One of the foremost reasons people come to Telegraph Cove is for the opportunity to see whales. It is world renowned as the Best place in the world to see Killer Whales or Orcas. In addition to over 200 Northern Resident Orca who return every summer, to gorge on salmon and rub themselves on the beaches of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, we are visited year round by pods of Transient Killer Whales, while Humpback Whales forage our narrow straits. Our sea kayak tours will take you to the specific areas we know these whales frequent and our camps are located on beaches we know they swim by. The rest is down to luck, the time of year you come and how much time you spend with us. With our local knowledge and our team of guides, North Island Kayak provides the best opportunities that Vancouver Island can offer.
In addition to the whales we also regularly see Steller Sea Lions, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise, River Otters, Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Mink, Deer, Minke Whales, Harbor Seals and salmon.
Killer Whales - Orcas
Over 250 Killer Whales (or Orcas) inhabit Johnstone Strait and the area around Telegraph Cove & Robson Bight. Mistakenly labelled a whale, the orca actually belongs to the dolphin family. There are 3 types of Orca in our part of the world, the Biggs (transient), Resident and Offshore. We most regularly and predictably see the Northern Resident Killer Whales. For a few months every summer up to 280 northern residents orcas return to our backyard, namely Johnstone Strait and the Queen Charlotte Strait.more info
An ever increasing number of Humpback Whales are returning to this area. Since the early '80s when there were none, their numbers have steadily climbed to be over 70. These giants of the ocean have become a great favorite among both guests and guides due to their antics and reliable sightings. Tours of over four days are your best bet to see them while kayaking. Affectionally called “humpies”, these magnificent whales are easily identifiable as they dive “humping” their backs and gliding effortlessly by cruise ships and whale watching boats, putting on a show for the tourists.more info
There doesn’t seem to be a lack of black bears on northern Vancouver Island and sightings have become a regular occurrence. Most sightings occur by the roadside where the bears eat grass, or on one of our numerous beaches, where they can be found flipping over rocks foraging for crabs. Black bears are mostly non-aggressive unless threatened or antagonized. There are very few attacks; however, you should still treat this animal with respect.more info
Steller Sea Lions
Steller Sea Lions are regularly seen on our sea kayaking holidays of Johnstone Strait & the Broughton Archipelago. Our Steller Sea Lions are the largest of the sea lion family. They weigh in at around 2000 lbs or 900 kg. Males have fur on their backs and chests; thus the name. It is believed that their long ago land ancestor is the Grizzly Bear.more info
The bald eagle is one of nature’s success stories. After years of being listed as an endangered species, believed mostly to be due to pesticides interfering with their ability to lay healthy eggs, the bald eagle has persevered and is thriving in a variety of habitats today.more info
We see the Dall's Porpoise on almost every sea kayaking tour we take. They are fast swimmers and can easily reach speeds over 25 knots or 30 mph; they love to bow ride and can often be seen “rooster-tailing” a technique that creates pockets of air allowing them to breathe while swimming.more info
As their name suggests, harbor seals tend to live in harbors along the coastline, here in the Pacific Northwest. They are quite common and can frequently be seen resting on rocks protruding from the sea. Many seem to prefer to lie in what we call the banana position, lying on their side with head and hind flippers slightly elevated. As much as they occasionally like to haul out on land, seals are much better adapted to living in the water.more info
North American River Otters
River Otters are often seen on the dock as we leave on our kayaking tours of Johnstone Strait. Often confused with Sea Otters, River Otters are slimmer and tend to spend time on land; sea otters are usually always in the water. River otters are playful and display similar behavior to cats, purring and rubbing against each other.more info
Sea Otters are a feature of our 6 day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition. They are making a come back after being hunted almost to extinction.Sea otters are a keystone species; meaning they keep their environment balanced by keeping certain populations under control that would otherwise run amok and devastate the ecosystem. By keeping the sea urchin population in check they are preventing the loss of kelp forests that are imperative to a healthy coastal ecosystem. Unlike the river otter, sea otters live mostly in the water.more info
Another fun loving creature, the mink can often be found on pebble beaches of the Johnstone Strait, foraging for food. These semi aquatic mammals live in dens or hollow logs and have even been found under docks or piers. Weighing in at a hefty ½ kg to 1 kg (1-2 pounds) and measuring about ½ metre (2 ft ), the mink live to 8 to 10 years of age unless eaten by one of it’s many natural predators including bald eagles and owls. Humans used to hunt mink for their prized fur but today minks are farmed rather than hunted.more info