Every VCKC Club trip has an appointed leader. However, since the unexpected can arise – e.g. the trip leader has to escort another boat to shore away from the put in or take out point - each paddler should approach any trip as if he or she were leading it – know the conditions and the geography; be prepared to find their way to shore safely and to be able to get to help if needed. VCKC trips are not like commercially guided trips; they are a common activity that Club members like to do together, and for which all participants bear a responsibility. This applies to day trips as much as camping trips.
The Trip Leader’s responsibilities include:
The trip leader will usually consult with other experienced paddlers in the group on the above, but the final decision is the leader’s.
All sanctioned Club canoe trips must have at least 3 boats. All boats must be properly equipped and paddlers suitably clothed and prepared. PFDs are mandatory on all Club trips and must be worn at all times while on the water.
The Trip Participant/Paddler’s responsibilities include:
Club equipment may be borrowed for canoe trips (a usage fee may apply), but it is expected that regular paddlers will bring their own PFD and paddle. The trip leader will arrange, where possible, to partner up single paddlers and provide equipment where needed; but the Club does not guarantee to be able to provide all needed equipment.
Please consult the following VCKC policy document about use of club canoes by Active members following successful completion of level 1 course work. Use Of Club Equipment
River TripsThere are 5 rivers within an easy day’s drive from Victoria that can be paddled in open canoes. Two of them, the Cowichan and Chemainus, get the most use: both have on-line Hydrographic gauges. Two other rivers, the Koksilah and Sooke, rise and fall quickly in response to rain and snow, so are often less suitable for paddling. The Nanaimo is a longer drive away but offers some good paddling unobstructed by sweepers. The grade of these rivers varies by section but does not exceed Grade III on the International Scale of River Grading
River paddling safety and enjoyment depends on river levels, weather, equipment and participants’ skill-levels. Trip leaders will always try to select a section of river that is within the comfort zone and abilities of those who want to paddle, but this cannot be guaranteed if river levels are high or otherwise dangerous. The Trip leader will consult with other paddlers as required concerning the river and section to be paddled; the size of the group and the skill levels of the participants, etc. The leader’s decision these trip related matters is final.
The usual meeting spot is the Millstream Park and Ride, to the south of the interchange. Doubling up of boats and paddlers to save fuel and pollution is done then. Starting time varies with the time of year. See the VCKC Newsletter for details.
There are many areas in South Vancouver Island that are suitable for day-long canoe trips. Most are on the ocean or slow-moving sections of rivers, there being relatively few large lakes within easy reach.
The trip destination will depend on the tide levels, the wind forecast and the strength of the group. Typical trips during the year include: Shawnigan Lake; Thetis Lakes; Somenos Lake and Richards Creek; Sooke Basin and Sooke River; Cowichan Bay and river delta; Chemainus River delta; Saanich Inlet and Finalyson Arm; Haro Straits – Dock Island, Portland Island, etc; Discovery and Chatham Islands.
The Flatwater trips start with a meeting at the Clubhouse parking lot, usually at 9am. Boats and paddlers are shifted around to minimize the number of vehicles needed, and any needed Club equipment is picked up. The usual trip length is 4-6 hours, and can cover from 10 – 20 kms – more usually the former. Trip leaders expect to be notified by the Thursday evening prior to the (day) trip by those planning to take part in order to know numbers, experience level and equipment requirements.