Orca Lite 4 Day Expedition

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: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

    This trip begins from the Spirit of the West Adventures base on Quadra Island. We will then transport you up the scenic inland highway to historic Telegraph Cove 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 under our own steam. We launch our kayaks in historic Telegraph Cove, a 2.5 hr drive north of Campbell River. After our 4-day adventure in the Strait we paddle back to Telegraph Cove where we meet our transport for the ride back to Quadra Island.

    The Orca Lite Menu

    The Orca Lite menu is hearty, healthy, abundant and designed with simplicity in mind to enable us to spend more time on other activities such as wildlife viewing, paddling, and relaxing, and less time on preparation. In the spirit of the Orca Lite trip, we encourage our guests to take part in all aspects of the trip including the creation of each meal and clean up.

    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.


    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 (from lunch day 1 to lunch day 4)
    • 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.)
    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!

    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.

    Day 1

    Travel apx. 2.5 hours from Quadra Island / Campbell River to Telegraph Cove by vehicle. Here we will enjoy a picnic lunch and a visit to the Killer Whale Interpretive Center, also known as the Bones Project. The Bones Project is an incredible museum displaying the skeletons of many marine mammals found on the BC coast and much more. With coaching from our guides, we will pack up all of our gear into our kayaks and, after a safety briefing and orientation to kayaking, head out into the waters of Johnstone Strait.

    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. This is a true expedition style trip – we will be self-sufficient, carrying everything we need from camp to camp. However, we may decide to stay at one campsite for more than one night, which saves time taken by camp set-up and break-down, and allows us to explore the area in a bit more depth.

    Day 4

    This is our last day of exploration. After we break camp, we will paddle back to Telegraph Cove in the morning to meet our transportation 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.