-- Last Updated: Feb-24-12 8:14 PM EST --
Typically 3 - 4 weeks depending on weather. You can rent boats in Port Hardy and take the ferry to Prince Rupert (about one or two days paddling south of SE Alaska). You will paddle with whales most every day and see very few other people. You can discover cultural sites along a coastline that was once the most heavily populated in North America and now one of the least. You can go via the Inside or Outside Passage depending on your preferences (I prefer Outside).
Something shorter or longer is possible. Check out the Alaksa Ferry system from Bellingham to points North to see what longer options you have.
Want two weeks on the water? Get to Port Hardy, rent a boat, take the ferry to Klemtu or Bella Bella. Get off and go. The Queen of Chilliack will stop and drop you in the water if conditions allow. They will pick you up, too, if you have pre-arranged it and it is safe.
Poke around around without intent or carefully plan your trip. Always judge the tides, current and weather. You can avoid whitewater or you can choose it. Currents and winds can defeat you or you can plan, judge and use them.
You do have to plan because campsites are limited. Most areas don't allow egress without punishment. You don't want to just start off assuming that a nice beach will present itself when you are ready for it to appear. You are paddling in a Rain Forest and need to choose gear appropriately. Pick your trip window correctly and it will will probably be dry. Don't assume anything weather related. Nobody should come to the BC Coast without decent knowledge of where they can get off the water, where campsites exist or where they might exist. Decent charts are a must.
Some links to review include:
I'll be off Aristazabal and Calvert this Summer.