Spend 6 incredible days beyond the end of the road. This unique experience explores Gods Pocket Marine Park and the remote regions of Queen Charlotte Strait by sea kayak on a spectacular one way nomadic expedition in search of Sea Otters, Killer Whales or Orcas and Humpback Whales in their natural environment. Leave behind the real world and to reconnect with nature as we explore ancient First Nation village sites with white shell beaches and discover sheltered coves where we will camp for the night, led by our experienced, qualified guides using top quality equipment. Opportunities to also see sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, bald eagles and numerous sea birds.
Non-intrusive wildlife observation and spectacular scenery on a one way nomadic sea kayaking expedition.
Port Hardy, Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Canada.
Start and End Time:
Starts at 9am on Day 1 and returns by boat at approx. 3-30pm on Day 6.
On request only - minimum 4 participants required - Contact Us to inquire.
Camping accommodation at 'wilderness paddle in' camps within the parks and islands. All camp equipment provided.
Lunch & Dinner on Day 1; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Day 2, 3, 4 & 5; Breakfast & Lunch on Day 6.
Some prior kayaking and wilderness camp experience is recommended.
This trip is restricted to those over 16 years.
The Gods Pocket Marine Park and the north western reaches of the Queen Charlotte starit tend to be much less visited than the areas closer to our home base in Telegraph Cove. This is mainly due to it being lesser known and it being even further off the beaten trail in addition to the weather being a little tougher to deal with. The rewards are many fold, less boat traffic and less people with similar access to all of the wildlife, except slightly less chance of Orcas encounters. If you enjoy quiet and solitude and are happy with back country camping, this very well may be the trip you have been looking for!
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 1
This tour departs from Port Hardy about 45 minutes to the north of our home in Telegraph Cove. We will meet after breakfast at 9am on the morning of you trip or you can come visit with us in Telegraph Cove on the day or days before your tour. Your professional kayak guide will greet you with dry bags and packing advise, along with all the rest of the gear for the tour. Our launch site is approximately a ten minute drive from Port Hardy so we will pick you up at your hotel. Prior to getting into the kayaks, we will conduct a brief safety and paddling technique discussion to ensure your comfort on the water. Our launch site is a relatively sheltered cove so there will be an opportunity to become familiar and comfortable with your kayak before we set out.
On leaving the beach we will head out along the rugged Northern coastline of Vancouver Island and cross to the island group that makes the God’s Pocket Marine Park. Somewhere along the way we will stop for some lunch. Lunch may be before, after or during the paddle we make to the islands as we must consider the weather and currents for this crossing. Arriving in the afternoon we will choose our camping area and you will help make camp and enjoy a sumptuous meal on the beach. Do not worry if you have never set a tent before, ours are specially selected to be simple yet resilient and someone will always be close by to help.
The evening will be spent around camp chatting with your guide and others on the trip. If lucky, you may see Orca or Humpback whales as they swim by the camp, however this is less likely than on our tours departing from Telegraph Cove. The northern latitude can provide some spectacular sunsets and due to the remoteness and lack of light pollution clear nights can offer a view of the night sky you may never of seen before. Choose a tour around the new moon to truly experience how many stars are out there or select the full moon for incredible moonrise and well lit nights.
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 2
If you are not already up to see the sunrise your guide will call you to coffee and breakfast. We will typically leave our camp set for the day and return to this one in the evening as there is so much to explore in this area. In addition to the abundant marine wildlife there are the midden beach remnants of the indigenous peoples, sweeping bays and island passages to discover. During the course of the day we will stop for lunch on one of these beaches before heading out to explore further. Coming back to the camp will feel like coming home, it is very easy to settle in to the relaxed pace of our tours. Your guide will again prepare a sumptuous dinner. Feel free to eat heartily; there is plenty of paddling over the coming days to work it off.
We always carry at least one research grade hydrophone on our sea kayaking tours. When we find ourselves in the vicinity of a pod of Orca, your guide will deploy the hydrophone so we may hear them communicating. We use an external amplifier and speaker so all may hear. If you have a video mode on your camera, this can allow you to capture the sounds as well as the sight of these spectacular animals.
Recently the Humpback whales we have in the area started singing. This is a new and exciting development as singing was thought only to occur when they were in warm waters and intent on breeding.
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 3
Day three will dawn and time to break camp. Over this and day four we will start paddling along the coastline of Balaklava Island, and into the browning passage. This passage is internationally renowned as one of the most diverse and prolific areas for invertebrate sea life. Hours can be spent examining the intertidal area from your kayak; peer into the depths of the crystal clear water and see creatures that will amaze. Enroute we will stop for lunches and to camp on yet another wild and rugged beach. Depending on the currents and weather this may be the beach of an abandoned homestead or a natural cove sheltered from the wind.
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 4
We will reach Bates Passage and the vicinity of the Sea Otters sometime in the afternoon of day four where we will find our campsite for the next two nights. Our favorite spot is on one of those rare islands that has never been cut by the forestry industry. To stroll through the trees and feel the ancient soul of the forest is a feeling you can no longer find in this modern world. Throughout the day there will be opportunities to observe a multitude of marine wildlife and paddle between tiny islands with a new and even more breathtaking view around each corner. Once more your guide will surprise you with their culinary skills to ensure you do not go to bed hungry.
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 5
Day five already! Where did the time go? Today after breakfast, we have nothing to do but explore, to paddle the island archipelago inhabited by Sea Lions and Sea Otters; If we are lucky, we may even find an occasional whale to visit with us. Some trips we are fortunate to hear the humpback whales sleeping in the quiet cove that shelters our camp. We will have lunch either on a remote beach or floating on the water. As time moves on towards evening & when you think you have got those perfect photographs and had your fill of the ocean, your guide will once again prepare a feast for dinner.
Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 6
Your final day will come round all too soon but all good things must come to an end. Our water taxi will typically come to find us at around 2pm so there is plenty of time for breakfast and to pack your gear ready for pick up before we head to the kayaks and spend a few more hours relaxing with our new incredibly furry friends. The water taxi ride will return you to Port Hardy for around 3-30pm. Opportunities for encounters with all sorts of wildlife abound during this ride.
On arrival and after the group photo has been taken, you can just grab your belongings and enjoy the rest of your vacation. We do the entire cleanup! Many guests stay a while, reliving the adventure with new friends and exchanging contact information so pictures can be shared.
We typically follow this itinerary; however on some occasions need to make changes due to weather or tidal considerations; Our goal will always remain to provide you the best possible experience. On some occasions it will not be practical or desirable to change camp every day.
Over 200 Northern Resident Killer Whales call this area home for the summer. These fish-eating mammals forage Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait for their favorite food the Chinook Salmon, the largest of the salmon species.
An increasing number of Humpback Whales also inhabit these waters, feeding on the abundant krill and herring Queen Charlotte Strait & Johnstone Strait provides. These giants arrive in the Straits in late May and stay until October.
The Stellar Sea Lion, the largest of the sea lions, calls the area home year round as does the Harbor Seal, Bald Eagle (and many other sea birds), Pacific white-sided dolphin, Dall’s porpoise, Black bear, mink and salmon while the cold, nutrient rich waters create an incredible inter and sub-tidal invertebrate ecosystem to explore.
A few times a year we will see Minke whales and on rare occasions Fin whales or Cougars.
See our tour Wildlife Tab for further details.
Wonderful food – You will not go hungry
Picnic lunches, hearty breakfasts and spectacular dinners plus delicious deserts, snacks, coffee, tea, various juices and water. Our menus have been specially developed to provide great taste and variety while being safe to carry and nutritious.Don't worry, we bring some chips and other snacks too.
Ingredients are sourced first from our local communities.
We provide all of the camping and kayaking equipment. Come with the clothing and personal items noted in ‘What to Bring’ and we do the rest.
We even provide you with quality dry bags to keep your clothes and gear dry.
What do I need to Bring on my multi-day kayaking adventure?
Kayaking is an outdoor activity and the part of the world you will be visiting is identified as being within a Temperate Rainforest. Our summer daytime highs are rarely much over room temperature and our nighttime lows can be described as cool. It also rains on occasion, sometimes for extended periods.
If you are familiar with spending time outdoors then you are likely already equipped with most of the clothing and accessories that you will need to bring with you. Likewise, you are aware that cotton is not your friend when there is any chance of getting wet.
We recommend that you bring two sets of clothing for your kayaking tour. One set that you will primarily wear while paddling. This should consist of layer-able clothes that will cope well and remain comfortable should they get damp or even wet. The second set of clothing is for around camp and should be selected to keep you warm and cozy during the evening. Again layers provide maximum flexibility. Avoid jeans and cotton shirts or sweaters, as once they get damp they can be very tough to dry and provide you with minimal residual warmth. If you can stick with synthetic quick dry materials or wool for your clothing, you will likely have a much better experience in our wilderness.
What you need while on the water
- For your head; A Hat, cap or tuque – something with a peak or brim is ideal in the rain.
- For your upper body; A base layer, a long sleeve mid-layer and a light Fleece or other warm non-cotton sweater.
- For your lower body; Non cotton underwear & shorts or long pants – long synthetic or wool underwear under shorts can be a great combination.
- For your feet; Wool or synthetic socks – bring a few pairs, your feet will get wet. Water shoes or sandals. Rubber boots can also be good unless you have big feet.
- Consider a pair of quality, light-weight rain pants. Frequently you will sit on something wet.
- Gloves – Look for paddling or cycling gloves to keep hands dry & blister free.
What you need while at camp
- Your normal outdoor camping wear will typically work fine but remember it is always cooler near the water. Synthetics and wools are again better than cotton.
- We provide you a jacket for paddling but bring rainwear or other outdoor jacket to wear at camp.
- A base layer, a long sleeved mid-layer and a warm sweater, sweatshirt/hoody or outer layer fleece. Warm pants. Bring one layer more than you think you need!
- Hiking shoe or running shoe & warm wool socks. Do not bring thongs or flip-flops.
- Warm nightwear & a Pillow Case (to stuff with clothes, etc. for your pillow)
- When we have campfires, they frequently emit sparks; consider bringing an old top layer.
Comfort and convenience items
- A water bottle.
- Camera and binoculars.
- Small hand towel and a face cloth.
- Sunscreen, lip balm & bug repellant.
- Sunglasses and a retainer
- Head Light (for reading in your tent and to light your way to the washroom)
- Book/magazine, writing materials or other personal entertainment.
- Personal toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, biodegradable soap, feminine hygiene products, etc.) – A packet of Wet Wipes works great to help personal hygiene.
- If bringing any electrical/ electronics, bring spare batteries or a portable recharging unit. There are no power outlets.
- If you must bring your phone, consider investing in a waterproof case for it.
- If you have allergies for which you carry an EPI Pen – Bring it!
- An extra set of any essential medication and correctional lenses.
- Alcohol and/or Pop. We do not supply this and there are no stores after we leave Telegraph Cove. The general store in Telegraph Cove sells beer, wine, spirits & pop.
Please try to avoid bringing too much as space is limited.
If you do not have your own sleeping bag or prefer not to bring it, we have one pre-packed for you to use at no charge. Our bags are cleaned after every use and are rated to 0°C (32°F) or lower.
If you choose to bring your own sleeping bag, please make sure it has no cotton in the lining and that it has a compression style stuff sack. Place a garbage bag inside the compression sack and stuff your sleeping bag inside the garbage bag, inside the compression bag. Squeeze out the air, twist the neck of the garbage bag to keep out any moisture and close the compression stuff sack.
Did we mention to avoid cotton?
Honestly and joking aside, we cannot overstate this. Once cotton gets wet it stays that way and provides minimal residual warmth. Synthetic materials and better yet wool, are your best bet.
Do not forget to check the label on your underwear, virtually everything you choose to sit on will be damp. Wet cotton next to your skin will become very unpleasant very quickly; ask any toddler.
How to Pack for my Multi-Day Kayak Tour
We provide you two dry bags; one 10 and one 20 litre bag per person. When you arrive in Telegraph Cove before your trip, please feel free to come pick them up so you can pack in the comfort of your room.
The 10 litre dry bag will be your day bag, in other words the bag you will have access to on the water. We suggest you put the following items in your day bag:
- Small camera and/or binoculars - If bringing a large or expensive camera, see below.
- Extra sweater
- Sunscreen & lip balm
The 20 litre dry bag will be your overnight bag, put things in here that you will want once you get to camp and won’t need access to on the water.
- All camp clothes and spare clean, dry paddling clothes
- Personal toiletries.
- Towel, book/magazine
- Head light, spare batteries, car keys, money & travel documents, etc. Place these items in zip-lock bags for extra protection.
- Do not put shoes, rain jackets, drinks, etc. in the dry bag.
Do not fill the dry bags more then 3/4’s full in order to properly close them, squeeze all the air out, roll the top over itself 3 times and do up the buckles. Your bags will now keep your belongings dry!
How to pack my Camera
Salt water & DSLR can spell trouble if not looked after. What to carry it in becomes a compromise between ease of access and security. The most secure way to carry it is in a hard shell waterproof case; an otterbox for instance, however this can be difficult to stow and awkward to open while on the water. Next best would be a good quality dry bag. Take your camera with the lens you expect to use to a good outdoor store and find a dry bag that fits your camera well, but leaves enough room for you to get your hands in and around it. There also needs to be enough room to have a small super absorbent cloth so you can ensure your hands are dry when inserting and removing the camera. Both these options would have the camera and case strapped to the deck of the kayak under bungee lines. Consider adding a carabiner or similar locking mechanism to ensure the container remains secure.
When you want to take a photo, you remove the camera from its protection, take the photo, replace the camera and reseal it. Never put it down on the spray skirt or kayak deck. We usually recommend against changing lenses while on the water.
It is also worth checking your home or travel insurance policy. Most camera equipment can be covered for loss or damage by this policy. You may need to register serial numbers, etc. with the insurance company.
While tipping is not mandatory it is very much appreciated. Your guide works very hard to make sure you get everything you hope for from your trip. If you think you were well looked after a suggested guide tip is 10% of your trip cost.
There is no ATM in Telegraph Cove however, you may tip them via your credit or debit card on return to our store.
Go ahead - make their day.
While tipping is not mandatory, if you think you were well looked after a suggested guide tip is 10% of your trip cost.
Ocean touring sea kayaks are surprisingly stable and comfortable, especially the tandem kayaks we use for our less experienced guests. A pre-launch training session will give you some of the basic skills that will help keep you safe while your guides are well versed in paddling, the area and general safety. They are right there with you the whole time to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
Our average group size is 5 people, however we conduct our tours with as few as 2 and as many as 12.
Our customers come from all over the world. They may be younger or older than you but you can be sure they are just as excited to be here as you are. We have found that those traveling without children tend to prefer to kayak with adult only groups. In order to try and ensure all of our guests get the maximum enjoyment from our tours we run separate tours for families.
The amount of time on the water will vary but will typically be in the region of 5-6 hours per day.
It will be a fully enclosed Sea Kayak from one of a variety of manufacturers including Seaward Kayaks, Boreal Designs, Necky Kayaks and Current Designs.To ensure we can provide all guests with a great experience, we predominantly use tandem kayaks on our tours. Our kayaking tours focus on wildlife observation and having fun. As such, we often need to cross open water and paddle against wind or ocean currents to be in an optimal viewing spot. For those who are not experienced ocean kayakers, paddling single kayaks when others are in faster, tandem kayaks can become very tiring, very quickly and have a negative impact on the safety and enjoyment of others in the group. On occasion, if tour capacity allows or there are an odd total number of participants, we may add some single kayaks to the trip, which will be shared among guests interested in paddling them. Unfortunately as people have wildly differing opinions of their skill levels, stamina and endurance, we do not guarantee exclusive use of single kayaks to any of our guests.
We prefer to use our kayaks as we are familiar with their capacity and appropriateness for a given trip. We have also found that those who bring their own typically do not wish others to paddle them. Should you really wish to bring your own, we do require it be an appropriate kayak for the type of trip you are undertaking and we will need to utilize space within it for the group gear. Contact us, identifying kayak make and model and we will see what we can do. We do reserve the right to inspect the kayak prior to departure and have you paddle one of our kayaks if necessary.
We choose guides based on many variables. Naturally they must be appropriately qualified and able to kayak, provide instruction and keep you safe on the water, but we demand much more than this. We employ guides from Canada; Many of them have grown up around our coast or have migrated to BC as they have grown up. We employ guides who can interpret our environment; They need to be able to identify our local fauna and flora and communicate their knowledge to you. We look for language skills; Many of our guides are fluent in both English and French, while others bring Spanish or German to the mix.
North Island Kayak has been providing sea kayak tours on northern Vancouver Island since 1991. The current owners took over in 2006.
Yes! To legally conduct these sea kayaking tours, one needs permits from many different organizations including BC Parks, to operate in any of the local marine parks; The BC Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, to utilize any of the government owned lands, Private Individuals and businesses to utilize launch sites, water, etc. and our many North Island First Nations in order to utilize their lands and traditional homes. You can be assured that we have covered all bases. This is a great question to ask anyone who you intend to book a sea kayaking tour with. Permits are time consuming and expensive and not everyone you find on google bothers to adhere. Not only can operation without appropriate permits void any liability insurance they may have but it can also ruin a vacation if ejected from a park or other location.
People of all ages and fitness levels enjoy kayaking as it can be a very low impact activity. You need only be in average physical condition – For our multi-day sea kayak tours, if you can manage an easy day hike, you will likely be able to participate comfortably. Should you have upper body conditions affecting arms, wrists or hands, please contact us.
It can happen – but it is not likely on a guided sea kayaking tour. Part of your pre-launch training session is instruction and demonstration of what to do in the event of capsize. Should it happen, your qualified guides have had extensive training in rescue and have the skills to deal with any situation that may arise. Their focus is on prevention rather than cure.
There have been no incidents involving wild whales and humans or kayaks. On occasion they have come very close and even under our kayaks but we have never had one actually touch us.
You multi-day tour will be returning to Telegraph Cove typically between 3 and 4 pm, however it can occasionally be earlier or later due to weather or logistical reasons. Should you have tight connections to be made on the day of return, please let us know at booking or prior to departure so we can try to meet your expectations. After your trip, why not visit the Whale Museum or relax on the deck of the Old Saltery and watch the comings & goings of Historic Telegraph Cove.
We welcome children on the tours, however we try not to mix adult groups and family groups on the same trip. We can accommodate your children in a number of ways; triple kayaks or paired up in a double with a strong paddler. It is a safe and wonderful experience for kids and as family! We offer discounted rates for children on some tours. For multi-day kayak adventures we have found it is typically best to schedule small family groups, please contact us for further information.
We recommend that you bring two sets of clothing for your kayaking tour. One set that you will primarily wear while in the kayaks. This should consist of layer-able clothes that will cope well and remain comfortable should they get damp or even wet. The second set of clothing is for around camp and should be selected to keep you warm and cozy during the evening. Again layers provide maximum flexibility. Avoid jeans and cotton shirts or sweaters,as once they get damp they can be very tough to dry and provide you with minimal residual warmth. If you can stick with synthetic quick dry materials or wool for your clothing, you will likely have a much better experience in our wilderness.
Please take a look at the “What to Bring” tab on each tour description page.
As with all wildlife, the Orcas, Humpback whales & other animals keep their own schedules. The best way to increase chances of seeing these animals is to spend longer in their environment and to visit when they are most plentiful. Each of our tour descriptions has a detailed section called 'Wildlife', it provides a good indication of what we see, when we see it and how frequently.
A base camp is an area in the wilderness that we prepare to host our guests throughout the summer. Each spring we set up the tents, kitchen, tarps, BBQ, picnic tables, hammocks, etc. This provide a level of comfort which is not possible, on an expedition style kayaking trip, when we have to carry everything in the kayak with us. Having camps already set up reduces the amount of time we have to spend packing and unpacking equipment each day and allows us more time on the water. It is ideal for you if you only have a couple of days to spend with us as it enables us to really explore the area in light kayaks. It is also great if your only previous camping trips have been from ‘the back of a car’ as a base camp can provide a similar level of comfort. We have made is easy if this is your first time in a tent, or away from permanent campsites?
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is - Will I see Orcas? The table below details the animals we see and a color coded description of when they are most regularly seen on our sea kayaking tours.
|Green||Expect multiple sightings during your 4 day tour.|
|Blue||Expect to see the animal on maybe 2 of your 4 days.|
|Yellow||If we are lucky we will see it on one day|
|Orange||50/50 - Do not count on it|
|Red||This is a once a year occurance|
|June||Early July||Mid July||End of July to Mid August||Mid Aug to Mid Sept||Mid Sept to End Sept|
Our Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition is run 'On Request' only and requires a minimum of 4 participants. Should you be interested in this tour and have 4 or more interested participants, please Contact Us.