Twelve young people who are kayaking about 1,600 kilometres from Juneau, Alaska to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island stopped in Prince Rupert this weekend before leaving from the Cow Bay docks on Sunday afternoon.
The group of friends decided have given their trek down the west coast a name “A Trip South” and a website to match. They even have a sponsor, Seaward Kayaks, which provided them with all the boats and gear they needed.
The trip doesn’t stop at Nanaimo though. Five members of the group will be trading their kayaks for bikes and will be spending the next year traveling all the way to the southern tip of South America in Argentina.
“We were talking about it for a long time. The biggest thing was that we realized how far you could go from Juneau just using your own human-power, and that’s kind of intriguing. We always wanted to do it, so we all quit our jobs and went for it,” says Chris Hinkley, one of the five who will be heading down to Argentina.
But for right now, they still have to make it from Prince Rupert down to Nanaimo. They group expects that the kayaking leg of the trip will take them 100 days and their about 45 days into the trip now.
The group has been living entirely out of their small one-person boats, which are crammed full of packs and food and have rolled-up tents lashed to the tops of them. They sometimes just find a shore and set up camp or they stop at communities like Rupert or some of the boat-access only aboriginal communities.
“We took a little bit of a different route than most people who kayak the inside passage. We went from Juneau to Kake, which is a small native community on an island in southern Alaska. From there we went to two really small communities: Whale Pass and Coffman Cove. Then from there to Ketchikan and to here in Prince Rupert,” says Hinkley.
When the group set off again from Cow Bay on Sunday they were headed for Bella Bella, and then on to Port Hardy and finally Nanaimo.