ONLY offer kayak rentals to folks who book our transport services. If someone or more than one person has done trips previously to the Broughtons or Johnstone Strait, this will help with our decision to do business with you. This ensures our liability for rentals and care of the kayaks. Each morning we load from Port McNeill but we do service pickups and dropoff in Telegraph Cove. Fees are charged for us using the cove and we hand these fees on you for launches, docking and parking vehicles. Rising fuel cost might well effect our service charges to you and your group/family. Please remember that a initial quote will change if you add to your group or bring your own kayaks.
Your Level of Experience… We are looking for a track record of recent experience paddling on fresh or salt water in canoes or kayaks. Tell us how recent you have been actively paddling in waters like the ones you will encounter on a trip into JS or the Broughtons.. If you haven’t been paddling for a few years we encourage you to take a refresher course, a guided tour or get out on the water with a friend before you venture into our neck of the woods. We are looking for recent experience on water, CURRENT Paddle Canada Certification, BCU Certification, USA-ACA Certification or other recent training courses.
The weather patterns of Johnstone Strait and the Broughtons are variable but predictable.. This merits a healthy respect every day you plan to venture out on the water. Planning, caution and preparation are the essentials to a positive paddling experience on the waters of North Vancouver Island. We require that you document your experience and the same for all who rent from us.
As part of your rental agreement we require you to document your canoeing or sea kayaking experience. We will email you three’ documents. You will need to read, understand and sign these documents before we can confirm your rental/transport/planning booking. Within your group one or more kayak renters should have taken a formal course in kayak rescues and navigation. We suggest that you take an introduction sea kayak course at a local outfiitters or if you are in Canada take a Paddle Canada Course. Regardless. our waters are challenging, so if you can get out on the water before you come to the North Island it gives you an advantage for a base from which to enjoy your paddling experience.
Your Planned Route… We will also email you a ‘Sail Plan’ document. We require you to supply us with your planned route. We consider this plan essential for the success of any sea kayaking trip in Johnstone Strait, Nigel Group, Blackfish Sound or the Broughton Archipelago. We see this plan as a valuable safety measure for you and it helps us reach you during your trip if necessary. In the past this has worked well for both parties. Upon picking up your rentals we will update you on weather and check with you on your Sail Plan.
TCSKC requires that you come equipped with the following devices for your trip.
TCSKC actually REQUIRE you and members of your group to have the following items with you and know how to use them. Get the chart and laminate it into sections for your trip. The common chart for the area is CHART #3546. Note: Other maps are not effective for navigational purposes. TCSKC also recommend that you familiarize yourself with the area via Google Earth and other applications before coming to the North Island.
Two/Three Communication Devices: A VHF radio, cell phone, satellite phone or SPOT that is registered with the carrier for this area. Bring extra batteries, the charger for you cell phone (to charge up your cell phone just prior to departure). Rogers offers service in Johnstone Strait but there is no service in Broughton. You should be properly trained in use of the communication devices and have an understanding of the protocol to call for assistance over the VHF radio.
Signaling Device: Mirror, horn or strobe light and an ability to demonstrate distress signaling techniques. And ask us for the information you need for a distress call out. Coast Guard response is from Sonitula and takes 30-40 minutes.
Updated First Aid Kit, FA Certs and Practice: Having a history with taking wilderness first aid courses and having a place to practice it are essential backups to a successful paddling trip. We endorse agencies in BC and Alberta that provide these services. We strongly suggest that you have more than one person in the group with hands on experience. Our planning service will give you and local contacts and response times for help or assistance. Our transport boat and local operators can respond to assisting groups, as well as local summer coastguard operating out of Sontula and Malcom Island during the summer months.
Please Note: Coastguard is usually located in Port Hardy Harbour. For the summer months from May to the beginning of September, one or two summer crews are stationed out of Sontula, Malcom Island.
If you want assistance or guidance with planning the paddling and navigating part of your trip...Larry Roy offers a one on one planning service for a fee of $150 to have you work through a sequence of steps to prepare for your trip in the waters of the Broughton Archipelago, Blackfish Sound, Knight Inlet, Johnstone Strait and the inlets off Queen Charlotte Sound up to Cape Caution.
Breakdown as to what is provided in this planning service consists of three to four emails of homework to guide you through planning, a few phone calls during this process is also included and final personal session with you and all members of your group onboard the shuttle boat the day you begin your trip. Information on VHF, cell phone service, emergency contacts and response times are covered. Basic to this service is information on camp locations, fresh water access or drop-offs, great deal on currents and tides in the immediate area you are paddling through (with the reality of an early morning start), a thorough look at the weather trend and day to day changing conditions (foggy morning, sunny afternoon with wind and cooling yet calming nights).
On the day our departure, we will follow your route is reverse as will do in your kayaks. This answers most of the questions you have though about before the trip and gives an era of confidence to the group members. Your drop off is at a suitable location for you and group to spend the night and start you trip. Often folks think that they know the area from maps and have heard about camps.....however, these camps are used during the summer by rogue and commercial groups (a schedule we keep on hand). Conflict arise when one tent is put at these sites and folks think that they will not have to share the site. Our service provide alternate locations that are not known to most who have never paddled these water numerous times.
Overall, we reserve that right to hold the line on not overloading the area or the sites for camping. NO FACILITIES are provided by agencies as far as water or bathrooms. In consulation with local native bands and BC Parks we suggest that you learn to use the policy of other noteworthy Parks....carry it in and take it out with you when you leave. More information will be provided in our second planning session.