A Boating Vacation on Vancouver Island

Outdoor Adventures

It’s a bit ironic that the settlement history of Lake Cowichan began with a forest.  William Forest, that is.  It was 1883, and Forest, his friend James Tolmie (whose younger brother went on to become a premier of British Columbia) and some natives explored the lake.  They were suitably impressed; Forest, so much so, that he petitioned the premier to build a road to the lake. 

Perhaps sensing a “chicken and egg” conundrum, the premier insisted that first, at least ten settlers commit to move to the area.  Forest said “yes,” the premier said “yes,” the road was built and voila!  Access to nearly every water sport imaginable on one of Vancouver Island’s largest fresh water lakes is as easy as driving on Highway 18, 31 kilometers west of the burg of Duncan.

The Thrill of Speed

If your idea of boating includes a motor or the sensation of going fast, you’ll find lots of things to like about Lake Cowichan.  Charter a power boat.  Opt for a sightseeing tour and leave the piloting to someone else.  Launch your own craft.  Skitter over the surface on water skis or a tube or wakeboard; you’ll find lessons and gear, if you need it.  Make the lake your home for a few days in a houseboat.

Wind-Powered Fun

Do you prefer your water sports to be wind-powered?   Lake Cowichan’s gentle breezes in summer make it perfect for sailing.  But if you like the bracing chill of winter sailing, beware of the occasionally sudden and violent windstorms that can kick up in November and December.

Look Beneath The Surface

Lake Cowichan has so many artificial reefs and types of marine life that the renowned Jean Michel Cousteau rated it the second best scuba diving destination on the planet.  Tank service and equipment can be rented onsite.

Kayak The Ocean

Kayaking is one of the best ways to view sea birds and marine life up-close.  Try this unique experience to glide into bayside nooks and glimpse otters, seals, kingfishers and cormorants.  Outfitters provide instructions, equipment and tours from a few hours to a few days.  Lake Cowichan boasts more than 150 km of coastline and for those who do an “Eskimo roll,” it’s good that the water is clean enough to drink!


For more information on outfitters and operators, visit http://www.cvrd.bc.ca/index.aspx?nid=704.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Amazing Vancouver Island and a clickable link back to this page.

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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