First Winter Attempt to Circumnavigate Vancouver Island


On January 18,2008, Ken Campbell began his attempt at a solo circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Although the trip has been done by others in the past, none of the previous expeditions have taken place entirely during the winter season.


From the News Tribune

Ken Campbell is no stranger to long kayak trips. In 2000, he paddled three months on a 1,750-mile circumnavigation of Newfoundland.
He begins his latest quest Friday, a solo paddle around Vancouver Island. If he is successful, Campbell believes he would be the first person to do so during winter.


“As far as I know, it hasn’t been done before. Until something is done, you don’t know if it is possible,” he said.


Campbell is giving himself nine weeks to complete the 1,750-mile voyage, but expects it to take seven.


From his starting point in Bellingham, Washington, Campbell will head north into the Strait of Georgia, traveling around the island counterclockwise.


“I’m doing that for a couple of different reasons,” he said. “You get in better shape on the trip. Although I’m in shape, I’ve been home eating the turkey at Thanksgiving and things like that. Also, I know the weather is going to be worse on the (west side of the island), so the later I’m there, the better. As bad as it may be in February and March, it would be worse in January.”


Campbell said he has paddled parts of the Vancouver Island coast before. Its beauty is one of the attractions of spending two months at sea.


“We have very little in Washington that is as wild and unspoiled as Vancouver Island,” he said. “It has so much unspoiled coastline. Once you get to Johnstone Strait and Brooks Peninsula, it’s an amazingly wild trip.”


Paddling an 18-foot Dagger Sitka – just 22 inches wide – Campbell will have nearly 140 pounds of food, safety gear, and camping items on board.


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From Ken’s Blog

This time tomorrow, I’ll be on the water. The physical part of the journey is about to get underway. This is an emotional time, this time in limbo. Not quite departed but almost out the door; it will be good, and less confusing, to get the trip underway at last.


This time yesterday, I was on the water. A breakfast paddle to Cutt’s Island with Gary and Ana, Jules and Jim. We paddled out through a steady rain from Horsehead Bay to the island just as the sky was getting light. We met Marc there, where he already had breakfast going for us in two dutch ovens. He was in his element, making constant, tiny corrections to the meal as it cooked, the smoke from the coals mixing with the smells of the food. Breakfast was delicious.


For the sake of those who may not be football fans, I will make this brief. I am torn right now. Torn between all the planning I’ve put into this trip, the excitement I have for the experience I have ahead of me, between these things and the excitement I have for the playoffs and the stellar season being put together by the Green Bay Packers.


I am a Packer fan. I think most people who know me would agree. I am easily as much of a Packer fan as I am a kayaker, maybe more. I thought they’d be OK this year, but I never would have predicted this: 13-3 record, second seed in the NFC with a first round bye. Playing next weekend against the Seahawks at Lambeau for the opportunity to go back to Dallas (probably), where they are way, way overdue for a win. Two years ago they were 4-12. Last year they went 8-8. I thought maybe they’d go 10-6, and that’s because I’m an optimist. Now it is starting to look like they could possibly go to the Super Bowl, and I pick this year to go kayaking around a big island.


Apparently I have poor timing.


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