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.
Our 6-day Johnstone Strait Kayaking Expedition offers you a chance to paddle one of the most amazing kayak routes in North America. We begin this tour from the Broughton Archipelago Paddlers’ Inn set in the Broughton Archipelago where we will spend our first night prior to starting our kayak tour. We will then traverse the entire Broughton Archipelago, one of the most stunning seascapes on earth, before entering Johnstone Strait and the realm of the killer whales. The diversity of both paddling environment and wildlife, from tiny intertidal life up to humpback whales, makes this a trip not to be missed.
Our knowledge is what counts
After years of exploring the Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait, we have been able to seek out the best kayaking opportunities that exist well beyond the reach of the typical sea kayaking circuit. With this knowledge we have designed a very special kayak tour. Starting our paddle from the remote Paddler’s Inn deep within the Broughton Archipelago, we begin a one-way journey through the uncrowded northern Broughton Archipelago, through secret paddling spots few have ever been. After three days of paddling we start to see other kayaking groups as we enter the areas where most shore-based companies depart from. The remainder of the tour will be spent in Blackfish Sound, Johnstone Strait and the realm of the killer whale.
We will begin our journey from northern Vancouver Island where you will meet the guides, our water taxi, and Bruce McMorran, who is the owner/operator of Paddlers’ Inn, and will be transporting our group deep into the Broughtons. We will then water taxi two hours to our remote lodge where a home-cooked meal and an evening to discuss and prepare for our upcoming adventure await. The next morning, after a cozy night’s sleep and getting to know each other a little better, we are ready to set off on our adventure fuelled by a hearty breakfast and the excitement of the days to come.
Paddle through the Broughton Archipelago…
“What makes the perfect kayaking destination?” we say……. “Lots of small islands, passageways, protected water, wildlife, and a sense of remoteness.” The Broughton Archipelago has all this and more. There is no question that this is one of the world’s top kayaking destinations.
…into Johnstone Strait and the “Realm of Killer Whales”
One of the star attractions on this expedition is the Killer Whale. Getting a chance to paddle in their habitat is a thrill of a lifetime. Johnstone Strait is quite simply the best place on earth to kayak with the killer whales, also known as orca, in the wild. Most of British Columbia’s 300 killer whales return to these waters to feed, sleep, play, and rub their bodies on the pebble beaches of world-famous Robson Bight.
Listen to the whales
Enter the acoustic world of the orcas, as we travel with our underwater hydrophone. When we are in range of the orcas, we will be able to listen to their eerily beautiful calls and echo locating clicks from a deck-mounted speaker.
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 two nights camped at the same beautiful site, however most nights we will be at a new campsite. Relaxing around a fire at night is a great way to finish a day of sea kayaking. This is where new friends are made and talk of the day’s adventure unfolds.
We will begin or end our Expedition at the Paddler’s Inn, in one of the more remote corners on the British Columbia coast. The warm hospitality of the McMorran family will ensure that our stay is both comfortable and relaxing. The perfect way to start or finish this wonderful journey. On-site massage, showers and trails are available at the Paddlers Inn.
When: Day Prior At 6 Pm, Where: Heriot Bay Inn On Quadra Island
Your guides will go over the logistics of the tour and answer any questions or concerns you may have. This meeting will be held in the lounge at the Heriot Bay Inn on Quadra Island at 6 pm the day prior to departure. If you cannot make it to the meeting just be sure to call in the day before departure to confirm your arrival. This allows us to confirm the exact departure time and location, or to alert you if there are have been any last minute changes.
When: Day 1, Where: Quadra Island at 8 am, Campbell River at 9.20 am or Telegraph Cove Between 12 & 1 pm
You can meet either on Quadra Island, in Campbell River or in Telegraph Cove. If meeting in Campbell River or Telegraph Cove, please call our office to let us know. Spirit of the West Adventures is based on Quadra Island (a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River) and this is where our tour starts. We highly recommend making Quadra Island a part of your vacation plans. Our beautiful island has a whole different and laid back feel to it, complete with endless opportunities for outdoor activities, beaches to relax, amazing accommodations and great local artisans.
Good Morning! After picking you up at your Quadra Island accommodation we will depart the island by ferry and then travel together in our van the 2.5 hours to historic Telegraph Cove. Once in Telegraph Cove, we will enjoy a picnic lunch.
We will then transfer ourselves and equipment aboard our water taxi, and journey out to either our Hanson Island campsite or to the Paddler’s Inn Eco-lodge. If time and weather allow we will get out for our first introductory paddle after a kayak briefing from your guides.
After breakfast we will pack our kayaks and head off on our expedition. Our first day will be spent exploring the islands of the Broughton Archipelago or the orca waters of Johnstone Strait (depending on your starting point), and enjoying the stunning views and wildlife while en route to camp for the night.
There are many options to paddle amongst the enchanting islands of the Broughton Archipelago. This region is a network of forested islands and protected passageways that offers both scenic paddling as well as intriguing history. Several beaches and campsites show evidence of those who have come before us- the First Nation’s people. We often visit the home of local legend Billy Proctor and his collection of historical west coast treasures. Spending time listening to Billy’s stories is a great way to get a sense of what life on the west coast was like and how it is changing. Each day we will keep our eyes and ears on the lookout for the many marine mammals, including orcas, humpbacks, minke whales, dolphins and porpoises that travel through these waters.
This is our last day to enjoy the marine environment of Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. Our boat transport will pick us up in the afternoon and bring us back to Telegraph Cove. From Telegraph Cove we drive back to Campbell River and Quadra Island, arriving between 5 and 7 pm. Our arrival times are both weather and wildlife-dependent.
Our approximate return time to Quadra Island is between 5-7 pm, however, due to the number of variables in wilderness travel we recommend that you plan to stay in the area for this night to avoid unnecessarily stressful complications should our return be delayed by something out of our control. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your travel plans in more detail.