An ocean kayak adventure with children may seem a challenge, but with the right preparation, it can be an incredible family experience for both the children and the parents. One great destination is the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound. The beautiful beaches, protected waters, and incredible sea life make it a wonderful family adventure.
The time with your kids outdoors can be really magical. Integrating them into the natural world is good for them and can be rewarding for you as a parent as well. Some parents wonder just how far to go in leading young children out on trips, especially overnight trips. Trying to figure out those boundaries and come up with places that are safe and appropriate for children can be challenging. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your comfort level as a parent, so having some basis for challenging your comfort zone can be helpful. We will look at some of the issues and relate them to kayaking in the Broken Group Islands on the west coast of Canada.
What is the best age to start taking your kids out? I have met families that take their wee infants out on multi-day canoe trips. The families had a lot of experience in canoes, so they had enough knowledge and skill to be able to deal with any emergency. Being able to give the needed amount of time to your children is critical. If you have no experience, you will be putting all your attention on figuring out what you are doing. I have taken my 9 and 11 year old kids on a five day trip to the Broken Group Islands in single kayaks. To many, this would be uncomfortable, but I have enough paddling experience to be able to give them a safe trip. I will go over what I did to prepare them and myself for this great trip.
1. Do you know the abilities of your kids? Although I had no original plan to take my kids to the Broken Group, it was a good natural progression for them. I made sure to take them out a number of times in kayaks, pushing their progress along the way, so they were well prepared for this trip with me. I started them off as the second paddler in double kayaks to give them the feel of paddling and being in a kayak. My partner and I were the main paddlers in each double kayak, so we had no problem getting around. This was a three day trip, with two nights out, all along the eastern shore of Vancouver Island in the Johnstone Strait. The next progression was to get them into single kayaks. After a couple of day paddles, they took a week long kids kayak camp to learn some basic skills. Th