20 years ago Batstar Adventure Tours started guiding trips to the Broken Group Islands in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. We chose the west side of Vancouver Island because we love to paddle with the beautiful Pacific Temperate Rainforest on one side of our kayaks and the open Pacific Ocean on the other. We love experiencing swell as you feel the power of the ocean in a fun and relaxing way. Don’t get us wrong, there are lots of beautiful areas in the Pacific Ocean between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. You can and should spend more of your lifetime exploring the coastline of B.C. in a sea kayak.
In 2018, Batstar Adventure Tours is changing from being an award winning guided sea kayaking company to being an outfitter and provisioner of self guided sea kayaking trips. We’ll continue to use our acreage B&B in Port Alberni as our base of operations. We use all of our gear and systems, including our manuals, to outfit groups of 8-12 people. Essentially we’re a sea kayak chandler now. We don’t sell gear but offer our complete guiding system to guests who appreciate our experience and attention to detail. We want our guest to access the breathtaking world class sea kayaking destinations that we service in the Pacific Rim area of Vancouver Island.
We appeal to someone who has sea kayaking and overnight camping experience. Not everyone in the group has to have sea kayaking experience. We assume that the trip leaders will have sea kayaking experience and that they will determine the eligibility of their party. Take our advice though: a sea kayaking trip on a remote island is not necessarily the best place to find out someone doesn’t like camping. We always vetted guests on our guided trips to weed out people who would likely disrupt other guests’ enjoyment. By employing our systems, the trip leaders have a structure for the gear and the food. Everyone gets this information before the trip. This helps with expectations and outcomes.
Our gear is really valuable and we really value it and want it to be treated well. We’ve found the best way to minimize damage is to provide lots of reference material in our Guide Log. Everyone who goes on the trip gets the Leader Kit & Log well in advance of their trip. They can review our systems and ask questions about the gear. Our organizational skills make it easy for our guests to arrive and get into nature as fast as possible.
Blake has hundreds of night leading trips in The Broken Group, Deer Group and Clayoquot Sound since 1999 professionally. He’s also driven hundreds of guests to their destination with their guides and gear. Helping guests pick the best destination for their group is one of the reasons why Blake enjoys the tourism industry. He’ll help you choose routes that offer remoteness and rugged beauty. With good information and a good plan, the trip is way more fun for the leaders. With confidence in the gear and systems, leaders have more time to focus on what they’re into instead of servicing the group.
Nothing is more invigorating than sitting on the beach, your cheeks tingling from a day’s paddle, eating a fresh, flavourful gourmet meal, watching the sun setting on the ocean with the cedar forest behind you. It’s good for the soul! Who says remote wilderness and luxury are mutually exclusive?
Sea, Mountains, Cedars, Eagles & Expeditioning
Guests invest their most valuable commodity, their vacation time, with us. We specialize in making time slow down. We create extraordinary sea kayaking experiences for our guests in Canada on the west coast on Vancouver Island.
An integral part of our philosophy is to offer trips where thousands of kilometres of open Pacific Ocean meets the North American continent. It’s a high energy environment that is both beautiful and biologically diverse. Looking out at the open ocean creates a sense of awe and wonder that’s inspiring. Other than for our clothing and gear and the occasional sign of other human endeavour, it’s a place where you don’t know what century you’re in.
We provide all of the sea kayaking and camping equipment which is top-of-the-line, expedition proven gear. Guests are only responsible for the clothes they will wear on the trip.
We provision the trips and you do all the cooking (& cleaning). We take care of all the details, creating more time for your leaders to really enjoy themselves. There’s lots of unorganized time for guests to relax and indulge their senses and passions. Some guests stare at the ocean, some read, some watch their children explore the intertidal zone, some re-connect with old friends or family members, some make new friends, some find a magic spot in the forest to meditate, some do yoga, some paint or write, some sing, some fish, some find that the wine tastes better and some remember favorite camping trips and experiences. Without exception, all guests become noticeably more relaxed and rejuvenated during the week that they spend sea kayaking.
Without the visual distractions of modern urban life, the natural environment that we explore takes on added significance. The trees in the forest connect the sky to the earth. The 24 hour clock is replaced by the daily tides as the cyclical ocean rhythm becomes our measure of time. With no artificial light sources, the sun and moon dominate the heavens and the intensity of the stars at night makes us appreciate the earths’ significance in the cosmos. Each guest directly experiences the four elements—earth, air, fire and water—and feels connected with each on a daily basis.
Most importantly, our mission is to give tremendous value for the time that guests spend sea kayaking in our part of the world. We want to enrich our guests’ experience each and every day of the trip.
Everything you need is in your kayak and the rhythm of the Pacific Ocean is your clock; each day is a voyage of discovery.
We have four main priorities: comfort, great food, amazing scenery and fun.
Sea kayakers experience two levels of comfort. The first is physical comfort – having the right gear for kayaking and changing weather conditions. Our single and double sea kayaks are made on Vancouver Island specifically for west coast waters. They have ergonomically designed seats and plenty of room for your personal gear. Our tents, camping equipment and sea kayaking gear are all premium quality.
The second level of comfort is your internal comfort level – the risk or adventure part. This is where you have to know who you are paddling with and what their leadership credentials are what are the skills of the group. Who has first aid? What group skills do members of your group have. Regardless of your skill level, you have to feel safe and comfortable on the water to have fun. Pushing your comfort level is part of any adventure but knowing that you need to come off the water when there are whitecaps and the wind is increasing is prudent, conservative paddling. The more comfortable you are, the more you’ll notice the amazing environment that you are in.
We really take pride in a menu that makes our guests say wow! Our menu is diverse and each meal is nutritionally complete. You make most of your meals from scratch using hand picked fresh ingredients. Whenever possible, we use produce from local organic farmers.
Guests typically require more calories daily as they spend 3-5 hours kayaking. Additionally, while camping, a person’s metabolism increases and they need more food to compensate. Between meals, you have both nutritious snacks, including fresh fruit, and salty snacks that people crave. People are astounded at the variety of snacks that are provided.
Hydration is critically important on outdoor adventures. During breaks on the ocean and on shore, you should frequently drink water. Carry fresh water on all day trips to top up water bottles. You take 10-13 litres of water per person which is always enough for 4-5 day trips.
Each day you’ll paddle 3-5 hours and explore the lush islands of the west coast temperate rainforest. You’ll search for the fascinating gems — sea arches, sea caves, hidden lagoons, and signs of cultural history — that make this area so fun to paddle. The islands are very close to one another and we are never far from shore.
The verdant understory of moss and ferns is dominated by giant, ancient western redcedars and hemlocks. This dense and luxurious rainforest creates a magical atmosphere for our campsites.
Wildlife is plentiful and this is a major bird migration and breeding area. It seems that everywhere you look an eagle is staring at you. If we are lucky, we’ll see whales and sea lions and don’t be surprised if curious seals follow behind your kayak to check you out. You might see diminutive White-tailed deer swimming from island to island in search of greener grass. We’ll float over shallow water and along starfish encrusted intertidal areas looking at the abundant invertebrate marine life. In camp you can spend hours wandering the tidal pools and beachcombing. There are no bears in the Broken Group Islands.
Everyone has their own definition of fun and we want you to experience your version of fun while sea kayaking on the West Coast of Canada. Whether it is time sea kayaking, beachcombing, reading, looking at the flora and fauna or eating, we want you to have an experience that lasts a lifetime.