Please Note: Kayak experience, skills and training are recommended for paddling in and around Bella Coola and Central Coast
May long weekend, 2017 our family tackled our first kayak trip as a family of 5. Our destination was Green Bay, with a stop over at Tallheo Cannery for a night.
As a family of five (children aged 3, 7 and 9) we decided to use the Glacier Creek Outfitting double kayaks for our adventure. I paddled one kayak with our daughter (9) and had our youngest son (3) tucked in tight behind me, sharing my cockpit . I don’t recommend this for tall people (or for really long trips!),
however at 5’4″ I am able to slide forward on my seat and Ryan can nestle behind me with his plastic fishing rod. He even manages to get his nap times in back there!
Alex paddles the other double with our son, 7yr old Eric. The older kids both have smaller kids paddles, and although they don’t paddle a whole lot when they do you sure notice the boost!
We all were wearing pfd’s and wet suites, as North Benntick Arm is known for windy, rough, freezing cold water. If we were to capsize one of the kayaks (or both), the self rescue process would be slow, and we would spend a fair bit of time in the water. Wet suites were there for mandatory for all 5 of us.
Packing 5 people, camping supplies and food for 3 days into 2 double kayaks is no easy feat!!
The inlets in and around Bella Coola are known for strong winds in the summer months with outflows in the morning followed by strong inflows in the afternoon. Getting on the water early before the wind picks up is a must and we recommend folks get paddling by 6am as more often then not you have to be off the water by noon, when the wind picks up and it becomes too dangerous to paddle.
We left Bella Coola Wharf bright and early and had excellent weather, we therefore took the direct route across the inlet. However, we recommend paddling around the estuary following the shoreline if you haven’t done it before. Following the shoreline is not only the safest route across the inlet but it also provides you with some spectacular views and some pretty cool wildlife viewing (bears, seals, eagles, swans, otters, crabs)
Tallheo Cannery is a fabulous place to camp and explore and my Sister and Brother in Law are amazing hosts!! You can find more info and accommodation/camping costs for the cannery on their website Tallheo Cannery Info
We arrived early afternoon and set up camp at the beach site, which is well suited to kayaks, and makes setting up camp and repacking a kayak nice and easy.
We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore the cannery (this needs to be set up with Skye and Garrett ahead of time), a tour of the old buildings and property is well worth the dollars, it is so beautiful and interesting and Skye and Garrett have a ton of information on the history of the site.
The morning of Day 2 finds us packing up camp bright and early to beat the winds and on route to Green Bay.
We follow the Northern shoreline of the inlet with a lunch time rest stop and leg stretch at Bachelor Bay. Bachelor Bay provides a sheltered beach, and could be used as a camp site if needed in rough weather
Arriving in Green Bay, you need to hug the shoreline and if the tides are high enough paddle up the North East outlet of the river to the old cabin and campsite that is tucked up on the grassy bank.
we set up our tents in the cabin as bears are plentiful in the area and mice are plentiful in the cabin!!
The estuary itself is a wonderful place to explore with tons of pools mud and creatures you do need to be very Bear Aware
Day 3 found us packing up camp once again bright and early to return to Bella Coola via the Southern side of the inlet, paddling past Flag Pole point and a leg stretch in Whiskey Bay – We made it back just in the nick of time with strong winds pushing us into the wharf!
Well deserved treats for the ride home!
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Green Bay Kayak Trip Documentary through the eyes of Morgan (Age 7)!