Seventeen-year-old Finn Steiner has just completed a solo circumnavigation of Vancouver Island via kayak making him the youngest person to ever do so. Stephanie Brown catches up with the teenager to discover the highs and lows of his journey.
If anyone is under the impression the younger generation is not as involved in the outdoors, Finn Steiner will prove them wrong. Finn is a 17 year old resident of Saanich, British Columbia, who has become the youngest person to paddle around Vancouver Island solo. His original goal of 35 days ended up being 39 as he glided into Pedder Bay, about 30 kilometres south of Victoria, at 8:25pm on May 31, 2017.
Finn is a remarkable, well-spoken young man who obviously loves adventure given that any solo journey around Vancouver Island is a difficult one, even for experienced paddlers, let alone someone so young. The hardest part about this style of trip is lack of human interaction. The other difficulty is food. Although Finn never ran out of it, or have trouble with wildlife wanting to steal it, he did say that “at a certain point dried food just doesn’t cut it.” He goes on to eagerly share one of the highlights of his trip, which included a cheeseburger in Tofino. “I had 5 days of food for an 8-day paddle and so I turned it into a four-day paddle which ended with a cheeseburger in Tofino,” he says.
Listening to this young man recount his interactions with wolves, pristine beaches and ever-changing coastlines, it is hard not to get carried away dreaming of heading out on a similar adventure. Finn himself would have gladly turned those 39 days into many more. He admits there is just so much to see around Vancouver Island you could explore it for an entire lifetime and still miss things.
That said, it isn’t all sunsets and glassy ocean surfaces. Finn’s abilities as a paddler were tested and at certain points he was reminded of his own mortality, such as when he lost a bilge pump and some other gear trying to come to shore in poor conditions. “A pump is a great thing to have when it isn’t floating somewhere off of Nootka Island,” he jokes.
There’s one lesson the Finn learned while out on the water alone, which his parents are probably grateful for: he had to do his own dishes. “No one is doing my dishes for me; the bear won’t come and do them and the otter definitely won’t. You have to grow up quickly when paddling solo” he says.
Doing dishes seems like such a small task in comparison to the numerous solo beach launches Finn had to accomplish by himself!
One thing is clear, we can expect to hear a lot more from Finn Steiner, the adventurer and photographer.