Sea Kayaking Itineraries

Wilderness Adventures in British Columbia & Yukon since 1988

Due to the unpredictability of weather, participants must be willing to expect the unexpected. As we are moving camp each day, there may be the need to paddle for longer than intended periods to accommodate winds, or rough water. Unsafe water conditions may necessitate sitting on shore until conditions for safe travel present themselves.

Guides
Our guides have many years of experience in the outdoors and are expert and certified in sea kayaking. They are familiar with the natural and cultural history of the area in which you will be traveling, trained in wilderness first aid, and committed to your satisfaction and safety.

sea kayaking vancouver islandsGroup Size
In order to minimize our impact on the area we are visiting, for safety, and for creating a better environment for group interaction, we keep our group size to a maximum of 10 participants.

Weather
Summer temperatures from July until mid September are generally quite comfortable with temperatures ranging from 18 – 25 degrees Celsius / 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Early July and later September will have the cooler temperatures, and at any time of year we can have rain and wind, with temperatures occasionally as low as 13 C / 55 F. It is best to come prepared for any type of weather.

Your Part
Both beginners and experienced hikers and paddlers of all ages join us on our trips. All you need are the items identified on our equipment/clothing list, be reasonably fit, have a sense of adventure, and be willing to accept the unexpected.

Menu
Our menu is designed to fulfill the nutritional needs of our expeditions. Lunches and dinners are diverse, often supplemented with fresh vegetables and local favourites. There is always enough food to offer seconds. Guests are often surprised and pleased with what we offer on our menu. We do accommodate special dietary needs.

What We Include
Transportation from Nanaimo and return, national park user fees, sea kayaks, paddles, PFDs [life jacket], spray skirts, camping fees, cooking gear, camp stoves, meals/snacks/beverages on the expedition, tents, meal preparations, tarps, major first aid supplies, emergency radio or satellite phone, and professional guides.

What Is Not Included
Transportation to Vancouver Island, airport transfers, accommodation not included in itinerary, gratuities, meals not included in itinerary, personal gear, travel/medical/cancellation insurance.

KAYAKING WITH ORCAS

 “I just wanted you to know my son and I have the most terrific time on the Johnstone Strait [Pacific Orcas] kayaking trip. Kris and Janet, our guides, were fantastic. They both had such a deep love of the country, respect for the whales, and genuine enthusiam, it was a real treat to have them as our guides.”
Tim Ward, Travel Writer, Washington Post, Washington, DC
kayaking with orcas
mapjohnstonestrait

Johnstone Strait is a magical glacier-carved waterway located between the northeast coast of Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland and it is a sea kayak touring paradise. Adjoining Queen Charlotte Strait and the Broughton Archipelago at its northwest end, Johnstone Strait is part of a historic marine region including Robson Bight, the world’s only killer whale (orca) sanctuary. It is home to a myriad of diverse wildlife, including the largest resident population of orcas (killer whales) in the world. The Johnstone Strait area is a sea kayaking dream, boasting beautiful summer weather, glass-calm waters, and some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery on earth.

We will do our best to locate orca pods. The route we follow, and the area we kayak, does present the best opportunity to view orcas. However, they are wild animals and Johnstone Strait encompasses a huge area, so we cannot guarantee sightings. It is also important to note, that should we encounter orcas, we, by conscience and by agreement with private and governmental stewards, respect a 100-meter off-limits zone.

As kayaking goes, there is little to compare with the thrill of paddling alongside these awesome, exhilarating, and magnificent mammals.pacific orcas Coupled with this, is the myriad of small bays, sandy beaches, protected coves, lush rainforest and marine wildlife that is characteristic of these waters.

  • Food: Meals in transit to the put in and return to Vancouver are your responsibility.
  • Arrival in Departure City (Nanaimo): You should be here at least one day before Day 1.
  • Flexible Itinerary:  Each itinerary is written by the weather, tides, and group interests. Our main goals are a complete immersion in this amazing area, relaxation, wildlife sightings, great food and an amazing time.

Seven Day Tour /Total immersion into orca waters
The tour into the many small islands and protected waters of Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park make the area an excellent place to sea kayak. Our guests come from around the world to kayak among killer whales and other marine mammals, camp in an unspoiled wilderness and learn about First Nations culture. The southern portion of the park is the most popular, particularly in Village Channel and Indian Channel, however, the rest of the park also offers excellent kayaking waters. We will enjoy the tranquil beauty of this area as we paddle our way through a myriad of islands and islets, stopping to camp at various locations along the way.

These islands have been utilized by First Nation peoples for generations and there is ample evidence of their extensive use of the area. We will see the white midden beaches, culturally modified trees, clam “terraces” and even a petroglyph while exploring the park.

Day 1: Transport to Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island. Dinner at the Saltery Pub, a historic building in Telegraph Cove. Camping.

Day 2: On the water, kayaking after breakfast. Kayak orientation about paddling and safety. Rough weather and we will transport by water taxi to Broughton Park. Camping along the shore of the Johnston Strait.

Days 3 to 6: Cross Johnstone Strait to Broughton. Open exploration based on weather and group interests. Different camp each night.

*Special Day *: We will use one of the days to visit Echo Bay and the Billy Proctor’s Museum, where 1000s of artifacts from the area are on display. The evening will be spent at a floating lodge called “the Paddlers Inn”. Opportunity to refill water supply, shower, and sleep on a bed. Hope to stop at the ancient native village of Meem Quam Leese and explore its decaying totems and longhouses.

Day 7: On our last day, we’ll linger over breakfast; possibly pack up camp, and board our water taxi for the return journey to Telegraph Cove, arriving by about 10.30 AM. After pack up and lunch we begin our journey south back to Nanaimo.

 

2.BROKEN GROUP ISLANDS
broken group islands
“Our BGI adventure exceeded the experience we had looked forward to. Both Krista and Erin are truly talented both as leaders and outdoorspeople. Krista was excellent at bringing a group of strangers from several nations as a cohesive team in mere hours. I was constantly impressed by her knowledge of seamanship, navigation, tides, and also her willingness to go the “extra mile” to help us. Erin was a very effective second and her meals on the trip were excellent.”
Gerry & Candy Roney, San Jose, CA
broken group islandsOff the west coast of Vancouver Island, a vast maze of islands, islets, and rocky outcrops thrust upward from the gentle waters of Barkley Sound. A kayaker’s dream, the sheltered hundred-plus islands comprise what’s known as the Broken Group—a favorite vacation spot for Vancouver residents and paddlers from around the world.

Formed at the end of the last Ice Age, the islands’ rugged bedrock and nutrient-rich waters support ample marine life, as well as old-growth rain forests, lagoons, arches, blowholes, tide pools, and sandy secluded beaches. Stone fish traps and the remains of villages—traces of culture from the aboriginal Nuu-chah-nulth people—add an element of curiosity and discovery to a paddle through the Broken Group’s narrow passageways

For a true wilderness experience, backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas on seven of the islands. All of the spots are family-friendly and include composting toilet facilities.

  • Food: Meals in transit to the put in and return to Vancouver are your responsibility.
  • Arrival in Departure City (Nanaimo-Vancouver Island): You should be here at least one day before Day 1.

Day 1:
We will drive north and west along the Island Highway to our put-in point and campsite at Secret Beach in Barkley Sound. The remainder of the day will be used to provide kayaking skills instruction and discuss safety protocol. Weather permitting we will practice our paddling skills near camp.

Days 2-5- An exact itinerary of where we go will be determined by group ability and weather conditions. There are so many beaches, islands, campsites, and channels to explore that route choice is unimportant.

Day 6- We will make our way back to our put-in point and return to Nanaimo, and by ferry to Vancouver.

3.NOOTKA SOUNDThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is nootka-sound.jpg

pacific otters
We have designed our kayaking itinerary for Nootka Sound to allow for a leisurely experience while exploring all that the sound has to offer. We will kayak to the cove where Cook anchored in 1778. Little has changed in two and a half centuries. We will kayak and stop at a lighthouse,explore an unique church with stained glass windows presenting European and indigenous history of Nootka Sound, and visit the traditional home of the Mowachaht peoples. There are many small islands, coves, rocky coastlines, beaches and rainforest to explore within Nootka Sound’s protected waters. The waters are rich with wildlife including grey and orca whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions, eagles, wolves, and bears.Vancouver are your responsibility.

Arrival in Departure City: You should be here at least one day before Day 1.

DAY ONEMeet at designated location in Nanaimo. Drive to Cougar Creek where we will spend the night and prepare ourselves and the kayaks for launching on day 2.
DAY TWOLoad kayaks and launch. Time will be devoted to developing paddle strokes where necessary before and during our journey to our beautiful half-moon shaped campsite on Bligh (named for the then future captain of the ill-fated BOUNTY) Island, in the Spanish Pilot Group.
DAY THREE: We will embark on a day trip from our camp to visit Resolution Cove, where Captain Cook mounted a commemorative plaque on the rocks following his anchorage in Nootka Sound. We will also paddle through the Spanish Pilot group before returning to our camp.
DAY FOUR: Paddle across Cook Channel to Friendly Cove, known as Yuqout by the local Mowachaht peoples. This is where Captain Cook first landed on the west coast in 1778. Visit the chapel with its stained glass windows depicting Captain Cook’s visit.
DAY FIVE: Explore Santa Gertrudis Cove and the Saavedra Islands before crossing back over Cook Channel to camp again on Bligh Island.
DAY SIXWe will journey back to our put-in at Cougar Creek. Load the kayaks back onto the trailer and drive back to Gold River for lunch then continue our journey back to Nanaimo, arriving sometime in the late afternoon /early evening.

pacific otters

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