Family Overnight and Three Day Adventures
July to September
Overnight Adventures June 5th - September 4th
Three Day Adventures June 4th - September 3rd
The North Island Kayak Overnight Sea Kayaking Wildlife Adventure focuses on the North East of Vancouver Island near Telegraph Cove. We paddle Johnstone Strait and the narrow tidal passages around Hanson island in search of marine wildlife in its natural environment. A unique kayak tour led by our experienced, qualified guides using top quality equipment, optimized for wildlife viewing and a safe, fun experience.
The opportunities abound to see Humpback Whales, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, bald eagles, black bears, numerous sea birds and the spectacular rugged scenery of northern Vancouver Island. On occasion, if we are lucky, we will even see some of the elusive and fast-moving transient or Biggs mammal eating Killer Whales. We maximize the time spent paddling and having fun by utilizing one of the six comfortable wilderness Base Camps that we erect every spring. These camps are scattered throughout the area, with specific locations selected to provide easy access to varying localized habitats. Each trip will utilize different camps based on environmental factors like tides, currents and forecast weather with a mind to optimize wildlife observation opportunities and provide an enjoyable, safe and accessible kayaking experience. The base camps are all similarly equipped with comfortable facilities but each provides a different view and exploration opportunities. North Island Kayak is unique in this area in being able to provide a 2-day sea kayaking tour, showcasing what this spectacular wilderness area has to offer while being assured of a comfortable base camp at night.
You need to arrive at our store adjacent to the kayak launch ramp in Telegraph Cove at 8-45am on your start date. Your kayaks will already be on the launch ramp, waiting for you, with the group gear loaded. We will spend some time assisting you to pack your personal things and clothing into the dry bags we supply and loading it into the kayaks. Once your bags are stowed you will receive some on-shore paddling instruction and we will be ready to cast off. You will paddle out of the mouth of the tiny Telegraph Cove harbor, directly into Johnstone Strait.
Never kayaked before? Within the first 10 minutes you will have grasped the basics.
For both the Overnight and Three Day Adventures we will select our Base Camps one of the six we have in the area in order to provide the best opportunities of finding Humpback Whales and Stellar sea lions, while taking the weather forcast, tides and currents into consideration. We will ensure you are comfortable by assisting to develop your paddling technique as we paddle along the shoreline of Vancouver Island or accross Johnstone Strait. As you glide along in your sleek, non-intrusive Kayak, we will stop and watch for any wildlife and enjoy the majestic scenery of Northern Vancouver Island. The timing of any wildlife encounters cannot be predicted but we can be sure that we have two days of great opportunity in front of us. We will stop to stretch our legs and enjoy a picnic lunch on a remote beach before paddling the last stretch towards your home for the night.
During the day we will poke around some tidal shallows to find intertidal critters; watch for Bald Eagles and their nests; see the inquisitive Dall’s Porpoises and if we are lucky spot a Black Bear turning rocks, looking for breakfast. We will stop to stretch our legs and enjoy a picnic lunch on a remote beach before paddling the last stretch towards your home for the night. Rest assured, your experienced guide is monitoring the local chatter on their marine radio to ensure we do not miss a single opportunity.
You will likely reach camp in the mid afternoon. This ensures we miss getting caught in the afternoon winds that frequently come out of the North and gives you a chance to get settled in and explore your home for the night. Just because we are on shore does not mean that spectacular wildlife encounters are over for the day.
The days paddling and the fresh air will likely have caused you an appetite, which will be satisfied by our healthy and filling dinner from our beach-side BBQ. After dinner, enjoy some games, take a stroll and explore the beach or surrounding forest. Alternately hang around the campfire and get to know the other members of your group. If weather permits, an evening paddle may be on the cards.
You will wake up to a camp breakfast cooking and the aroma of coffee. Once the kayaks are packed, you will paddle once more among the marine mammals of the Pacific Northwest .
Should you be up for a Three Day Adventure, your journey would continue for another day. Spend one more day in the wilderness and explore wonders of Blackfish Sound. Enjoy a second evening at one of our remote beach camps and dinner from our beach-side BBQ. Reminisce about all the day’s activities and fun. Thumb through our library to identify any creatures you may have seen on your excursion and learn more about them. Watch the sunset and if you are lucky a moonrise while your cozy tent awaits. The lack of light pollution this far away from civilization allows for spectacular star-gazing on dark, moonless nights.
If you are on our Overnight Adventure, after breakfast you will pack up and prepare for your journey back to Telegraph Cove. The route home will vary depending on our afternoon weather forecast but our focus will remain on wildlife viewing.
For either our Overnight or Three Day Adventures, the final lunch will be had on a remote beach before the last leg towards Telegraph Cove. On arrival at around 3:30pm 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. Be sure to take time to visit the Whale museum before leaving this pristine wilderness haven.
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 with the best possible wildlife and kayaking experience.
During May, as the days get longer the cold, nutrient-rich waters around north Vancouver Island teem with plankton, krill and small fish. This is the favourite food of the Humpback Whales who return from their southern winter breeding grounds to gorge after a fast of almost six months. Their predictable feeding patterns make finding them easy and watching them a pleasure. The numbers of these gentle giants visiting the area have been increasing dramatically in recent years as their overall population rebounds now we no longer hunt them
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.
The Transient, mammal eating Killer Whales, recently renamed Biggs Killer Whales are present in the area year round but seeing them is not a predicatble event. When we do see them, they are typically moving fast, so sightings are brief and occur only once or twice every couple of weeks. If they happen to be hunting on the occasions when we see them, it can a spectacular and memorable event.
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.
The Best Start Location – Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
Telegraph Cove is the departure and return point of choice for north island sea kayaking tours and North Island Kayak is based in Telegraph Cove – No time wasted on a bus transfer – Be first on the water. Relax and unwind in the peaceful haven.
Visit the Whale Interpretive Center at the end of the ‘old time’ Telegraph Cove boardwalk. You will frequently see Bald Eagles, Mink, River Otters, Black Bears or even whales before we leave the dock!
A great itinerary – 2 Full Days kayaking our north island wilderness!
First on the water and into Johnstone Strait from delightful Telegraph Cove.
Discover the wildlife and scenery of Johnstone Strait while paddling towards camp.
Enjoy free time at camp – Stay with the group or explore the beach and forest alone;
Seek out the waterfall or laze in a hammock watching for wildlife.
Approximately 5-6 hours a day on the water.
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.
- Warren B
Highlight of my summer! Absoluely amazing 4-day kayak tour with Marc and Mia. Both guides were oustanding. They were very knowledgeable, supportive, and placed our safety first, followed closely by enjoyment. The boats were comfortable, stable and tracked well. The camps were in beautiful locations, the tents were spacious, the beds comfortable, and the food was outstanding. Much to my chagrin I gained weight. Did I mention whales? There's nothing like waking up in the morning in your tent to the sound of humpbacks btreathing just offshore. Thank you NIK! I'll be back. …
Fantastic - Day Trip Just finished a day tour a few days ago. First Telegraph cove is a great location to Kayak because of the scenery and likelihood of seeing whales. While seeing whales is hit and miss we were very lucky to catch multiple pods of Orca's. The key thing is our guide, Liv (sp?) knew there were some whales sighted and mentioned that us early in the trip. She was able to take advantage of that insight (info) and maneuver us to get great views (while still being safe). On safety, it seemed to be top of her mind also as we had to cut our trip a bit short due to heavy winds starting to role in... and that was the way it should be .. with novices like us …
- Elaine C
The apex of summer We set out for the half-day (4hour) kayak trip at 1pm. The clouds vanished and we found ourselves in for a glorious afternoon. Our guide, Reed, was knowledgeable, competent, and friendly - he helped to make for a great afternoon. We saw a humpback whale in the distance, two pods of orcas quite close up, and then a variety of other creatures like old growth trees, sea urchins, and bald-headed eagles. Best afternoon! …
- Jenn W
Amazing Experience I did the half day kayak with Mia and Nadia. They were amazing. So friendly and knowledgeable. Their instructions were easy follow. Definitely worth the trip! Thanks ladies. The scenery was beautiful and we lucked out with a nice low tide. Lots to see.
2 hours of educational fun Todd our guide was well versed on safety, local flora and fauna. A fun 2 hours - especially for children!
- Terri T
Great paddle showcasing Beautiful BC! Thank you to Todd who led an informative and entertaining 2-hour kayak tour for my husband, myself and our 19yr old daughter out of Telegraph Cove. We encountered several curious Sea Lions and a bald eagles but alas no whales nearby (tho we did see one spout about 3km away). The spectacular beauty of the pristine coastline and serenity of the sea were the real superstars today. The light rain at the end really made us feel at home! Would like to return one day for a multi day expedition which may yield more possibilities to see more wildlife and marine life. Best of luck to you Todd!! …
- Richard C
Morning trip along the shore of Telegraph Cove Thank to our guides Nadia and Mia for the amasing morning trip that we had, that was really awesome and even the weather was on our side. I recommand North Island Kayak to anybody who want to try kayaking for the 1ers time or for those who just loved kayaking, go to Telegraph Cove... …
- Olivia S
North island kayak is a can’t miss!! Just went yesterday for a day tour with Nadia and Vince. They were amazing and very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna including the importance of the bull kelp forests for supporting the ecosystem. We saw lots of wildlife including a black bear and her cub, lots of orcas, and finding and holding sea urchins we found in the kelp forest. All around it was a fantastic day and I HIGHLY recommend it. If you want to experience BC the way it’s meant to be, kayaking in telegraph cove is a can’t miss! …
- Mike C
Very rare to have a trip this amazing! Can’t say enough good things about our 6 day - 5 night kayak and camping trip with North Island Kayak. We did luck out with the weather, wind, tides and plentiful wildlife, but the things within NIK’s control were excellent as well. The food was unbelievable as we had fresh and delicious meals the entire time (no freeze dried camping meals here). Our route and itinerary was very well planned out. The one thing that really made the trip was our guides Al and Vince. These guys were so easy to travel with, fun to be around and they worked really hard doing all the camp chores so that we could just spend our time exploring and relaxing. These guys were the key to how awesome our trip was and if we were to go on another trip we would definitely ask for them. …
- A P
Whale of a time We had a great tour with Mia earlier this week. Luckily we were the only two booked on the tour, which made things pretty speedy (we’re experienced kayakers). Mia knew loads about all the local wildlife, sea creatures and even the native plants and lichen. We learned some new things about whales too and were lucky enough to get to see several of them swimming in the strait! It was fantastic. …