After getting locked assurances from work that I had the free time I would need for the journey I began to give due consideration about where the next great adventure should be. The more I thought about it, the more Vancouver Island made sense. I traced a path on Google Earth, and the distance came to about a thousand miles. If I average twenty-five miles per day which is about what I did around Florida, that will mean about forty paddle days and leave some 20 rest days, an incredible luxury that would allow me to sit out any tumultuous weather, and maybe perhaps even take a side trip or two.
In addition, I made a contact through Lee with a Canadian paddling company he’d worked with called Skils Sea Kayaking, which was organizing a two-week trip along part of the West coast of Vancouver Island. This year they would be leaving from St Josef Bay on June 26th, and paddle around the Brooks Peninsula. Given my planned late May start, that would give me enough time to catch up with them along the way. The thought of paddling what may turn out to be the most challenging section of the journey in the safety of a group of more experienced paddlers gave me a sense of comfort.
“You are welcome to tag along with us. Just be sure to be there when we leave. It’s not always easy to meet up on the water; the weather decides whether that happens.”
I decided there and then that Vancouver Island would be my adventure.
My next task now was to come up with a way to get my kayak there. I called up my contacts at Crowley Marine who did a great job getting my kayak from Miami to Puerto Rico. “Kayak Guy! Yeah, we remember you! Unfortunately, we don’t ship to the West coast, except to the port of Los Angeles. Maybe instead of Vancouver, you could head down to Mexico. I hear the Baja Peninsula is beautiful, maybe even go as far as Panama! We can pick you up there and send your boat back to Miami no problem! Or wherever else you want to go. Unfortunately, for anywhere else you’re going to need to find a land carrier, and I can’t recommend you one.”
“I’ll keep you guys’ mind then, for the future when I have a year or two to spare.” I joked.
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I began to search for a land carrier. Immediately I ruled out international shipping directly to Victoria in Vancouver Island as the prices were astronomical. For $5,000 one way I would be better off buying a new kayak and giving it away at the end of the journey. The most economical option was to send it somewhere in the Seattle area, and then cross into Canada via the San Juan Islands. That would add some distance, but with two months of time off for the journey, that would not be a problem.
I contacted UPS and Fedex but both said that my package was much too large for them to take on. I began to feel a bit exasperated. What’s the hassle of a 3-piece kayak worth, if you can’t get it to where you need it at a reasonable price? I decided to appeal to the wisdom of the crowd and posted my conundrum on the Facebook Group Strictly Sea Kayaking. Promptly one of the members mentioned he’d used a company called MoveIt. “When you call, ask for a guy called Joey, and tell him you know me, and that I am sending him business. He’ll know how to handle it. He’s the kayak whisperer if you need to ship a kayak on the cheap.”
“Even if it’s a 3-piece kayak?”
“Yeah, a little out of the ordinary, but he should manage it. Probably even easier ‘cause it’s not so long.”
I called MoveIt the next day, inquired about Joey, and was promptly transferred. Joey was an avid kayaker living in the Virginia Beach area and owned a Sterling Reflection. “Kayak surfing here is really good on a windy day, the beach is flat, and the waves break gently. No dumping rollers. Yeah, we can ship your kayak to Seattle. We’ll pick it up and send it to whichever address you want.”
“Oh, that is so great to hear! I don’t have a destination address yet. I need to look for that next.”
“Don’t wait too long. Fuel prices are going through the roof with the war in Ukraine on top of all the inflation, and I can’t lock you a price until I have a pickup date and destination, right now to Seattle based on the dimensions you told me, it would be $750.”
“Yes Sir, I will call you again as soon as possible!”
Sea kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation