A first date has been set in late August – we are working on adding a second date in September.
Travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic is complex and challenging and definitely more limited. It is essential to comply with local, provincial and national public health orders, as well as the requirements set by Rowing Canada Aviron. The situation remains fluid. Thankfully, there may still be a way to enjoy exploring beautiful waters with experienced guides, while controlling your own travel logistics. Return to rowing and travel safely with our new style of rowing travel that we are calling “hybrid explorer”. Hybrid, because like most of our tours, it is a small group trip on a set date or dates but, like our Independent Rowing Experiences, you are in charge of your own accommodation, meals and transportation. Explorer, because we facilitate your discovery of a new and wonderful rowing destination. This is what we love to do. For 2020, this trip is exclusively offered to residents of Canada. It is time to #explorelocal
Our Vancouver Island Hybrid Explorer is based in the greater Victoria area, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Sophisticated, a little wild, fascinating and friendly – Victoria is a vibrant city on the edge of nature. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, abundant wildlife such as orca whales, tall trees and rocky islands, Sidney and Victoria are adventure playgrounds by the ocean. Decide where you want to stay, plan your own meals, and use your car for transportation. Of course we have lots of recommendations and suggestions. The Saanich Peninsula, and especially the city of Victoria, boasts fabulous coffee and superb West Coast cuisine – think salmon, locally grown fruit and vegetables, cheeses from Saltspring Island and award-winning BC wines. Victoria is acclaimed as BC’s craft beer capital. Dozens of regional and provincial parks in the area offer quiet and a touch of wilderness. Maybe you will see an orca whale frolicking in the waters or spot a deer wandering amongst the amazingly tall cedars and spruces. Spend time exploring the nearby Butchart Gardens or learn about totem poles and Indigenous history and culture at the Royal BC Museum.
The waters around the Saanich Peninsula are superb for coastal rowing and offer lots of variety. You will enjoy four different rows of two to four hours, each exploring a different region, all in beautiful settings. Wind among islands, stop to snap photos of Mount Baker or to admire the majestic line of the snow-capped peaks on the Olympic Peninsula, visible across Juan de Fuca Strait on a clear day. Rowing is only permitted in singles and doubles in Canada right now. Not a problem, these are stable and comfortable boats, just right for this type of exploring. Each rower will be assigned a boat and oars for the duration of the trip, with cleaning and sanitizing protocols set by RCA. When the water is flat, as it can be, coastal boats are a treat to row. If waves and swells come up, the boats easily handle the conditions. You will be under the guidance of Julien Bahain, 2018 World Champion in the men’s double and Katie Steenman of Westcoast Rowing Adventures. If you are less familiar with the pleasures of coastal rowing, this is your chance to try!
GST of 5% will be added to the price on the invoice. Come as a club and get a 10% discount for a minimum of four rowers!
For 2020 this Hybrid Explorer is only open to residents of Canada.
|Daily Distances||Boats||Group Size|
|10-25 km per day||Coastal doubles or singles||Minimum 4 rowers. Maximum 9 rowers|
Note that water conditions, especially as affected by the wind, as well as weather and tides will determine the exact time and location of the rows. Safety is a priority. Thus, on some days, the actual program may vary from this description. Participants must be flexible and adaptable to changes.
Meet at the Government Dock on Barnacle Road, North Saanich. You will have a booking on the EcoCruise Shuttle across to Piers Island (note that depending on the group size, two shuttles may be required, since the boat is operating at 50% capacity to meet Covid-19 rules). Get your double or single adjusted and off you go from the beach by Julien and Katie’s home. Over two or three hours, Julien will guide you around Russell Island , Portland Island and Moresby Island. You can observe the ferries coming into Swartz Bay – from a safe distance. The row will finish at the beach by Barnacle Road. Your last activity will be to help load the trailer so that the boats are ready for tomorrow’s adventure.
Today you will meet a little further south at the Tulista boat ramp in Sidney. This was the venue for the exciting and very successful 2018 World Rowing Championships. Almost 400 rowers from 22 countries competed under sunny skies with the magnificent backdrop of Mount Baker. There will be no buoys for you to make tight turns around, but there are more islands to circumnavigate, including D’Arcy, James Island and Sidney Islands. We return back to Tulista Park, and again load the trailer in preparation for the next row. You could stroll along the waterfront to find cute cafés to satisfy your hunger, or head to Beacon Avenue for more restaurant choices. Be sure to stop by Victoria Distilleries for a bottle of their signature purple Empress Gin.
Today we are exploring within Victoria, beginning and ending at at Cadboro Bay, which is part of Oak Bay. There are some lovely views of beautiful homes along the shoreline, but we will also explore the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve and discover Discovery Island, although we won’t be the first to do so. Look down to spot seals and up for magnificent views of mountains in Washington state, so close and yet so far. After loading the boats on the trailer, there are many possibilities for coffee and lunch a just a short walk away, or head to downtown Victoria for a multitude of choices.
Your last day of rowing will likely bring you back to Barnacle Road although we are hoping to be able to be able to explore Saanich Inlet, provided access is permitted for the Tsarlip First Nation ramp at Sluggett Point. There is lots more to explore at the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsula. Perhaps a spin around Sidney Spit, Rum Island and Coal Island. All too soon our Hybrid Explorer is over. Bid a fond farewell (no hugs!) to your new and old friends and this exploratory tour of beautiful British Columbia.