Johnstone Strait 6 Day Tour
Journey on a kayaking safari with us
If you want to kayak with orcas, this is the expedition for you. Located on the Northeast coast of Vancouver Island, our kayaking trips in Johnstone Strait offer an amazing opportunity to view and paddle with Orca whales (Killer Whales) in a pristine environment.
6 days to long? Check out our three day tours HERE.
Kayaking with orcas is a thrilling experience. With the largest concentration of orca whales on the coast, the waters of Johnstone Strait offer unsurpassed adventure. The shear thrill of viewing these noble and magnificent whales only metre’s away from your kayak is truly awe-inspiring and memorable.
Foreshadowed by the snow capped peaks of Vancouver Island and the coastal ranges, this marine area is an amazing wildlife mecca. Whale “rubbing beaches”, waters teeming with salmon, temperate rain forest that grows to the very edge of the sea. These waters also tout a growing population of humpback whales, who summer here to feed and raise there calves. It is no uncommon to see 3 – 4 humpbacks withing visual range of us in certain areas where the feeding is prime.
Kayak with orcas and join us for a unique adventure holiday kayaking Johnstone Strait as we paddle in the best location in North America in which to view wild orca whales in their natural habitat. This trip is beautiful, exciting, fun and will make you want to return to this amazing area time and time again.
Max of 12 guests with 2 guides.
Transportation: We can arrange transport for an added fee, otherwise we meet at the lawn in front of the Telegraph Cove Marina and RV Park office at 8:30 am (see Itinerary tab for more info).
“Fees”: a booking fee of 3% applies per reservation, regardless of whether for 1 or more people; this is not per person”, but “per booking”.
|Rates & Details
3 and 6 Day Trip
please see calendar on this page for current PP price + taxes & fees
50% deposit reserves seat; full payment is due 75 days before trip start
Groups of 4 or more can request custom dates for private trips (custom pricing will apply).
See calendar on booking page to see availability of currently offered dates.
If no dates work for you and you have four or more people, Get in touch to see what we may be able to create for you.
What we Provide:
- All kayaks, paddling and safety gear.
- Certified and skilled guides.
- All meals and snacks while on tour with us
- Beverages – We supply a wide range of teas and coffee as well as juices. You are welcome to bring along soda pops or alcoholic beverages. Please note however that we do expect our guests to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and we strictly enforce a no alcohol on the water policy.
- All cutlery, plates, bowls
- All Group Kitchen supplies and Group Shelters
- Re Usable Cup per person for drinks
- Paddle Jackets with hoods for rainy cold paddling days, lets you save your rain jacket for in camp warmth and comfort.
- Wilderness Toileting Essentials
- Deck chart (maps)
- Gear Haul bags – Ikea bag for hauling all your dry bags, one time, too and from your kayak.
- Waterproof dry bags
Meeting Point Location: All participants meet at the lawn in front of the Telegraph Cove Marina and RV Park office at 8:30 am. This location is a little tricky to find, you must drive through the Telegraph cove past the first boat ramp and red building on the left. At the stop sign at the T intersection you turn left and follow along until you come to Telegraph Cove Marina and RV Park . Link to location here
All participants meet at the lawn in front of the Telegraph Cove Marina and RV Park office 8.30 am
Here the guides will assign you to a kayak and help you get your personal gear stowed away. When everyone is ready, we’ll go over some basic paddling fundamentals and a safety orientation and then launch into the pristine waters of Johnstone Strait.
With helpful advice and instruction from your guides, it won’t take long till you feel you’re getting the “hang of it” as we paddle along the gorgeous Vancouver Island coastline. These waters are the territorial range of many resident Orca pods, as well as transient Orca, and it is not uncommon for us to encounter these magnificent mammals within the first few hours of our day and throughout during your time in this spectacular area.
After a couple of hours, we’ll land on one of beaches and you can sit back and enjoy a delicious lunch the guides will prepare. After lunch we’ll launch the kayaks and make our way to our campsite at Kaikash Creek (one of the rubbing beaches in the area where we’ll be staying for our 2 nights). We’ll then unload kayaks, make camp, set up our tents and you are free to explore the beaches, trails, relax or perhaps join one of the guides fishing (great salmon opportunities in these waters).
A sumptuous dinner around a cozy campfire with a canopy of stars above is the evenings entertainment…don’t be too surprised if you hear the whales blowing as they go by during the night.
With another spectacular day ahead of us, we’ll wake to a hearty breakfast. After everyone has had their fill, we’ll pack for the day (we return to our site in the later afternoon) and launch yet again into the Orca waters of Johnstone Strait…bring along your camera today because you’ll need it!
Our destination today is a paddle further along the coastline down to the Robson Bight Michael Biggs Ecological Reserve (a no entry zone). The area around the reserve is home to several well frequented “rubbing beaches” where the Orca have displayed a unique behavior only witnessed in this area of swimming right along these beaches and rubbing themselves along the small pebbles on the beaches here. We will stop for lunch on one of these beaches and hopefully witness this very behavior.
Some of the other wildlife the area boasts that we may see are bald eagles, deer, bear, porpoise, dolphin, seals and even sometimes the occasional humpback or grey whale that decides to take the inside waters of the Strait as opposed to the outside west coast route around Vancouver Island. In the afternoon, we’ll make our way back to our campsite at Kaikash Creek.
Dependent on weather, we may also venture to an old Whale Research Observation site, high up on one of the bluffs in the area…the hike and the view from above is spectacular. Another delicious meal around a warm campfire to put a great end to another magnificent day!
DAY #4 & #5:
These days we will probe further into the islands and explore up into Blackfish sound (another name given to Orca back in the old whaling days, when they say you could have walked across the sound on the back of the blackfish). This area gives us more exposure to the many resident humpback whales and sea lions that live in the food rich waters, plus gives us different opportunities to experience Orca. Camp sites will vary depending on group desires, weather and wildlife encounters.
We’ll wake to the aroma’s of coffee, cooked breakfast and the sounds of the lapping waves for our final day in Johnstone Strait. After breakfast, we’ll break camp and load up all the kayaks with our gear…”this stuff should all fit, shouldn’t it?”.
We’ll make our way back from our campsite to our put in at Telegraph Cove, cameras ready and ever prepared for a final encounter or encounters with the Wildlife along the way. We should arrive back at our embarkation point of Telegraph Cove between noon and 1:00pm. We’ll then haul the kayaks back up to the launching area where we’ll unload our gear, exchange emails and bid our goodbyes and adieus.
It’s a 2 hour drive back down to Campbell River and another 2 hours to the ferries in Nanaimo.
This tour departs from Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Though often clients spend the night before the trip in Port McNeil.
You can travel to Telegraph Cove/Port McNeil by car or plane.
If driving from the Vancouver area on the Mainland of British Columbia toTelegraph Cove/Port McNeil you need to sail on BC Ferries to either Nanaimo or Victoria on Vancouver Island. From Washington State, Coho Ferry sails between Port Angeles and Victoria. Drive time from Victoria to Telegraph Cove/Port McNeil is approximately 5.5 hours, and from Nanaimo to Telegraph Cove/Port McNeil is approximately 4 hours.
Driving to Telegraph Cove/Port McNeil is quite straightforward. From Victoria drive north on highway 1 to Nanaimo. From Nanaimo head north on Highway 19 until you see the sign for Telegraph Cove here you turn right and drive another 17 mins. Adversely if you are heading to Port McNeill, you continue 9 mins past the turn off to Telegraph cove until you see the sign for port Mcneil. Port McNeill is 1 minute off the main highway. The only other option to this route is north of Nanaimo just before you reach Parksville you can take the seaside route on Highway 19A. This route rejoins the main Highway 19 at Campbell River. The seaside route is very scenic though will add an extra hour to your trip.
Getting from Port McNeil to Telegraph Cove for those who stay the night before in Port McNeil is about a 30 min drive.
Flights to Port Hardy (YZT), the closest airport to Port McNeill, depart from the south terminal of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. These flights are operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Port Hardy airport is a 30 minute taxi ride from Port McNeill. And another 30 min taxi ride to Telegraph Cove.
THERE ARE NO CAR RENTALS IN EITHER PORT HARDY OR PORT MCNEIL.
If you are planning on renting a car on Vancouver Island (and not stopping in Vancouver), you can fly with Air Canada to either Nanaimo (YCD), Victoria (YYJ) or Campbell River (YBL) on Vancouver Island. Another option is to fly with WestJet Airlines via Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC) or Edmonton (YEG) to Comox (YQQ) on Vancouver Island. Comox is about 2 1/2 hour drive south of Telegraph Cove/Port McNeil
Kenmore Air operates float plane service to Port McNeill from Seattle, Washington.
Recommended Telegraph Cove Accommodations
there are few options in Telegraph Cove, mostly camping
Telegraph Cove Resort has historic luxury cabins
Forest RV Campground tent sites and rustic cabins
Hidden Cove Lodge a short drive from TC, very cool.
Recommended Port McNeill Accommodations
What our client say!
“…who is going to believe me…a mug of strong coffee in hand, I’m enjoying a delicious cheese & mushroom omelette and a pod of orca whales play and spyhop for an eternity a mere 40 feet from our kitchen area…I still can’t believe it was real! What an amazing experience!”
– Fiona Hamilton, Portland, OR.
“…We’ve been back home for a week now and I still can’t stop raving to anyone that will listen to me about the fantastic time I had with Wild Heart on my 3 day Robson Bight trip. You should all be commended on providing such a high quality outdoor experience…the food was delicious, the guides were super…we were in very capable hands…and the whales…they were absolutely brilliant! ”
– Mark & Denise Walker, Reading, England
“…Our guides were terrific…we felt at all times at ease and secure in their company…wonderful cooks, a great sense of humour…We had a great time with Wild Heart, will certainly come again and will definitely recommend you to all our friends.”
– Tamara & Robert Abrams, Truckee, CA.
“Thanks for a wonderful vacation. The trip was everything I had hoped for and more. The guides were excellent, the food was very tasty and lots of it and the whale sightings were perfect. Thanks for an awesome time!”
– David Finstrom, Castro Valley, CA.