I’ve written before Vancouver’s fabulous Big Backyard. There are great ways to get out of the city for the day, explore nearby wilderness, feel like you are a world away, have an adventure and still sleep in your own bed at the end of it. Another one of these great little escapes is Deep Cove (Indian Arm).
Indian Arm is a true fjord, meaning that it was carved by a glacier and is open at one end to the ocean. It is situated on Vancouver’s North Shore at the base of Mount Seymour and runs 22 kms from Burrard Inlet at its south end to the head of Indian River at its north end. It is extremely deep and is over 200m in places. It has a long and interesting history with many characters and players. From the Tsleil-Waututh First Nations who first inhabited it, and who continue to call it home, to the Spanish explorer Valdez who first entered in in 1792, to Captain Vancouver who mapped it shortly after,to the boom and bust and fires of logging to the tourism and recreational site it is today.
The best places to start trips are from either the public beach at Deep Cove (north shore side) or Belcarra Park beach (on the Port Moody side). Both have kayak rentals available. Head North toward Jug Island (named by HMS Plumper, a survey ship, for a rock handle that has long since dropped off). There is a really nice beach on the mainland that faces the island. Round the corner to the east and explore Bedwell Bay (named for HMS Plumper’s second captain, Edward Bedwell). It is a WWII ship graveyard and has world class wreck diving. It also has nice little bays and it is quieter than the main arm. Pass Racoon Island (named by HMS Plumper after the HMS Racoon, a British warship), check out the Bunzen Lake power station. Twin Islands allows for overnight camping. Granite Falls is near the end of the arm on the east side and has a spectacular falls to explore and a big campground as well. There are pictographs all along the west short of the arm as you head north from Deep Cove.
Go South towards Hamber Island (named after BC’s Lieutenant Governor, Eric Hamber, 1936-1941). Continue to Boulder Island which used to have a massive boulder on it until was removed on a late night, under-the-cover-of-darkness mission, blown up and used for log-boom mooring anchors. It was also the traditional burial ground of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nations until they were converted to Christianity in the 1800′s. Grey Rocks is another private island that has good shore-life viewing when the tide is down. Continue down to the nice beach at Cates Park (west side) or head into Port Moody arm at the base of Burnaby Mountain.
You will probably come across Harbour seals, Great Blue Herons, Cormorants, eagles, jellyfish, starfish and the occasional river otter along the way.
One word of caution about the weather in the arm, in the summer it experiences strong inflow winds so keep that in mind when setting out. It is also good practice to paddle against the wind/current/tide when you set out. It can take twice as long to paddle against the current as with it. Save the ride for the way back and ensure you don’t leave a big paddle for the return journey
Dam Good Logistics has BC tayak trips and summer get-away day trip packages that bundle kayak rental and lunch together to make it easy for you to get out exploring Vancouver’s stunning Big Backyard. You also get the benefit of local knowledge as well as: a weather report for the day, tides and currents for the day, route descriptions, maps, dry bags for your extra clothes and lunch, and a wildlife viewing guide.