Orca Family 4 Day Tour

Adventure Tour

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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:Families, focus on wildlife and ease with kids
    • Location:Johnstone Strait & Blackfish Sound

    The Orca Family tour is based in the heart of the action of Johnstone Strait. This trip launches from picturesque Telegraph Cove and offers paddling options in the west end of the Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, to return to Telegraph Cove four days later. This area of the coast has a true rugged northwest feel with its lush temperate rain forests, rolling mountains, and an abundance of seabirds and marine wildlife including the infamous transient and resident pods of killer whales.

    We understand that families will have varying degrees of comfort when it comes to camping and kayaking, therefore we offer a lot of flexibility in this trip. This tour can be offered either as a basecamp style trip where we set up camp and paddle from that location every day, or as an expedition style trip where we pack up camp every night and set up at a new site. While both of these trips would offer a variety of paddling every day and would be based in the prime location for wildlife sightings in Johnstone Strait, some families may prefer to avoid the extra chores of pack up camp every day. *The basecamp trip is described on the itinerary; please give us a call if you are thinking about booking this tour, and we can further discuss the options with you.

    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 Hanson Island Basecamp

    We will camp at our Hanson Island basecamp which is built up with tent platforms, and rustic driftwood counters in the kitchen for cooking. This site is tucked away in an open forest, and has a gravelly beach that faces west to catch the summer sunsets as they bring a long and exciting day to a close. A comfortable, established site is the perfect place to base ourselves for exploring the local area.

    The Orca Family Menu

    Our menu provides hearty and nutritious meals for the whole family. The meals include breakfast, lunch and dinner, and plenty of snacks for hungry paddlers. Our menu for this trip is slightly different from our regular trips in that it attempts to provide “kid-friendly” options or alternatives for certain meals. This is another area of this trip where we are love to be flexible and work with your needs as a family to accommodate allergies, dietary restrictions, and to ensure that your kids will be happy with our food.

    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.

    Most importantly - the FUN!

    Above all else, we want to make sure that everyone in your family has fun on this kayaking trip! Our trained guides will help to keep your family happy with games, activities, and stories around the campfire that everyone can enjoy. We hope you can join us!

    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 (from lunch day 1 to lunch day 4)
    • Cooking equipment
    • Camping equipment including tents and Therma-rest sleeping pads
    • Water taxi service
    • 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.)

    Pre-Trip Meeting

    When: Day Prior At 6pm, 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 6pm 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.

    Meeting Location

    When: Day 1, Where: Quadra Island at 8am or Campbell River at 8.20am or Telegraph Cove at 11am

    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. On the morning of the tour, your guides will pick you up from Quadra Island or Campbell River in the Spirit of the West Adventures van and transport the group up to Telegraph Cove. From here we will go over the kayaking basics and essential safety procedures before heading off on our expedition. Our first day will be spent exploring the shore of Johnstone Strait on the lookout for the Northern Resident killer whales and other marine life.

    Day 1

    On the morning of the tour, your guides will pick you up from Quadra Island/Campbell River in the Spirit of the West van and transport the group up to Telegraph Cove. Families can also drive up to Telegraph Cove in their own vehicle and meet the guides there. From here we will go over the kayaking basics and essential safety procedures before heading off on our expedition. A certified water taxi will whisk us across Johnstone Strait to be dropped right at our camp on Hanson Island. Our first day will be spent exploring the shore of Johnstone Strait on the lookout for the Northern Resident killer whales and other marine life.

    Days 2 to 3

    On days 2 and 3 we will paddle the waters of the Johnstone Strait and possibly up to the nearby Blackfish Sound. Our route each day will depend on weather, currents and group desires. Each night we will stay at the established Hanson Island basecamp, saving the chores of packing up camp each day. There is a lot of flexibility on these days and ultimately we will choose the best route based on the weather and the group’s strengths and desires.

    Day 4

    On day 4, after another hearty breakfast, we will pack up our gear for the water taxi ride back to Telegraph Cove. We’ll have some time to explore the Bones Project, a museum with educational displays of coastal wildlife in BC, including whole skeletons of seals, otters, and whales. After a picnic lunch in Telegraph Cove, we will load up into our van and transfer back to Campbell River and Quadra Island.


    Our approximate return time to Campbell River and Quadra Island is between 4 and 6 pm. However, due to the high number of variables with 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 you would like to discuss your travel plans in more detail.