Province/Territory: British Columbia

A Paddle With Whales

  • 04 days on the ocean
  • 06-ton orcas
  • 10000 years of Aboriginal heritage

This is the trip if you’ve ever wanted to kayak with killer whales. In Johnstone Strait off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island, join a small group of explorers as you venture with Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures through the heart of wildlife-rich waters off an island covered in old-growth rainforest.

On your four-day Orca Waters Base Camp tour, explore a variety of kayaking routes: no kayaking or camping experience necessary! Watch killer whales regularly pass by the camp as you’re enjoying the morning’s cup of French pressed organic coffee or dinner of locally caught salmon around the campfire. Paddle through waters abundant with harbour seals, porpoises and rich inter-tidal life. Witness the incredible sight of humpback whales lunging through a school of small fish as they fatten up for their immigration south. Learn from your knowledgeable guide about the wildlife and natural history of British Columbia’s coast. Gain a newfound appreciation for smaller inter-tidal life: explore sea stars, urchins and anemones in the shallows. Take short hikes through the island’s old-growth rainforest and see cedar trees that have had bark and wood harvested by local First Nations for years while allowing the trees to continue living. Spend the night in comfortable, roomy tents with warm sleeping bags and full-sized pillows, raised off the ground with wooden platforms, all with a view of the shimmering ocean.

Trips run June through September.

Why you should visit
  • Embark on a four-day, three-night kayak adventure through Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound, off northern Vancouver Island—an area renowned for its abundances of marine life.
  • View 6-ton orcas, 25-ton humpback whales and playful dolphins and porpoises from a safe and respectful distance.
  • Spot more marine life such as sea anemones, urchins, starfish, salmon and sea lions as well as birds like bald eagles and osprey.
  • Learn about the fertile ecosystems of coastal British Columbia from an experienced and attentive guide.
  • Camp on secluded Hanson Island—enjoying a spacious raised-platform tent, warm sleeping bag, soft sleeping pad, propane-powered shower and even a beachside sauna.
  • Fuel-up with family-style sustainable seafood dinners and hearty breakfasts and lunches (with French-press coffee); fully appreciate the environmentally responsible manner in which your tour is operated.
  • Hear about the traditions and culture of Aboriginal peoples who have occupied the area for thousands of years.

Weather

Visitor information
When to go
  • Kayaking season runs from June through September.
  • July and August typically see the driest and warmest weather.
  • Orca sightings are most common from July to September.
  • June sees the fewest crowds.
Need to know
  • Kayaking is a physically strenuous activity.
  • Orca Waters Base Camp Kayak Tour participants must be over the age of 15.
  • Kayak, paddling gear and camping equipment is provided; guests are responsible for clothing/apparel and personal items.
  • All guides are certified with the Sea Kayak Alliance of Canada.
  • Whale Wise and Marine Mammal viewing ethics are strictly adhered to.
Getting Here