Emergency Planning & Communication:
No. In fact it is not really an option in the double sea kayak as a rescue technique. The preferred method is for one of the paddlers to brace the kayak while the other climbs in. Then the paddler in the water scoots into their cockpit. The sprayskirt is then attached and the bilge pump is used to evacuate the water from the cockpit. This whole procedure should take 3-7 minutes for paddlers who are being supervised by a guide. An experienced sea kayaker in a single usually knows how to roll and practices once in a while to keep their skills sharp.
The double sea kayaks are extremely stable and unlikely to capsize in less than expert conditions. We recommend a very conservative when determining your daily float plans. Do not go out in conditions that would potentially risk a kayak to capsize.
Realistically, it is the surf zone that poses one of the greatest dangers for a sea kayaker. A breaking wave can cause a kayak to go parallel with the beach making the kayak very susceptible to capsizing. The trip leader with the most experience lands first to determine the best spot to land and then helps land the rest of the kayaks. The only exception to this is when there is virtually no surf at all and guests have had several opportunities to land their kayak.
No. You will have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) on at all times on the water. Stay with your boat. Anyone going out on the ocean in a single has to know how to re-enter a sea kayak without help. Swimming hastens body temperature loss and should only be attempted if the kayak cannot be retrieved and the shore is 500m away or less. The current must also be taken into consideration.
Yes. What else can we say? The roomy double sea kayaks can carry an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables which makes remote cooking a pleasure. We plan balanced meals and can accommodate the palate and special needs of our guests.
You should always have fluids and snacks available for companions.
Batstar can easily accommodate the food requirements of our guests. In the case of food allergies, we typically omit the food (i.e. nuts, etc.) that would cause a problem. For allergies that are not dire in their consequences, we will discuss the menu with the person who has the allergy. For instance, some guests are allergic to fish but are comfortable with us packing fish, so long as their meal is not contaminated. We will make an equally delicious entre option for the allergic guest. This is quite common.
If a guest is a vegetarian, and about 15% of our guests are, we have a delicious vegetarian main course option in addition to our non-vegetarian menu.
We always discuss any special needs with our guests well before the trip.
Yes, although it is not really necessary considering the quantity and diversity of snacks that we supply. However, it is critical that we are informed that you are bringing them as some of the other guests on the trip might have food allergies and snacks are often made with nuts or peanut oil. We cannot stress this fact enough.
No. With food so plentiful on the mainland, the relatively small islands do not interest them. However, bears do live on Vancouver Island and on the British Columbia mainland. In these areas, we bear camp. For what it is worth, we are much more concerned about raccoons, mice and crows than bears as these smaller animals are a much more real nuisance than bears. The only area with predators is Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound where there are wolves. They are not a problem if you keep you food & garbage secured and your kitchen clean.
Smile and count your lucky stars. If you are concerned that a whale is coming at your kayak and doesn’t know that you are there, simply knock on the hull of the kayak and they will get the message. Our philosophy is that we do not approach within 100m of a whale, nor do we encircle whales should we see them. However, sometimes whales will come close to the kayaks and if they swim your way, enjoy the view.
In the Broken Group Islands we only use the National Park campsites which have wonderful solar composting “cedar chalets”. There are toilets in the Provincial Parks in Clayoquot Sound.
On the rest of our trips, the intertidal zone is Nature’s best washroom when choosing the right spot. You will be oriented on bathroom etiquette the night before your trip.
Unless someone in your group has wilderness first aid skills, we recommend that you take a guided tour. We provide a first aid kit that a lead guide with Advanced Wilderness First Aid would use. It includes a cut and blister kit which is the most accessed part of a sea kayak guide’s first aid kit. If it’s a minor scrape, you are on your way: monitor the injury. If it is serious enough situation, the you should be evacuated. Most non life-threatening emergencies that need evacuation can be handled through a local water taxi. If you think the emergency needs Coast Guard help, contact them for their advice. Contact numbers are in the Leader Trip Log
No. Many guests enjoy bathing in the ocean using sea soap (available at outdoor stores). We recommend heating up water for participants to give themselves a sponge bath. This is really refreshing.
We highly recommend that guests do not bring jewelry on their trip, especially sentimental or significant pieces. We are not responsible for lost jewelry or jewelry that is damaged in order for it to be removed in an emergency situation. Bring an inexpensive watch.
No. Gearing up for sea kayaking is very similar to camping. As we are in a marine / rainforest environment, synthetic clothing such as fleece and underwear are a must. A rainproof jacket is a must as is a good wide brimmed rain hat. A baseball cap will not stop the rain from going down your neck. However, a favorite ball cap is always in my dry bag for sunny weather.
We recommend rubber boots, a water shoe/sandal or neoprene diving boots for kayaking.
Batstar provides all clients with dry bags to use (a kodiak sac 25 litre & kodiak tapered 20 litre), and a 20 litre day bag for the kayak. We even supply pogies (neoprene mitts that attach to the paddle which you slide your hands in) if your hands get cold.
See our gear list for a complete list of equipment that you should bring.
If conditions are suitable, we will dress accordingly and get in the kayaks and continue our trip. Paddling in the mist and light rain is a wonderful experience. If you keep your head dry, it is amazing how comfortable it is on the water when it is raining. Most guests prefer to kayak rather than hang out in camp.
If we get a serious rainstorm, we will stay in camp and drink warm beverages, converse, play cards, read, play charades, sleep, etc. Most guests simply hang out under the group tarp or in their roomy tents and look out at the amazing scenery. Our gear and your outdoor clothing will make sure that you’re comfortable.
One of the benefits of our trip is that there are no stores on your trip. You do not have to pay for a thing once you are kayaking. However, you’ll likely want to stop in Tofino, Ucluelet or Bamfield before and after your trip. There are art galleries, restaurants and souvenirs so we recommend some cash or
It’s common for guests to tip but it’s never expected. There is no obligation to tip. If a gratuity is given, it is typically given at the end of the trip. Anyone involved in preparing or cleaning the trip or managing the B&B gets a share in the gratuity.
Emergency Planning & Communication:
Anyone going camping in remote wilderness settings, especially islands on the ocean, should be aware that professional emergency responders might not be able to get to you as fast as in a city. Your group must assess who has backcountry first aid skills. If no one does, this is not the trip for you. Investigate guided tours in these areas.
Each trip goes out with a first aid kit that guides with Advanced Wilderness First Aid use.
The Leader Trip Log will have all of the local, regional and provincial emergency contact numbers.
If you paddle in Barkley Sound (Broken Group Islands & Deer Group Islands) the likely emergency responder will be from the Canadian Coast Guard in Bamfield. They have a large base there that also assists with evacuations off the famous West Coast Trail. The Coast Guard station there is also the RHIOT training school for Zodiac training in the harshest sea state conditions. Their custom Zodiacs can get on station in an emergency very quickly.
In the Broken Group Islands, you can also contact the Parks Canada wardens. If they can’t help you, they’ll contact the appropriate emergency responders.
There’s a Coast Guard station in Tofino. The Canadian Coast Guard has some of the best trained emergency responders in the world.
If there is an emergency with our gear we have protocols for these situations.
We’ll assist with any first responders if necessary.
In the event of a cataclysmic event, each trip is a self contained unit and has the ability to function remotely until help arrives.
If you have to leave the trip to respond to an emergency and have to leave your gear in the field, you or someone in your group will have to communicate with us to get guidance on how to best manage the situation. How does the single kayak get back? We will present the options to you depending where you are and how fast you have to get back. The Leader Trip Log will have phone numbers for water taxis in the areas where you are paddling. We’ve worked with many of them and can recommend those who can help a stressful situation be less so.