Three Day Sea Kayaking Adventure

Three Day Sea Kayaking Adventure

June to September

Starting at $800 CAD / Adult


June 1st- June 29th

Adult $800

July 1st - September 19th

Adult $1,110
Check Availability
Trip Focus:
Non-intrusive wildlife observation and fun kayaking for all
Start Location:
Telegraph Cove, Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Canada.
Start and end time:
Starts at 0830 on Day 1 and returns at approx. 1530 on Day 3.
Start Dates:
Departures between June 1st to September 19th
Meals Included:
Lunch & Dinner on Day 1; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Day 2; Breakfast & Lunch on Day 3.
Experience Required:
None. We use stable tandem Sea Kayaks and provide all required kayaking equipment.
Over 14 years. Family trips available for those over 10 years. (Please see "Family Tours" page)

The North Island Kayak Three Day Sea Kayaking 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.

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 in these areas by utilizing up to two of the six wilderness Base Camps that we erect every spring. These camps are scattered throughout northern Johnstone Strait and the South-East corner of Queen Charlotte Strait 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 3 day sea kayaking tour, showcasing what spectacular wilderness area has to offer while being assured of a comfortable base camp each night. Having our private camps already set gives us the ability to spend longer on the water as we can be sure that there will be a comforatble place for us when we reach our destinations.


Three Day Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 1

You need to be at our store adjacent to the kayak launch ramp in Telegraph Cove at 8-30am 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.

North Island Kayaks Trip June 2015

We will select our Base Camp home for the night from 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 forecast, 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 across 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. 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. After dinner, enjoy some games or take a stroll along beach. 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. If not there is always tomorrow! At bedtime, snuggle into your sleeping bag and enjoy feeling of sleeping under the stars that only a camping experience can provide.The days paddling and the fresh air will likely have caused you an appetite, which will be satisfied by our healthy and filling dinner. After dinner, enjoy some games or take a stroll along beach. 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. If not there is always tomorrow! At bedtime, snuggle into your sleeping bag and enjoy feeling of sleeping under the stars that only a camping experience can provide.

Three Day Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 2

Wake up to the aroma of coffee and the great outdoors. After a hearty breakfast it’s into the kayaks to explore deeper into this north island wilderness. The high tidal flow areas to the east and west of Hanson island help concentrate the food that is favored by the Humpback Whales. We will spend time traversing and in these locations so we can maximize our exposure to these giant animals. If we are fortunate we may see some of their unique feeding behaviour or even them launching themselves skyward while breaching.

Should we be fortunate enough to find ourselves in the vicinity of a pod of dolphins, your guide will deploy the research grade hydrophone they carry so we may hear their communications. 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 intelligent animals. 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.

Three Day Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 3

North Island Kayaks Trip June 2015

You will wake up once again to a camp breakfast cooking and the smell of coffee. After the kayaks are packed you paddle, once more among the marine mammals of the Pacific Northwest while we slowly start the homeward journey. The route home will vary depending on our afternoon weather forecast but our focus will remain on wildlife viewing. 

Lunch will be had on a remote beach before the last leg towards Telegraph Cove. 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. Be sure to take time to visit the Whale Interpretative Center before leaving this pristine wilderness haven.

This is a sample itinerary. In order to provide the most exposure to wildlife and scenery, we plan to camp at up to two of our six base camps in the area, however, on some occasions, we may need to make changes due to weather or tidal considerations; Our goal will always remain to provide you the best possible wildlife and kayaking experience


Wildlife Everywhere

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 favorite food of the Humpback Whales who return from their southern winter breeding grounds to gorge after an fast of almost six months. Their predicatble feeding patterns makes finding them easy and watching them a pleasure. The numbers of these gentle giants visiting the area has 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. 

Base Camping with a difference

Choosing North Island Kayak gives you the unique opportunity, on a tour of this length, to stay at multiple camps in different locations, scattered throughout the area. This allows us to explore further and see more, because we do not have to come back to the same camp each evening. Your kayaking tour with us takes you on a journey through the wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it, while enjoying the increased comfort that our pre-erected base camps can provide.  

We have six different Base Camps located in Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait; all within the summer range of the Northern Resident Orcas. These camps have been specially selected by us to provide access to the diverse micro-environments to be found in the region. Each camp is configured with facilities to a similar comfort level but each provides a different view, a different beach to explore and new opportunity.

Camp to Camp kayaking with Base Camp facilities = Unmatched value for money and the best possible wildlife opportunities!

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 – 3 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 and Queen Charlotte Strait; 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.

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.

What to bring

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.

Sleeping bag

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
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • 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.