Episode 1 - Canada
SUP World Trip with Julia & Rob
First stop: Toronto! An unbelievably beautiful and lively city and with Lake Ontario as an absolute paddling dream. Paddling here, with the unmistakable skyline in the background, was our first priority. Let´s hit the water! Tip: We parked at Cherry Beach and paddled through the Eastern Channel to the Toronto Islands. An unforgettable view of the skyline was the reward. And whatever you do, paddle through the islands! The water is very calm, you glide through small harbors, on your knees under small bridges and past a beautiful landscape.
Second stop: The Rocky Mountains! SUP in the Rockies makes the paddler's heart beat faster, just thinking about it. And it is indeed as you would imagine: an amazing landscape with endless lakes that range in color from turquoise to emerald green, with everything to offer. High snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear air, an incomparable flora and fauna and silence. At least mostly. A dream SUP spot for us was Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the Banff National Park. Unfortunately, these two lakes are obviously overflowing with tourists most of the time. We were there in the off season and did not find a parking lot at 10am, so had to take a shuttle bus to get to the lake. No chance with SUP equipment. Unfortunately, the big buses full of tourists arrive here every minute. No trace of calm and humility after all. After this experience, we decided to go paddling on Two Jack Lake, which was the best decision ever. You can drive directly to the water, pump up, get ready and go paddling. From time to time a few people get lost in the parking lot to take a picture. But everything is super relaxed. The Two Jack Lake is a very clear lake that can only be hit from one side. Thus, any time a bear or a moss can walk along the edge, which you can of course watch super from your SUP.
An absolute diamond of the Rockies is definitely the Emerald Lake. It is located in the Yoho National Park and impresses with its color and the huge mountains. You can park directly on the lake. However, the parking is not very big. So you should be there early (especially in summer) to get s spot. There is also just one lake hotel called Emerald Lake Lodge. But this is right on the lake and is therefore very well located for Stand Up Paddler.
In Jasper National Park, Malige Lake was at the top of our list. We would have loved to paddle around the famous Spirit Island. Unfortunately, the lake is almost 22 kilometers long and the island is in the southern part in the last third of the lake. That was not an option at 0 degrees and wind in a wetsuit. In summer you can make a great multi-day tour of it and spend the night at campsites. But still - the backdrop was worth pumping up the SUPs in icy temperatures and making at least a little lap. The mountains in the background and the Moose family on the edge of the lake made it unforgettable. And Pyramid Lake, just a few miles from the small town of Jasper, is well worth a SUP tour. Here, too, it was cloudy and quite fresh at 5 degrees, but the absolute peace on the water and the untouched nature makes paddling here an incredible experience. And that's how the paddling on mainland Canada came to an end. From Jasper National Park we made our way to the coast. Down the incredible Sea-to-Sky Highway to Vancouver and the ferry over to Vancouver Island. The week on the largest North American Pacific Island we divided into two sections. The first four days we spent in Tofino. In the west of the island. A small village where the clocks tick differently. Everyone is relaxed here, everyone greets each other as friends and everyone has a Surfboard or SUP board with them. Either on the car or on the bike. It´s all about water sports. We settled on Mackenzie Beach in a super cute resort with little wooden houses. Right on the beach. Our days looked like this: getting up comfortably, drinking coffee in bed, putting on our wetsuits, go SUPing. Then a long, late breakfast and paddle again in the afternoon. Incredible beautiful. And best of all: the beach is facing west and therefore the sunset is right outside the door. Perfect for unforgettable Sunset SUP tours.
Our last stop in Canada was Port McNeill. The small fishing village is located in the northeast of Vancouver Iceland and is known as THE place for Orca sightings. For us as absolute Orca fans, there was no question about taking the long journey of 7 hours (470 kilometers) across the island. Twenty minutes away from Port McNeill, there is a place called Telegraph Cove. That´s the "living room" of the killer whales. Here they are usually hanging out with their families. But there are two types of orcas - the so-called "Residents" who always live there and the "Transients" who are only there at certain seasons. And this time is from May to the end of September/beginning of October. Unfortunately, the Transients were already gone and the few Residents did not show up. But still we had an incredible SUP tour at Telegraph Cove. Every minute on the water with the thought in mind that an orca can appear next to us anytime was amazing. Or a humpback whale. They feel very comfortable there at this time of the year. So we did not see any whales, but surprisingly and with a loud gasp, a giant Steller Sealion appeared next to our boards. Then our knees shook. But all in all, an amazing experience. After four weeks in Canada we can say: any time again and for every SUP fan this is a fantastic travel destination.
Important note: We would recommend everyone to take their own board. There was almost no rental at those really beautiful lakes. Only in Tofino was there a rental at our accommodation, the Ocean Village Resort. But especially at the mountain lakes, in the Rockies, you are stuck without your own SUP.
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