Credit: Ocean River Adventures
There’s a reason why the experts at Ocean River Adventures chose B.C.’s Gulf Islands as the location for their first overnight stand-up paddling trip. The chain of long thin strips of land between Nanaimo and Victoria boasts a warm and dry climate during the summer, with light winds and few waves—perfect SUP conditions. The tour starts with a water taxi ride from Ladysmith to Valdes Island, and then it’s onto the boards, with overnight bags attached. The group heads north along the uninhabited Valdes shore, past large stands of Douglas fir and red-barked arbutus trees, to Gabriola Pass. Here, quiet and secluded coves offer a good place to rest up before a sprint across the busy waterway to Gabriola Island, where participants have dinner and sleep at the Page’s Resort and Marina. The next day, it’s off to the Flat Top Islands, rugged forested isles, and then it’s north again along Gabriola’s pleasant shoreline. The trip ends with a water taxi into Nanaimo’s harbour and a short drive back to the vehicles.