Sea Kayak along the Island of Hornby

This late-winter day on Vancouver Island was nothing like the day prior, when a snowstorm swept the island and we took to the steep slopes and moss-draped pines of nearby Mount Washington, or the next day, finding heavy surf on the island's distant west side south of Tofino. C&K staff photographer Aaron Schmidt and I found the island’s central Comox Valley to be the perfect launching pad for our June 2013 issue sea kayak review (“Day-trippers: 6 plastic performers put to the touring test”). As the locals say, there's plenty to paddle here, but you're an hour or two "from out-of-this-world good" sea paddling of every kind. And it was just a short drive to a short ferry, then island hopping on another even smaller ferry to outlying Hornby Island. The clear waters of the laid-back island, preserved almost entirely by provincial parks and known for its music festivals and local wineries, offered the fitting finale to our test of boats built for a casual tour. Check out the June issue on newsstands now and stay tuned for the video rundown of each day-touring kayak reviewed. — DS