Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition

Jun 21st - Jul 5thJul 12th - Jul 19thJul 26th - Sep 6th
Adult $1500 $1600 $1700
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Sea Lion grinning

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.

Trip Focus: 

Non-intrusive wildlife observation and spectacular scenery on a one way nomadic sea kayaking expedition. 

Start Location:

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.

Start Dates:

Every Sunday from June 21 until September 6 at 9am. Returns at 3-30pm on day 6.

Accommodation:

Camping accommodation at 'wilderness paddle in' camps within the parks and islands.  All camp equipment provided.

Meals Included:

Lunch & Dinner on Day 1; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Day 2, 3, 4 & 5; Breakfast & Lunch on Day 6.

Experience Required:

Some prior kayaking and wilderness camp experience is recommended.
We use stable tandem Sea Kayaks and provide all required kayaking equipment. Single kayaks may be available with experience.

Suitability:

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!

Orcas in the fog, swimming straight for us. Gods Pocket Marine Park, Bitish Columbia

 

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Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Kayaking Expedition – Day 1

A typical wilderness 'paddle in' camp in Queen Charlotte Strait, British ColumbiaThis 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

Steller Sea Lions taking a look at who we are....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

Water cascading off of a humpback whale tail in Queen Charlotte Strait, BCDay 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

Queen Charlotte Strait - Gaurenteed jaw dropping kayaking in BCDay 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

Sea Otter taking a rest before going for another sea urchin - kayaking Queen Charlotte StraitYour 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.

Orcas in the fog in Queen Charlotte Strait. BC Canada

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Spectacular Wildlife

bald eagle seen from kayak johnstone strait and robson bight kayaking tour in british columbia

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

fruit plate served on a kayaking tour of johnstone strait british columbia bcPicnic 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.

Quality Equipment

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.

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What do I need to bring?

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 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!
  • A pair of quality, light-weight rain pants are great to keep you dry when sitting in the kayak.

What you need while at camp.

  • Your normal outdoor camping clothes will work fine, but remeber it is always cooler near the water.
  • A base layer, 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 Water Bottle.
  • 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.). A packet of Wet Wipes work great for personal hygiene
  • Camera and binoculars.
  • Pillow Case (to stuff with clothes, etc. for your pillow).
  • If you have allergies that require the use of an EPI Pen - Bring It!

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.

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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. 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. We prefer to use tandem (2 seater) kayaks for our kayak tours as they provide maximum speed and stability along with plenty of room for the gear. Single seat kayaks are available to appropriately experienced kayakers on request for a small supplement.

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.

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 our “What to Bring” 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?

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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 & Early August Mid to Late August September
Killer Whales - Orcas
Humpback Whales
Bald Eagles
American Mink
Black Bears
North American River Otters
Steller Sea Lions
Dall’s Porpoise
Sea Otters
Harbor Seals

Color Code

common
frequent
occasional
rare
very rare
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The calendar below shows the departures dates for our Six Day Gods Pocket Sea Otter Kayaking Expedition. Please select the date you are interested in and click the "Book Now" button. You will not be requested to provide a credit card at this time as, to avoid disappointment, we need to double check these spaces are still available. You will be taken through some forms that will gather required information. Please complete them as fully as possible. If you are unsure about any questions, please provide you best guess as yours is most likely better than ours!

On completion of these forms, your Booking Request will be forwarded to us, we will double check spaces and send you an email with a link to our Secure Credit Card gateway where you can pay the required Deposit.  If we are sold out of the tour you specify, we will suggest any alternatives we may have. If you need immediate confirmation of space, please call us on (250) 928-3114 or 1-877-949-7707.

You should wait until you have received confirmation and payment instruction from us before you commit to related travel expenses.

 

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Orcas in Gods Pocket Marine Park while on a kayaking vacation in British Columbia

Gods Pocket Marine Park – Queen Charlotte Strait

Gods Pocket Marine Park in Queen Charlotte Strait lies between the east coast of Vancouver Island and the mainland. Shaped by hurricane force winter storms, this archipelago of islands sprawls across the strait and offers its wild, rugged shorelines to kayakers.

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