Gods Pocket Marine Park – Queen Charlotte Strait

Orcas in Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia

Gods Pocket Marine Park in Queen Charlotte Strait lies between the east coast of Vancouver Island and the mainland. Shaped by hurricane force winter storms, this archipelago of islands sprawls across the strait and offers its wild, rugged shorelines to kayakers. The area was named accidentally by an immigrant in days of old, He spoke of the beauty of the area to a companion “if this is God’s country, then we must be in God’s Back Pocket”

Just above the 51st parallel, cold, nutrient-rich water is drawn inland from the open ocean and flows through an expanse of water called Queen Charlotte Strait. Four times a day the tidal flow picks up speed as it is split and diverted through Richard’s Channel, Ripple Passage, Gordon Channel and Goletas Channel that separate the islands groups. With this movement of water is an astounding volume of nutrients that sustains a diverse and concentrated inter-tidal and invertebrate community.

The marine life so immense and prolific that underwater life grows in mounds—fish atop shells containing crabs sitting next to barnacles combing the water for food. Huge anemones, urchins and an incredible array of starfish are everywhere. Gigantic white plumose and brooding anemones sprout up from the seafloor, and a broad selection of the 300 different species of sea stars are available here. No doubt about it, the water is cold, but with the cooler temperatures, the visibility can range from 40 to 120 feet, depending on currents and seasons and can allow those on the surface a glimpse at the astounding world below. The area is used as a major commuter route for huge schools of Pacific Whiteside dolphins and the largest resident Orca (killer whale) population in North America.

With its unique oceanographic and ecological processes, the overall significance of Queen Charlotte Strait as a representative marine area in B.C. is astounding. The area contains 2 designated protected areas including God’s Pocket Provincial Marine Park and the Duke of Edinburgh Ecological Reserve, which supports internationally and/or nationally significant populations of seabirds and marine mammals, as well as a Sasquatch-like creature that is said to live on the islands. This entire group of islands is considered to be haunted by spirits, and is truly an enchanting place to visit.

Rich in native cultural and coastal history, the islands have many archeological sites where villages once stood or legends took place. Kanekelak, champion of the ‘Transformer’ myth, appears in many of the stories about this area. His powers were incredible but so was his wrath.

A once thriving sea otter population which is slowly making a comeback brought fur traders and the Hudson Bay Company as well as settlers. At one time there was a hotel, post office, cannery, and several ships were built on these remote islands.

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this area but the background certainly adds a touch of mystique to what looks like untouched coastline.

 

Orcas in Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia
Eagle tree in Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation
Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia
Killer Whales in Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia
Humpback Whale Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia
Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia