Scattered like pieces of a puzzle within the confines of Barkley Sound are over 100 islands that make up the Broken Group. Every winter these islands face the wrath of the brutal Pacific Storms that annually overwhelm Vancouver Island's western coast but in the summer, these broken islands make an ideal paradise for kayaking enthusiasts. The water her is convenient for paddler's of all ability levels as it is calm and largely sheltered from the open ocean by the group's outer islands. As you paddle the calm waters through this maze of islands you will explore secluded coves and sea caves that have been formed by the islands' winter clashes with ocean waves.
On land there will be as much to explore as on the water; sandy beaches, rocky shorelines and Vancouver Island's pristine temperate rainforests make for endless exploration. These islands are one of Pacific Rim National Park's three primary recreation areas and their protected status means that commercial fishing and logging interests are less likely to threaten their resources anytime soon. This is a great thing as the ecosystem here can be thrilling to explore. Massive cedars, hemlocks and fir trees rise form the grounds on old growth forests and wildlife of land and sea is abundant. Sea lions and eagles are a couple creatures you can almost bet on spotting. The intertidal zone of the Broken Island Group is fantastic for beach exploring and walking. You never know what sorts of life you will come across.
The Broken Islands archipelago covers more than 10,000 hectares within Barkley Sound but each individual island is relatively small, none stretching more than 2 km in diamete. Have you ever dreamed of having your own island? Your dreams come true here as we will be the only group camping on the islands we paddle to.
Broken Islands Trip Dates for our 2013 Summer Season
To Be Announced
Custom Trips to the Broken Islands Available Spring Thru Fall!
The People of the Broken Islands:
Within the Broken Islands, there are numerous archaeological sites that serve as evidence of an ancient aboriginal presence within Barkley Sound. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations people have called parts of Vancouver Island's western coast their home for millenia and the Broken Islands are among the places where they have had an obvious presence for centuries. It has been estimated that up to 10,000 natives may have lived in communities within Barkley Sound at one time. It is no wonder why they prospered with the area's abundant sea and wildlife for hunting and fishing.
There are five groups within the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation that are known to have lived in Barkley Sound: they are the Tseshaht, Hupacasath, Ucluelet, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht and Huu-ay-aht. Many descendants of these groups remain in the area, taking residence in communities such as Port Alberniand Ucluelet. There are also four Indian Reserves within the Broken Islands. They exist on the Effingham, Keith and Nettle Islands.
As mentioned above, there is a wealth of archaelogical sites in the Broken Islands that document the area's ancient Nuu-chah-nulth presence. One such site, on Benson Island, was recently studied by a Simon Fraser University group, headed by Alan McMillan and Denis St. Claire. This island was the site of an ancient Tseshaht village called Ts'ishaa. The Tseshaht people's oral history marks this as the group's origin. The Simon Fraser group found several artifacts of ancient Tseshaht civilization in their studies with some artifacts being dated as 2,000 years old. (Radiocarbon dating show the village to be even older, approximately 5,000 years of age!) The evidence found by the Simon Fraser group is quite possibly, the oldest archaelogical evidence on Vancouver Island. Several surviving Tseshaht people participated in the group's research and their findings confirmed a commonly held belief that the native population has sustained themselves on marine life for millenia. Among the artifacts found were several shellfish and whale bones. Perhaps most intriguing in their findings was a mussel-shell blade wedged into an ancient whale skull. The blade likely from an Tseshaht hunter's harpoon.