Located 20 minutes outside of Victoria, BC, is a kayaker's dream of calm water and scenic shores. The Sooke Basin is located in the southwest corner of Vancouver Island, a 4 km x 3 km ocean bay that's sheltered from the open winds and waves of the Pacific Ocean. Kayakers are protected from the ocean winds by the East Sooke hills to the west, while the crashing waves from the Juan de Fuca Strait are blocked by the sandy finger of Whiffen Spit.
Some of my best summer adventures have been spent kayaking the rocky shores of Sooke, with birds flying above and seals swimming below.
The Sooke Basin is best explored in the quiet morning or the early evening when the winds tend to be calm, or even non-existent. The water is glassy, the air is cool and the sun is warm; the only sounds to break the tranquil silence is the occasional screech of an eagle or a distant knocking from a woodpecker.
My yellow kayak acts like a floating beacon, attracting curious seals that bob to the surface before diving below once again. As I pass the rocky shores, a deer follows my progress with an unconcerned stare as it nonchalantly devours some gardener's delicious flowers.
In the afternoon, the westerly winds pick up slightly. The hills of East Sooke Park provide some protection from the gusts, but the water isn't as serene and placid as it was earlier in the day.
Bring your own kayaks or rent one locally. Kayaking the Sooke Basin is a quiet, peaceful refuge that's easily accessible from Victoria. It's always a great way to spend a day.