Five Day Sea Kayaking Adventure

Five Day Sea Kayaking Adventure

June to September

Starting at $1,300 CAD / Adult


June 7th - June 28th

Adult $1,300

July 5th - September 13th

Adult $1,500
Check Availability
Trip Focus:
Non-intrusive wildlife observation based out of Blackfish Sound
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 5.
Start Dates:
Every Monday from June 7th - September 13th. Also Thursday departures July 1st - August 26th.
Camping at several of our fully equipped, waterfront wilderness Base Camps. All camp equipment provided.
Meals Included:
Lunch & Dinner on Day 1; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Day 2, 3 & 4; Breakfast & Lunch on Day 5.
Experience Required:
None. We use stable tandem Sea Kayaks and provide all required kayaking equipment. Some single kayaks may be available on a non-exclusive basis.
This trip is restricted to those over 14 years.

Spend 5 whole days exploring Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait and the western edge of the Broughton Archipelago by sea kayak, in search of wild Killer Whales or Orcas, Humpback Whales and Steller Sea Lions in their natural environment, led by our experienced, qualified guides using top quality equipment. Opportunities to also see porpoises, dolphins, bald eagles, black bears, numerous sea birds, the spectacular rugged scenery around Robson Bight and the beautiful islands of the Broughton Archipelago.

The itinerary for the North Island Kayak Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure concentrates not only on the areas known to be the primary summer range of Northern Resident Orca (killer whale) population, the summer feeding grounds of an ever increasing number of Humpback Whales and a remote Steller Sea Lion haul out. We maximize the time spent in these areas by utilizing a combination of our six wilderness base camps that we erect every spring.

On this trip we utilize our fully-equipped base camps. They 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, but also to give us surety of camp availability in busier areas. 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 each 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 5 day wildlife tour, showcasing all the spectacular wilderness this area has to offer while being assured of spectacular private camps in the busier areas we need to pass through. Having our private camps already set also gives us the ability to spend longer on the water as we can be sure that there will be places for us when we reach these destinations and ensures that we will have a beautiful spot to camp.


Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 1

Your Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure departs from Telegraph Cove. You are welcome to come visit us, at your convenience, in the days before the tour with any of those last minute questions or to pick up dry bags for your gear. Alternately we meet you at 8:30am on the morning of your trip. Your professional kayak guide will be here to greet you with dry bags and advice on how to pack. We recommend that you will have already had your breakfast – Sally's Café located right in the Cove can look after most tastes. Your kayaks will be already loaded with all the camping and group equipment with space left for your gear.

The tour starts with introductions to your fellow adventurers and a brief safety and paddling technique discussion to ensure your comfort on the water. After being fitted to your kayak you will be ready for launch. This tour is typically on the water before 9:30am while other companies are still unloading kayaks from their trailers.

Our plan for Day one is to leave Telegraph Cove and head out towards Yukusam (Hanson Island) on the far side of Johnstone Strait. The winds and tidal currents for the day will determine not only whether we pass through Blackney or Weynton Passage and into Blackfish Sound but also what time we must do so, but either direction provides access to spectacular scenery and great opportunities for Humpback, Orca and sea lion activity. Both of these narrow passages receive tidal currents of up to 6 knots (10km/h) four times a day and hence provide a rich and transient food source for all manner of inter-tidal & sub-tidal creatures, sea birds, seals, eagles, porpoises in addition to the larger mammals.

We will head out to one of the six remote base camps we have in the area for the first night. This gives an opportunity to familiarize you with wilderness camping while providing camp location certainty. As you glide along in your sleek, non-intrusive Kayak, 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 there are five whole days of great opportunities in front of you. For lunch, we will stop to stretch our legs and enjoy a picnic on a remote beach.

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. Just because we are on shore does not mean that spectacular wildlife encounters are over for the day. Of the many creatures that abound in the vicinity, the killer whales, stellar sea lions, eagles and seals will frequently hunt along the kelp forest just in front of camp. Keep your eyes and ears open.

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, take a stroll and explore the beach or 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 the feeling of sleeping under the stars that only a camping experience can provide.

Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 2

If you are not already up to see the sunrise your guide will call you to coffee and breakfast. Our plan for the day will have us heading up Blackfish Sound, along the outer edge of Swanson Island and into the lower reaches of the Broughton Archipelago.

The tidal currents are one of the factors that contribute to the diversity and quantity of marine wildlife in the area. It is not uncommon to see Humpback whales feeding on the krill and bait-fish, Sea Lions or Orcas gorging on Salmon along with an abundance of seabirds. During the course of the day, we will either stop for lunch on another remote beach. 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.

Over the top of Swanson Island is the western gateway of the Broughton Archipelago. A region of hundreds of islands and passages, it almost seems as though it was created as a kayak paradise. Rich in marine and land animals it is a place that is still the ancestral homeland of six Kwakwaka’wakw tribes.

Evidence of their ancestors’ existence is still found to this day. Abandoned ancient village sites and harvest areas have beaches made up of white shell from countless shellfish harvests. Black soils known as middens lay testament to occupation by the Kwakwaka’wakw within the forest just off the beach. The beaches in many locations have boulders pushed to the side leaving a clear path so that cedar canoes would not be damaged through the centuries. These sites make for great areas to land kayaks allowing us to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon, you will return to one of our basecamps where your guide will prepare yet another delicious meal before you fall asleep to the sounds of the Pacific Northwest.

Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 3

Almost as soon as you fall asleep, the third day of your tour will dawn. After breakfast we will most likely leave our camp set and head to your kayaks and out in Blackfish Sounds or into narrow island channels and passages that offer great shelter in summer winds to probe deeper into the wilds and head towards a remote Sea lion haul out to see what they are shouting about today. This part of the Broughtons will likely have some fog in the morning which can make for surreal echos and spectacular surprises as we come across wildlife and see the sea birds you will of heard all around.

From witnessing the jaw-dropping beauty of this part of the world, you may start to understand why people choose to live out here in the wilderness. Throughout the day there will be opportunities to observe a multitude of creatures and paddle between tiny islands with a new and even more breathtaking view around each corner. Your guide will once more surprise you with their culinary skills to ensure you do not go to bed hungry. On a clear night, be sure to sit up late as the lack of light pollution this far away from civilization allows for spectacular star-gazing on dark, moonless nights.

Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 4

After breakfast on day four, we will head out between the islands en-route to the final basecamp of this adventure. Exactly where we choose to camp for the night will depend on the weather forecast and the direction of the tides, however you can be sure that the scenery will be second to none and that we will encounter all sorts of wildlife. We will stop on another beach for lunch before paddling to our campsite for the night and our final dinner of the tour. Our destination lies back through the narrow passages surrounding Hanson Island so we can be sure of reaching Robson Bight, the killer whale sanctuary before heading home tomorrow. Remember to watch for humpback whales, Orcas and sea lions as we meander back towards Johnstone Strait. The ecological reserve of Robson Bight is deemed as so sensitive to human encroachment that only those with special research permits may enter. We may paddle its boundaries and gaze at this untouched area of wilderness and be thankful that there are still a few places in the world where the wildlife comes first.

Five Day Marine Wildlife Sea Kayaking Adventure – Day 5

Coffee and breakfast will again greet you, on this our last day exploring by kayak. After the kayaks are packed you paddle, once more among the marine mammals of the Pacific Northwest. The route home will vary depending on our afternoon weather forecast but our focus will remain on wildlife viewing and photo opportunities. Your guide will always have the hydrophone at the ready so no opportunity to listen in on whale talk will be missed. Lunch will be had on a remote beach before the last leg towards Telegraph Cove. On arrival 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 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.

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.

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!

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.
  • For your hands: Gloves – Look for paddling or cycling gloves to keep hands dry & blister free.

Consider a pair of quality, light-weight rain pants. Frequently you will sit on something wet.

 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.