Sea Kayaking Tours with Killer Whales of Johnstone Sea kayak with killer whales, paddle with Orcas of Robson Bight, sea kayak expeditions to the Broughton Archipelago from Telegraph Cove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC) Nomadic sea kayaking expeditions Sea Kayak Rentals Kayaking with killer whales since 1991

killer whales logo

North Island Kayak
Telegraph Cove, BC

Phone +1-250-928-3114
Toll Free 1-877-949-7707

Kayaking with Killer Whales
and other wildlife since 1991

Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition

Jun 22
to Jul 5
Jul 6
to Jul 19
Jul 20
to Aug 23
Aug 24
to Sep 7
Adult $1500 $1600 $1700 $1600
  • Depart from Port Hardy every Sunday from June 22 until September 7 at 9am. Returns at 3-30pm on day 6.
  • Some previous Sea kayaking experience recommended.
  • Six full days ‘All Inclusive’ exploring Gods Pocket Marine Park and Queen Charlotte Strait by sea kayak.
  • One way nomadic expedition style sea kayaking tour; move camp most days and return home by chartered Water Taxi.
  • Spectacular non-intrusive wildlife observation, including Sea Otters, Killer Whales, Humpback Whales and maybe even Wolves.
  • Experienced guides, great food and top quality equipment – Unique opportunity!

See More Detail…

Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition

Tour Itinerary

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.

The tail of a Humpback Whale - Sea kayaking Vancouver Island BC

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.

During the day watch for Bald Eagles and their nests; See the inquisitive Dalls Porpoises and if we are lucky spot a black bear turning rocks, looking for breakfast. Maybe we will see killer whales or even humpback whales, maybe we will not see any today. Rest assured, your experienced guide is monitoring the local chatter on their marine radio to ensure we do not miss a single opportunity.

The evening may 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

Sea kayaking Vancouver Island BC - A Sea Otter relaxing - NIK guide Brad Helmig

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.

During the fall of 2012, 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. We are hoping the song continues into summer 2013.

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.

Watching the sun go down - Gods Pocket Marine Park kayaking

Steller Sea Lions Gods Pocket Marine Park - Vancouver Island BC - NIK guide Brad Helmig

Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 4

Killer Whale kayaking - Gods Pocket Marine Park - Vancouver Island BC

We will reach Bate 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. 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.

Sea kayaking Gods Pocket marine park - NIK guide Brad Helmig

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. 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.

Nudibranch - great intertidal life on sea kayaking trip Vancouver Island BC

Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 6

Sea kayaking among the islands of Gods Pocket Marine Park BC

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.

Top

Tour Features

Seals in Johnstone Strait
Aggregate Anemone

The remoteness of Gods Pocket Marine Park has encouraged a great breeding colony of Sea Otters, while over 200 Northern Resident Killer Whales call this area home for the summer. The area served by this tour also sees more of the marine mammal eating Transient Killer Whales.
An increasing number of Humpback Whales inhabit these waters, feeding on the abundant amount of krill and herring Johnstone Strait provides. These giants arrive in the Strait in June 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 other sea birds), Pacific white-sided dolphin, Dall’s porpoise, Black bear, mink and salmon.
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 very rare occasions Fin whales or Cougars.

Scenic log on a kayaking camp beach

We provide transportation for you from your Port Hardy accommodation to our launch site a few kilometers North of town. We have arranged with a remote fishing resort to use their boat ramp as a launching point. This saves hours of paddling from the Port Hardy harbor and gets us into the wilderness sooner. If you plan on camping the night before we leave for the trip, you can pitch your tent here or even use the camping gear we provide for the trip. Please let us know in advance if you would like to use this feature.

Largest selection of wilderness camp choices

One of the wilderness beaches we camp on in the Broughton Archipelago

We select our nomadic expedition camp spots from the best of those available. They may be on within Park boundaries, on Crown owned land, on First Nation land, private land or in one of the many new conservencaries. Each of these require fees and permits in order to utilize the beaches, islands and marine areas. North Island Kayak specializes in this area and his unique in the number of permits, leases, authorizations and approvals we have negotiated to operate here.

Having so much choice over where to paddle and where to camp translates into providing you the most spectacular and unforgettable trip possible.

A great itinerary – 6 Full Days expedition sea kayaking in a rugged wildlife paradise

The one way nomadic nature of this tour allows us to penetrate deep into this northern wilderness. Our per-arranged water taxi home means we avoid paddling back over areas we have already been. It also means we can get home ‘on-time’ regardless of the weather situation on the final day. Spend time drifting with the currents and paddling the waters less traveled. Change camp every day. Stay on tiny islands.

Wonderful food – You will not go hungry

Picnic lunch while kayaking with Killer Whales

6 picnic lunches, 5 hearty breakfasts and 5 spectacular dinners plus delicious deserts, snacks, coffee, tea, various juices and water. Food seems to taste so much better out in the wilderness. No pre-packaged, dehydrated meals on these trips!
Many of the vegetables served will come from our own greenhouse and eggs from our free range chickens. Other ingredients are sourced first from our local communities.

Quality Equipment

Killer Whale kayak tour of Johnstone Strait

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.

Top

What to bring

What to bring on my nomadic expedition Sea Kayaking tour?

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.

Camp set up in the wilderness on a kayaking tour of Johnstone Strait BC

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.

What you need while on The Water.

  • For your head; A hat, cap, or tuque.
  • For your upper body; A base layer and a long sleeved mid-layer. A light fleece is also a good idea.
  • For your lower body; Non cotton underwear, synthetic shorts or long pants that can be rolled up.
  • For your feet; Water shoes or sandals with a heel strap. Do not bring thongs or flip-flops.
  • Wool or synthetic socks as your feet will get wet!
  • Consider thermal underwear, both top and bottoms for cooler months. Synthetic or wool – No cotton!

What you need while at camp.

  • Your normal outdoor camping clothes will work fine, but it is always cooler near the water.
  • A base layer and a long sleeved mid-layer and a warm sweater, sweatshirt/hoody or outer layer fleece. Warm pants!
  • Light hikers, or runners and warm socks for your feet. Do not bring thongs or flip-flops.
  • A waterproof jacket, consider waterproof pants too.
  • Warm PJ’s and socks to wear to bed.
  • A warm synthetic sleeping bag – we can supply this, if required.

Comfort and convenience items.

  • A small towel for drying feet, etc. when getting changed.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm
  • Head-light or small torch; It gets very dark once the sun goes down.
  • A book or magazine; writing materials or other personal entertainment.
  • Personal toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, biodegradable soap, feminine hygiene products, etc.)
  • Camera and binoculars.

Things to consider while packing.

  • Avoid cotton – We cannot overstate this! Once it is wet it stays that way and give minimal residual warmth.
  • If you are bringing your own sleeping bag, make sure it contains no cotton and will be good in our cool climate.
    • Look for one rated to below 0C or 32F.
    • It needs to have a compression bag so it can fit in small spaces.
    • We can provide a suitable sleeping bag if requested.
  • Do not over pack – Space is limited.
  • Do not forget to bring one extra set of any medication or corrective lenses.

Top

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have questions. Please take a look through these as they respond to those we are most frequently asked. Should your question not be addressed, please contact us so we may address it.

I have never sea kayaked before how safe is it?

Ocean touring sea kayaks are surprisingly stable and comfortable. 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.

How many people are usually on the trips?

Our average group size is 5 people, however we conduct our tours with as few as 2 and as many as 12.

Who will be on the trip with me?

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.

How much paddling will we do?

The amount of time on the water will vary but will typically be in the region of 5-6 hours per day.

What will my kayak be like?

It will be a fully enclosed fiberglass Sea Kayak from one of a variety of manufacturers including Seaward Kayaks, Necky Kayaks and Current Designs. We prefer to use tandem (2 seater) kayaks for our multi-day kayak tours as they provide maximum speed and stability along with plenty of room for the gear. Single seat kayaks are available on request for a small supplement.

Can I bring my own kayak?

Of course you may. 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.

Should I tip the guides?

Our guides work very hard to ensure you enjoy your trip with us. Tipping is appropriate and forms an integral part of the guides earnings. As a general guidline a tip of 10-15% is the industry norm and will be very much appreciated.

How do you choose your guides

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.

Has North Island Kayak been providing these trips for many years?

North Island Kayak on northern Vancouver Island has been providing kayak tours since 1991. The current owners took over in 2006.

Do you have insurance and all appropriate permits?

Yes! To legally conduct these kayak tours, one needs permits from many different organizations including BC Parks, to operate in any of the local marine parks; The BC Minestry 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.

What kind of physical condition do I need to be in?

People of all ages enjoy ocean kayaking and fitness levels as it can be a very low impact activity. You need only be in average physical condition – For our multi-day 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.

Does anyone ever tip over?

It can happen – but it is not likely on a guided trip. Part of your pre-launch training session is instruction and demonstration of what to do in the event of capsize. Should it happen, uur 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.

Will the whales bother the kayaks?

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.

When will we return to Telegraph Cove?

You multi-day tour will be returning to Telegraph Cove typically between 3 and 4 pm, however it can occasionally be erlier or later due to weather or logistcal 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.

What about children?

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.

What should I wear?

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 our “What to Bring” page.

Will I see Killer Whales or Humpback whales?

This area of Johnstone Strait is world renowned for the Northern Resident Killer Whales or Orca who visit every summer. While we are privileged to see them on occasion throughout the year, they are seen most regularly in conjunction with the annual salmon runs. The very best time to be here to see the Orca is the end of July and throughout August while the start of July and end of September are boundaries for predictable sightings.

The Humpback Whales feed on concentrations of krill and small fish. These high density feeding opportunities happen more frequently in and around the areas of high tidal currents found to the east and west of Hanson Island. The 4 day tour allows us to spend time in these areas as it uses our Hanson Hide-Away base camp for two the the three nights you are out.

The table below attempts to give you an indication of the types of animals you may encounter, for any given time, for this specific tour.

Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition
June
Early July
Mid July
End of July and Early August
Mid to Late August
September
Marine Mammals
Dalls PorpoiseCommonCommonCommonCommonCommonCommon
Harbor SealsCommonCommonCommonCommonCommonCommon
Pacific White-Sided DolphinsOccasionalOccasionalOccasionalOccasionalFrequentFrequent
Stellar Sea-LionsFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequent
Minke WhalesRareRareRareRareRareRare
Orcas (or Killer Whales)RareOccasionalFrequentFrequentFrequentOccasional
Humpback WhalesFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequent
Land Mammals
MinkCommonCommonCommonCommonCommonCommon
Sea OttersCommonCommonCommonCommonCommonCommon
Black BearsFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequentFrequent
CougarsVery RareVery RareVery RareVery RareVery RareVery Rare
Common=Multiple times per day
Frequent=Almost Daily
Occasional=Every few days
Rare=Once a week
Very Rare=Once a summer