Off the west coast of Vancouver Island, a vast maze of islands, islets, and rocky outcrops thrust upward from the gentle waters of Barkley Sound. A kayaker’s dream, the sheltered hundred-plus islands comprise what’s known as the Broken Group—a favorite vacation spot for Vancouver residents and paddlers Colin and Julie Angus. “We love bringing our two-year-old son, Leif, to see whales, bald eagles, sea lions, and all of the west coast scenery at its finest,” says Colin.
Formed at the end of the last Ice Age, the islands’ rugged bedrock and nutrient-rich waters support ample marine life, as well as old-growth rain forests, lagoons, arches, blowholes, tide pools, and sandy secluded beaches. Stone fish traps and the remains of villages—traces of culture from the aboriginal Nuu-chah-nulth people—add an element of curiosity and discovery to a paddle through the Broken Group’s narrow passageways.
For a true wilderness experience, backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas on seven of the islands. All of the spots are family-friendly and include composting toilet facilities.
Colin and Julie Angus
Adventure supercouple Colin and Julie Angus completed a unique human-powered journey around the planet in 2006. It took them nearly two years to row, canoe, ski, bike, and walk the 26,000 miles. They’ve collectively written five books on adventure. Last year Colin set the new record for rowing around Vancouver Island in 15.5 days.
Colin and Julie Angus' Gear Pick: Sunglasses
“We never leave home without our trusty Sundog glasses. Colin’s family comes from Scotland so his eyes soon fry if they’re not covered up.”