Kayaking at Poets Cove, Pender Island

Rain or shine, a soothing paddle in Pender Island's Poets Cove forces even the most hurried city dweller to relax and enjoy BC's humourous spirit

Credit: Courtesy Poets Cove Resort & Spa

Paddle in Poets Cove and you’ll likely encounter ducks, seals and possibly raindrops

It wasn’t a terrible day, but the clouds inched their way closer to me as I drove.

The narrow, winding roads and tall forest played peek-a-boo with the retreating sun. I had half an hour to get from the Otter Bay ferry terminal on north Pender Island to Poets Cove Resort & Spa on the south island.

Driving on Pender Island

Pender’s quirky roads don’t allow for speeding; perhaps the street planners were just as enchanted as I was by the lush beauty and forged the roads so that no one could take them for granted.

My impulse to rush was utterly squashed, however, once I arrived at Poets Cove. Bellmen appeared when I drove up to carry my bags and park my car.

After telling Cathy at the front desk that I needed to get to my scheduled kayaking trip, she looked at me incredulously as the first drops of rain began falling outside. A small laugh escaped her lips as she insisted it could be re-booked on a nicer day. She shrugged good-naturedly at my insistence like she was used to city behaviour and told me that my kayaking guide was ready to go.

“No one else wants to go out today, so there’s no rush,” she added playfully.

Poets Cove Resort & Spa

A bellman escorted me to my room and a quick survey revealed a soaker tub, a shower large enough for four, a gas fireplace behind a set of matching chairs, and a view from an oversized balcony over Bedwell Harbour, where I would be kayaking in mere minutes.

Rain was pelting down by now, daring me to get out there. But I’m from Vancouver, so rain doesn’t intimidate me.  

Kayaking on Pender Island

I met with Colin, my brave and unfettered guide, as we tried to keep the kayak seats dry while we got set up. He showed me where to put my feet and how to wear my “skirt” to discourage water from joining me inside. A storm was brewing and this was my first time in a kayak!

Out to the water of the Pacific Ocean we paddled, Colin sailing smoothly and giving a running commentary, me just trying to keep the kayak going on a straight path. Once I got the hang of it, though, I could really enjoy the vast span of ocean being dotted with raindrops, the craggy coastline with houses perched intermittently, and wildlife that barely noticed us as we drifted past.

Bright purple starfish clung to the protected rocks, deep within the coves; eagles, birds and ducks made their way through the rain; and a seal popped its head up three metres from my kayak before becoming disinterested and heading back underwater.

As the rain fell less urgently, Colin directed me to stop paddling and just breathe in. Rain tickled the water, ducks played nearby, and not a sound was heard from any direction. Perfection.

Travelling in British Columbia

Back on the shore my wet jeans dragged me down, but I happily got out of the kayak and walked from the marina back up to Poets Cove. A warm fire awaited me in my room as I curled up in a robe and looked out the window: the sun had just begun silencing the rain and brightening up the sky.

This is the west coast. This is B.C. And I love being a part of its humorous spirit.     

Lori Henry is a travel writer and actor based in Vancouver. She is currently writing a book about dancing her way across Canada.