4-day Orca Lite Kayaking Expedition

Adventure Tour
FromCAD$1,275

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    This tour is provided by

    Spirit of the West Adventures

    Our guides are top-notch, our base crew incredibly talented and dedicated and we all work together to make your experience as superb as possible. Our kayak guides not only hold certifications from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, wilderness first aid and a variety of other specialties, but they are full of fun, experience and knowledge.

    • Duration:4 Days
    • For:Everyone, focus on orcas and affordability
    • Location:Johnstone Strait & Blackfish Sound

    This tour is simply about giving you the orca kayaking experience at a price that is easy on the pocketbook while maintaining the high standards you expect from a Spirit of the West Adventures tour. This will mean a few less frills than our Johnstone Strait Ultimate tour, and a shorter length than our Johnstone Strait Expedition, but you will still have the best trained guides on the coast, top-of-the-line gear, industry leading pre- and post-trip service and most importantly, plenty of fun and adventure and wildlife! The Orca Lite tour fits most individual, student and family budgets while still providing our outstanding service!

    The Area 

    Vancouver Island is the best place on earth to see killer whales in the wild. Most of British Columbia’s 300 or so orcas return to these waters to feed, sleep, play, and rub their bodies on the pebble beaches of world famous Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. And there’s no more exciting way to encounter pods of these fascinating animals than from the seat of your very own sea kayak. Also sharing this diverse habitat are dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, harbour seals, humpback whales, eagles and black bears, to name just a few.

    The Tour

    We meet in historic Telegraph Cove on Northern Vancouver Island where we will begin our kayaking adventure. Prior to departure, the group will take part in a route planning session with the guides. After some kayaking skills instruction and packing our kayaks, we will begin our journey into the rich and diverse waters of Johnstone Strait. Our route and itinerary are flexible and will be dictated by wildlife viewing opportunities, tidal, wind, and wave conditions. To allow us to tailor make your holiday, we base our campsite choices on scenic qualities, availability and group preferences.

    Paddle in and paddle out Orca Kayaking

    Unlike our other tours, our Orca Lite tour does not make use of expensive water taxi services. Instead, we choose to navigate our way through the beautiful waters of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound under our own steam. We launch our kayaks in historic Telegraph Cove, a 2.5 hr drive north of Campbell River, or a 40-minute drive south of Port Hardy. This is a nomadic style trip, in the realm of the whales, and we will explore many beaches along the rich and rugged shoreline of Vancouver Island and other smaller islands in the area. We launch our kayaks and return 4 days later in historic Telegraph Cove before we say goodbye to our fellow kayakers.

    The Orca Lite Menu

    The Orca Lite menu is fresh, hearty, healthy, abundant and designed to fill your belly after lots of time spent on activities such as paddling, beach walking, wildlife viewing, and relaxing.

    Listening to the whales sing

    We are equipped with a portable underwater hydrophone so we can listen to the beautiful songs of the orca as they pass while we are paddling.

    Camping

    This is a true expedition style trip, which means we will move from camp to camp. If we find the perfect location we may choose to spend a couple of nights camped at the same beautiful sites. However, most nights we will be at a new campsite.

    Price Includes

    If you are planning on bringing any of your own equipment please double-check the packing list to ensure you have the appropriate gear and please let our office know in advance of the tour to avoid us bringing duplicates.
    • Professional guiding service
    • All kayaking equipment (including kayaks, PFDs, paddles, pumps, ropes and sponges)
    • All meals, snacks and, non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, juices, water) during your tour prepared by your guides
    • Cooking equipment
    • Camping equipment including tents and Therma-rest sleeping pads
    • Park and land use permits

    Price Excludes

    • Accommodation before or after the kayaking portion of your trip
    • Flights, airport transfers, ferries, taxis
    • Travel/medical insurance
    • Alcoholic or carbonated beverages
    • Rain gearRain gear may be rented if you prefer not to travel with it (please reserve in advance; may be booked online with your trip reservation)
    • Personal items (toiletries, clothing, etc.)
    Itinerary
    The idea behind our Orca Lite tour is to get you out into the heart of the realm of the killer and humpback whale! This tour is geared towards our kindred adventurous spirits: families, backpackers, solo travellers, shoestring wanderers. As well, the shorter duration of the tour (4 days as opposed to our 6 day expeditions) may fit more easily into busy travel schedules.

    Let's get ready for the adventure!

    The Spirit of the West Adventures van will leave Quadra Island the morning the tour starts to transport us to historic Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island. From here we have immediate access to one of the richest and most diverse areas on our coast. Most of British Columbia’s 300 resident Orcas return to this area every summer to eat, sleep, play, and rub their bodies on some of the small pebble beaches of Johnstone Strait. In addition to Orcas, the kayaker must keep his or her eyes peeled for the large and majestic Humpback whale, the speedy Dall’s porpoise, or perhaps for a large group of cavorting dolphins. The lower cost of this trip means no water taxi transportation but nothing less than the highest standards when it comes to your guides, top-of-the-line gear, industry-leading pre and post-trip service, and most importantly, plenty of fun and adventure!

    Meeting LocationTelegraph Cove Marina at 1pm (Day 1)

    You will meet your guides in Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canasa. (An approx. 5.5-hour drive by car north of Victoria or 4 hours north of Nanaimo.)

    Day 1

    Our day starts in Telegraph Cove, a historic harbour village on the northern part of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Start your trip with a visit to the Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretive Centre in the morning. It is the perfect primer for your kayaking adventure, with impressive displays of full-sized whale skeletons and information about the area you are going to explore in the days to come. Spirit of the West will cover your admission fee.

    With coaching from your guides, we will pack up all of our gear into our kayaks at 1pm. After a safety briefing and orientation to kayaking, we will head out into the waters of Johnstone Strait. We will paddle to our first campsite, either at a remote site on Vancouver Island or on one of the smaller islands nestled between Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound – the territory of the orca and humpback whales. After a hearty meal for dinner and a bonfire on the beach, you will be ready for your first night’s sleep under the stars in the wild coastal paradise of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound.

    Days 2 to 3

    Our route and schedule for the Orca Lite tour are entirely flexible. This allows our guides to customize the trip depending on weather conditions, campsite availability, group preference, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

    After a hearty breakfast, we will enjoy a new adventure on the water each day. Time will be spent exploring the nearby islands and shorelines, always looking and listening for the many marine mammals including orcas, humpbacks, minke whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

    For our lunch breaks, we will enjoy picnics on various beaches. These breaks will also give us the opportunity to stretch our legs, discover the creatures that live in the intertidal zone, and explore the lush coastal rainforests with old-growth cedar trees.

    Day 4

    After our last breakfast in the wild, we will pack up our gear and leave for our last day of exploration. On the paddle back to Telegraph Cove we will have more opportunities to paddle along various shorelines and islands, experience the rich intertidal life along BC’s coast, and of course, watch out for more wildlife. This 4-day expedition is the perfect introduction to paddling in a remote and coastal BC environment.

    ReturnTelegraph Cove, by approx 12pm (Day 4)

    Return time can depend on weather and travel conditions. We try our best to get you back on time for your onward travels or to explore more of what Vancouver Island has to offer.

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